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A new Aechmea from eastern Ecuador.

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The relatives of Aechmea chantinii (Carr.) Baker are concentrated in warm and wet lowland Amazonian forests from southern Venezuela to Peru and Brazil, and are particularly abundant in eastern Ecuador. The following appears to be a widespread but uncommon species as it has taken several decades to accumulate enough material to confidentially distinguish it from its closest relatives.

Aechmea gentryi H. Luther & K. Norton, sp. nov.

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TYPE: Ecuador, Zamora-Chinchipe, vic Chucumbaza, C. Skotak legit, flowered in cultivation SEL 96-108, 27 April 2009, H.E. Luther s.n. (SEL).

A A. chantinii similis affinisque sed ramis florigeris brevioribus paucifloribusque et floris minoribus differt.

Plant an epiphyte, flowering 40-70 cm tall, spreading by stout stolons. Leaves erect to spreading, 50-65 cm long, densely punctate-lepidote. Leaf sheaths ovate to broadly elliptic, 12-16 x 8-10 cm, densely brown punctate-lepidote, castaneous especially adaxially. Leaf blades ligulate, acute to acuminate, apiculate, 3-6 cm wide, serrate with dark straight to antrorse 2-4 mm long spines, the leaf margins variably punctate-lepidote, grey-green to reddish. Scape erect, 25-40 cm x 2-4 mm, subdensely pale lepidote, reddish. Scape bracts narrowly elliptic, acute, laxly and variably serrate, laxly arranged distally, becoming dense proximally, red to orange-red. Inflorescence bipinnate, densely 6 to 24-branched, 5-18 x 5-8 cm. Primary bracts narrowly elliptic to ovate, very laxly serrate to entire, the lowest like the upper scape bracts and exceeding the branches, the upper abruptly reduced, red or orange-red. Branches with a 0.5 - 2 cm peduncle, erect to spreading, the fertile portion 3-5 cm long distichously 4 to 12-flowered, the rachis broad and excavated, variably pale lepidote. Floral bracts broadly elliptic to ovate, 8-14 x 6-8 mm, from about equaling to much shorter than the sepals, thin coriaceous, cucullate, carinate, nerved, green to reddish tipped yellow. Flowers 23 -28 mm long, opening during the day, 1-2 mm pedicellate. Sepals asymmetrical, 8-13 mm long, acute with a broad lateral wing, short connate, nerved, green or yellow-green. Corolla slightly spreading. Petals lingulate, obtuse, 17-19 mm long, each with a pair of fimbriate basal appendages, pale yellow tipped with white. Ovary ellipsoid, glabrescent, 5-6 mm long.

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Paratypes: Ecuador. Morona-Santiago, 9-10 km SE of San Juan Bosco, 1540-1600 m. 27 Jan 1981, A. Gentry, C. Bonifa^ & Jorge Loor C 30900 (MO); Zamora-Chinchipe, along the Rio Machinaza east of Paquisha, 1500 m. March 1993, C. Skotak s.n. (SEL); Sucumbos, near El Reventador, 1500 m. 1993, C. Skotak s.n. (SEL).

This new species can be distinguished from Aechmea chantinii by its inflorescence with shorter, very densely arranged branches with smaller (23-28 vs 28-35 mm long) flowers. In addition most collections show a rather narrow erect rosette and collection sites, where known, are above 600 m, to over 1600 m. Most collection sites for A. chantinii are from 100 to 600 m, generally from the lower part of the elevational range. The specific epithet honors the late Dr. Alwyn Gentry, Neotropical botanist extraordinaire, who first collected this species nearly 30 years ago.

Harry E. Luther & Karen F. Norton (1)

(1) Mulford B. Foster Identification Center, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236 USA.
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Title Annotation:Scientific
Author:Luther, Harry E.; Norton, Karen F.
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:3ECUD
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:527
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