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Diversity of Neotropical Sloanea (Elaeocarpaceae)

Taxonomic and systematic studies of a poorly understood genus of forest trees

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William Milliken, RBG, Kew

Sloanea uniflora (Elaeocarpaceae) from Mato Grosso, Brazil

The genus Sloanea comprises some 200 species distributed in tropical America, Madagascar and tropical Asia. The focus of the present study is the New World species (approximately 120), which form an important and very visible ecological component of lowland rain forest centred in western Amazonia.

Sloanea species are conspicuous on account of their very large and well developed branched buttress roots. The group is poorly known because of the difficulty in climbing large buttressed trees, and the erratic and ephemeral flowering and lack of any recent monograph. Twice yearly monitoring of 100 trees in a 14 hectare plot in Amazonian Peru has shown that only c 5% of individuals flower in any one year.

The morphological study, based on loaned material from all the major European and American herbaria, is well advanced and a preliminary DNA study has been initiated (RBG Edinburgh).

The account for Flora Neotropica is due to be complete at end of 2012, after which local floristic accounts will be undertaken, starting with Flora of Ecuador.

Project partners and collaborators

Costa Rica

Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)

Ecuador

Herbario Nacional del Ecuador (QCNE)

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (QCA)

Peru

Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM)

UK

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (E): James Richardson, Toby Pennington & Matti Nissalo

Project team

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

Terence (Terry) Pennington

Science Teams: