Shrub or treelet 0.5-8 m tall; branch bark dark red-brown to dark grey, with short longitudinal fissures, mostly glabrous; lenticels absent, rarely fewLeaves simple, rigid-coriaceous, drying pale green above, green-brown beneath, matt or shiny, young leaves with dense indument on both sides, furfuraceous, dark-brown to dark red-brown beneath, sometimes persistent above, glabrescent, sometimes remaining as grey or black patches; petiole well defined, (0.3-)1.5-6 cm long x 3.5-4 mm broad at midlength, grooved towards blade, rugose, glabrescent; blade wide-elliptic or wide-ovate, rarely ovate, (3.5-)6-14 x (1.5-)4-10 cm(length:breadth 1-2:1), base obtuse to rounded to truncate, rarely acute, usually symmetrical, often folded, apex acute, obtuse or rounded, margin entire, very rarely with 2-3 pairs of large crenations, not revolute, rim markedly thickened; venation conspicuous above, often more so than below, midvein narrowly and shallowly grooved, secondary veins slightly impressed to slightly raised above, raised beneath (tertiary venation obscure beneath), semicraspedodromous, branching very irregular, often angular, midvein generally reaching apex; secondary veins 3-6 pairs. Inflorescence axillary, unbranched, overtopping leaves, 10-25 x 1.8-2.5 cm, becoming thickened and woody, furfuraceous, hairs short, close-appressed, dark red-brown, swollen at base; peduncle 0.8-2 cm x 1.5-2.8 mm; sterile bracts few towards base; common bracts 0.6-1 x 0.4-0.8 mm, margin dark red fimbriate; flower-pair axis absent; pedicels 2-4.5 x 0.5-1 mm. Flower buds 1.2-1.8 mm broad at apex, 0.8-1.3 mm broad at midlength, robust, square in cross section, dark brown or purple-grey, hairs swollen-based, short, sparse especially towards apex, dark red. Flowers 6-12 cm long; filaments 0.5-1 mm long, attached to tepals 4.5-9 mm from base, anthers 2-3 x 0.4-0.7 mm; hypogynous glands 0.4-0.6 mm long, lobes in contact at base; ovary hairs extending 2.5-4 mm from base, covering entire ovary and base of style, short-strigose, dark red to red-brown. Infructescence (5-)12.5-14.5 cm long, glabrous or glabrescent; fruit pedicels 3-4.5 x (1.2-)1.5-2.5 mm. Fruit oval, (1.8-)3-3.8 x (1.1-)1.3-1.9 cm, sutured and unsutured sides curved +/- to same degree, marginal vein strong, raised, running around periphery of fruit, base constricted for 3-5 mm, apex a small point, constricted ca. 1.5 mm or less, style sometimes persistent; seeds 1.7-2.7 x 0.7-1 cm.
Gran Sabana present, Sororopán-, Torono-, Uei-, Chimantá-tepui present, Southern America: Venezuela (Venezuela present), Suriname present, on the summits of tepuis of the Chimantá Massif present, summit of Julianatop, 1200 m alt., part of the Wilhelmina Mts present
Venezuela (Gran Sabana), on the summits of tepuis of the Chimantá Massif (Sororopán-, Torono-, Uei-, Chimantá-tepui) and also on the summit of Julianatop, 1200 m alt., part of the Wilhelmina Mts. in Suriname (SU: 1).
This species is most closely related to
Roupala suaveolens, but grows at generally higher altitudes. The leaves of R. soropoana are more rigid, and have a very different type of indument. Whereas the indument of R. suaveolens is velutinous to tomentose, that of R. sororopana is furfuraceous giving the underside of leaves a dirty appearance. Measurements for parts of R. suaveolens and R. sororopana usually fall within the same ranges, though the leaf length of R. sororopana is generally shorter, the common bracts are shorter and the ovary hairs reach considerably further from the base of the ovary (hairs short-strigose and close-appressed vs. hairs long, weak, sericeous, dense and bushing-out).
Roupala schulzii and
R. paruensis have been included in synonymy with R. sororopana because the slight variations which originally separated them are unique to single (type) specimens and not considered valid under the broader concept of R. sororopana used here. R. schulzii was said to be distinguished from R. chimantensis by the number and course of secondary veins, and the longer pedicels and shorter perianth lobes, which lack an indument. The type specimen of R. schulzii is not different to the normal variation seen within R. sororopana, but from a lower altitude than is common in R. sororopana.
Roupala schulzii and