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Aspicarpa hirtella Rich.


Family: Malpighiaceae

Description: Herbaceous with slender stems up to 1 m long, strigose herbage, ovate to oblong-ovate leaves to 4.5 cm long, usually cordate, bearing cleistogamous and chasmogamous flowers, the chasmogamous flowers lacking petals, carpels 2, strongly keeled dorsally but not winged.

Distribution: Southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico at least to Zacatecas, Jalisco, and México.

Plants Seen or Cited: Mexico; Durango; Mpio. Mezquital; 3 km por el camino a El Mezquital, 23o18'N, 104o29'W, 1460m, 2 Oct 1984, M. González 1610 (CIIDIR); Temoaya, 23 km por el camino a El Mezquital, 23o27'N, 104o28'W, 2300m, 2 Oct 1984, S. González, M. González & Rzedowski 3031 (CIIDIR); Mpio. Vicente Guerrero; Vicente Guerrero, 10 km al E, por la carretera a Sombrerete, 23o44'N, 103o52'W, 2050m, 14 Sep 1982, Fernández 1114 (CIIDIR); United States; New Mexico; Hidalgo Co.; Peloncillo Mts., NWSW S19 T29S R20W, 15 Oct 1992, McIntosh 2468 (NMC); Bioresearch Ranch, Skull Canyon, 3 Sep 1979, Todsen sn (NMC); Peloncillo Mts., Maverick Spring Canyon, 6 Sep 1979, Todsen sn (NMC); Peloncillo Mts., Coronado Natl. For., Clanton Draw, 2.3 rd mi W of E side of natl. for. by Forest Rd. 63 (S18 T32S R21W), 29 Aug 1986, Worthington 14967 (NMC, UTEP). UTEP also has three sheets from southern Arizona, one sheet from Chihuahua, and three sheets from Durango.

Habitat: Grasslands and xerophytic shrublands to the transition with oak woodland (Arreguín S. 1991); chapparal (Kearney and Peebles 1969); dry rocky slopes (Correll and Johnston 1970); rocky heavily grazed area with extensive areas of bare rock consisting of solidified white volcanic ash, with Juniperus monosperma and Xanthocephalum sarothrae (McIntosh 2468); crevices in bare rocky S-facing slope, 1800m (Todsen 3 Sep 1979); crevices and pickets in rocky S-facing slope, 1650m (Todsen 6 Sep 1979).

Discussion: McIntosh (2468) notes plants to be heavily utilized by livestock. Kearney and Peebles (1969) indicate that Arizona specimens seem to belong to one species but had been varously identified as A. longipes A Gray, A. humilimus (Benth.) Small, and A. hirtella. Correll and Johnston (1970) cover both A. longipes and A. humilus for Texas, noting that no specimens that with certainty were the former had been seen in the state. They also note that the two names may refer to variants of the same species. Martin and Hutchins (1980) indicated the species (as A. longipes) to be probably in New Mexico in Doña Ana, Otero, Eddy and Lea counties. González E. et al. (1991) record the species (as A. hirtella) from Durango. Arruguín restricts the distribution of A. hirtella to the states of México, Jalisco, and Zacatecas. Her treatment apparently relies heavily on that of Small (1910) who notes the type of A. hirtella to be from cultivated material, and cites its distribution to be "Mexico." The state records collected a few days apart by Todsen were identified by W. Anderson, a specialist in the family, as A. hirtella. This is apparently a variable complex of forms that most authors now place in A. hirtella. If that accurately represents the variation, then this is a widespread species in southern North America and is simply peripheral in New Mexico.

Important Literature:

Arruguín S, M. de la L. 1991. Malpighiaceae, pp. 376-380 in J. Rzedowski and G.C. de Rzedowski (eds), Flora Fanerogamica del Valle de México, vol. 1, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biologicas, Instituto Politecnico Nacional, México (reprinted), 403 pp.

Correll, D.S., & M.C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundaton, Renner. 1881 pp.

González E., M., S. González E. and Y. Herrera A. 1991. Flora de Durango. Listados Florísticos de México, IX. Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México. 167 pp.

Kearney, T.H. and R.H. Peebles. 1969. Arizona Flora, 2nd ed. (with supplement by J.T. Howell, Elizabeth McClintock, et al.). Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 1085 pp.

Martin, W.C., and C.R. Hutchins. 1980. A Flora of New Mexico, vol. 1. J. Cramer, Vaduz. Pp. 1-1276.

Small, J.K. 1910. Malpighiaceae. North American Flora 25(2): 117-171.

Todsen, T.K. 1982. Noteworthy collectons (New Mexico). Madroño 29:60.

Information Compiled By: Richard Spellenberg with gratitude expressed to Dra. Socorro González Elizondo of CIIDIR for supplying information, 1998


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
Design: J. Mygatt; Copyright © 1999-2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council