Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Chionolaena barclayae, a new species of Gnaphalid Aster from Colombia.


In 1959 botanists Harriet Barclay and Pedro Juajibioy collected some samples of a woody shrub from the Páramo de Macotama above the valley of Río Ancho in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia and sent them to the South American mountain plant specialist José Cuatrecasas for identification. This was identified as a member of the Aster tribe Gnaphalieae, but at the time the taxonomy of this group was poorly understood, and he was not able to make any more detailed designation.

In a paper published in the journal PhytoKeys on 5 February 2015, Harold Robinson of the Department of Botany at the National Museum of Natural History formally describes Barclay and Juajibioy’s material as new species in the genus Chionolaena.

The new species is named Chionolaena barclayae, presumably in honour of Harriet Barclay, though no explanation is given. It is a small woody shrub reaching about 20 cm high, producing pinkish or reddish flowers. It is known only from Barclay and Juajibioy’s material, collected on high rocky outcrops in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Chionolaena barclayae, material collected by Barclay and Juajibioy in 1959. Robinson (2015).

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