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Botanical Sciences

versão On-line ISSN 2007-4476versão impressa ISSN 2007-4298

Bot. sci vol.91 no.4 México Dez. 2013


Taxonomía y florística


Magnolia perezfarrerae, a new species and a key to Mexican species of Magnolia (section Talauma, subsection Talauma, Magnoliaceae)


Magnolia perezfarrerae, una especie nueva y una clave para las especies mexicanas de Magnolia (sección Talauma, subsección Talauma, Magnoliaceae)


José Antonio Vázquez-García1'4, Héctor Gómez-Domínguez2, Angelita López-Cruz2, Josefa Anahí Espinosa-Jiménez2, Eduardo Sahagún-Godínez3 and Miguel Ángel Muñiz-Castro1


1 Herbario IBUG, Instituto de Botánica, Departamento de Botánica y Zoología, Universidad de Guadalajara, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.

2 Herbario Eizi Matuda, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

3 Herbario y Jardín Botánico GUADA, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

4 Corresponding author:


Received: February 5th, 2013
Accepted: April 30th, 2013



A new rainforest species of Magnolia, from the eastern Selva Zoque of Chiapas, Mexico, is described and illustrated. Magnolia perezfarrerae belongs to section Talauma, subsection Talauma. It differs from M. equatorialis in having shorter leaf blades that are elliptic rather than lanceolate, longer petioles, and much shorter apices of the carpels. Unlike any published Mexican species of subsection Talauma, this new species presents a circumcissile dehiscence with abaxial portions of carpels detaching in large irregular and united many-carpelled masses, a trait shared with several Amazonian Magnolia. The flowers are used and valued by the Zoque culture for medicinal purposes.

Key words: Magnolia equatorialis, Magnolia lacandonica, Magnolia mexicana, Neotropical.



Se describe e ilustra una nueva especie de Magnolia del oriente de la Selva Zoque de Chiapas, México. Magnolia perezfarrerae pertenece a la sección Talauma, subsección Talauma, difiere de M. equatorialis por sus láminas foliares de menor tamaño, elípticas en lugar de lanceoladas; pecíolos más largos y ápice carpelar mucho más corto. A diferencia de las especies mexicanas conocidas de la subsección Talauma, las porciones abaxiales de sus numerosos carpelos se desprenden en varias masas grandes e irregulares, característica compartida con varias especies de Magnolia del Amazonas. Las flores son usadas y valoradas por la cultura Zoque para propósito medicinal.

Palabras clave: Magnolia equatorialis, Magnolia lacandonica, Magnolia mexicana, Neotrópico.


Except for the genus Liriodendron L., based on morphological grounds, all genera of Magnoliaceae (ca. 11, depending on different authors) have recently been merged with Magnolia L. (Nooteboom, 1993, 1998, 2000; Figlar and Nooteboom, 2004; Figlar, 2006). However, preliminary nuclear molecular evidence shows that Neotropical Talauma Juss. (= Magnolia section Talauma Baillon, subsection Talauma) forms a basal clade distinct from other studied Asian counterparts (Nie et al., 2008). According to Azuma et al. (2001), this Neotropical clade diverged ca. 42 million years ago during the mid-Eocene. Thus, it may be monophyletic and may eventually merit recognition at the genus level. Nevertheless, for now we treat all Neotropical Magnoliaceae as consisting of a single genus, Magnolia, with two sections, Magnolia and Talauma, the latter with three subsections: Cubenses Imchanickaja, with stipules free, or appearing so, from the petiole, a long connective appendage embedded in the gynoecium, and carpels longitudinally dehiscent; Dugandiodendron (Lozano) Figlar and Nooteboom, with stipules free, or appearing so, from the petiole, a long connective appendage often embedded in the gynoecium, and carpels with circumscissile dehiscence; and Talauma, with stipules adnate to the petiole, with a short connective acute to obtuse, and carpels with circumscissile dehiscence (Figlar and Nooteboom, 2004).

The taxonomy of Mesoamerican Magnolia s.l. has been rather poorly studied until recently, particularly that of section Talauma subsection Talauma. Additionally, at least ten Mesoamerican species of subsection Talauma, including the new species described here, have been erroneously included in Magnolia mexicana DC. [=Talauma mexicana (DC.) G.Don.], a species actually confined to Central Mexico. This is largely because of incomplete and poor specimens obtained from remote tropical mountain forest relicts where most Magnolia species occur as usually scattered individuals (Vázquez-García, 1990, 1994; Lozano-Contreras, 1994; Vázquez-García et al., 2012c).

There are 27 species of Magnolia s.l. reported for Mesoamerica, of which 19 (70%) belong to section Talauma subsection Talauma (Lozano-Contreras, 1994; Vázquez-García et al., 2012a, 2012c, 2013a, b), and eight (30%) to section Magnolia (Vázquez-García, 1990, 1994; Figlar and Nooteboom, 2004; Jiménez and Cruz, 2005; Jiménez-Ramírez et al., 2007; Cruz et al., 2008; Vázquez-García et al., 2012a, b, c).

Currently, six species of Magnoliaceae have been reported from Chiapas, four belong to Magnolia section Magnolia: Magnolia mayae A. Vázquez & Pérez-Farr., M. poasana (Pittier) Dandy, M. sharpii Miranda, and M. yoroconte Dandy (Breedlove, 1986; Vázquez-García, 1994, Vázquez-García et al., 2012b); and two species belong to section Talauma subsection Talauma: M. lacandonica A.Vázquez & Pérez-Farr. & Mart.-Camilo (2013a), and the new species published here.

Here we describe and illustrate Magnolia perezfarrerae (subsection Talauma, Magnoliaceae), a new tree species from the Selva Zoque, Berriozabal-Ocozocuautla, Chiapas.

Magnolia perezfarrerae A.Vázquez & H.Gómez sp. nov. (Figures 1, 2, 3, 4).

Arbores 20-25 m altae, trunci usque 30-80 cm diam.; folia elliptica obtusata, lamina 17.8-25 cm longa, 9.5-14.3 cm lata, glabra; stipulae ignoti; flores 12-17 cm diam.; fructus ellipsoidei, 10.4-14.8 cm longi, 7.9-9.2 cm lati; deiscentia ut in Magnolia amazonica; carpelis 89-92, glabrescentis, apiculatis; semina 1-1.3 cm longi, 0.7-1 cm lati.

TYPE: Mexico, Chiapas, Municipio de Berriozabal, Ejido El Divisadero, 16° 56' 36" N, 93° 22' 57" W, 820 m, bosque tropical perennifolio, 30 jun 2012 (fl and fr), Héctor Gómez-Domínguez 3143 (Holotype: IBUG; Isotypes: HEM, MEXU, MO).

Trees 18-20 m tall, 0.3-0.8 m dbh, height of first branch ca 6 m; the bark fissured, grayish, covered with lichens and mosses, inner bark reddish; leaf blades 17.8-25 x 9.5-14.3 cm, elliptic, glabrous, adaxially lustrous; petioles 8-12.7 cm, thickened and somewhat lignified at the base, glabrous; stipules 8-12.5 cm long, early caducous (inferred from stipular scar, not seen), hypsophylls 2, the outer one 2.3-2.7 x 1.2-1.7 cm, abaxially densely pubescent, adaxially glabrous; the inner one 4-5.3 x 3.2-4.2 cm, spathaceous, broadly ovate, concave abaxially golden-yellowish pubescent, adaxially glabrous; peduncle pubescent in the two upper internode, flower bud 8-12 x 5.6-8.4 cm, broadly ovoid, creamy white; flowers 12-17 cm in diam.; sepals 4-7.9 x 3.7-6 cm, 1-2 cm wide at the base, concave, creamy white, glabrous; petals 6, gradually narrowed basally, creamy white; outer petals 5.98.6 x 2.2-3.5(-4.2) cm, concave; inner petals 4.4-6.9 x 2.1-3 cm, concave; stamens 175, 0.8-1 x 0.12-0.13 cm, linear to slightly arched, creamy white; gynoecium 4.1-4.8 x 2.9-3.5 cm, ovoid, glabrous; styles 3-4 mm long, linear, white at anthesis, becoming dark before falling; fruits 10.4-14.8 x 7.99.2 cm, ellipsoid, greenish-brown; carpels 89-92, 1.8-3.6 x 1.5-1.8 cm, 1.8 cm thick, y-shaped, falling in large irregular masses, dorsal wall of ripe carpels basically flat, apex ascending; seeds 1-1.3 x 0.7-1 cm, with red sarcotesta.



Magnolia perezfarrerae is similar to M. equatorialis A. Vázquez (2012) in terms of fruit size (10.4-14.8 vs. 1112.5 cm), number of carpels (89-92 vs. 78-122), flat ripe carpels falling in large irregular masses, and number of stamens (175 vs. 166). However, it differs from the later in its shorter leaf blades (17.8-23.5 vs. 28-55 cm long), longer petioles (8-12.5 vs. 6.9-7.3 cm), and apices of carpels (shortly apiculate vs. prominently beaked) (Table 1). M. perezfarrerae shares the shape and length of the leaf blades (17.8-23.5 vs. 12-22.4 cm) with M. mexicana, but it differs from the latter in its longer petioles (8-12.5 vs. 5.2-7.8 cm), the form of the basal narrowing of petals (gradually vs. abruptly), larger number of carpels (89-92 vs. 38-40), larger fruits (10.4-14.8 x 7.9-9.2 vs. 10-12 ( 7-8 cm), the falling of carpels (in large irregular masses vs. individually), and the shape of dorsal wall of ripe carpels (flat, with a shortly emergent apex vs. convex and with sunken apex).

The circumcissile dehiscence with abaxial portions of carpels (basal to apical ones) of ripe fruits detaching and falling mostly individually is common in all published Mexican species of Magnolia subsection Talauma. Sometimes, however, a few carpels, usually the basal ones, may remain laterally attached together forming small groups (Pennington and Sarukhán, 1998). These small groups of carpels are particularly evident early in dehiscence; nevertheless, hardly any intermediate or apical carpels remain attached to each other. Magnolia perezfarrerae, in contrast, would be the first published Mexican species with abaxial portions of carpels (basal to apical ones) of ripe fruits detaching and falling in large, irregular and many-carpelled masses, internally resembling the inner side of a pomegranate peel. This interesting feature is shared with many Amazonian species, two from Central America and one from the Caribbean, as well as with an undescribed species from the Chimalapa-Uxpanapa region, in southern México.

Distribution and ecology. Magnolia perezfarrerae is endemic to the eastern portion of the Selva Zoque (Figure 5), which consists of three regions: Uxpanapa (Veracruz) in the northwest, Chimalapa (Oaxaca) in the southwest, and El Ocote (Chiapas) in the east. This region is located between the Neotropical provinces Tehuantepequense and Pacifiquense, and within the southern boundaries of the Atlantiquense province (SEMARNAT-CONANP, 2001) and it may have functioned as a refuge for Neotropical floras and faunas (Wendt, 1987). Magnolia perezfarrerae grows on gentle slopes (ca 23%) of southeastern exposure in lower mountain tropical rainforest ("selva mediana perennifolia"); at Berriozabal, it grows together with Allophyllus psilospermus Radlk, Annona. lutescens Saff., Cedrela odorata L., A. purpurea Moc. & Sessé ex Dunal, Cinnamomum triplinerve (Ruiz & Pav.) Kosterm., Cordia alliodora (Ruiz & Pav.) Cham., Cupania dentata Glaz., Eugenia sp., Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth, Guatteria sp., Guazuma ulmifolia Wall., Inga vera Kunth, Lonchocarpus sp., Manilkara zapota (L.) P.Royen, Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H.E.Moore & Stearn, Tabebuia rosea DC., and Toxicodendron striatum Kuntze; at Ocozocuautla, together with Brosimum alicastrum Sw., Ficus spp., and Quararibea sp.

Flowering has been recorded from March to August, and fruiting from July to October. Magnolia perezfarrerae has a low population density. Three populations are so far known within an area of approximately 600 km2, and only ten adult trees were found at the type locality. No regeneration has been observed, this in part due to seed predation by squirrels and several birds (Columbina passerina, Melanerpes auri-frons, Ortalis leucogastra, and Zenaida asiatica).

Eponymy, ethnobotany and conservation. The species is named after Dr. Miguel Ángel Pérez Farrera, for his contribution to the systematics, ecology, and conservation of the flora of Chiapas, and particularly for providing the impetus that led to the discovery of this species. Magnolia perezfarrerae is locally known as "flor de corazón" or heart flower, at Berriozabal and Ocozocuautla, and is considered a medicinal plant in the Zoque culture. The petals are used to treat heart diseases, stomach pain and stomach ache. It is prepared as a tea boiling the petals together with orange peel. Some people cut the flowers and sell them in the local market in Ocozocoautla. Fortunately, this species is being propagated and cultivated by rural people known as ejidatarios. The current threats to populations of M. perezfarrerae include the transformation of their habitat to coffee and corn plantations as well as for pasturelands. Thus, considering its extremely reduced populations without regeneration, and other anthropogenic threats, M. perezfarrerae should be protected under the Endangered IUCN category.

This plant was discovered while visiting the Eizi Matuda Herbarium at the Escuela de Biología of Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH) in November 2009. The first author pointed out that the specimen Ortiz-T. 38 (HEM), from Ocozocuautla de Espinoza had unusually long petioles and relatively small petals, and he questioned its identification as Talauma mexicana, a synonym of Magnolia mexicana, which is confined to Central Mexico. Early in June 2012, Dr. Miguel Pérez-Farrera and his colleagues located a flowering Magnolia with immature fruits from El Divisadero, Berriozabal, not very far from Ocozocuautla de Espinoza. Late in June 2012, Héctor Gómez-Domínguez went back to El Divisadero in search of mature fruiting material. Surprisingly, a day after collecting it, carpels started to fall in large irregular many-carpelled masses unlike any other published Mexican species of Magnolia, allowing us to conclude that we were dealing with an undescribed species belonging to section Talauma, subsection Talauma, the second one for the flora of Chiapas.

Additional specimens examined: Mexico, Chiapas, Municipality of Berriozabal, Ejido El Divisadero, 16° 54' 00.6" N, 93° 23' 10.8" W, 800 m, 12 jun 2012 (fl), Gómez-Domínguez 3142 (HEM, IBUG, MEXU, MO); Municipality of Ocozocuautla de Espinoza, 9 km al NW de Emilio Rabasa, 0.5 km al SE de El Aguajito, 16° 57' N, 93° 40' W, 4 mar 1992 (fl), S. Ochoa-Gaona 3891 (XAL); Municipio Ocozocuautla de Espinoza, 20 May 1990 (fl bud), Ortiz-T. 38 (HEM).

Key to Mexican species of Magnolia

(Section Talauma, subsection Talauma, Magnoliaceae)

(1) Abaxial portions of carpels detaching from fruit axis and falling mostly in large irregular many-carpelled (> 15) masses:

(3) Fruit ellipsoid, 10.4 - 14.8 x 7.9 - 9.2; carpels 89-92, Selva Zoque, Chiapas ............................ M. perezfarrerae

(4) Fruit spheroid, 6 cm in diam.; carpels 36-42, Selva Chimalapa-Uxpanapa, Oaxaca-Veracruz ....................................................................................... M. sp. nov. ined.

(2) Abaxial portions of carpels detaching from fruit axis and falling mostly singly, occasionally in few-carpelled (< 8) masses:

(5) Leaves mostly lanceolate to broadly lanceolate:

(7) Carpels 20-28, 1.8-3.75 x 1.7-2.1 cm, lateral walls of carpels thin, curved outward, resembling wings, Los Tuxtlas,Veracruz............M. sinacacolinii

(8) Carpels 30-35, 3.4-5 x 1.7-2.1 cm, lateral walls of carpels thick, not recurving outward, San Martín, Veracruz.......................................M. lopezobradorii

(6) Leaves mostly elliptic:

(9) Fruit globose to subglobose, rarely very widely ovoid:

(11) Carpels 30-56, basal ones 3.5-5.5 cm long, split at the tip (ca. 1/3 of its length), Santa Marta, Veracruz................................M. zoquepopolucae

(12) Carpels 61-70, basal ones 3-3.7 cm long, split at the tip (1/2 of its length or more), Selva Lacandona, Chiapas.................M. lacandonica

(10) Fruit ovoid to widely ovoid:

(13) Fruit ovoid, slightly obtuse at the base, glabrous; petals gradually narrowed basally, Manantlán region, Jalisco-Colima...........................................................................M. jaliscana

(14) Fruit widely ovoid to depressed ovoid, sometimes truncate at the base, brownish puberulous; petals abruptly narrowed basally, Central MEXICO: (Morelos, Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca)..............................M. mexicana



The authors acknowledge Dr. Christopher Davidson and Sharon Christoph, for supporting field trips to Berriozabal and El Ocote through project titled "Floristic diversity and evolutionary ecology of endangered species in protected natural areas from Chiapas, México". We specially thank Tom Wendt and anonymous reviewers of Botanical Sciences for their valuable suggestions. We thank local field guides Juan Vázquez Pérez, Santana Vázquez Castellano, Venturina Pérez and their family from Ejido El Divisadero, Berriozabal, Chiapas, and we also thank Sergio Avendaño, from Instituto de Ecología, for kindly sharing a picture of a specimen from Ocozocuautla, deposited at the XAL Herbarium. We thank Daniel Barba for the great illustration of M. perezfarrerae. We thank Susana Vázquez García for proofreading the manuscript.


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