Epiphytic or terrestrial shrub to 2 m tall, glabrous throughout; stem base ca. 3 cm in diam., stem and leaves often with odor of wintergreen; mature branches erect or pendant, terete or bluntly angled, smooth or rugose-striate; bark grayish- or reddish-brown. Leaves subsessile, amplexicaul, oval to suborbicular, (5-)8-16(-18) x (4-)5.5-15(-17) cm, basally deeply cordate with lobes rounded and usually imbricate, apically obtuse to broadly rounded, rarely notched or bluntly cuspidate; pinnately veined, midrib raised or impressed proximallly above, raised and conspicuous beneath, lateral nerves impressed or raised on both surfaces, arcuate-ascending but anastomosing to form a weak collective marginal nerve, veinlets slightly raised and obscure or conspicuous; petioles subterete, rugose, to 5 mm long and 3 mm diam. Inflorescence usually solitary but with as many as three rachises arising in the terminal axil, or rarely largest rachis once-branched at base, 8-80-flowered; rachis terete to bluntly angled, swollen at each floral node, (1.2-)2-9(-20) cm long and 1-2.5 mm in diam. at anthesis (increasing to 3 mm diam. after anthesis), pinkish-green at anthesis but later turning purplish; floral bracts coriaceous or membranaceous, flat or concave and then cucullate or oyster shell-shaped, ascending and often appressed to flowers at anthesis but spreading, perpendicular to, or appressed to rachis after anthesis, striate, smooth or becoming ribbed after drying, elliptic, ovate-lanceolate, obovate, or semiorbicular, 4-16(-20) x 5-10(-17) mm, basally narrowed and somewhat auriculate, apically acute or broadly rounded and then often splitting, dark pink to red, marginally scarious and glandular-fimbriate; pedicels cylindric, minutely striate or rugose, 0.5-9(-11) mm long and 0.5-1 mm in diam., pinkish-green at anthesis later turning purplish; bracteoles coriaceous or membranaceous, flat or concave and sometimes enveloping calyx, striate or smooth, oblong, lanceolate, spathulate or semiorbicular, 1-10 x (0.5-)1.5-10 mm, basally slightly auriculate, apically rounded or obtuse, marginally glandular-fimbriate, dark pink. Flowers: calyx 4-10 mm long; hypanthium hemispheric, smooth or minutely muricate, 1-3.5(-6.5) mm long and 2.5-6 mm in diam., nonapophysate or with a very narrow basal rim, purplish-green; limb cylindric or campanulate, 2.5-6.3 mm long, pale green; lobes reniform, broadly ovate, ovate-oblong, or oblong, imbricate, 1.5-5 x 1.5-4.5 mm, the tips flaring or erect at anthesis, connivent and tightly curling around base of style after anthesis, marginally glandular-fimbriate, whitish-green; sinuses acute; corolla cylindric or bottle-shaped and narrowed at throat, 6-12 mm long and 4-6.5 mm in diam. at widest part, completely white, or white at base grading to purplish-black in basal 1/4, then midsection green, and limb and lobes white; lobes oblong, obtuse, 2-2.5 mm long; stamens conspicuously unequal, 4.5-8.5 mm long; filaments with few scattered hairs distally, alternately 2-3 mm and 2.7-4.3 mm long; anthers alternately 2.5-7 mm and 2.2-6.5 mm long; thecae 0.6-4 mm long; style 6-9 mm long. Berry 9-13 mm in diam.
Nicaragua southwards to Peru at elevations of 70-2100 m.
Key to Subspecies of Cavendishia complectens
1. Floral bracts ascending at anthesis but spreading or perpendicular
rachis thereafter, membranaceous, smooth, the venation reticulate
and inconspicuous; calyx lobes broadly ovate to reniform (rarely
oblong), broader than long, smooth with venation immersed, the tips
spreading at anthesis; Nicaragua to NW Colombia
1. Floral bracts tightly appressed to flowers, coriaceous, conspicuously
striate, the venetion parallel and strongly raised on both surfaces;
calyx lobes oblong to ovate-oblong, longer than broad, striate (at
least within) with venation raised, the tips usually erect at anthesis;
central Chocó and N Antioquia Depts., Colombia to Peru
.............................. subsp. striata
Chupalon complectens (Hemsley) O. Kuntze, Revis. gen. pl. 2: 383. 1891.
Leaves (5-)8-16(-18) x (4-)5.5-10(-13) cm. Floral bracts membranaceous, smooth or becoming ribbed after drying, elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, flat, apically acute, (10-)11-16(-20) mm long, ascending at anthesis but spreading or perpendicular to rachis after anthesis; pedicels (2-)4-9(-11) mm long; bracteoles membranaceous, smooth, oblong, or lanceolate, (1-)3-4(-7) x (0.5-)1-2(-4) mm, flat; calyx lobes reniform, broadly ovate, or rarely oblong, broadly imbricate, (1.5)2-3(-4) x (1.5-)3(-4.5) mm, spreading at anthesis.
Nicaragua to NW Colombia (Chocó Dept.), found in cloud or mossy
forest, disturbed forest edge, remnant trees in pastureland, fence-row
trees, thickets, and on weedy roadside slopes, at elevations of 800-1800
Cavendishia complectens Hemsley subsp. striata (A. C. Smith) Luteyn, Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 35: 120. 1983. Cavendishia striata A. C. Smith, J. Arnold Arb. 27: 104. 1946. Type. Colombia. Valle: Cordillera Occiental, W slopes, banks of Río Digua, La Elsa, 1000-1200 m, 9 Nov 1943 (fl), Cuatrecasas 15306 (holotype, GH, photo NY neg. 9093; isotypes, F, NY, US, photo NY neg. 9092).
Leaves (5-)8-16(-18) x (4-)5.5-15(-17) cm. Floral bracts coriaceous, cucullate or oyster shell-shaped, appressed to the flowers at and after anthesis, striate, elliptic, obovate, or suborbicular, (4-)9-13 mm long, apically broadly rounded and often splitting; pedicels 0.5-7 mm long; bracteoles membranaceous or coriaceous, flat, concave, or cucullate often completely enveloping the calyx, usually striate, oblong or spathulate to suborbicular, 1.5-10 x 0.6-10 mm. Calyx lobes oblong to ovate-oblong, usually narrowly imbricate 1.5-5 X ca. 2 mm, erect (rarely flaring) at anthesis.
Distribution (Map). W Colombia to N Peru, at elevations of 70-2100 m.
Key to Varieties of Cavendishia complectens subsp. striata
1. Inflorescence open, lax; floral bracts not covering entire
anthesis; flower pedicels (1-)2.5-7 mm long; bracteoles oblong to
narrowly ovate, flat with venation obscure, 1.5-4(-6) x 0.6-3 mm,
shorter than pedicels or if longer then merely appressed to
hypnathium; corolla usually white at base and apex with a dark
purple band in the middle, rarely completely white; S Chocó
(Colombia) to Peru ........................................................ var. striata
1. Inflorescence very congested, compact, cylindric; floral bracts
completely concealing calyx and lower corolla at anthesis; flowers
subsesile, the pedicels ).5-1.5 mm long; bracteoles spathulate to
semiorbicular, cucullate, conspicuously striate, (4-)5.5-10 mm long
and broad, longer than pedicels and usually enveloping calyx at
anthesis; corolla completely white; Cordillera Occidental of NW
Antioquia to central Chocó Depts., Colombia ............ var. cylindrica
Cavendishia complectens Hemsley subsp. striata (A. C. Smith) Luteyn var. striata Luteyn, Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 35: 120, figs. 48E-F and 49C-D. 1983. Illustration: Luteyn (1996), pl. 8. Images: Color slide. Line-drawing.
Inflorescence relatively lax, open, the corollas and calyces usually discernible at anthesis; floral bracts 4-11 x 6-8 mm, not completely covering calyx at anthesis; pedicels (1-)2.5-7 mm long; bracteoles oblong to narrowly ovate, flat, with venation obscure, 1.5-4(-6) x 0.6-3 mm, shorter than pedicels, or if longer, then merely appressed to hypanthium. Calyx 5-7 mm long; hypanthium 1-2.5 mm long; limb (3.5-)3.8-5 mm long; lobes (1.7-)2-2.8 x 2 mm; corolla 6.2-8 mm long, white at base and apex, with a dark purple band in midsection; style (4.5-)4.8-8 mm long; stamens alternately 4.5 mm and 4.5-5 mm long; filaments alternately 2-2.2 mm and 2.7-3 mm long; anthers alternately 2.5-2.7 mm and 2.2-2.3 mm long; thecae 0.6-1 mm long.
Distribution (Map). Southern Chocó, Colombia to central Peru, at elevations of 70-2000 m.
Local name: hoja verde.
Uses: Cultivated at ABG, NCSC, NY.
Cavendishia complectens Hemsley subsp. striata (A. C. Smith) Luteyn var. cylindrica Luteyn, Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 35: 121. 1983. Type. Colombia. Chocó: Medellín-Quibdó rd., km 153-154, 500-550 m, 5 Apr 1979 (fl), Luteyn & Lebrón-Luteyn 7227 (holotype, COL; isotypes, AAU, E, F, GH, HUA, L, MO, NY, P, QCA, TEX, US, plus 10 duplicates distributed by COL, photo NY neg. 10868). Images: Habit. Flower. Line-drawing.
Inflorescence congested, compact, cylindric with floral bracts completely concealing calyx and lower part of corolla at anthesis; floral bracts (7-)9-13 mm long and broad; pedicels 0.5-1.5 mm long; bracteoles spathulate to suborbicular, concave, cucullate, conspicuously striate (4-)5.5-10 mm long and broad, longer than pedicels and usually enveloping calyx (totally or partially) at anthesis. Calyx 4-9 mm long; hypanthium 1.3-2.7 mm long; limb 2.5-6.3 mm long; lobes 1.5-5 mm long; corolla 7-11 mm long, completely white; stamens subequal or alternately 8-8.2 mm and 8.3-8.5 mm long; filaments alternately 2.5-3 mm and 3.8-4.3 mm long; anthers alternately 6 mm and 5-5.3 mm long; thecae 2-2.5 mm long; style 8.2-9 mm long.
NW Antioquia and central Chocó Depts., Colombia, at 500-2100
m elevation. This variety should be considered Rare