Gaultheria rufescens A. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 7: 595. 1839. Brossea rufescens (A. P. de Candolle) O. Kuntze, Rev. gen. pl. 2: 388. 1891. Type. Peru. Chachapoyas, Mathews s.n. (holotype, frag. G-DC). Other Mathews collections from Chachapoyas seen at BR, E, FI-Webb, G, and P may be isotypes (their labels simply saying "Chachapoyas"), but there is no way to be sure, therefore I have annotated them as such.
Gaultheria bicolor Sleumer, Notiz. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 12: 59. 1934. Type. Peru. Huánuco: Huamalies, NW of Monzón, 3300-3500 m, 12 Jul 1903 (fl), Weberbauer 3370 (holotype, B, destroyed, no isotypes known).
Erect shrub (0.15-)1-3(-5) m tall; mature stems terete, striate, glabrate; bark reddish-brown, cracking longitudinally; twigs subterete, densely strigose with golden to ferruginous, straight to distally crisped, eglandular hairs 2-3 mm long; buds terete, ovate, scales ovate, obtuse, apiculate, ciliolate and short-pilose distally, reddish-brown. Leaves coriaceous, ovate to elliptic-ovate, (3-)5.5-8.5(-11) x (1.5-)2-3(-5) cm, base broadly cuneate, obtuse, or rounded, apex acuminate, slightly apiculate, margin obviously crenate with each tooth terminating in a deciduous, basally swollen hair to 2 mm long, newly unfolding leaves densely golden to ferruginous strigose with eglandular hairs which do not obscure surfaces, when mature upper surface appressed subsetose, glabrate, lower surface usually persistently strigose or glabrate and then swollen hair bases remaining as tiny papillae; midrib, lateral nerves (3-4 per side), and reticulate veinlets all impressed above and raised beneath; petiole subterete, rugose, canaliculate above, (3.5-)4.5-9 mm long, pubescent as stems. Inflorescence axillary, racemose, 10-15(-20)-flowered; rachis subterete, bluntly angled, 3-5.5(-7.5) cm long, densely strigose to hirsute with straight, golden to ferruginous, eglandular or minutely gland-tipped hairs 1.5-2 mm long, at base circumscribed by a series of ovate to oblong-elliptic, obtuse, striate, ciliolate bracts to 8 mm long; pedicels terete, 6-10(-12) mm long at anthesis, pubescent with appressed to hirsute, crisped, golden to ferruginous, eglandular or minutely gland-tipped hairs ca. 1-1.5 mm long (also weakly short-pilose with white hairs); bracteoles basal or nearly so, chartaceous, often wide-spreading, linear-ovate, 3-4(-4.5) x 0.5-0.8(-1.2) mm, acuminate, ciliolate, often distally short-pilose (marginally subsetose with minutely gland-tipped hairs); floral bract coriaceous, elongate, concave to cochleariform, spreading or often reflexed, oblong, elliptic to oblanceolate, conspicuously striate, 8-12 x 2.5-6 mm, acute, ciliolate, basally subsetose along margin with minutely gland-tipped hairs. Flowers with calyx 3.5-5 mm long, moderately to densely appressed-hirsute with straight or somewhat crisped, golden to ferruginous, eglandular or v ery rarely minutely gland-tipped hairs (also weakly short-pilose with white hairs at very base, or only pilose), lobes broadly ovate, 2.5-3 x 2-2.2 mm, acuminate, ciliolate and often short-pilose distally within; corolla cylindric-urceolate, subterete to bluntly 5-angled, 6-7(-8) x 4-5 mm, densely appressed subsetose with straight, golden to ferruginous, eglandular hairs, glabrous or short-pilose within, (white?) pink to red when fresh, lobes triangular, obtuse, ca. 1 mm long; stamens 4.3-5 mm long; filaments 3.4-4 mm long, moderately to densely white-villous; anthers 1.6-2 mm long, awns short (inconspicuous); ovary globose, densely short-pilose with white or cinereous hairs (glabrate after anthesis); style 3.5-5 mm long, moderately to densely short-pilose or glabrous. Fruiting calyx globose, 8-10 mm diam., blue-black, persistently pubescent. Chromosome number: n=11, 2n=22 (Luteyn & Cotton 11307).
Distribution (Map). Relatively common in Peru and Bolivia. Although the type was said to come from Volcán Tungurahua (Ecuador), the species has never been recollected in Ecuador. Found in the páramo and puna grasslands, thickets, rocky soil of hillsides or road embankments, wet humus soil, white sand areas, and rarely on limestone at elevations of (900?)(1800-)2400-3600(-4000) m. Flowering and fruiting throughout the year.
Common names and uses. Peru: pachyla-pachyla
(Huancavelica); rhinnin cussau (Macbride, 1959). Fruit edible fide
24730. The flowers were visited by the hummingbird
amethysticollis (Trochilidae) (Solomon 6019).