Miconia bullotricha Becquer & Majure,

Majure, Lucas C., Becquer, Eldis R. & Judd, Walter S., 2014, Miconia bullotricha and M. hirtistyla, two new species of Miconia sect. Lima (Miconieae, Melastomataceae) from eastern Cuba, PhytoKeys 33, pp. 61-75: 64-68

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Miconia bullotricha Becquer & Majure

sp. nov.

Miconia bullotricha Becquer & Majure  sp. nov. Figs 1View Figure 1, 2View Figure 2


Species differing from Miconia ottoschmidtii  in its stem indumentum generally with apices attenuate and strongly recurved upwards, (vs. more frequently granulate stem indumentum with apices truncate) more frequently ovate leaf shape (vs. mostly elliptic leaves), innermost pair of secondary veins produced 2-6 mm from leaf base (vs. 0.8-25 mm from leaf base), erect bulla-based hairs on lamina and tertiary veins of leaf abaxial surface (vs. mostly spreading to appressed bulla-based hairs), entire inflorescences pendant (vs. mostly erect inflorescences except for sometimes pendant basal inflorescence branches), globose floral buds (vs. quadrangular floral buds), and calyx teeth length (1.75-2.2 vs. 0.4-0.8 mm).


CUBA. Guantánamo: Palenque. Bernardo. Sierra del Frijol, Loma Bernardo, 800-900 m, 21 May 1983, Bisse J., Beurton C., Dietrich H., Gutiérrez J., Lepper L., Dolmus R., Köhler E., Rankin R., Arias I. HFC-49930 (holotype: HAJB!; isotypes: B 100362845!, HAJB!, JE!, NY!; Fig. 1View Figure 1).


Evergreen shrub (height unknown); stems round in cross section, not ridged, the internodes 1.1-2.4 cm long; stems densely covered in bulla-based hairs with strongly to narrowly dilated bases, to 0.3 mm long, the hairs spreading to descending with apices recurved upwards, young stem hairs often dark purple in color; nodal line present, inconspicuous. Leaves opposite, decussate, elliptic to ovate-elliptic, often slightly falcate, 4.2-6 × 1-2.2 cm, often slightly anisophyllous, yellowish when dried; apex narrowly acute; base rounded to broadly cuneate or abruptly cuneate; margin revolute, dentate, the dentations obscure, each covered in one large, bulla-based hair, venation acrodromous, 3 (-5) veined, 1 primary vein and 1 (rarely 2) pairs of suprabasal secondary veins, often asymmetrical at union with midvein, produced 2-6 mm from the leaf base, positioned 0.7-3 mm in from margin at widest part of blade, the tertiary veins percurrent, ± perpendicular to midvein, 2-3 mm apart at mid-leaf, intertertiary veins present, often joined by quaternary veins; adaxial leaf surface with primary and secondary veins impressed, tertiary veins flat to slightly impressed, remaining veins flat, abaxial surface with primary, secondary and tertiary veins raised, the higher order veins ± flat to slightly raised (i.e., clearly visible to more or less obscure); adaxial leaf surface completely covered in erect bulla-based hairs, these fully expanded at the base, thus the lamina obscured, widest hair bases to 1.5 mm wide, hair apices acute to truncate, sometimes slightly recurved toward the leaf margin, sessile, glandular hairs occurring between the bases of bulla-based hairs; abaxial leaf surface nearly completely covered with bulla-based hairs with strongly to narrowly dilated bases, the lamina areoles not completely filled, the hairs along the epidermis erect with apices recurved or not, veins completely covered by spreading to erect hairs mostly with narrowly dilated bases and recurved apices, sessile, glandular hairs occurring throughout the lamina, as well as along veins; domatia inconspicuous, of multicellular, tufts of linear hairs present in the axils of the primary and secondary, as well as primary and tertiary veins; petiole 5-8 mm long, covered in spreading bulla-based hairs, those of the adaxial surface slightly longer and narrower than those of the abaxial surface and recurved towards to the leaf blade. Inflorescences terminal, well-developed to reduced cymes of 3-13 flowers, 2-3.5 × 1.8-3.4 cm, the flowers produced in 3-7 flowered dichasia, the peduncle 0.7-1.4 cm long, usually conspicuously reflexed at base, thus the entire inflorescence pendant, the proximal inflorescence branches 0.5-1 cm long; bracts oblong to narrowly ovate, 1.1-2 mm long; bracteoles narrowly ovate, ca. 0.5-0.7 × 0.2-0.3 mm, glabrous or with small bulla-based hairs at base, bracteoles generally resembling one large, bulla-based hair. Flowers perfect, actinomorphic, 4-merous, with pedicels 0-1 mm long. Hypanthium ca. 1.6 × 2.8 mm, ± globose, slightly constricted below torus, abaxial surface covered in granulate, bulla-based hairs with dilated bases and attenuate to truncate apices, to 0.5 mm long, and sessile, glandular hairs, the free portion of hypanthium 0.5-0.7 mm long, adaxial surface longitudinally ridged and covered by bulla-based hairs; calyx teeth 1.75-2.2 × 0.5 mm, linear and terete, recurved upon maturation, covered in bulla-based hairs; calyx lobes ± triangular, apex acute, ca. 1 × 1.3 mm, with bulla-based hairs abaxially and sessile, glandular hairs produced adaxially; calyx tube not tearing, ca. 0.4 mm long, with bulla-based hairs abaxially, sessile, glandular hairs adaxially and clavate-dendritic hairs produced at the apex; petals 4, (i.e., only seen in bud), ovate to elliptic with acute apices, apices with one, slightly bulla-based hair produced subapically, hair to 0.5 mm long; stamens 8 (immature), filaments glabrous, anthers ovate, with a well-developed dorso-basal appendage and one apically-oriented pore (the pore position could be an artifact of level of maturity); style (immature) dilated in the middle, subtended by a short crown of multicellular hairs, these only slightly longer than the surrounding bulla-based hairs on the ovary apex; stigma punctate; ovary ca. 1.4 × 2.4 mm, apex flat, with bulla-based hairs, 4 locular, with axillary placentation, the placenta deeply intruded into locule; berries (immature) globose, ca. 3-3.4 × 3 mm; seeds (immature) 0.2-0.6 mm long, obpyramidal, testa smooth, light brown, raphe extending the length of the seed, dark brown.

Distribution and habitat.

Miconia bullotricha  is endemic to eastern Cuba (province of Guantánamo; Fig. 2View Figure 2), where it occurs in semi-dry, montane and elfin forest on serpentine soils at elevations of 500-1000 m. Associated melastomes include Calycogonium grisebachii  Triana, Miconia baracoensis  Urb. and Ossaea pauciflora  (Naudin) Urb.


Plants with buds and young fruits have been collected in May.


The specific epithet " bullotricha " refers to the well-developed bulla-based hairs on the adaxial leaf surface. Although bulla is Latin in origin, we base formation of our compound epithet on the Greek rules for connecting vowels. Thus, we use “o” here instead of “i”, as we find " bullotricha " to be more euphonious than " bullitricha." The connecting vowel “o” has had widespread usage in classical Latin based on the large influence of Greek ( Stearn 1966).

Conservation status.

We do not have extensive knowledge of population level numbers of individuals or the reproductive biology of this species, so the conservation status of Miconia bullotricha  cannot be critically evaluated at this time. More fieldwork is imperative to assess the status of this species. However, deforestation has occurred in the surrounding areas from where Miconia bullotricha  is known, and thus, the species most likely should be considered threatened by habitat loss and other anthropogenic disturbances.

Specimens examined.

Cuba. Guantánamo: Baracoa. Imías, Sierra de Imías, loma Jubal (al sur de Los Lechugos), 900-1000 m, 19 Aug 1975, A. Álvarez de Zayas & al. HFC- 27626 (B, HAC, HAJB, JE); Baracoa. Sierra de Purial, La Gurbia, 700 m, May 1968, J. Bisse & L. Rojas HFC-8562 (HAJB); IBID, HFC-9389 (HAJB); Baracoa. falda suroeste de la loma del Mirador, 500 m, 9 Aug 1975, J. Bisse & F. K. Meyer HFC-27230 (B, HAC, HAJB, JE); Yateras Palenque. Sierra del Frijol, cerca de Bernardo, 800 m, 17 May 1983, J. Bisse & al. HFC-49721 (B, JE); IBID, HFC-49731 (HAJB).


Miconia bullotricha  likely belongs to a subclade within the Lima  clade that contains the phenetically similar, Cuban endemic, Miconia ottoschmidtii  , as well as other members of the Miconia lima  complex ( Majure et al. 2013b, Majure et al. unpubl. data). These species are recognized by their very well developed bulla-based hairs on the upper leaf surface (which mostly cover the leaf areoles; Fig. 1View Figure 1), as well as expanded, pyramidal inflorescences consisting of cymose clusters of flowers subtended by highly reduced bracts. The only exception to this is Miconia pedunculata  Majure & Judd of the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic that has widely spaced bulla-based hairs on the adaxial leaf surface, which do not completely fill the leaf areoles, and flowers that are subtended by foliaceous bracts.

As mentioned above, Miconia bullotricha  is phenetically most similar to Miconia ottoschmidtii  . However, the two species can be easily distinguished by stem and leaf indumentum, where Miconia bullotricha  has the stem indumentum generally with apices attenuate and strongly recurved upwards, (as opposed to granulate with the apices truncate or short attenuate in Miconia ottoschmidtii  ; although it should be noted that central and northern Cuban populations of Miconia ottoschmidtii  have a tendency towards stem hairs with longer, attenuate apices that may be recurved upwards), and erect bulla-based hairs throughout the lamina and along the tertiary veins on the leaf abaxial surface (while Miconia ottoschmidtii  has spreading to appressed bulla-based hairs throughout the lamina and along the tertiary veins of the leaf abaxial surface). Miconia bullotricha  usually produces entirely pendant inflorescences ( Fig. 1View Figure 1), in contrast to the erect inflorescences of Miconia ottoschmidtii  and the rest of the members of the subclade (however, several species often produce pendant basal inflorescence branches, including Miconia ottoschmidtii  ), and has longer calyx teeth than Miconia ottoschmidtii  (1.75-2.2 vs. 0.4-0.8 mm). Also, Miconia bullotricha  has globose floral buds, while Miconia ottoschmidtii  exhibits quadrangular floral buds.

Miconia bullotricha  adheres to the morphological/phenetic and diagnostic species concepts ( Judd 2007, Wheeler and Platnick 2000), and considering the putative autapomorphy of entirely pendant inflorescences, is likely a cladospecies ( Donoghue 1985).