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Revision of Cuban Byrsonima H.B.K. and Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae)

Pedro A. González Gutiérrez

The major objective of the project was to carry out field work necessary to collect and photograph Cuban species of Byrsonima and Malpighia, and to obtain fresh material for future molecular studies. The herbarium specimens and photographs will be used to assess the morphological variation of the taxa, which, along with data obtained from phylogenetic analyses, will form the basis for discerning relationships and species boundaries, and the possible occurrence of hybridization.

Brief financial report

During the years 2014 and 2015, 25 Cuban localities were visited in order to find and collect Cuban species of Byrsonima and Malpighia. In the visited localities the author had the possibility to collect in different units of vegetation such as: rain forest, pine forest, thorny and subthorny xeromorphic thickets on serpentines and coastal xeromorphic thickets. Most of Cuban species of Byrsonima and Malpighia inhabit these types of vegetation.
In some cases was necessary to visit the same locality in more than one occasion due to reasons such as: the species were not found in a first opportunity, or the species were found sterile.

The list of visited localities is offered as follows:

  • Cerro Verde, municipality of Holguín, province of Holguín
  • Loma de la Cruz, municipality of Holguín, province of Holguín
  • Caletones, municipality of Gibara, province of Holguín
  • Playazo, municipality of Gibara, province of Holguín
  • Curva de la Campana, municipality of Gibara, province of Holguín
  • Cabo Lucrecia, municipality of Banes, province of Holguín
  • Río Seco, municipality of Banes, province of Holguín
  • Playa La Vaca, municipality of Moa, province of Holguín
  • Yamanigüey, municipality of Moa, province of Holguín
  • Farallones, municipality of Moa, province of Holguín
  • Cayoguan, municipality of Moa, province of Holguín
  • La Melba, municipality of Moa, province of Holguín
  • Sierra Cristal, municipality of Mayarí, province of Holguín
  • Sierra de Nipe, municipality of Mayarí, province of Holguín
  • Entre Mir y Malas Noches, Sierra Cristal, municipality Calixto García, province of Holguín
  • Yabazón, municipality of Rafael Freyre, province of Holguín
  • Bahía Naranjo, municipality of Rafael Freyre, province of Holguín
  • Los Pinos, municipality of Rafael Freyre, province of Holguín
  • Sarandico, municipality of Las Tunas, province of Las Tunas
  • Serpentines of Camagüey, municipality of Camagüey, province of Camagüey
  • Playa Santa Lucía, municipality of Nuevitas, province of Camagüey
  • El Morro, municipality of Santiago de Cuba, province of Santiago de Cuba
  • Cabo Cruz, municipality of Niquero, province of Granma
  • Las Coloradas, municipality of Niquero, province of Granma
  • Caletón de Don Bruno, municipality of Cienfuegos, province of Cienfuegos

The transportation to all these localities represented ca. 2500 Kms traveled. On the other hand it was also possible to visit 4 Cuban herbaria and review their collections. The herbaria visited were: the herbarium of the National Botanical Garden of Cuba (HAJB), the herbarium of the Institute of Ecology and Systematic of Cuba (HAC), the herbarium of the Institute of Environmental Studies of Camagüey (HACC) and the herbarium of the Botanical Garden of Las Tunas (HMC).
The funds received from IAPT in 2014 were spent to pay transportation (about 70%) and the resting ca. 30% were used to pay lodging and food.

Most important results of the investigation

About 100 specimens of ca. 50 species of Byrsonima, Malpighia and representatives of other genera of Malpighiaceae were collected.
A list of the species collected is presented below:

Species of Byrsonima

  • Byrsonima bucherae Moldenke
  • Byrsonima crassifolia (L.) Kunth (specimens from different localities)
  • Byrsonima aff. cuneata (Turcz.) P. Wilson
  • Byrsonima lucida (P. Mill.) DC. (specimens from different localities)
  • Byrsonima moensis Acuña & Roig
  • Byrsonima motembensis (Britton & Small) P. A. González (specimens from different localities)
  • Byrsonima orientensis Bisse
  • Byrsonima parvifolia Alain (specimens from different localities)
  • Byrsonima sp. (posible hybrid between Byrsonima crassifolia and Byrsonima orientensis)

Species of Malpighia

  • Malpighia aff. cubensis Kunth
  • Malpighia aff. dura F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia apiculata Urb.
  • Malpighia bissei F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia capitis-crucis F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia cf. coccigera L.
  • Malpighia cf. epedunculata F.K. Mey.
  • Malpighia cornistipulata F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia cubensis Kunth (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia dura F. K. Meyer
  • Malpighia emarginata DC.
  • Malpighia epedunculata subsp. arenaria F.K. Mey.
  • Malpighia epedunculata subsp. epedunculata F.K. Mey.
  • Malpighia flavescens F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia glabra L.
  • Malpighia jaguensis F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia linearifolia F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia martiana Acuña & Roig
  • Malpighia meyeriana P. A. González
  • Malpighia nummulariifolia subsp. camagueyensis F.K. Mey.
  • Malpighia nummulariifolia subsp. holguinensis F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia pallidior F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia phillyreifolia F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia sp.1
  • Malpighia sp.2
  • Malpighia sp.3
  • Malpighia sp.4
  • Malpighia sp.5
  • Malpighia sp. 6 (possible hybrid between M. suberosa and M. emarginata)
  • Malpighia suberosa Small (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia subpilosa F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)
  • Malpighia substrigosa F. K. Mey.
  • Malpighia torulosa F.K.Mey.
  • Malpighia tunensis F. K. Mey. (specimens from different localities)

Species of other genera of Malpighiaceae

  • Bunchosia linearifolia P. Wilson subsp. linearifolia
  • Henleophytum echinatum (Griseb.) Small
  • Mascagnia sp.
  • Spachea martiana Acuña & Roig
  • Stigmaphyllon diversifolium (Kunth) A. Juss. (two specimens from different localities)
  • Stigmaphyllon microphyllum Griseb. (two specimens from different localities)
  • Stigmaphyllon nipense Alain

The field work allowed to collect species, which were only known through type or sterile specimens such as: Byrsonima moensis, Malpighia capitis-crucis, Malpighia flavescens, Malpighia phillyreifolia and Malpighia tunensis, etc.
Most of plants were found with flowers and fruits and it made possible to complete the descriptions of some species based on sterile or partially sterile specimens published by Meyer (2000) such as Malpighia flavescens and Malpighia phillyreifolia.
Some species such as Malpighia suberosa were collected in several localities, showing the variability of this species in its wide distribution area in Cuba.
It was possible to see flowers of living plants of Byrsonima motembensis, which colour is intermediate between the pink flowers of Byrsonima lucida and the yellow flowers of Byrsonima crassifolia suggesting that Byrsonima motembensis is probably a hybrid between these two species.
On the other hand the field work allowed to find and describe a new species of the genus Malpighia, Malpighia meyeriana P. A. González:

  • González Gutiérrez, P. A. 2015. Malpighia meyeriana (Malpighiaceae), a new species from the NE coast of Cuba. - Willdenowia 45(3):443-447. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3372/wi.45.45311).

Of all specimens collected, samples of young and healthy leaves were preserved in silica gel to be used in future phylogenetic studies.

The results obtained during the field work will allow completing the taxonomic treatment of the family Malpighiaceae for the Flora of Cuba.

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