Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana
17. XYLOPIA L., Syst. Nat. ed. 10, 1250. 1759.
by Julian A. Steyermark
Shrubs or trees usually with long, slender, often horizontal branches;
leaves distichous, presenting a 2-ranked appearance; flowers solitary or fasciculate in the leaf axils or sometimes produced on old branches or from the woody trunk, sessile or shortly pedicellate. Flowers bisexual; receptacle conic, excavate in the middle. Sepals small, valvate in bud, free or connate into a cupular calyx; petals 6, biseriately valvate, thick, linear-oblong, ligulate, or deltoid, connivent in bud, spreading at anthesis. Stamens numerous, anthers locellate, the connective truncate-expanded above the anther; staminodes present in a few species. Carpels few to numerous, deeply sunken in the center of the receptacle; ovules lateral, 2--6; styles elongate. Monocarps free, sickle-shaped, clavate, or globose-rhomboid, few-seeded, eventually dehiscent. Seeds in 1 or 2 rows, arillate.
Central America, West Indies, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Old World tropics; ca.
150 species, 18 in Venezuela, 16 of these in the flora area.
After this treatment was completed, an additional species, Xylopia pittieri Diels, was identified from Knab 31 (MO), from the Río Nichare basin in Bolívar state. This species keys out close to X. amazonica, but has more oblong, multi-seeded monocarps 1--2 cm long. A possible additional species, represented by Aymard et al. 9885 (MO, PORT; from Amazonas state, 3 km south of El Porvenir near the Río Casiquiare) is a 35 m tall tree that has tentatively been identified as Xylopia polyantha R.E. Fr., but more material is needed to confirm this.
Key to the Species of Xylopia
1. Leaves rounded or broadly obtuse at the apex...2
1. Leaves usually distinctly narrowed to an acute, acuminate, or caudate
apex, the apex sometimes terminating in an obtuse tip...6
2(1). Leaves 2--3 cm wide, with an angular projection on the margin near
the blade base; outer petals sparsely pubescent
2. Leaves 0.6--1.2 cm wide, usually without the above kind of projection on
the blade margin; outer petals densely sericeous without...3
3(2). Largest leaves (1.5--)3--3.5(--4) cm long, scarcely or not emarginate
at apex, the apex with a conspicuously hairy
3. Largest leaves 3--9 cm long, emarginate and generally without a hairy tuft
at the apex...4
4(3). Largest leaves 7--9 cm long, the venation inconspicuous on both
4. Largest leaves 3--6 cm long with elevated reticulate venation on one or
5(4). Pedicels glabrous or sparsely sericeous; sepals subglabrous; petals to
16 mm long; leaves broadest below the middle, long-attenuate apically;
carpels ca. 8; leaves papery with prominent venation on both
5. Pedicels densely reddish brown-pubescent; sepals densely sericeous
without; petals ca. 10 mm long; leaves neither broadest below the middle nor
long-attenuate apically; carpels ca. 12; leaves
6(1). Flowers emerging directly from the trunk, not from the leaf
6. Flowers principally or entirely in leaf axils...7
7(6). Young stems, lower surfaces of leaves (especially along the midvein),
calyx, and monocarps densely villous or tomentose with soft, erect to spreading,
rust-brown hairs 1--2 mm long...8
7. Without the above combination of characters...9
8(7). Leaves 6--10 × 2--4 cm, often cordate at the base; calyx ca. 2 cm
8. Leaves much larger than above, ca. 16--23 × 5--7 cm, not cordate at the
base; calyx ca. 1 cm long...X. excellens
9(7). Sepals connate to above the middle or nearly connate throughout
their length, forming a cup-shaped calyx; carpels 15--45...10
9. Sepals free, or connate only to the middle; carpels 3--12...11
10(9). Leaves gradually narrowed to a long acute or acuminate apex;
secondary and tertiary venation usually evident on both sides (at least in the dried
state); largest leaves mainly 8--15 × (1.5--)2.5--4.5 cm; petals
25--30 mm long; calyx 4--5 mm long, conspicuously
10. Leaves abruptly shortly and obtusely acute or shortly narrowed at the
apex; secondary and tertiary venation inconspicuous; largest leaves mainly 5--8(--10)
× 1.5--2(--3) cm; petals 15--20 mm long; calyx 2--3 mm
long, sparsely appressed-pubescent...X.
11(9). Pedicels glabrous; calyx mainly glabrous without except for a
sericeous apex...X. ligustrifolia
11. Pedicels and calyx ± densely or sparsely pubescent...12
12(11). Largest leaves mainly 8--14 cm long; petals 15--18 mm long...13
12. Largest leaves mainly 3--8 cm long; petals 8--12 mm long...14
13(12). Largest leaves mainly 2.5--3.5 cm wide; lower surface of leaves with
an evident reticulation not obscured by the
13. Largest leaves mainly 1.5--2.5 cm wide; lower surface of leaves densely
and finely sericeous with indument uniformly overlying the surface
and often obscuring the venation...X.
14(12). Young branches with elongate, loosely ascending pilose indument;
leaves firmly chartaceous or subcoriaceous, the lower surface with densely and
finely sericeous tomentum overlying the surface and often
ob-scuring the venation; monocarps 10--13 mm
14. Young branches with short appressed indument; leaves papery or
chartaceous, the lower surface scarcely to densely appressed- or
sericeous-pubescent, the venation often prominent; monocarps 6--9 mm long...15
15(14). Leaves distinctly acuminate at the
15. Leaves acute at the apex...X.
Xylopia amazonica R.E. Fr., Acta Horti Berg.
12: 562. 1939.
Tree to 25 m. Evergreen lowland and submontane forests, 100--800 m;
Bolívar (Río Yudi, near T&;riba), Amazonas (base of Cerro
Duida, Sierra Parima). Zulia; Suriname, Amazonian and central Brazil.
Xylopia aromatica (Lam.) Mart., Fl. Bras.
13(1): 43. 1841. ---Uvaria aromatica Lam., Encycl. 1: 596. 1783
. ---Fruta de burro, Chirinyó ipipin (Panare).
Xylopia grandiflora A. St.-Hil., Fl. Bras. Merid. 1: 40, t. 8.
Shrub or tree 3--16 m, with spreading low branches; flowers fragrant;
outer petals reddish orange or brown, creamy white within. Gravelly savannas,
disturbed forests, Mauritia palm stands, savanna edges, semideciduous
and deciduous forests, gallery and riparian forests, 50--600 m; Delta Amacuro
(east of Los Castillos), widespread in Bolívar and Amazonas. Common
elsewhere throughout low-elevation Venezuela; widely distributed in Central
America, West Indies, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru,
Brazil, Paraguay. Fig. 390.
The infusion of the fruit in boiled water is reputed to be a remedy
for stomach ache.
Xylopia benthamii R.E. Fr., Kongl. Svenska
Vetenskapsakad. Handl. n.s. 34(5): 35, t. 5, figs. 2--4. 1900. ---Memiri
(Yekwana), Palo de vinido.
Cauliflorous tree; branches pubescent with spreading pale ferrugineous
hairs; leaves oblong-lanceolate, 8--11 × 2.5--3 cm, the midvein beneath
with spreading hairs, becoming glabrous; calyx cup-shaped, 5 mm tall, 8
mm wide; outer petals (20--)28--40 mm long; fruits rugulose, many-seeded,
obliquely rhomboid to semilunate. Evergreen lowland, riparian, and slope
forests, 100--300 m; Bolívar (upper Río Caura), Amazonas
(Río Casiquiare, Río Guayapo, Río Ocamo). Anzoátegui;
widespread in Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Amazonian Peru and Brazil.
Xylopia calophylla R.E. Fr., Acta Horti Berg.
12: 563. 1939.
Tree 15 m; leaves coriaceous, the younger ones coppery-pubescent beneath;
fruit yellowish tinted red. Semideciduous and nonflooded evergreen lowland
forests, 100--600 m; Bolívar (Amaruay-tepui, near Cerro Abismo),
Amazonas (Piedra Cocuy). Amazonian Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.
Xylopia crinita R.E. Fr., Ark. Bot. n.s.
1(11): 447, fig. 1a--e. 1950.
Tree 4--7 m; young branches densely villous with ferrugineous hairs;
lower surface of younger leaves hirsutulous; calyx densely brown-hirsutulous,
to 2 cm long; petals to 2.8 cm long; fruit velvety, dark brown-pubescent.
Evergreen lowland forests, ca. 100 m; Amazonas (San Carlos de Río
Negro). French Guiana, northern Brazil.
Xylopia discreta (L. f.) Sprague & Hutch.,
Bull. Misc. Inform. 1916: 160. 1916. ---Unona discreta L. f., Suppl.
Pl. 270. 1781 . ---Ponotourayek (Pemón).
Tree to 22 m; younger branches sericeous-pubescent; leaves chartaceous,
narrowly lanceolate, narrowed to a long acute apex; pedicels sericeous;
sepals ca. 2 mm long; petals to 10 mm long, the outer sericeous. Riparian
and evergreen lowland forests, ca. 100--400 m; Bolívar (Río
Caura, Río Nichare, Río Paragua), Amazonas (30 km southeast
of La Esmeralda, Río Orinoco between San Fernando de Atabapo and
San Antonio). Barinas; Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil.
Xylopia emarginata Mart., Fl. Bras. 13(1):
Tree 10--20 m; young branches pale brown-pubescent; leaves oblong-lanceolate,
glaucescent and finely appressed-pubescent on lower surface; outer petals
to 16 mm long. Gallery and riparian forests, ca. 100--200 m; Amazonas (base
of Cerro Yapacana, near Puerto Ayacucho, Río Cataniapo, Río
Manapiare, south of San Carlos de Río Negro). Apure, Barinas, Guárico,
Zulia; Colombia, Brazil. Fig. 393.
This species is very similar to Xylopia spruceana and X. venezuelana.
Further study is needed to determine if these three should be maintained
as separate species.
Xylopia excellens R.E. Fr., Acta Horti Berg.
12: 210. 1934.
Tree ca. 4 m; calyx, fruits, and lower surface of leaves densely brown-tomentose.
Nonflooded evergreen lowland forests, 100--200 m; Amazonas (San Carlos
de Río Negro). French Guiana, Peru, Brazil.
Xylopia frutescens Aubl., Hist. Pl. Guiane
602, t. 242. 1775.
Shrub or tree 10--15 m; leaves narrowly lanceolate, long-pointed at
apex, 4--6 × 0.8--1.5 cm; petals 8--11 mm long. Semideciduous and evergreen
lowland and lower montane forests, 50--700 m; Delta Amacuro (east of Los
Castillos, Santa Catalina), Bolívar (basin of Río Cuyuní,
Río Paragua), Amazonas (Cerro Par&;, near Puerto Ayacucho, Yavita).
Southern Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana,
Xylopia ligustrifolia Dunal, Monogr. Anonac.
121, t. 18. 1817.
Tree 6 m or more; leaves 4--6 × 1.5--2 cm, lance-elliptic, shortly narrowed
to an obtusely acute apex; outer petals 15--16 mm long. Tree islands in
white-sand savannas, ca. 100 m; Amazonas (base of Cerro Yapacana). Colombia,
Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia.
Xylopia nitida Dunal, Monogr. Anonac. 122,
t. 20. 1817. ---Fruta de burro, Fruta de burro montañera.
Tree 20--30 m; leaves subcoriaceous, silvery green and sericeous on
lower surface; flowers fragrant; calyx yellow-green; petals whitish. Semideciduous,
evergreen lowland, and submontane forests, 200--700 m; Delta Amacuro (Serranía
de Imataca), Bolívar (near Cerro Abismo, south of El Dorado, Río
Caura, Serranía de Imataca). Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, French
Guiana, Brazil. Fig. 389.
Xylopia parviflora Spruce, J. Proc. Linn.
Soc., Bot. 5: 6. 1861, non (A. Rich.) Benth. 1862.
Xylopia neglecta Kuntze ex R.E. Fr., Kongl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad.
Handl. 34(5): 31. 1900.
Tree 10--25 m; young branches densely pubescent; leaves subcoriaceous,
1.5--3 × 0.6--1 cm, prominently reticulate on lower surface; flowers fragrant;
calyx minutely sericeous, deeply divided to the basal portion, petals 5--8
mm long, densely sericeous without. Riparian and evergreen lowland and
montane forests, 100--1300 m; Amazonas (Cerro Marahuaka, Cerro Yutajé,
near San Carlos de Río Negro, Sierra de la Neblina). Colombia, French
Guiana, Amazonian Ecuador, Peru, Brazil.
Xylopia plowmanii P.E. Berry and D.M. Johnson,
Novon 3: 99. 1993.
Tree 12--20 m; young branches sparsely appressed-puberulent; leaves
elliptic-oblong, subcoriaceous, glabrous on lower surface except appressed-pubescent
on midvein, venation slightly raised on both surfaces; calyx shallowly
lobed, 1.5--2 mm long, glabrous; petals 15--18 mm long, sparsely appressed-pubescent
without. Openings in semideciduous to evergreen forests near igneous outcrops,
100--600 m; Amazonas (30-- 55 km southeast of Puerto Ayacucho near Coromoto
and in the Serranía Batata). Endemic. Fig. 396.
Xylopia sericea A. St.-Hil., Fl. Bras. Merid.
1: 41. 1827 . ---Aponotó-yek (Arekuna), Chirin yó (Panare).
Tree 5--18 m; leaves spreading to drooping, subcoriaceous, gray-sericeous
on lower surface of older leaves, bronzy yellow-green on younger ones;
calyx sericeous without, deeply divided almost to the base; petals 15--18
mm long, densely sericeous without; monocarps obliquely rhomboid-obovoid,
10--15 mm long. Semideciduous, evergreen lowland, and montane forests,
savanna edges, on granitic slopes and sandstone, 100--1200 m; Bolívar
(widespread), Amazonas (Cañon Grande of Sierra de la Neblina, between
Puerto Ayacucho and Samariapo). Apure, Sucre, Táchira, Zulia; Colombia,
Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia.
The wood is used locally for the construction of chairs and benches.
Xylopia spruceana Benth. ex Spruce, J. Proc.
Linn. Soc., Bot. 5: 5. 1861. ---Barba rayao, Majagua, Majagua sardina.
Tree 6--10 m; leaves coriaceous, nearly glabrous or minutely and sparsely
appressed-pubescent on lower surface with sparsely pilose, pale midvein;
calyx sparsely sericeous without; petals 8--10 mm long, sericeous without.
Periodically flooded riparian forests, ca. 100 m; Amazonas (Río
Atabapo, Río Atacavi, Río Casiquiare, Río Emoni in
lower Río Siapa basin, near San Carlos de Río Negro). Amazonian
Xylopia spruceana is very closely related to, and doubtfully
distinct from X. emarginata and X. venezuelana.
Xylopia venezuelana R.E. Fr., Kongl. Svenska
Vetenskapsakad. Handl. sér. 3, 24(10): 12, t. 7a & b. 1948.
Tree 6--10 m; leaves narrowly oblong-lanceolate, shortly appressed-sericeous
on lower surface; calyx sericeous without, divided about to the middle
into triangular-ovate lobes; monocarps falcate-elongate, 7--15 mm long.
Riparian and evergreen lowland forests, ca. 100--200 m; Bolívar
(Río Parguaza), Amazonas (Río Cuao, lower Río Ventuari).
Guárico, Zulia; Colombia.
Paul Berry (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kay Yatskievych (email@example.com).