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Cryptanthus ferrarius, a new species from the iron-rich soils of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on the way to extinction.

In continuation of the study of the subgenus Hoplocryptanthus Mez of Cryptanthus Otto & A. Dietr., of the Espinhaco range of Minas Gerais State, a comparatively large new species of the complex "C. schwackeanus" is described from the iron-rich soils of the domain of the Campos Rupestres.

Cryptanthus ferrarius Leme & Paula, sp. nov. Type: Minas Gerais, Mariana, on the road to Catas Altas, ca. 1,000 m elev., saxicolous in iron-rich rocky soil "Canga", 6 Dec. 2004, E. Leme 6544 & C. C. Vaula, fl. cult. Dec. 2006. Holotype: HB. Isotype: RB
   Species nova a C. regius Leme, cui proxima, sed laminis foliorum
   longioribus, marginibus laxe spinosis, spinis longioribus, floribus
   longioribus, petalis longioribus apice obtusis vel leviter
   emarginatis differt; a C. schwackeanus Mez, affinis, sed laminis
   foliorum longioribus latioribusque, marginibus laxe spinosis,
   fasciculis floribus plus numerosis, floribus longioribus differt.


Plant saxicolous in iron-rich rocky soil, flowering ca. 11 cm tall, slightly if at all caulescent, propagating by short basal shoots. Leaves ca. 12, suberect to spreading at anthesis, forming a laxly round rosette; sheaths subreniform, 2-2.2 x 4 cm, pale whitish-green, densely and coarsely white-lepidote toward the apex abaxially, glabrous adaxially, spinulose at apex; blades sublinear, attenuate in an acuminate-caudate apex, not narrowed toward the base, 24-26 x1.3-1.8 cm, coriaceous but not at all succulent, strongly canaliculate toward the base with a broad U-shaped channel mainly under water stress, without any distinct thicker median zone, green to bronze colored, upper and lower sides contrasting, abaxially densely and coarsely white-lepidote, nerved, adaxially glabrous and sparsely nerved, margins straight, laxly spinose, spines 1.5-2.5 mm long, 8-25 mm apart, acicular, spreading to slightly antrorse, yellowish-castaneous toward the apex. Inflorescence sessile, bipinnate, ca. 4 cm long, ca. 3 cm in diameter (not including the primary bracts); primary bracts foliaceous, suberect to spreading; fascicles ca. 11 in number, 18-20 x 12-15 mm (excluding the petals), 3 to 4-flowered, flabellate to subpulvinate, densely disposed; floral bracts broadly triangular to triangular-ovate, acute and apiculate, submembranaceous toward the base and margins, greenish, abaxially densely and coarsely white-lepidote toward apex and margins, trichomes with lacerate-fimbriate margins, adaxially glabrous, distinctly shorter than the sepals, entire to remotely spinulose, carinate, cymbiform, 9-11 x 8-12 mm. Flowers all perfect, sessile, 38-41 mm long (with extended petals), fragrant; sepals ovate-lanceolate, subobtuse and distinctly apiculate, 7 x 2-2.5 mm, connate at base for 2-3 mm, entire, greenish, subdensely and coarsely white-lepidote, the posterior ones carinate with keel slightly decurrent on the ovary, the anterior one obtusely if at all carinate; petals broadly spatulate, 31-33 x 9 mm, connate at base for 2-4 mm in a common tube with the filaments and style, white, the free lobes broadly obovate, obtuse to slightly emarginate, suberect at anthesis, distinctly exceeding the stamens, bearing 2 longitudinal callosities ca. 15 long, basal tube very narrow;filaments terete, white, 21-22 mm long, adnate to the common tube with the petals and style; anthers sublinear, ca. 2.5 mm long, dorsifixed near the base, base sagittate, apex obtuse; pollen broadly ellipsoidal, sulcate, exine microreticulate, lumina irregularly polygonal; ovary 6-7 x 3-4 mm, subtrigonous, greenish-white, glabrous or nearly so; epigynous tube lacking; placentation apical or nearly so; ovules numerous, globose, obtuse; style slightly exceeding the anthers; stigma conduplicate, white, the styler lobes terete, suberect, ca. 2 x 0.3 mm, not contorted nor spiral, margins entire except for the inconspicuous papilose apical portion. Fruits unknown.

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Paratypes: Minas Gerais, Mariana, road to Catas Altas, ca. 1,000 m elev., em campo ferruginoso, 6 Dec. 2004, E. Leme 6540 & C. C. Paula, fl. cult. Dec. 2006 (HB); Catas Altas, way to the Pico de Catas Altas, 20[degrees]05'05"S 43[degrees]25'95"W, 1,180 m elev., 29 Jul. 2006, E. Leme 6890 & C. C. Paula, fl. cult. Jan 2007 (HB); Ibidem, 20[degrees]05'04"S 43[degrees]26'03"W, 1,222 m elev., 29 Jul. 2006, E. Leme 6893 & C. C. Paula, fl. cult. Jan 2007 (HB).

The name chosen for this new species is from the Latin "ferrarius", meaning "related to iron", is a reference to the typical habitat of Cryptanthus ferrarius which lives in iron-rich rocky soils called "campo ferruginoso" or "campo de canga" in the domain of the Campos Rupestres vegetation, Minas Gerais State. It shares the habitat with a very specialized bromeliad flora, including Dyckia rariflora Schultes f. and Vriesea longistaminea Paula & Leme, among an extensive Vellozia sp. population.

Despite being comparatively larger than all closer related species, Cryptanthus ferrarius is a typical member of the complex "C. schwackeanus" which comprises subtle but consistently distinct species (Leme, 2007). Its closest relative is C. regius, but this new species differs from it by the longer leaf blades (24-26 cm vs. 14-17 cm long), with marginal spines laxly arranged (vs. margins subdensely to densely spinose), spines 8-25 mm apart (vs. 2-6 mm apart), spines longer (1.5-2.5 mm vs. 0.5-1.5 mm long), flowers longer (38-41 mm vs. 29-30 mm long), petals longer (31-33 mm vs. 23-24 mm long), with apex obtuse to slightly emarginate (vs. apex broadly acute).

Cryptanthus ferrarius was once identified as a large form of C. schwackeanus (Leme, 1992). However, after observing different populations of all involved species, it became clear that it is a distinct species, which can be distinguished from C. schwackeanus by the much longer and wider leaf blades (24-26 x 1.3-1.8 cm vs. 4-11 x 0.7-1.3 cm), margins laxly spinose (vs. subdensely to densely spinose), spines 8-25 mm apart (vs. 3-7 mm apart), floral fascicles 3- to 4-flowered (vs. ca. 2-flowered), and by the longer flower (38-41 mm vs. 25-35 mm long).

The main population of Cryptanthusferrarius, along the road Mariana to Catas Altas, will be extinct in few years due to the large number of iron-mining activities carried out in the whole area. This mining activity, despite being economically important for the country in providing thousand of tons of iron required for the so-called "world development", is responsible for an unprecedent large-scale devastation of the mountains of the Espinhaco range of Minas Gerais and its unique flora and fauna.

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Literature Cited

Leme, E. M. C. (1992). "Cryptanthus schwackeanus in scenery." Cryptanthus Soc. J 7(3): 12-17.

Leme, E. M. C. (2007). "Three Subtle New Cryptanthus Species from Espinhaco Range, Minas Gerais, Brazil." J. Bromeliad Soc. 57(6): 259-272.

Elton M. C. Leme: Herbarium Bradeanum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

email: leme@tj.rj.gov.br

Claudio Coelho de Paula: Coordinator of the Unidade de Pesquisa e Conservacao de Bromeliaceae--UPCB, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, DBV/ UFV, 36570-000, Vicosa--MG.

email: ccpaula@ufv.br
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Title Annotation:Scientific
Author:Leme, Elton M.C.; de Paula, Claudio Coelho
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:1115
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