New species of Araceae from Colombia

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2010
Authors:Croat, T. Bernard, Delannay, X., Kostelac C.
Journal:Willdenowia. Mitteilungen aus dem Botanischen Garten und Museum Berlin-Dahlem. Berlin-Dahlem
Start Page:63
Keywords:Anthurium, Cordillera Central, Cordillera Occidental, Cordillera Oriental, Philodendron, taxonomy

Thirty-five Anthurium species and eight Philodendron species are described as new to science from Colombia: Anthurium algentryi, A. alstonii, A. altobueyense, A. angelopolisense, A. arbelaezii, A. birdseyanum, A. cardenasii, A. cirinoi, A. cocornaense, A. cotejense, A. delannayi, A. dorbayae, A. dylanii, A. espinae, A. gaskinii, A. jesusii, A. libanoense, A. maasii, A. munchiquense, A. novitaense, A. palmarense, A. paraguasense, A. pichindense, A. pulidoae, A. ramosense, A. ramosii, A. recavum, A. renteriae, A. sierpense, A. suramaense, A. torraense, A. triciafrankiae, A. venadoense, A. vientense, A. yatacuense, Philodendron cardonii, P. devianum, P. mcphersonii, P. merenbergense, P. patriciae, P. pipolyi, P. silverstonei and P. urraoense

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In terms of aroid species diversity, Colombia is the richest area on earth. With 908 described species (not counting those in this paper), the country does not currently have a significantly higher number of recorded species than does Ecuador (a much smaller country with 902 recorded species). However, Colombia has potentially many more species owing to the wide variety of habitats in the country created by three separate mountain chains.
The Cordillera Occidental is by far the richest in species diversity and both eastern and western slopes have their own endemic species. The Pacific lowlands extending from the border of Panama to the border of Ecuador is one of the wettest areas on earth, especially in the northwest where rainfall can be up to 12 metres per year. This is probably also the area of greatest species diversity. Much of the area of the Pacific lowlands remains unexplored, especially lowland Valle Department south of Buenaventura and all the way south to the Department of Nariño where roads are few or lacking. The lower slopes of the Cordillera Occidental are also very rich in species, especially up to about 1500 metres elevation. The eastern slopes of the Cordillera Occidental are much drier and have been largely denuded, but in areas where forests still exist endemic species are also present. The Cordillera Central is considerably drier than the Cordillera Occidental and considerably more denuded.
However, in those areas still forested the aroid flora is quite rich and there are many endemic species. Despite the fact that this is the most heavily collected part of Colombia, there is still considerable work needed. This mountain range also has a rich array of educational institutions in or around its periphery, including three major institutions of higher learning in Medellín as well as those at Manizales in Caldas Department, Pereira in Rizaralda, Ibague in Tolima and at Neiva in Huila, where botanical work can be carried out. Thus there is a lot of promise that more aroid studies will eventually be carried out in Colombia.
The Cordillera Oriental is probably richer than the Cordillera Central. While parts of the region contain the largest populations and certainly some of the most deforested parts of Colombia, many regions of the mountain chain are heavily forested and very poorly known, especially in the central part of the country on the eastern slopes in Boyaca department as well as in Huila, Cauca, Putomayo and Nariño departments in the south. Other areas that remain poorly explored and where many endemic species occur are in the Cordillera de la Macarena in Meta Department and in the Sierra de Santa Marta and the Serrania de Perija in the northeastern region of the country. In short, the country is vastly underexplored botanically and is in danger of losing much of its richness owing to extinction even before new species are discovered and described. Little botanical exploration is taking place in this rich country where the permitting process, even for Colombians, is difficult and where the general dangers of field work, owing to political problems also discourage even local collectors from spending much time in the field. Nevertheless, many collections have already been made and remain undetermined and it is this material that will be the focus of our investigations until opportunities for collecting return.
This paper is the first of what will hopefully be a series describing species from Colombia. Already the species from Bajo Calima have been enumerated and described (Croat & al. 2006–08) and the treatment for the Araceae of La Planada will soon be completed and published. The senior author is currently collaborating with a large group of botanists in Colombia to prepare an up to date checklist of the Araceae of Colombia and some of these individuals have their own individual research interests with certain areas or certain genera. Included among these are Felipe Cardona working with Spathiphyllum (Cardona 2004), Marcela Mora with the Araceae of the Flora of Cabo Corrientes (Croat & Mora 2004; Mora & al. 2006); Mora & Croat in prep.) and with Philodendron (Mora & al. 2008), Alejandro Zuluaga with Monstera, Natalia Castaño with Stenospermation and Jorge Jácome working with the Araceae of the Bogotá region. Throughout the paper references are made to the Lucid keys to Anthurium (Haigh & al. 2007) and Philodendron subg. Philodendron (Mora & al. 2008), which are multichotomous interactive keys on the CATE Araceae version 0.7 website (Haigh & al. 2009). Classification of the forest vegetation in the habitat notes of the new species follows Holdridge & al. (1971).

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