Myristica subalulata

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Myristica subalulata


Tree 3-10(-25) m. Leaves membranous, chartaceous, or (sub)coriaceous, lower surface distinctly papillose (lens!), or not. Fruits solitary or in clusters of up to 6, subglobose or ovoid 1.5-2(-2.5) by 1-1.5 cm, apex narrowed or rounded, style-remnant persistent as a 1-3 mm long beak;


Malesia: as the species.


Myristica subalulata var. subalulata comprises most of the material of the common species M. subalulata. The type variety is variable in itself:

— Twigs with at every 4 or 5 internodes a swollen hollow part, with a characteristic hole or a rough-lined slit, inhabited by small black ants. If ant-swellings are lacking in a specimen, this is possibly due to incomplete sampling of the material. The swellings are presumably initiated and grown by the plant and will be subsequently occupied by the ants (see De Wilde, 1998).

— Leaves. The texture of the leaves is variable according to the provenance, (sub)coriaceous in specimens from montane areas. The lower leaf surface is either strongly and regularly, or irregularly whitish papillose, or but faintly or not papillose (lens!). Myristica subalulata is one of the few species in which this character is not constant. In non-papillose leaves the papillae may not have been developed (or only insufficiently so); conversely, the papillae may be present so profusely and densely that they entirely cover the lower leaf surface so that this appears to be non-papillose. Distinct regular papillae are most apparent in lowland specimens; irregular papillation is common in lowland and montane material, while leaves that are non-papillose with a smooth surface predominate in specimens from montane and upper montane regions.

— Indumentum. The indumentum is inconspicuous, and can be seen only with magnification. Developing leaves have sparse or dense, scale-like, pale brown or greyish hairs, 0.1 (-0.2) mm or less. They are early shed, especially in lowland specimens. In collections from montane areas the indumentum is densest and often longer persistent as well.

— Flowers. The pedicels of male flowers, but especially those of female flowers and fruits, tend to be longer towards the east of the distributional area. The flowers of part of the male specimens of an eastern distribution, i.e. Papua New Guinea, are more slender, with smaller perianth and longer pedicels, but this feature seems to intergrade. Plants with conspicuous slender male perianths belong to var. leptantha.

— Bracteole. In most specimens the bracteole is early falling; in a few collections, linking up with the bulk of the material of var. subalulata, the bracteole is persistent or late caducous (e.g. NGF13207, 48143, Docters van Leeuwen 9181, 11297, from distant localities, in lowland as well as montane areas).

— Fruits. Shapes and sizes are variable, but the fruits are always small, 1.5-2(-2.5) cm long. Subglobose, ovoid, and (ovoid-)oblong fruits occur; ovoid fruits, narrowed to the apex and ending in the short beak formed by the style-remnant are most frequent. The fruiting pedicel may be short or long, to 7 mm, mostly slender, but may become quite thick, caused by coarse lenticel-like outgrowths. Specimens with fruits longer than 2.5 cm belong to var. paucifructa.


Markgr. 1929 – In: J. Arnold Arbor. 10: 214
Foreman 1978 – In: Handb. FI. Papua New Guinea: 210
Warb. 1897: Mon. Myrist: 487: t. 19
W.J. de Wilde 1990: p. 255. – In: Blumea: f. 2: 14
W.J. de Wilde 1995: p. 255. – In: Blumea: 330
Markgr. 1935 – In: Bot. Jahrb. Syst.: 166
J. Sinclair 1968: p. 385. – In: Gard. Bull. Sing.: f. 64, 65
K. Schum. & Lauterb. 1900: FI. Schutzgeb. Sudsee: 327
Warb. 1897: Mon. Myrist: 484: t. 19
Miq. 1935 – In: Bot. Jahrb. Syst.: 163
W.J. de Wilde 1998: p. 176. – In: Blumea: f. 1