Ficus plectonervata N. Medina, 2014

Medina, Nicolás, 2014, Three new species of Ficus (Moraceae) from Central and northern-South America, Phytotaxa 188 (1), pp. 21-30 : 26-27

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.188.1.3


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scientific name

Ficus plectonervata N. Medina

sp. nov.

Ficus plectonervata N. Medina View in CoL , sp. nov. ( Figs. 3 View FIGURE 3 , 4I–L View FIGURE 4 , 5 View FIGURE 5 )

Type:— COLOMBIA. Chocó: Quibdó, corregimiento de Guayabal, río Hugón , 50 m, 5°43’N 76°37’W, 14 Oct 1985, García et al. 78 (holotype COL!, isotypes CHOCO!, MO!) GoogleMaps .

Ficus plectonervata most closely resembles F. richteri , from which it is easily distinguished by its minute indumentum on the lower leaf surface (mainly in the young leaves), lack of intersecondary veins and the shape of the leaves base. F. plectonervata is also similar to F. cuatrecasana from which it differs in smaller stipules, lack of dense indumentum on the lower leaf surface and lower elevation range.

Trees or stranglers ca. 25 m tall. Leafy twigs 5–6 mm thick, glabrous; periderm persistent.Lamina subcoriaceous, eliptic, 15–22 × 6.5–9.5 cm, apex acuminate, base cuneate to rounded, margin entire; upper and lower surface glabrous; midrib and lateral veins prominent above with microscopic brownish patent hairs ca. 0.05 mm, lateral veins 10–15 pairs, the basal pair up to1/8–/1/12 the length of the lamina, tertiary venation scalariform with 5–14 parallel intersecondary veins; waxy gland at the base of the midrib beneath; petiole 2.5–4 cm long, 3 mm thick, glabrous; stipules 1–1.5 cm long, sericeous, caducous. Figs axillary, born in pairs, sessile; basal bracts 5–6 mm, persistent; receptacle subglobose, 1–1.4 cm in diameter when dry, glabrous to pilose; ostiole ca. 2 mm in diameter, slightly prominent. Staminate flowers 1–1.2 mm pedicellate, tepals 3, 0.6–1 mm, stamens 1, anthers ca. 1 mm. Pistillate flowers 0–2.5 mm pedicellate, tepals 3, 0.6–1.3 mm; stigma ca. 0.3 mm, bifid; style 0–1.6 mm long; ovary 1–1.2 × 0.7–0.9 mm long, asymmetrically reniform; interfloral bracts 1.2–1.6 mm long.

Distribution, Habitat and Ecology:— Ficus plectonervata is distributed in the lowlands of western Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica ( Fig. 6 View FIGURE 6 ), in tropical wet forest at 100–200 m elevation.

Vernacular Name: —Matapalo.

Conservation assessment:— Applying IUCN Red list categories ( IUCN 2001), Ficus plectonervata is categorized as Least Concern, because of its wide distribution from Central America to Colombia.

Etymology:—The specific epithet refers to the characteristic venation that recalls a plaited pattern.

Additional specimens examined: — COLOMBIA. Valle-Cauca-Nariño: Carretera Cali-Pasto , 1000–2000 m, 26– 30 Nov 1962, Saravia & Jaramillo 1782 ( COL!) . COSTA RICA. Heredia: Finca La Selva, the OTS Field Station on the Puerto Viejo just E of its junction with the Río Sarapiquí , 100 m, 14 June 1982, Hammel & Trainer 12877 (MO!, F!, NY!); Puerto Viejo, Sarapiquí, Finca La Selva , 10°26’N 84°1’W, 21 Nov 1974, Hartshorn 1582 (MO!) GoogleMaps . PANAMÁ. Colón: Along the Río Guanche, 1 Aug 1971, Croat 16639 (MO!); San Blas : Comarca de San Blas , vecindad de Río Diablo , tierra firme frente de la Isla Nargana, 100–180 m, 9°22’N 78°35’W, 2 July 1992 GoogleMaps , Herrera et al. 1195 (MO!).

Discussion: —Stereoscopic observations of leaves and fig surfaces of this new species revealed the presence of microscopic patent hairs. Berg (2009) considered this as an important character to separate Ficus species. Scanning Electronic Microscopy was performed to corroborate the presence of this kind of hair ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 ). Ficus plectonervata is morphologically similar to F. richteri Dugand (1942: 63) in the number of secondary veins, leaf and fig size, however, both species are easily distinguished by the indumentum of the lower surface of the young leaves, intersecondary veins, and the shape of the leaf base (see Table 3). The Central American specimens are reported in Flora Mesoamericana ( Berg, 2013) as F. richteri . Ficus plectonervata also resembles F. cuatrecasana , from which it can be distinguished by the lack of dense indumentum on the lower leaf surface, and lower elevation range (0–1000 m versus 1000–2500 m). Ficus plectonervata may be distinguished from F. richteri and F. cuatrecasana based on the characters listed in Table 3.


Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó


Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Field Museum of Natural History, Botany Department


William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden













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