Alcantarea hatschbachii

Alcantarea hatschbachii (L. B. Smith & Read) Leme, Bromelia 2(3): 22. 1995.
Basionym: Vriesea hatschbachii L. B. Smith & Read, Phytologia 30: 292.1975.

Desc from Bromelia Sept 1995 Vol2#3 p26
Finally, the third species in this group was discovered in a study of the bromeliads at the Municipal Botanical Museum herbarium (MBM) in Curitiba, where the isotype of Vriesea hatschbachii L. B. Smith & R. W. Read is deposited. This species was described in 1975 based on a specimen with incomplete flowers, collected near Gouveia, Minas Gerais.

Because details of the petals were not known, V. hatschbachii was not immediately related to the other species of Alcantarea. Years later, however, one of the plant's collectors, Gert Hatschbach, returned to the original site and obtained a specimen with complete flowers. The petals of this species are typical of the genus Alcantarea, and therefore, a new combination and emendation is proposed here:

Alcantarea hatschbachii (L. B. Smith & R. W. Read) Leme comb. nov. et emend.
Basionym: Vriesea hatschbachii L. B. Smith & R. W. Read, Phytologia 30 (5): 292, fig. 5. 1975.
TYPUS: Minas Gerais, Gouveia, 21/1/1972, G. Hatschbach 29085, L. B. Smith & E. Ayensu (HOLOTYPUS: US, n. v.; ISOTYPUS: MBM).

Bracteis floriferis late ovatis, 30-40 x 27 mm, ecarinatis vel apicem versus obtuse carinatis; floribus ca. 75 mm longis, flavo-virescentibus (Hatschbach !); sepalis oblongo-ellipticis, obtusis, 25-30 x 10-13 mm; petalis linearibus, apice anguste obtusis, 65 x 7 mm, nudis sed prope basin tenue bicallosis; filamentis liberis; antheris linearibus, ca. 9 mm longis, utrimque obtusis; capsulis immaturis, longe attenuatis.

Material examinado/Specimens examined: Minas Gerais, Mun. Gouveia, 22/I/1978, G . Hatschbach 40.820 (MBM).

A distinguishing trait of A. hatschbachii is the absence of appendages on the petals; this characteristic had not yet been reported for this group, as was observed elsewhere (Leme & Mango, 1993 ). This alone does not invalidate the incorporation of this species In the genus Alcantarea, which has well-defined, easily recognizable traits (see article by J. R Grant in this issue). Because of its late ontological development, the presence or absence of appendages on the petals is a much more useful trait for defining infraspecific taxons than at the generic level (Brown & Terry, 1992). However, this characteristic, plus the restricted distribution of these species (paleoendemism) in ancient ecosystems (grasslands of high altitudes and on rocky outcrops), the rudimentary leaf rosettes and simple inflorescences place this species and the two closely related species in an ancestral position within the group. A. duarteana seems to link these species with the giant alcantareas. In fact, the genus has a number of interesting primitive characteristics such as apparent diurnal anthesis, strongly perfumed flowers (e.g., A. odorata) and seeds that, although plumose, are clearly heavier and less able to fly than those of other tillandsioids. All of these species are rupicolous or saxicolous, and live on rocky outcrops on the sandy coastal plains, Atlantic forest, cerrado or caatinga. They are vestiges of past geological and climatic conditions.

Desc from S&D
168a. Vriesea hatschbachii L. B. Smith & R. W. Read, Phytologia 30: 292, pl. 5. 1975. Fig 466 E. Detail in brackets by Leme see above.

Plant known only from old fragments, flowering over 14 dm high.
Leaves unknown, but undoubtedly like the lower scape-bracts only larger.
Scape erect, very slightly flexuous, glabrous at least in age;
Scape-bracts erect and closely enfolding the scape, sparsely and obscurely lepidote, the lower ones imbricate with ovate sheaths ca 7 cm long and very narrow, triangular blades to 75 cm long, the upper merely acute and shorter than the internodes.
Inflorescence simple, laxly and distichously many-flowered, over 30 cm long, ca 3 cm wide, glabrous at least with age;
Rhachis 5-7 mm thick at base, slightly flexuous.
Floral bracts erect or suberect, ovate, broadly rounded and apiculate, to 4 cm long, from shorter than the internodes to nearly twice as long, distinctly exceeded by the sepals, convex, ecarinate, thin-coriaceous and nerved when dry; (broad oval, 30-40 x 27mm, ecarinate or towards the tip blunt carinate
Pedicels distinct, ca 7 mm long;
Flowers erect, not at all secund.(ca 75mm long, yellowish green Hatschbach)
Sepals elliptic, obtuse (?), 25 mm long, ecarinate; (oblong-elliptic, obtuse, 25-30 x 10-13mm)
Petals unknown (linear, tip narrow obtuse, 65 x 7mm, no appendages but near the base two tenuous callouses)
Stamens unknown. ( filaments free, anthere linear, ca 9mm long, both sides obtuse,) (Capsules immature, long attenuate)
Type. Side of rock hill by Highway BR259, Mun. Gouveia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 21 Jan 1972, Hatschbach, Smith & Ayensu 29085 (holotype US, isotype MBM).

Updated 17/12/06