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A new species of Arrojadoa, Arrojadoa marylanae

Soares Filho & M.Machado, is described. The
new species is characterized by its robust, erect
and unbranched stems with woolly ring cephalia,
the high number of ribs, the areoles with flexible
spines, the small tubular flowers with thin and
delicate, spreading perianth segments, and the
small obovoid fruits with translucent and aqueous
funicular pulp.
Uma nova espcie de Arrojadoa, Arrojadoa mary-
lanae Soares Filho & M.Machado, descrita. A
nova espcie se caracteriza por seu caule robusto,
ereto e indiviso provido de ceflios anelares
lanosos, pelo elevado nmero de costelas, pelas
arolas providas de espinhos flexveis, pelas flores
tubulares pequenas com segmentos do perianto
pouco espessos, delicados e patentes, e pelos fru-
tos obovides pequenos com polpa funicular
translcida e aquosa.
Arrojadoa marylanae sp. nov. Holotypus: Brazil,
Bahia, Mun. Tanhau, district of Suuarana, Serra
Escura, 19 Apr. 2003, M.Machado 28 (HUEFS).
ab omnibus speciebus Arrojadoae habito erecto, planta
longiora latioraque, caule indiviso costis numerosioribus,
spinis setosis flexilibus, cephalio lanosiore, floribus cum
petalis tenuibus expansisque, fructibus cum pulpas aqu-
osa, reliquiis floris basi angustioribus differt.
Figure 1 The flower of Arrojadoa marylanae
Figure 2 (Facing page) Avaldo de Oliveira Soares Filho and Marlyan Coelho, the discoverers of Arrojadoa marylanae,
standing next to a tall, branching specimen
Arrojadoa marylanae
a new Arrojadoa species from
the state of Bahia, Brazil
By Avaldo de Oliveira Soares Filho
& Marlon Machado
. Photography by Marlon Machado.
Departamento de Cincias Naturais, Universidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia, Estrada do Bem Querer,
Km 04, Vitria da Conquista, Bahia, CEP 45100-000, Brazil. Email: avaldo@uesb.br
Departamento de Cincias Biolgicas, Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Rodovia BR 116, km 03,
Feira de Santana, Bahia, CEP 44031-460, Brazil. Email: marlon@brcactaceae.org
Stem solitary, columnar-erect, 1.53m tall, normally
unbranched unless damaged, but sometimes develop-
ing a few lateral branches in very old specimens; vasc-
ular cylinder rather woody, 20 mm in diameter; tissues
mucilaginous; roots fibrous, much branched and super-
ficial. Stem 68(10)cm in diameter, segmented by ring
cephalia, segments 410cm high, the basal segment
30-60cm in height (corresponding to the juvenile
phase of growth), epidermis dark green; ribs 2436,
low, crenate, rounded, 35mm wide, 45mm high,
58mm apart; number of ribs in the same individual
variable between segments. Areoles orbicular, 2mm
wide, 79mm apart along the rib, with white felt at
first, later glabrous; spines flexible, thin, aciculate,
scarcely differentiated between centrals and radials,
1218 at first, 220mm in length with one longer to
35mm in length, golden yellow when new, then straw
yellow, brownish-grey in older portions of the stem;
indeterminate growth of areoles near stem base present
with new spines to 60mm in length. Fertile part of
stem apical, forming a cephalium as broad as the stem
apex, later transformed into a lateral, ring-like cephal-
ium through continued vegetative growth of the stem,
that in this way develops up to 20 and sometimes more
ring cephalia along its axis, each ring cephalium
812mm high, 79cm in diameter; cephalium areoles
with abundant cream-yellow to orange-yellow wool
interspersed with long reddish brown bristles to
2535mm. Flowers appear both in the new apical
cephalium and in the older ring cephalia; flower-buds
coloured pink to pale pinkish magenta from the earliest
stages of their development; flowers diurnal, opening
at morning and remaining open until late afternoon,
sometimes remaining open through the night and clos-
ing in the next morning, tubular, pink to pale pinkish
magenta, 2530(35)mm in length, only one third to
half of its length exserted from the cephalium; peri-
anth 1012mm in diameter, segments patent, inner
perianth segments spatulate, 79mm in length, 1mm
wide, outer perianth segments scale-like, 17mm in
length, 1mm wide; tube nearly cylindric, slightly
broadened near the base (nectar-chamber region),
upper region striated longitudinally, 1012mm in
length, 45mm in diameter above the nectar-chamber
region, 56mm in diameter at apex just below the
outer perianth segments; nectar-chamber region of the
tube slightly flattened, 4mm in length, 5mm wide,
4mm thick; pericarpel smooth, naked, obovoid, slight-
ly flattened, clearly delimited from the tube, 34mm in
length, 4mm wide, 2mm thick; stamens numerous,
2mm in length, covering the inner surface of the tube
like a carpet; style 14 mm in length, enclosed in the
tube; stigma 6-lobed, each lobe 2mm in length. Fruit
obovoid to globose, indehiscent, naked except for the
persistent floral remains attached at apex, expressed
from the cephalium and falling down from the plant;
flower remnant drying black, normally erect, 4mm at
base, shallowly inserted in fruit apex; pericarp smooth,
slightly flattened longitudinally, 1015mm in length,
Figure 4 Fruits of Arrojadoa marylanae (left, three fruits)
and Melocactus bahiensis (right, two fruits)
Figure 3 The fruit of Arrojadoa marylanae
10mm in diameter, bright lilac-pink to
pinkish-magenta, paler towards the base;
funicular pulp translucent, aqueous. Seeds
numerous, usually more than 200 per
fruit, cochleariform, glossy, small, 1.1-
0.9mm, testa-cells flat, with interstitial
Habitat and distribution
On exposed rock outcrops composed of
white quartz rock, in fissures of rock faces
or in shallow cavities in the rock filled
with quartz gravel, quartz sand and
humus, in an altitude of 550750m,
within the caatinga vegetation zone in a
summer rainfall semiarid region, south-
western Bahia, Brazil.
The species is named after the biology stu-
dent Marylan Coelho, who discovered the
plant together with the first author in an
expedition to the Serra Escura in
September of 2001. The expedition to
explore the flora of the Serra Escura was
envisioned by Marylan Coelho, who grew
up in Suuarana, a small village close to
the Serra Escura, and always wanted to
explore it., and the authors wish to
acknowledge this by describing the new
species with her name.
The new species was discovered in
September of 2001 during an expedition
organized by Avaldo de Oliveira Soares
Filho, Professor of Ecology in the Natural
Sciences Department of the State
University of south-western Bahia, and
Marylan Coelho, biology student in that
university. The goal of the expedition was
to explore the flora of Serra Escura, a hill
rising to about 300m altitude above the
surrounding countryside, and located near
Suuarana, a small village which is in a
district belonging to the municipality of
Tanhau, in the south-western region of
the state of Bahia. The lower areas sur-
rounding the hill have patches of caatinga
vegetation interspaced with cultivated
Figure 5 Seedling plant of Arrojadoa marylanae
growing in the white quartz gravel
Figure 6 Cliff habitat with dozens of plants of Arrojadoa marylanae.
The population consists of plants of all sizes
land, mostly pasture land; on the slopes of the hill
grows a low deciduous dry forest, and the uppermost
portion of the hill is a massive outcrop of white quartz
rock where grows a sparse rupicolous vegetation. The
name Serra Escura means black mountain, and this is a
reflection of the sense of humour of the local people,
as the mountain is actually white. Soares Filho and
Marylan Coelho decided to survey the rupicolous veg-
etation of the hill, potentially rich in endemics due to
the isolation of this habitat, and photographs were
taken of all plants they found.
During August 2002 Marlon Machado visited Soares
Filho in Vitria da Conquista, Bahia, and Soares Filho
asked him to identify the cacti he had photographed in
his expedition to the Serra Escura. Machado immed-
iately recognized the Arrojadoa species shown in the
pictures as something new. A new expedition to the
site was then planned, with the objective of collecting
material of the new species for study. In January of
2003 the discoverers of the new species and the sec-
ond author visited the Serra Escura, and plants were
found in flower. A few plants were collected and kept
in cultivation by Soares Filho in order to proceed with
the description of the new species. A further visit to
the habitat was made in April 2003 by Soares Filho,
Machado and Coelho, this time accompanied by
Raymundo Reis Filho, Marcello Moreira, and the Kew
botanists Nigel Taylor and Daniela Zappi. At this time
plants were found in fruit, and the description could
then be completed.
The accompanying vegetation is composed of small
shrubs in the legume family (Camptosema sp., and Senna
sp.), Velloziaceae (Vellozia sp., Barbacenia sp.), Rubiaceae,
Malvaceae, and herbs, grasses, and bulbs including
Hippeastrum sp. Other cactus species found in the hab-
itat of Arrojadoa marylanae are Espostoopsis dybowskii (the
Serra Escura is a new locality for this species),
Melocactus bahiensis, Melocactus ernestii, Melocactus sp.,
Pilosocereus pachycladus, and Tacinga inamoena. In the
caatinga vegetation that surrounds the Serra Escura the
following cactus species can also be found: Arrojadoa
penicillata, Arrojadoa rhodantha, Cereus jamacaru,
Coleocephalocereus goebelianus, Melocactus salvadorensis,
Melocactus zehntneri, Pereskia bahiensis, Pilosocereus cating-
icola, Pilosocereus gounellei, Pilosocereus pentaedrophorus
Figure 9 Pilosocereus pachycladus shares the same habitat with
Arrojadoa marylanae
Figure 8 Plant of Arrojadoa marylanae in fruit
Figure 7 (facing page)
A small but mature individual of Arrojadoa marylanae
ssp. robustus, Stephanocereus leucostele, Tacinga funalis and
Tacinga palmadora.
Arrojadoa marylanae readily stands out from all other
Arrojadoa species due to its bigger size, thicker and
unbranched stems, higher number of ribs, flexible
spines, woollier cephalia, flowers with thin, spreading
perianth segments (Figure 1), fruits with watery pulp
and flower remnant narrower at base and shallowly
inserted in fruit apex. The seeds with flat testa-cells and
interstitial pits could be viewed as another distinguish-
ing feature, but this testa morphology is also present in
Arrojadoa dinae, as illustrated by Barthlott & Hunt
(2000, pag. 104 fig. 49.5). The cephalium seems par-
ticularly well-developed in this species when compared
to other Arrojadoa species: it occupies the whole apex
of the stem, and is much woollier. Also, growth
through the cephalium compresses it and forces its
structures to a horizontal position, while in the other
Arrojadoa species growth through the cephalium makes
the cephalium structures only a little inclined.
The overall shape of Arrojadoa marylanae is highly rem-
iniscent of Stephanocereus leucostele, and without the
flowers and fruits it could easily be mistaken as a mem-
ber of that genus, particularly when old, tall plants
develop side branches (Figure 2). However, branching
is extremely rare in this species, only two specimens
branching naturally (without apparent damage to the
apical meristem) having been observed.
The flowers of this species show a superficial similar-
ity to Melocactus flowers, as they have thin and elon-
gated, spreading perianth segments, and half or more
of the length of the flower is concealed by the cephal-
ium wool (Figure 1). The more striking difference
between the flowers of Arrojadoa marylanae and flowers
of other Arrojadoa species is the absence in the first of
the convex, fleshy outer perianth segments typical of
the later. However, flowers with characteristics similar
to those of Arrojadoa marylanae are also found in the
genus, e.g. in Arrojadoa multiflora.
The small fruits with watery pulp are also highly rem-
iniscent of Melocactus, and in colour and size (but not
in diameter) the fruits of Arrojadoa marylanae match
very well those of the sympatric Melocactus bahiensis
(Figure 4). Melocactus fruits are regularly eaten by
lizards, probably for the water content; as a result
lizards disperse the seeds of Melocactus (Taylor 1991).
Figure 10 Melocactus bahiensis growing in the white quartz sand at the habitat of Arrojadoa marylanae
Figure 11 (facing page) Espostoopsis dybowskii is also found at the habitat of Arrojadoa marylanae
It is hypothesized here that the similarities in fruit
characters between Arrojadoa marylanae and Melocactus
could be a case of convergence to the same dispersal
agent. Perhaps the similarities of fruit size and watery
pulp reflect the preferences of the lizards a suitable
fruit size for nipping, and a suitable water content.
Even the more well-developed cephalium of Arrojadoa
marylanae could be linked with the mode of dispersal
of its fruits, as the tight wool of the cephalium causes
the fruits to be actively expressed from it, falling to the
ground and thus becoming more conspicuous to the
Another distinguishing feature of Arrojadoa marylanae
is the very regular production of the ring cephalia, as
shown by the uniform size of the stem segments
between consecutive cephalia. In Arrojadoa rhodantha
and in Stephanocereus leucostele (species that, in common
with Arrojadoa marylanae, produce many cephalia along
their stems), the stem-segments are often not uniform
in size, and vegetative growth of the stem can span for
more than one season of growth, with checks of the
growth during unfavorable periods showing as con-
strictions along the stem. These growth checks are
completely absent in Arrojadoa marylanae; thus, due to
the very regular production of ring cephalia in this
species, the number of segments can be an indication
of the age of the plant. If each segment corresponds
to one years growth, a plant with 20 cephalia is more
than 20 years old, taking into account the growth of
the juvenile phase.
So far Arrojadoa marylanae is known only from the type
locality, where the population is estimated to be a few
thousand plants of all sizes. The number of seedling
plants is particularly high in number and density, and
shows that the species is reproducing well. There are
no current threats to the habitat as the terrain is unsuit-
able for farming, and quarrying is not likely to occur as
the quartz rock is fragile and breaks easily. The only
threat the plants can face is that of collection. It is
hoped that it will not endanger this unique and rare
BARTHLOTT, W. & HUNT. D. (2000) Seed-diversity in the Cactaceae sub-
fam. Cactoideae. Succulent Plant Research 5. 173p.
TAYLOR, N. P. (1991) The Genus Melocactus (Cactaceae) in Central and
South America. Bradleya 9: 1-80.