Guapira eggersiana

Primary tabs

Guapira eggersiana


Shrub or tree 1.5-14 m, trunk to ca. 20 cm diam.Leaves usually opposite; petiole to 2 cm long; blade thinly to firmly coriaceous, green, drying dark brown, elliptical or elliptic-lanceolate, sometimes oblanceolate, 4.5-15 x 2-4 (-6.4) cm, apex obtuse, acute or acuminate, base cuneate to rounded, sometimes somewhat hirtellous at first, glabrous at maturity, sometimes shining; ca. 5lateral veins, scarcely prominent. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, erect, corymbiform or subumbellate, sometimes corymbose-paniculate, glabrous or nearly so, sometimes sparsely puberulous; peduncle slender; ultimate branches 0.2-0.5 mm wide, with 3-flowered umbel; pedicels slender, 3-6 x 0.5 mm; bracteoles 3, lanceolate, ca. 0.5-1 mm, often ferrugineous-puberulent; flowers puberulous when young, glabrous or glabrate when mature. Male perianth infundibuliform or infundibuliform-campanulate, 3.5-4 (-6.5) x 2 (-3.3) (at widest point near apex) mm, shortly 5-toothed, teeth obtuse, ciliate; stamens 7-8, filaments white, longer ones to 9.5 mm long, to 3 mm exserted, shorter ones ca. 7 mm long, anthers brown, ellipsoid, 0.5 mm; rudimentary pistil ca. 3.5 mm long, style puberulous. Female perianth green or white, with pink margin, slightly constricted above, narrowly ellipsoid, subinfundibuliform or salverform, total length (2-)3-5 mm, sparsely ferrugineous-puberulous when young, 5-toothed, teeth, up to 0.5 mm long, ciliate; pistil ca. 3 mm long, style capillary, distinctly exserted, stigma digitately fimbriate into 15-20 divisions. Anthocarp red, ellipsoid, 7-10 x 3.8-5 mm, apically coronulate.


Guianas present present, Southern America, Tobago present, Trinidad present
Trinidad, Tobago, northern South America to Brazil; variously in coastal rocky ground, interior mountain escarpments, wallaba (Eperua falcata) forests, white sand savannas, and primary and secondary forests in the Guianas; 292 collections studied (3 from Trinidad and Tobago), 283 from the Guianas (GU: 92; SU: 114; FG: 77).

Common Name

Creole (French Guiana): mapou, piment-ramier; English (French Guiana): pakaou-kenvi, pakaou-meyho; English (Guyana): hebineroo; English (Suriname): jamsi-oedoe, kasoroballi, kassoroballi, langbladige savanne prasarahoedoe, njamsi-oedoe, njamsihoedoe, prasara-oedoe, prassa-oedoe, wayamu sasamuru


This entity, for which the earliest available name would seem to be G. eggersiana, represents the commonest species of Guapira in the Guianas. Its name has become involved and entangled with the (still unresolved) identity of Guapira guianensis Aubl. (on the plate as ‘Quapira guyannensis’). Woodson & Schery (1961) noted that G. guianensis " perhaps is conspecific with Torrubia eggersiana (Heimerl) Standl."
The Aublet specimen in the Paris herbarium (P-Jussieu 5170), examined by Howard () was said by him to be "a poor match for the plate". We agree with Howard's assessment, as examination of a microfiche of specimen 5170 shows a post-fruiting female stage from which the terminal, 9-flowered inflorescence and shortly campanulate female perianths depicted in Aublet's plate are absent. The specimen's ultimate inflorescence-branches are thin enough to fit our concept of G. eggersiana, whereas Aublet's drawing shows thick ones and a stout peduncle, with bracteoles described and drawn as a 5-merous calyx. The Aublet collections at BM do not contain anything relevant to the typification of G. guianensis (R. Vickery, pers. comm., 2 Aug. 1995).
The present authors' attribution of the name G. eggersiana sensu strictu, which exhibits a (sub)infundibuliform, narrowly ellipsoid or salverform female perianth and characteristically very narrow ultimate inflorescence-branches, to a large proportion of the herbarium material examined as the common Guianan plant, appears to be in accordance with specimens determined by the specialist A. Heimerl as G. eggersiana and seen by us. Due to the absence of female flowers on the Aublet specimen, the identity of Guianan plants with campanulate female corolla must for the time being remain inconclusive.
However, a further complication arises in that a significant proportion of those near-eggersiana specimens from the Guianas, while not sharing the usual perianth characteristics of that Guapira and instead possessing a more or less campanulate female perianth, do indeed possess the thick (more than 0.5 mm wide) ultimate inflorescence-branches characteristic of the Aublet plate. Such plants have, due to the lack of a clear understanding of the identity of G. guianensis, traditionally been referred to as Guapira olfersiana (Link, Klotzsch & Otto) Lundell in the literature. While the illustration for the basionym of that plant (Pisonia olfersiana Link, Klotzsch & Otto, Icon. Pl. Rar. 1: 36, t.15. 1841) indeed shows thick inflorescence-branches and a campanulate female perianth, P. olfersiana has meanwhile been sunk by Reitz into the synonymy of the eastern Brazilian Guapira opposita (Vellozo) Reitz (Flora Ilustrada Catarinense. Nictaginaceas 32. 1970), in var. opposita, which is described as having a tubular ("tubuloso") female perianth. (It may be noted that nyctaginaceous perianths variously described by Reitz as infundibuliform (male Pisonia aculeata L. on p. 40) or urceolate-clavate (female Neea pendulina Heimerl on p. 25) would be described by the present authors as tubular).
The array of characteristics shown in herbarium material annotated by various workers as G. olfersiana is variable, but in our opinion can probably, at least temporarily, be accommodated under G. eggersiana (especially in the absence of biosystematic studies). This position is in accord with, for example, the opinion made at Kew on a plant determined there as G. (Pisonia) eggersiana, Fanshawe 5119 (K) from Guyana, which bears the notation: "Pisonia olfersiana of Standley [1931] and Maguire [1948]". In conclusion, a situation exists (admittedly unsatisfactory in the absence of a revision) wherein the most cautiously appropriate candidate for the name of (much material of the) commonest species of Guapira in the Guianas appears to be G. eggersiana, pending future studies of the variability of the plants in the field.
True Guapira pacurero, with which G. eggersiana has been confused, has leaves drying bright-, pale- or yellowish-green, and occurs in Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia; it was not reported from the Guianas by Standley (1931).