Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana
1. ANAXAGOREA A. St.-Hil., Nouv. Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris 1825: 91. 1825.
by Julian A. Steyermark and Paul E. Berry
Shrubs or small to medium-sized trees. Leaves chartaceous or
subcoriaceous. Inflorescence axillary, sometimes leaf-opposed or terminal, occasionally cauliflorous, shortly pedunculate or epedunculate; lower bracts often caducous; upper bracts usually borne near flower, caducous or not. Flower buds globose, ovoid, or conical; flowers bisexual, fleshy, usually not opening widely, with brown, simple or stellate, microscopic hairs. Sepals valvate to imbricate, ovate to broadly ovate, free or connate, shorter than the petals; petals valvate, usually fleshy, green, white, yellowish, or red, the outer 3 somewhat or conspicuously longer than the inner 3. Stamens 10--200, apical prolongation of connective flat, triangular or quadrangular, innermost stamens staminodial; anthers not locellate. Carpels 5--45, each with
2 subbasal ovules. Monocarps free, clavate to dolabriform (hatchet- or golf
club-shaped), basally stipitate, apically beaked, dehiscent along the ventral
suture. Seeds 2 per monocarp, shiny, black, without an aril.
Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, tropical Asia; ca. 26 species, 9 species in Venezuela, all in the flora area.
Key to the Species of Anaxagorea
1. Leaves 25--75 × 7--25 cm, secondary veins 18--28 on each side of the mid-vein; petioles 1.5--4.5(--6) cm long, 4--8(--10) mm diameter...A. gigantophylla
1. Leaves and petioles usually smaller than above and the secondary
2(1). Leaves narrowly to very narrowly elliptic to elliptic-ovate, 5--16 × 0.5--3.5 cm...3
2. Leaves broader and/or longer than above...4
3(2). Leaves 6--16 × 1.5--3.5 cm, midvein on upper surface slightly
impressed; outer petals with a thick keel on the inner surface...A. angustifolia
3. Leaves very narrow, 5--8 × 0.5--1 cm, midvein on upper surface flat, not impressed; outer petals not keeled on inner surface...A. rheophytica
4(2). Midvein of the upper surface of leaf distinctly raised or convex; young twigs, perianth, and fruits sparsely puberulous to glabrous; fruits
yellow to green with reddish tinge (when live)...A. brachycarpa
4. Midvein of the upper surface of leaf impressed or flat, or if somewhat elevated then young twigs, perianth, and fruits densely puberulous; fruits usually darker colored or with brown or reddish pubescence...5
5(4). Pedicels (of individual flowers, not the inflorescence rachis) 15--32 mm long, the upper bracts persistent until shortly after anthesis and situated (3--)5--15 mm below the calyx, about 1/3--1/2 way down the pedicel; petioles 7--21 mm long...A. petiolata
5. Pedicels usually < 15 mm long, the upper bracts more readily caducous
and borne closer to the calyx than above; petioles usually shorter than above...6
6(5). Midvein of the upper surface of leaves ³ 1.5 mm broad at the base, often somewhat raised; hairs on petioles and perianth dark purplish
6. Midvein of the upper surface of leaves < 1.5 mm broad at the base, flat to usually impressed; hairs on petioles and perianth brown or brownish red at most...7
7(6). Inflorescence axillary, cauliflorous, or borne at the shoot apex; sepals erect; outer petals keeled on the inner surface; vegetative parts
usu-ally glabrous...A. brevipes
7. Inflorescence axillary or cauliflorous, but not borne at the shoot apex;
sepals erect to recurved; outer petals not keeled on the inner surface; vegetative parts generally with fine brown or brownish red pubescence...8
8(7). Sepals usually £ 5 mm long, caducous or if persistent then spreading to upwardly curving; outer petals 7--12 mm long...A. acuminata
8. Sepals 6--13 mm long, often persistent and becoming recurved to
re-flexed; outer petals 10--18(--23) mm long...A. dolichocarpa
Anaxagorea acuminata (Dunal) A. DC., Mém. Soc. Phys. Genève 5: 211. 1832. ---Xylopia acuminata Dunal, Monogr. Anonac. 122, t. 16. 1817. ---Majagua.
Shrub or tree to 20 m; leaves elliptic, ovate, or obovate, 6--36 × 2--12
cm, brown-puberulous on the lower surface, especially near the base; secondary
veins 9--20 per side; inflorescence usually cauliflorous, the flowers brownish
to yellowish, creamy with pink basally within, or pale yellow with ma-roon
at base. Evergreen lowland forests, 50--200 m; Amazonas (Río Cataniapo,
Río Ocamo, Río Padamo). Venezuelan Coastal Cordillera; Trinidad,
Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, northern Brazil. Fig.
This species is very similar to Anaxagorea dolichocarpa and is
difficult to distinguish from it. A water-based drink with scrapings from
the inner bark has been used in Amazonian Venezuela to aid women in conceiving
babies when they have been previously infertile.
Anaxagorea angustifolia Timmerman, Proc.
Kon. Ned. Akad. Wetensch. C 87: 298. 1984.
Shrub or tree to 7 m; leaves narrowly elliptic, 6--16 × 1.5--3.5 cm,
lower surface sparsely puberulous, reddish black; secondary veins 9--16
per side; flowers yellowish; monocarps 2.2--2.3 cm long, yellow to red.
Evergreen lowland forests, ca. 100 m; Amazonas (near San Carlos de Río
Negro). Brazil (Amazonas: upper Rio Negro basin).
Anaxagorea brachycarpa R.E. Fr., Acta Horti
Berg. 12: 14, fig. 1a--c. 1934. ---Majagua anón, Majagua dura, Majagua
Tree or shrub, 3--15 m; leaves narrowly elliptic to obovate, 9--28 ×
2--9 cm, lower surface dark red-puberulous to glabrescent; flowers yellowish
or greenish; monocarps 2--3 cm long, yellow to green with reddish tinge.
Evergreen lowland and submontane forests, 100--400 m; Amazonas (near Cerro
Yapacana, Río Casiquiare, near San Carlos de Río Negro).
Amazonian Peru and Brazil. Fig. 345.
Anaxagorea brevipes Benth., Hooker's
J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 5: 8. 1853. ---Majagua, Weur-ná (Yekwana).
Tree or shrub, 3--10(--25) m; leaves narrowly elliptic to obovate, 8--35
× 3--10 cm, the lower surface sparsely reddish puberulous to glabrescent;
flowers tawny, yellowish, or cream-colored marked with reddish without
and lavender within; monocarps 2--3.6 cm long, yellow with red apically,
red or dark purple basally. Evergreen lowland, riparian, and montane forests,
100--1300 m; Bolívar (Río Canaracuni, Río Erebato,
Río Nichare basin), Amazonas (base of Cerro Duida, Cerro Huachamacari,
Río Cataniapo, Río Sipapo, lower Río Ventuari). Colombia,
Guyana, Suriname, Ecuador, Peru, Amazonian Brazil. Fig.
The strong bark fiber is commonly used as head straps for carrying cargo.
Anaxagorea dolichocarpa Sprague &
Sandwith, Bull. Misc. Inform. 1930: 475. 1930. ---Baquera-aba (Warao),
Cará-pi-pok (Arekuna), Majagua, Pequeña, Yarayara negra.
Tree or shrub 5--15 m; leaves narrowly elliptic, ovate, or obovate,
9--45 × 3--16 cm, the lower surface ferrugineous-puberulous; inflorescence
mainly cauliflorous, the flowers ferrugineous-brown without, creamy yellow
within, with a fragrance like overripe bananas; monocarps 2.5--4.7 cm long,
green, yellow, brown, or red, densely to sparsely ferrugineous-puberulous
or glabrescent. Evergreen lowland and lower montane forests, ca. 50--800
m; Delta Amacuro (Río Amacuro, Sacupana, Serranía de Imataca),
Bolívar (widespread), Amazonas (near Gavilán, Sierra Parima).
Sucre; Costa Rica, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador,
Peru, Brazil, Bolivia. Fig. 348.
This is a common understory tree in the Venezuelan Guayana and elsewhere
throughout its range; it is most easily confused with Anaxagorea acuminata.
Anaxagorea gigantophylla R.E. Fr., Mem.
New York Bot. Gard. 9: 330. 1957.
Tree 4--12 m; leaves narrowly elliptic, 25--75 × 7--25 cm, ferrugineous-puberulous to glabrescent on lower surface, the base rounded or broadly obtuse; flowers white, creamy, or pale yellow with tawny hairs, or brown without and yellow within; monocarps 3--3.5 cm long, densely brown-ferrugineous pubescent. Evergreen lowland forests, 100--800 m; Amazonas (Río Mawarinuma, Río Pasimoni, Río Yat&;a, Sierra Parima). Brazil (Amazonas: near Serra da Neblina). Fig. 347.
Anaxagorea petiolata R.E. Fr., Lloydia
2: 179. 1939. ---Majagua.
Tree 6--15 m; leaves narrowly elliptic to obovate, 10--27 × 2.5--8.5
cm, lower surface reddish brown-puberulous; inflorescence usually cauliflorous, the flowers brownish with yellow, yellow-green, or orange-brown; monocarps 2.8--4 cm long, brown to yellow, densely or sparsely ferrugineous-puberulous. Lower montane and montane forests, 300--1300 m; Bolívar (Gran Sabana, middle Río Paragua), Amazonas (between Cerro Duida and Cerro Marahuaka, Cerro Huachamacari, Río Coro Coro west of Cerro Yutajé, Sierra Parima). Guyana, northern Brazil. Fig. 349.
The strong bark fiber is used in tying and for head straps to carry
Anaxagorea rheophytica Maas & Westra,
Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wetensch. C 89: 75, figs. 1--3. 1986.
Willow-like shrub ca. 2 m; leaves narrowly elliptic or narrowly elliptic-ovate, 5--8 x 0.5--1 cm, glabrous throughout; secondary veins 7--12 per side;
inflorescence 1-flowered, flowers greenish to yellowish tan; monocarps
1.5--1.8 cm long, sparsely puberulous. Along river margins near forests,
100--200 m; Amazonas (Río Mawarinuma). Endemic.
Anaxagorea rufa Timmerman, Proc. Kon. Ned.
Akad. Wetensch. C 87: 301. 1984. ---Cabari, Majagua, Majagua hoja larga,
Majagua lengua de tigre.
Tree or shrub 3--10 m; leaves elliptic to obovate, 15--48 × 5--15 cm,
lower surface puberulous with purplish red hairs or glabrescent; secondary
veins 11--20 per side; inflorescence mainly cauliflorous, the flowers brownish, greenish, cream-colored, or yellowish without, white within; monocarps 2.5--3.2 cm long, white, yellow, or wine-colored, densely rufous-puberulous. Evergreen lowland and submontane forests, 100--400 m; Amazonas (Cerro Yapacana, Río Sipapo, near San Carlos de Río Negro, Santa Rosa de Ucata northeast of San Fernando de Atabapo, Sierra de la Neblina, Yavita). Amazonian Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.
Paul Berry (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kay Yatskievych (email@example.com).