Shrub or tree to 8(-11) m tall, with thick, corky, deeply furrowed bark; twigs very sparsely to densely pubescent, with nonchambered to clearly chambered pith; buds to ca. 1.5 mm long, leaves revolute. Leaves rarely subopposite or nearly 3-whorled at some nodes; coriaceous, ovate, 2-7.5(-9) x 0.8-2.5(-3.2) cm, base narrowly cuneate to rounded, apex acuminate, margin entire (slightly sinuous), plane to very slightly revolute near base, adaxial surface glabrous to densely pubescent on midvein (with few unicellular hairs on basal portion of lamina), abaxial surface essentially glabrous to densely pubescent on midvein, otherwise glabrous to densely pubescent, with few to several inconspicuous glandular dots along midvein; petiole 2-12.5 mm long. Inflorescences (fascicle-like) axillary racemes to 0.5-2.5(-4) cm long; rachis sparsely to densely pubescent; pedicels 2-8 mm long, very sparsely to densely pubescent; bracteoles 2, alternate to opposite, from nearly basal to within lower 1/3 (to midpoint) of pedicel, triangular to narrowly so, to ca. 0.9 mm long; floral bracts to 1 mm long. Flowers with triangular calyx lobes, with acuminate apices, 0.9-1.8 x 0.5-2 mm, abaxial surface very sparsely to densely pubescent; corolla cylindrical, white, 6-9.5 x 2.5-5 mm, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, especially near apex; filaments 4.5-6 mm long; anthers 1-1.8 mm long; ovary very sparsely to densely pubescent. Capsules subglobose to short-ovoid, 3-4.5(-5) x 5-7 mm, placentae subapical; seeds 1.5-2.7 mm long.
Distribution. Mountainous areas of Mexico and
Central America, from Veracruz and Jalisco south to Honduras and El Salvador.
Local names. Honduras: cachimbo (see Standley
& Williams, 1952); Mexico: quemanote, pellejo de lagarto, nacahuite.
Key to the Varieties of Agarista mexicana
1. Abaxial surface of lamina glabrous to occasionally sparsely
hairs not obscuring abaxial epidermis ...................... var. mexicana.
1. Abaxial surface of lamina densely to occasionally moderately pubescent,
hairs ± obscuring epidermis ............................... var. pinetorum.
Agarista mexicana (Hemsley) Judd var. mexicana. Andromeda mexicana Hemsley, Biol. centr.-amer., Bot. 2: 282. 1881. Leucothoe mexicana (Hemsley) Small, N. Amer. Fl. 29: 57. 1914. Type. Mexico. Oaxaca: Sierra San Pedro Nolasco, Jürgensen 866 (holotype, K, n.v.; isotype, G).
Twigs very sparsely to densely pubescent. Leaf blades with abaxial surface glabrous to occasionally sparsely pubescent, epidermis not obscured. Ovary very sparsely to densely pubescent.
Distribution. Mountainous areas of Mexico (from
states of México, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz) and Central America
(south to Honduras and El Salvador), on dry ridges, in forests, disturbed
openings, forest margins, and frequently in sandy soil, at 170-2500 m alt.
Flowering mid-February through April (early May).
Agarista mexicana (Hemsley) Judd var. pinetorum (Standley & Williams) Judd, J. Arnold Arbor. 60: 495. 1979. Leucothoe pinetorum Standley & Williams, Ceiba 3: 54., fig. 30. 1952. Leucothoe mexicana (Hemsley) Small var. pinetorum (Standley & Williams) Sleumer, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 78: 466. 1959. Illustration: Judd (995), fig. 3. Type. Honduras. El Paraíso: Manzaragua, 1400 m, 4 Apr 1948, L. O. Williams & Molina 14000 (holotype, US; photos of holotype, F, GH, NY, UC; isotypes, GH, MEXU, MO, US).
Twigs moderately to densely pubescent. Leaf blades with abaxial surface densely (to moderately) pubescent, epidermis obscured or nearly so. Ovary moderately to densely pubescent.
Distribution. Mountainous areas of Mexico (Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero, and Chiapas), Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua, in rocky, brushy hillsides, forests, savannas, and often in sandy soil, at 500-2000 m alt. Flowering March through April (early May).