Tapura capitulifera

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Tapura capitulifera


Tree to 15 m tall; young branches tomentellous, soon becoming glabrous. Stipules triangular-lanceolate, ca. 1.5 mm long, pubescent, caducous. Petiole 5-15 mm long, tomentellous when young, becoming less so with age, canaliculate; blade coriaceous, oblong to obovate-lanceolate, 5-12 x 1.8-5 cm, acuminate at apex, acumen 3-10 mm long, subcuneate and slightly unequal at base, glabrous or with a few stiff appressed hairs only beneath, papillose; midrib slightly impressed above, prominent and with a sparse appressed pubescence beneath, 9-15 pairs of secondary veins, arcuate, anastomosing. Inflorescence a dense-flowered glomerule inserted on upper portion of petiole. Flowers hermaphrodite, sessile or subsessile; bracteoles ovate, ca. 0.5 mm long, persistent, pubescent; calyx 2-3 mm long, grey-tomentellous on exterior, lobes unequal; corolla white or yellow, slightly exceeding calyx lobes, with 2 large bicucullate lobes and 3 slightly smaller simple lobes, united at base to form a short tube, tube glabrous on exterior, filled by a dense lanate mass within; fertile stamens 5, alternating with corolla lobes, filaments inserted on corolla tube at base of lobes, lanate at base, staminodes absent; ovary 3-locular, pilose on exterior, style with 3-fid apex. Fruit ellipsoid, 12-18 mm long, usually 1-locular, epicarp short-dense-velutinous-tomentose, mesocarp thin, endocarp thin, hard, bony, glabrous within.


Guianas present, Southern America: Venezuela (Venezuela present)
Venezuela, and the Guianas; (GU: 7; SU: 18; FG: 10).

Common Name

English (Guyana): waiaballi; English (Suriname): sibalidan


Flowering .


Tapura capitulifera is clearly distinct from T. guianensis by the floral structure, but sterile herbarium material is often impossible to distinguish. There are some small, but not consistent, vegetative differences such as the papillose under surface of the leaf, and the tendency to smaller narrower leaves in T. capitulifera. However, in both species there is much variation in leaf shape and size. This is well demonstrated in various Suriname collections where a large number of gatherings have been made from the same numbered tree over several years. Flowering herbarium material is needed to distinguish between T. guianensis and T. capitulifera. However, Dr. Jan C. Lindeman of Utrecht informs me that these two species are quite easy to distinguish in the field. T. capitulifera has a distinct pale dull grey leaf undersurface while both sides of the leaves of T. guianensis are green. Also T. capitulifera usually develops into a much larger tree.