Macleania insignis Mart. & Gal., Bull. Acad. Roy. Sci. Bruxelles 9: 531. 1842. Type. Mexico. Veracruz: "De 3000 ped. a 8000 pd., Cordillera," Jun-Oct 1841, Galeotti 1827 (holotype, BR; isotype, W; photos, GH, NY, US). See also Yeo (1967). Images: Flowers. Lignotuber.
Macleania longiflora Lindley, Edward's Bot. Reg. 30: t. 25. 1844. Illustrated: Baileya 15: 52, fig. 2. 1967. Type. The specimen used for the drawing, cultivated in the garden of the Horticultural Society of London ("H.H.S.") (lectotype, CGE, designated by Yeo, 1967). Yeo (1967) details a long and plausible argument for why M. longiflora belongs here, in the synonymy of M. insignis, and does not equal the taxon described by Smith (1932).
[Macleania tenuifolia Walpers, Repert. Bot. Syst. 6: 415. 1847, in error for M. longiflora Lindley (see Yeo, 1967). In 1844 Lindley published M. longiflora (see above). In 1847 Walpers published M. tenuifolia attributing it to Lindley (1844). In 1851 Klotzsch published (in the synonymy of M. longiflora Lindl.) Macleania tenuiflora attributing it to Walpers (1847). Index Kewensis (Jackson, 1894, p. 140) attributes M. tenuiflora to Klotzsch (1851) and M. tenuifolia to Walpers (1847). As Yeo (1967) pointed out M. tenuifolia Walpers was published in error for M. longiflora Lindl., and the same can certainly be said for M. tenuiflora Klotzsch. Therefore, the only validly published name in this tortuous complex is M. longiflora Lindl. (1844), which itself is a taxonomic synonym of M. insignis M. Martens & Galeotti (1842).]
Macleania cordata Lemaire, Flore des Serres 4: 312. 1848. Type. "Described from a cultivated plant collected by Ghiesbrecht, presumably from Mexico" (Yeo, 1967).
?Biramia tuberosa Auct., Walt. Ann. Bot. 1: 478. 1849. [Macleania tuberosa Niedenzu, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 11: 224. 1889, nom. nud.].
[Thibaudia tuberosa Leibold, in Niedenzu, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 11: 224. 1889, nom. nud., pro syn.]
[Macleania colorata Klotzsch, Linnaea 24: 68. 1851, nom. nud, pro syn. Although Klotzsch referred to Lemaire, he surely meant M. cordata Lem. (1848: 312) since the epithet "colorata" never appeared in the protologue. The name Macleania colorata was first placed in the synonymy of M. insignis by Smith (1932: 369).]
Macleania ovata Klotzsch, Linnaea 24: 20. 1851. Type. "in Americacentrali prope Veraguam," Warszewicz s.n. (holotype, B+, photos: F neg. 4712, ACS neg. 166; lectotype, G, here designated). A supposed isotype sheet at G (fide A. C. Smith annotation in 1932) has the "pinned" label reading "Costa Rica et Veragua v. Warszewicz."
Macleania coccinea Decaisne, Rev. Hort., ser. 3, 5: 301, t. 16. 1851. Type. "Described from a cultivated plant collected by Ghiesbrecht, presumable from Mexico" (Yeo, 1976).
Macleania cordata Lem. var. linearifolia J.D.Smith, Bot. Gaz. (Crawfordsville) 16: 12. 1891. Type. Guatemala: Pasamala, von Tuerckheim 1332 (holotype, US, frag. ex US at NY, photo, NY). Macleania linearifolia (J.D.Smith) A.C.Sm., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 28: 368. 1932.
Macleania insignis var. linearifolia (J.D.Sm.) Standl. & L.O.Wms., Fieldiana, Bot. 31: 172. 1965.
Macleania compacta A.C.Sm., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 28: 369. 1932. Type. Mexico. Veracruz: Barranca of Texolo, nr Jalapa, 1066 m, 22 May 1899 (fl), Pringle 7870 (holotype, GH).
Macleania subracemosa L.O.Wms., Fieldiana, Bot. 31: 172. 1965. Type. Nicaragua. Matagalpa: Cordillera Central, Sta. María de Ostuma, between Jinotega and Matagalpa, 1300-1500 m, 8-15 Jan 1963 (fl), L. O. Williams et al. 23503 (holotype, F, photo F. neg. 52538; isotypes, EAP, G, NY, US).
Epiphytic or terrestrial, infrequently epipetric shrub to 0.5-2(-4) m tall, arising from lignotuber; stems terete, glabrous to pilose, glabrate, often nitid, light to dark brown when dry; bark exfoliating in thin sheetlets, reddish-brown; twigs bluntly angled but not winged, glabrous to often densely short-puberulous with white hairs. Leaves ovate to lance-ovate, elliptic to elliptic-ovate, or rarely lance-oblong, oblong, or suborbicular, (2-)3-8(-12) x (1-)1.5-4(-5.6) cm, basally rounded, usually subcordate, apically obtuse to acute, marginally entire and slightly revolute, glabrous on both surfaces but usually with brownish glandular fimbriae especially beneath, lower surface also often with a dark, circular, concave gland 0.2 mm diam. on either side of midrib base; pinnately nerved with 3-4 secondaries per side or 3-5(-7)-plinerved with the secondary nerves originating near the base, ascending, the midrib thickened in proximal 0.6-3.5 cm and slightly impressed above and raised beneath, or more usually slightly raised on both surfaces, the secondary nerves and veinlets usually slightly raised on both surfaces; petiole terete to subterete, then flattened above, rugose, (1-)2-4(-6) mm long, glabrous or rarely densely short-puberulous. Inflorescence axillary, sessile, subfasciculate to rarely short-racemose, (1-)2-3(-5)-flowered; rachis (when present) subterete, rugose, 0.6-1 cm long and ca. 1.5-2 mm diam.; floral bract persistent, ovate to triangular-ovate, short-acuminate, carinate, 1.2-2 mm long, ciliate; pedicel subterete, rugose, (4-)8-16 mm long, glabrous or weakly to moderately densely short-pilose, usually also with a few glandular fimbriae concentrated at articulation; bracteoles basal to medial, often minutely ciliate, triangular, 1-3 mm long, provided with 1-2 circular, concave, dark glands ca. 0.2 mm diam. dorsally at base (the bracteole base sometimes appearing simply darker and thicker in color). Flowers with calyx articulate with pedicel, 5.3-8(-10) mm long, glabrous or weakly to moderately densely short-pilose, rarely with a few glandular fimbriae; tube obconic, 3-5(-7) mm long and 3-4 mm diam., longer than limb, glabrous or minutely to moderately appressed short-pubescent, broadly to narrowly but distinctly winged, the wings 0.3-1.8 mm broad, truncate or slightly rounded at base not extended beyond limb distally; limb spreading to erect, 1-3(-4) mm long, conspicuously lobed distally; lobes narrowly triangular to deltate, (0.4-)0.8-2 mm long, margins rarely ciliate; sinuses either flat or acute; corolla tubular-urceolate, contracted at the throat, sharply and conspicuously 5-angled, (14-)20-27(-30) mm long and 4-6(-8) mm diam., glabrous to slightly puberulous especially distally without, the throat sparsely to densely villous within, the lobes acute, spreading, 1.5-3 mm long, concolorous with the tube orange to reddish-orange or rarely pinkish and the lobes normally the same color as the tube but very rarely greenish; stamens 8-13 mm long; filaments connate (rarely distinct) into a tube 3-6(-7) mm long, glabrous; connectives often alternately distally thickened and shouldered; anthers 7-10 mm long; thecae 4-6.5 mm long; tubule 1, 2-4 mm long, dehiscing by a broad introrse cleft more than half the tubule length; style 22-31 mm long, exserted 1-2 mm. Berry terete, translucent white, 9-12 mm diam., glabrous.
Distribution and ecology. Common from southern Mexico through Costa Rica. Found in gallery forest or cloud forest dominated by Pinus-Platanus, Pinus-Quercus with other associates including Billia, Persea, Nectandra, Turpinia, Calatola, Magnolia, Podocarpus, Ardisia, and Liquidambar; also on dense wet limestone in Chiapas (Mexico) and Alta Verapaz (Guatemala); at (650-)900-2400 m altitude. Flowering Nov-Jun; fruiting Jun-Aug.
Flowers are visited by hummingbirds (Honduras, Davidse & Pohl 2223, NY).
Macleania insignis is characterized by its small ovate to elliptic-ovate leaves, few-flowered fasciculate inflorescences, and concolorous corollas. It is the only member of subgen. Macleania with a Mesoamerican distribution. Some populations, mostly found in Nicaragua, in the heavily collected area between Jinotega and Matagalpa, have short-racemose inflorescences that may also be pubescent to some degree (approaching M. subracemosa L.O.Wms.). Frequently these populations may also have staminal filaments that are distinct or only slightly connate. These features are not consistent, however, nor are they correlated in any way. Each may be found scattered throughout the Mesoamerican range and may even vary on the same plant. Therefore, I have chosen not to formally recognize any other taxon in this group.
The present treatment is also a drastic reduction from the number of species recognized in Smith's (1932) monograph of the genus. He used characters such as calyx lobe size and shape, calyx sinus shape, and fusion of staminal filaments to distinguish his "species" in this group from Central American.
Macleania ovata Klotzsch from southern Central America was generally differentiated from the more northern M. insignis by its longer and broader, deltoid calycine lobes, which form acute basal sinuses with the adjacent lobes. Macleania insignis supposedly had minute calycine lobes less than 1.5 mm long forming a broad, flat sinus between adjacent lobes. There is, however, much greater variability in calycine lobes than was apparent in the relatively few specimens available to Smith, and there is an apparent continuum between the extremes. Hence, there is no way to recognize two taxa based on calycine lobes. Yeo (1967) suggested that M. ovata might be best regarded as a geographical subspecies of M. insignis, but he did not make the combination and I see no reason to do so. The calycine variation does not suggest geographical subspecies since apiculate-lobed plants are found at least as far south as Costa Rica and deltoid, larger lobed plants are to be found in southern Mexico along with the apiculate-lobed plants. The type of M. ovata is cited as "in Americacentrali prope Veraguam" (Warszewicz s.n.). A possible isotype sheet at G, however, has the "pinned" label reading "Costa Rica et Veragua v. Warszewicz." Since M. insignis is common in Costa Rica and there are no recent collections of it from Panama, it is possible (probable ?) that the type collection was made in present day Costa Rica, not Panama.
The taxa known as M. linearifolia and M. compacta also represent minor variants whose morphologies fit well within the range of M. insignis. Macleania linearifolia has willow-like leaves that are definitely at the narrow end of the range of variation. Macleania compacta was characterized by short corollas and pedicels, but in my opinion the flowers of the type are simply immature. Macleania subracemosa, mentioned above, and characterized by a short rachis, pubescent calyces, and a range restricted to Nicaragua, was actually compared to M. racemosa Cuf., a very different species (and itself a synonym of M. rupestris) in subgen. Apoda.
Macleania insignis is morphologically most similar to M. cordifolia from Ecuador. The characters that distinguish them are given in the key, and although slight, I continue to recognize two species because they are also supported by a major geographical separation.
Local names and uses. Guatemala: rok-tsic (Alta Verapaz, Kunkel 93, BR).
This species is the most commonly cultivated Macleania and is offered in some seed catalogues in the USA. It is currently cultivated at ABG, BONN, E, NY, and SEL. Macleania ovata was cultivated at Kew in 1949 from material received from C. H. Lankester, Costa Rica, in 1946 (cf. Yeo, 1967), but is no longer cultivated there. Cultivated material of M. insignis differs from that of M. cordifolia by the following: in M. insignis the petiole is more distinct and seemingly longer; the leaf base is more narrowly rounded and is not cordate but in fact often it is very short attenuate to some degree; also the calyx limb is more conspicuously lobed (i.e., the lobes are more pronounced and not so apiculate in appearance, and the lobes are "separated" from each other by a sinus not just a flat area)... The characters used by Yeo (1967) in his key to the cultivated species of Macleania (p. 58) do not hold at all with the exception that the inflorescences of M. cordifolia are more noticeably racemose (i.e., the rachis is longer usually close to 10 mm or more, not merely 3-5 mm). His characters of color and corolla width are not useful. His descriptions of the two species (M. cordifolia and M. insignis) overlap almost completely!
Conservation status. Macleania insignis is a common and widespread species found primarily in premontane cloud forests from southern Mexico to eastern Costa Rica