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Warszewiczia coccinea (Vahl) Klotzsch Search in The Plant ListSearch in IPNISearch in Australian Plant Name IndexSearch in NYBG Virtual HerbariumSearch in Muséum national d'Histoire naturelleSearch in Type Specimen Register of the U.S. National HerbariumSearch in Virtual Herbaria AustriaSearch in JSTOR Plant ScienceSearch in SEINetSearch in African Plants Database at Geneva Botanical GardenAfrican Plants, Senckenberg Photo GallerySearch in Flora do Brasil 2020Search in Reflora - Virtual HerbariumSearch in Living Collections Decrease font Increase font Restore font

Published In: Bericht über die zur Bekanntmachung geeigneten Verhandlungen der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1853(497):. 1853. (Sep 1853) (Ber. Bekanntm. Verh. Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 12/22/2015)
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Warszewiczia coccinea is one of the most striking trees of the Neotropics when in flower, and it is generally frequent in both primary and secondary vegetation of humid lolwands and thus is commonly encountered. It is the national tree of Trinidad & Tobago, and it is cultivated in botanical gardens in the Neotropics as well as Africa and Asia as an ornamental. Warszewiczia coccinea is characterized by its tree habit, rather well developed triangular stipules, robust, elliptic to obovate leaves, long racemiform terminal inflorescences with regularly spaced, well developed, bright red calycophylls, its small orange flowers that are arranged in short compact cymes, and its small woody capsules. The inflorescences typically extend out past the leaves horizontally, and the bright red calycophylls have given this tree the common name in Spanish-speaking America of "bandera", or "flag".

Most plants of Warszewiczia coccinea are strigillose to hirtellous, but there is variation in the density of the pubescence and juvenile plants appear to more often be densely hirtellous than reproductive growth. Petiole length varies, in part with position of the leaf on the stem: leaves close to the inflorescences are sometimes smaller than leaves that are produced lower on the stems, and these smaller leaves frequently have relatively short petioles, 0.5-1 cm long. The calycophylls are generally stipitate with an elliptic to lanceolate blade, but there is wide variation in the lenth of the stipe and the size of the blade, and the apex of the blade varies from acute to rounded. These calycophylls are sometimes persistent on the infructescences, but more often they are deciduous. The leaves vary widely in size, for example Warszewiczia coccinea in Costa Rica is representative of the species throughout its range and has leaves 16-60 x 7-25 cm with 13-20 pairs of secondary veins. Plants of northwestern Colombia have a similar range of leaf size and 10-32 pairs of secondary veins. Plants of Central America and northern South America have generally well developed petioles, most commoly 10-25 mm long, while those of central and southern Amazonia have generally short petioles, most commonly 5-15 mm long. Plants of the Amazon basin in Venezuela, Brazil, and northern Bolivia show relatively little morphological variation, while plants of Central America and Andean regions from Colombia through Peru show a large range of variation in leaf size, calycophyll size, and lengths of the inflorescence primary and secondary axes. There appears to also be some variation in the degree of twisting of the stipules, with these twisted ca. 180° in plants from northern South America and usually to 360° in plants of the western Amazon basin.

Warszewiczia coccinea was treated as a morphologically very variable by Schumann (1889), who synonymized most of the names that had been published in the genus under this species. Among the plants similar to this species both Schumann and Standley separated Warszewiczia peltata, in both cases based entirely on the protologue and apparently without a clear idea of what that species was. They followed Weddell in describing the leaves as "peltate", without further comment even though that is a highly unusual character in Rubiaceae. Standley and Schumann (1889) also separated Warszewiczia cordata, based entirely on the shape of the leaf base, cordate to broadly obtuse vs. acute. Their separation and descriptions of these taxa has been problematic for recognizing them, because they cannot be separated from Warszewiczia coccinea by these characters. The variation in leaf form in regions that clearly have only Warszewiczia coccinea includes leaves that are obtuse to rounded or truncate (e.g., Gudiño et al. 878, Neill et al. 6879, Rojas et al. 228) at the base, while no leaves of Warszewiczia are truly peltate. Thus, the identities of these species have not been clear. Thus the name Warszewiczia peltata has not been used for any specimens collected since its type, while the name Warszewiczia cordata has been used for any specimen similar to Warszewiczia coccinea with a cordate leaf base in Peru and Ecuador, whether these are similar to each other in additional features or not. Here Warszewiczia peltata is separated based on its large leaves, long petioles, broad stipules, and generally larger anthers; this name is used provisionally for these plants. The plants included here in Warszewiczia peltata frequently have leaves with cordate bases, and these have been confused with Warszewiczia cordata but that name applies to a very different species found in central Peru, which has rather small leaves and flowers.

Warszewiczia coccinea is frequently encountered in juvenile stages in forest inventory transects and plots in the Neotropics, but it is frequently not identified as Warszewiczia there. This species can be recognized when sterile by its triangular rather well developed stipules that are twisted around each other a bit together with its robust obovate leaves with numerous secondary veins. Specimens of Warszewiczia coccinea that are treated with alcohol generally dry with a very dark grayish brown or blackened brown color. In sterile form, Warszewiczia coccinea is similar to, and sympatric with, some species of Chimarrhis and Simira, but these differ in their stipules that are quite narrow and sharply acute and also twisted in bud for 180° or more, vs. less than 180° in Warszewiczia. Also similar when sterile to Warszewiczia coccinea are Isertia, which has bilobed stipules, and Calycophyllum megistocaulum, which has the stipules nearly flat, the leaves long-tapered at the base, and smooth green bark that peels in large patches. In reproductive form, Warszewiczia coccinea can be confused with Wittmackanthus stanleyana, which has short spiciform inflorescences and larger capsules, and with Kerianthera praeclara, with pyramidal paniculiform inflorecences and larger capsules.

Distribution: Wet forest, usually at 0-500 m and up to 2000 m in some places in the Andes, in southern Central America (Nicaragua through Panama), the Lesser Antilles (Trinidad & Tobago), and widely across northern and central South America to central Brazil and northern Bolivia.



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