Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bakeridesia vulcanicola

Bakeridesia vulcanicola | Malvapola

Bakeridesia was named in honor of Edmund G. Baker, the author of Abutilon Galeottii. It was originally described as a monotypic genus by Hochreutiner in 1913, who considered Bakeridesia to be allied to Abutilon, distinguishing it from Abutilon by the presence of dorsal wings on the mericarps.

The subgenus Bakeridesia is confined to the New World tropics of the Northern Hemisphere. Its range extends from near the Tropic of Cancer on the eastern coast of Mexico and from coastal Jalisco in western Mexico southward through Guatemala, EI Salvador, and Honduras to northwestern Nicaragua. Through its range this subgenus is distributed in a series of isolated localized populations. It is found predominantly at low elevations, i.e. from near sea level to about 4,500 feet, and usually within one of three major xerophytic vegetation formations: tropical evergreen forest, tropical deciduous forest, or thorn forest. Some populations, however, have been collected in ecotones between these and other formations, savanna, and occasionally populations have been reported from quite different formations, e.g. Bakeridesia vulcanicola from pine-liquidambar forests of Honduras (at an elevation apparently exceeding 4,500 feet). Nevertheless, the subgenus appears adapted basically to seasonally dry scrub formations.

At various times some species of Bakeridesia have been classified as either Abutilon or Robinsonella. In 1969 Bates pointed out that the boundary between Bakeridesia and Abutilon was not well defined and suggested that either the two genera ought to be merged or other criteria should be sought to distinguish them. Cytological evidence presented by Bates and Blanchard (1970) supported the second approach and served as the impetus for the most recent revision of Bakeridesia.

Bakeridesia vulcanicola (Abutilon vulcanicola), Commonly called "Malvapola" in Honduras is a shrub or small tree 3-8m tall, at first densely pubescent with a mixture of small hairs overlain by long-stalked and long-armed reddish or yellowish hairs. Leaf blades are broadly ovate to oblong-ovate, unlobed or rarely slightly 3-lobed, to 22cm, long. In its natural range, it flowers January through March. Flowers are borne near the ends of the branches, solitary or in pairs in the axils of usually much reduced leaves. Petals yellow-orange to orange, to 55 mm. long.

Distribution: Found sporadically at elevations between 3000 and 6000 feet from Santa Rosa in southern Guatemala through San Vincente, San Salvador, and Santa Ana in El Salvador to El Paraiso in south-central Honduras. Has also recently been found in Costa Rica.

Bakeridesia vulcanicola is large and coarse in its characteristics. Through its range B. vulcanicola exhibits little morphological variation. The principal difference may be found in the slightly longer and perhaps more slender pedicles of the Honduran collections. Bakeridesia vulcanicola is morphologically intermediate between Bakeridesia Nelsonii and Bakeridesia notolophiurn. For the present, however, B. vulcanicola can be distinguished from B. nelsonii by its lack of digitiform appendages or strongly developed compound-stellate hairs on the calyx and by its shorter flowering pedicels. Taxonomically speaking, the relationship of B. nelsonii to B. vulcanicola is not clear --it may be that B. nelsonii and B. vulcanicola are only variants within a single species.

   The majority of the information from this article came from:
   A revision of Bakeridesia Hochreutiner subgenus Bakeridesia, Bates, D. M. 1973