Hyptis maya, a new species of Lamiaceae from Belize, Central America, and the closely related H. lanceolata
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- Harley, R.M. Kew Bull (2011) 66: 171. doi:10.1007/s12225-011-9256-1
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A new species of Lamiaceae from Belize: Hyptis maya is described and illustrated. It is closely related to the more widespread H. lanceolata Poir., with which it is compared.
Key wordsBelizeCentral AmericaHyptisLamiaceaenew species
Hyptis lanceolata Poir. (Lamiaceae) is a widespread and rather variable species in tropical America, belonging to sect. Hyptis subsect. Marrubiastrae. It has a somewhat ruderal distribution, growing in usually humid soils, often in clearings in forest zones. It occurs both in the New World and in Tropical Africa, where both introduced plants and what appear to be native populations are recorded (Harley 2006). In his revision of the genus Hyptis, Epling (1949) unfortunately, treated the distribution of widespread species in a very cursory manner, so that some of the more intriguing phytogeographical data are not recorded. This is particularly the case with Hyptis lanceolata. In the Neotropics, the species is recorded from the Caribbean, both in the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Guadeloupe, Martinique), in the Lesser Antilles (Dominica and St Vincent) and in Trinidad. The species is also frequent in the Guianas, rare in Venezuela, and extends into Brazil, rather uncommonly in Amazonia, but somewhat more frequently, with a scattered distribution through eastern Brazil as far south as Paraná. In the southern part of its range, it becomes more variable and occasionally seems to merge into other species, as for example, into Hyptis inodora Schrank, in eastern Brazil. Indeed, H. lanceolata has been shown to be part of a polyploid species complex, where hybridisation may not be uncommon, and the group undoubtedly merits further study (Harley & Heywood 1992).
While preparing an account of Central American Hyptis species for Flora Mesoamericana, I was particularly interested in the very few, and often ambiguous records of H. lanceolata from this area. In an account of the Labiatae of the Yucatan Peninsula (Epling 1940), the author lists H. lanceolata, citing three specimens: Gentle 1049, Bartlett 11318 and Schipp 696. While commenting that these “seem to fall within the limits of this variable species”, he notes that the calyx teeth (termed “lobes” in this paper) are longer and more acute than is generally true of that complex and the leaves are unusually narrow. Later, in his revision of the genus (Epling 1949), these same specimens are cited again under H. lanceolata. However, they were obviously causing some problems in the mind of the author, as Bartlett 11318 is also cited under H. actinocephala Griseb. in the same work, with the following comment (translated from the published Spanish): “A specimen very similar to these (cited specimens from Cuba) although possibly an extreme form of H. savannarum has been collected in British Honduras (now Belize), Cornhouse Creek, 31.I.1931, by Bartlett (N° 11318)”. There is also a specimen of Schipp 696 determined as H. savannarum Briq. by Epling in G and K. Neither of these determinations is correct, however. A duplicate of Bartlett 11318 in S was examined by me, some years ago, and determined as H. conferta Pohl ex Benth., related to, but distinct from H. savannarum. H. conferta, H. actinocephala and H. savannarum are all members of subsect. Hyptis, distinguished by the dense ring of hairs mid-way inside the calyx tube, a character lacking in subsect. Marrubiastrae, which includes H. lanceolata, as well as both Gentle 1049 and Schipp 696, cited by Epling.
Characters distinguishing Hyptis lanceolata and H. maya.
Leaf lamina width
16 – 42
9 – 19
8 – 15
11 – 18
Calyx at anthesis: total length
3.0 – 3.5
3.3 – 4.6
Calyx at anthesis: tube length
1.5 – 1.6
1.9 – 2.7
Calyx at anthesis: lobe length
1.0 – 1.5
1.3 – 2.6
Fruiting calyx: total length
4.5 – 5.0
6.0 – 6.7
Fruiting calyx: tube length
3.0 – 3.5
4.0 – 4.3
Fruiting calyx: lobe length
1.2 – 1.5
1.5 – 2.6
Corolla tube length
2.5 – 3.5
3.0 – 5.2
Hyptis mayaHarleysp. nov., H. lanceolatae Poir. affinis a qua imprimis differt lamina foliorum angustiore (9 – 19 mm), capitulis latioribus (11 – 18 m diam.) et floribus majoribus calyce per anthesin 3.3 – 4.6 mm longo, lobis 1.3 – 2.6 mm longis, calyce fructificante 6.0 – 6.7 mm longo. Typus: Belize, Maskall Pine Ridge, Jan. 1934, P. H. Gentle 1049 (holotypus K!).
Distribution. Belize. Widespread, occurring in Orange Walk District (north), Cayo District (west), Belize and Stann Creek Districts (east), and Toledo District (south). Although apparently endemic, the species will probably eventually be found in neighbouring countries, especially Guatemala and Mexico (Quintana Roo and Campeche) and Honduras, although I have seen no material of Hyptis maya from any of these.
All of the following specimens cited have been seen by the author. Herbarium codes follow Index Herbariorum (Web version Index Herbariorum. See: http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/IndexHerbariorum.asp).
Belize. All Pines, 14 Jan. 1931, Schipp, W. A. 696 (BM, F, K); Belize Distr.: Colonel English Pine Ridge, Belize − Cayo Road, 23 Nov. 1957, P. H. Gentle 9441 (F); Ridge Lagoon Plantation, Mile 11 on Northern Bay, savanna near sea level, 18 Jan. 1974, R. Liesner & J. Dwyer 1430 (F). Belize Distr.: Western Highway mile 30. The Place, 24 April 1981, Whitefoord, C. 2623 (BM); Belize Distr.: Western Highway mile 30. Parrots Wood, 3 May 1981, Whitefoord, C. 2705 (BM); Belize R.: Little Cocquericot, 1 May 1933, Lundell, C. L. 4285 (K photo); Augustine Creek, 26 Oct. 1959, Hunt, D. R. 168 (BM); Cayo Distr. Ceibo Grande to Main Divide track, 740 m, 8 March 2000, Monro, A. et al. 3228 (BM); Maskall Pine Ridge, Jan. 1934, Gentle, P. H. 1049 (K); Cayo Distr.: Ceibo Chico, 700 m, 7 March 2000, Pena, M. et al. 983 (BM); Stann Creek Distr.: Mullins R. Road, in pine ridge, 29 Nov. 1957, P. H. Gentle 8477 (F); Humming Bird Gap, Humming Bird Highway, 1 Feb. 1957, P. H. Gentle 9323 (F). Toledo Distr.: between foothills of Maya Mts at Chun Bank (mouth of canyon of Bladen Branch) and the Southern Highway, 70 m, 14 March 1987, Davidse, G. & Brant, A. E. 32495 (K, MO, C); sin. loc. sin dat. Peck s.n. (K); Orange Walk Distr.: Between London and Carmelita, along old Northern Highway 50, 20 March 1987, Davidse, G. & Brant, A. E. 32812 (MO). All citations of specimens refer to material seen by the author.
Habitat. Usually wet savanna, creek margins, pinelands, near sea level – 750 m.
Phenology. Flowering and fruiting Jan. to May.
Conservation. Further field observations are necessary, but at present, judging from recent collections, the species is not under threat and merits Least Concern status.
I should like to thank the Curator and staff of the Herbarium of the Natural History Museum London (BM), of the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (E), the Herbarium of the Field Museum, Chicago, USA and the Herbarium, National Museum, Copenhagen, (C) Denmark. My visit to the last is due to a generous grant from Synthesys. I should also like to thank Amy Pool, Missouri Botanical Garden, for kindly providing images of important collections, Margaret Tebbs for producing the excellent illustration, Lesley Walsingham for much help especially with plate digitisation and to the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.