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Studies on Orthophytum--Part VII: a new species from "Caatinga" of Northeast Brazil.

The ecosystem known as "Caatinga" shelters various types of sclerophylous vegetation in the semi-arid region of Brazil and is characterized by a long dry season that may stretch over nine months or more. It is observed in the Northeastern States, like Bahia, Pernambuco, and Alagoas, and in part of Minas Gerais State. Despite most of the species of Orthophytum live in the region of the Atlantic Forest or more often in the grasslands on rocky soil ("Campos Rupestres"), on quartzite and sandstone outcrops that form the usually hight-altitude landscape of Serra do Espinhaco range, in Brazil (Leme 2004) recently a new species was encountered in the heart of the "Caatinga" domain, as described below:

Orthophytum catingae Leme, sp. nov. Type: Bahia, Jeremoabo, Raso da Catarina, APA da Arara Azul de Lear, on sandsoil, May 2003, S. Linhares 1224, P. Lima, S. & D. Tutken, fl. cult. Febr. 2005, E. Leme 5717 (Holotype, HB).
 Ab O. lucidum Leme & H. Luther, cui affinis, laminis foliorum
 spinis uncinato-retrorsis, scapo albo-lanato, inflorescentia
 elongata, bracteis floriferis majoribus, altitudinem sepalorum
 distincte superantibus, sepalis longioribus et petalis longioribus

Plant terrestrial on sandy soil in caatinga vegetation, stemless, 50-75 cm high at anthesis, propagating by slender stolons 10-15 x 0.5-0.6 cm, shoots originating from the inflorescence not seen at anthesis. Leaves 12-15 in number (at anthesis), subdensely rosulate and forming a distinct rosette before anthesis and afterwards, at anthesis the upper leaves not distinguishable from the scape bracts due to the elongation of the stem; sheaths inconspicuous but broader than the blades, 3.5-5.5 cm wide at the base; blades narrowly subtriangular-attenuate, long acuminate-caudate, pungent, 25-64 cm long, 3-4.3 cm wide at and ca. 2.5 mm thick near the base, strongly coriaceous, suberect to suberect-arcuate, strongly U-channeled toward the apex, light green to reddish, lustrous adaxially (in green leafed specimens) to opaque (in reddish specimens), distinctly nerved on both sides, inconspicuously and sparsely white-lepidote mainly abaxially under a lens, becoming glabrous afterwards (in green leafed specimens e.g., the holotype), or abaxially densely adpressed white-lepidote throughout with the trichomes concentrated in the midnerve zone and partially obscuring the leaf color with the costal zone visible only, and adaxially subdensely to laxly adpressed white-lepidote to glabrescent with the trichomes not obscuring the leaf color (in reddish leafed specimens e.g., the paratype #2), margins suberect to erect, densely (near the base) to laxly (toward the apex) spinose, spines narrowly triangular, flattened toward the base, light green or reddish near the base, castaneous toward the apex, strongly retrorse-uncinate, the basal ones 2-3 mm long, ca. 1.5 mm wide at the base, 5-12 mm apart, the apical ones ca. 1.5 mm long, ca. 1 mm wide at the base, to 18 mm apart. Scape erect, light green, finely, subdensely (in green-leafed specimens e.g. the holotype) to densely (in reddish specimens e.g. the paratype #2) white-lanate to glabrescent with age, smooth, terete, 20-30 cm long, ca. 1.5 cm in diameter at the base and ca. 1.2 cm in diameter at the apex; scape bracts foliaceous and not distinguishable from the leaves, subspreading-arcuate. Inflorescence bipinnate except for the simple extreme apex, cylindrical, erect, 20-31 cm long, flower fascicles laxly arranged toward the base and subdensely to densely arranged near the apex, 2-4 cm apart, rachis 0.8-1.1 cm in diameter, straight to flexuous toward the apex, smooth to inconspicuously sulcate, terete, light green, finely and densely white-lanate at anthesis to glabrescent afterwards; primary bracts spreading or nearly so, distinctly U-channeled, the basal ones foliaceous to subfoliaceous and resembling the upper scape bracts, gradually reduced in size toward the inflorescence apex, the upper ones narrowly triangular to ovate-triangular, long acuminate, pungent, 5-15 x 2.5-3 cm, 2 to 5 times longer than the flower fascicles, light green to reddish toward the apex, distinctly nerved on both sides, densely and finely white-lanate near the base and glabrous toward the apex (in green leafed specimens e.g., the holotype), or abaxially densely white-lanate near the base and densely adpressed whitelepidote toward the apex, and adaxially laxly white-lepidote to glabrescent (in reddish leafed specimens e.g., paratype #2), densely to subdensely spinulose toward the base, spines narrowly triangular, retrorse-uncinate, 1-2 mm long, ca. 0.5 mm wide at the base, 2-6 mm apart, laxly spinose to entire near the apex; flower fascicles 9-10, polystichously to subdistichously disposed, suberect, sessile, laxly head-like rosulate, 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 cm (including the floral bracts), 3- to 7-flowered; floral bracts broadly ovate-subtriangular to subtriangular, acuminate, pungent, carinate or the lateral ones alate-carinate, thinly coriaceous, exceeding the sepals, suberect, light-green, distinctly nerved, glabrous (in green leafed specimens e.g. the holotype) or inconspicuously white-lanate (in reddish leafed specimens e.g. paratype #2), 20-23 x 14-18 mm, margins densely spinulose, spines ca. 0.5 mm long, distinctly retrorse-uncinate, yellowish toward the apex, floral bracts of the simple part of the inflorescence resembling the upper primary bract but shorter, ecarinate, distinctly exceeding the flowers. Flowers 23-25 mm long (with extended petals), sessile, subdensely arranged, odorless; sepals lanceolate to ovate, apex acuminate-spinescent, 13-14 x 5 mm, free, entire, distinctly nerved, yellowish-green, thin in texture mainly toward the margins, glabrous (in green leafed specimens e.g. the holotype), or inconspicuously white-lanate at anthesis (in reddish leafed specimens e.g. the paratype #2), the adaxial ones alate-carinate with keels decurrent on the ovary, the abaxial one ecarinate; petals spathulate, rounded to obtuse and inconspicuously and slenderly apiculate under a lens, slightly cucullate, 18-20 x 5 mm, free, erect at anthesis and forming a tubular corolla except for the suberect apex, white toward the apex, greenish-white in their central portion, bearing 2 irregularly, long digitate-lacerate, downwardly oriented appendages 5-6 mm above the base, as well as 2 conspicuous longitudinal callosities shorter to nearly equaling the filaments; filaments terete, pale greenish, 13-15 mm long, the antepetalous ones adnate to the petals for 6-7 mm, the antesepalous ones free and slightly exceeding the antepetalous ones; anthers green, ca. 2 mm long, laterally complanate, base sagittate, apex acute and apiculate, dorsifixed near the base; stigma simple-erect, ca. 1 mm in diameter, blades obovate, obtuse, white, suberect, finely and shortly fimbriate; ovary 5-6 mm long, 5-7 mm in diameter at the apex, trigonous, glabrous to inconspiuously white-lanate at anthesis, white to greenish-white; epigynous tube inconspicuous; placentation apical; ovules stipitate, obovate, obtuse. Fruits greenish-white, enlarged from the ovary.



Paratypes: (1) Alagoas: Olho D'Agua do Casado, Serra da Mumia, Faz. Capelinha, 9o31'51"S, 37o50'32"W, 230 m elev., 28 Jun. 2000, R. P. Lyra-Lemos 4675 (MAC). (2) Bahia: Jeremoabo, Raso da Catarina, APA da Arara Azul de Lear, May 2003, S. Linhares 1225, P. Lima & D. Tutken, fl. cult. Febr. 2005, E. Leme 6549 (HB)

Orthophutym catingae is a member of the "subcomplex disjunctum" of the "complex with scapose inflorescence" (Leme, 2004). It morphologically most resembles O. lucidum, but the new taxon differs from it by the leaf blades with uncinate-retrorse spines (vs. antrorse), white lanate scape (vs. glabrous), longer inflorescence (20-31 cm vs. ca. 5 cm long), larger floral bracts (20-23 x 1416 mm vs. ca. 14 x 12 mm) exceeding the sepals (vs. shorter than the sepals), longer sepals (13-14 mm vs. ca. 10 mm long) as well as by the longer petals (1820 mm vs. ca. 11 mm long).


This new species was found in the "Caatinga" domain in the States of Bahia and Alagoas, not far from the border with the State of Sergipe. In Bahia, it was growing terrestrially on sandy soils, forming small populations protected by shruby vegetation. The two known sites of collection are distant from each other by about 84 km and are ecologically similar.


I would like to thank the bromeliad collector Sandra Linhares and the ornithologist Pedro Lima, who kindly provided the living material used in this study.

Literature Cited

Leme, E. M. C. (2004). "Studies on Orthophytum, an Endemic Genus of Brazil--Part I." J. Bromeliad Soc. 54(1): 36-43.

Elton M. C. Leme. Illustrations by the author.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Scientific
Author:Leme, Elton M.C.
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Previous Article:A new species of Racinaea (Bromeliaceae) from the Province of Loja, in Southern Ecuador.
Next Article:Improving taxa and character sampling to support generic and infrageneric status of Alcantarea.

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