Guapira salicifolia

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Guapira salicifolia


Shrub or tree 1.5-15 m; stem to 20 cm diam.; young branchlets densely rufous-puberulent. Leaves opposite; petiole to 1.5 cm long; blade membranaceous to thinly coriaceous, fuscous when dried, mostly elliptical to elliptic-lanceolate (sometimes oblong-lanceolate or narrowly elliptic-oblong), 5-15 x 1.5-7 cm, subabruptly acuminate or long-acuminate (rarely acute) at apex, cuneate at base, upper surface glabrous, lower surface rufous-puberulent, especially on midvein and lateral veins, glabrate at maturity except usually along midvein and lateral veins; lateral veins 10. Inflorescence terminal or lateral; peduncle to 8 cm long, magenta. Male inflorescence umbelliform; flowers sessile or shortly (to ca. 2 mm) pedicellate; perianth infundibuliform or campanulate, 3-5 x 1.8-2 mm, glabrous to rufous-puberulent, 5-toothed, teeth puberulent, to 1 mm long; rudimentary ovary 2.5-3 mm; stamens (6-)7, anthers 0.7 mm long, light brown. Female inflorescence cymose; bracteoles 2-3, rufous-puberulent, 0.2-1 mm; flowers sessile or shortly (to ca. 2 mm) pedicellate; perianth subtubular, oblong-ellipsoid (or conically tubular), constricted above, (1.5-) 2-2.5 (-3.5) x ca. 1 mm, including 1-1.5 mm long limb, shortly 5-toothed, yellowish rufous-puberulent; stigma fimbriate-lacerate. Anthocarp ellipsoid-oblong, 8-11.5 x 3-4 mm, thinly and indistinctly striolate, slightly hirtellous, reddish-brown to purplish-black at maturity; seed cream.


French Guiana present, Guianas present, Guyana present, Suriname present, Trinidad present
Trinidad and the Guianas; occurring in primary, hill, gallery and secondary forests, and margins of Pterocarpus-Euterpe swamps (Guyana) and Sesuvium-Avicennia swamps (Suriname), and elsewhere in French Guiana; 78 collections studied (3 from Trinidad), including 75 from the Guianas (GU: 57; SU: 9; FG: 9).

Common Name

English (French Guiana): kumete; English (Guyana): biff wood; English (Suriname): kleinbladige prasara-oedoe, njamsi-oedoe


Standley (1931) stated that “Torrubia salicifolia is probably no more than a form, and not a clearly defined one, of Torrubia olfersiana" (note that we place his Guianas specimens of the latter in Guapira eggersiana). Perhaps it would indeed seem to be a rufous-puberulent ‘version’ of G. eggersiana. We believe, however, that for the most part the two entities are sufficiently separable to warrant their recognition here, until a revision of the genus in South America is available.
The synonymized Pisonia albiflora Heimerl with rufous-puberulent inflorescence-branches resembles G. eggersiana in its very narrow inflorescence-branches.
Guapira graciliflora (Mart.) Lundell of Brazil resembles G. salicifolia but has a campanulate female perianth. Female flowering specimens (with leaves) of G. salicifolia are apt to be superficially very similar to those of female Neea ovalifolia, since both taxa have leaves that sometimes dry to yellowish-brown, and both have tubular-cylindrical, densely rufous-puberulent female flowers. The principal recognizable differences between the species are as follows: G. salicifolia leaves are not nitid above, and are sparingly rufous-puberulent along the midvein beneath; female flower-buds are obtuse (rounded) at the apex; female flowers are (1.5-) 2-2.5 x 1 mm. In contrast, N. ovalifolia has leaves nitid above, glabrous beneath; female flower-buds tapering to long-acuminate at the apex; female flowers are 4 x 1.5 mm.