New localities and taxonomic synopsis of Puya mima (Bromeliaceae), a charismatic and important Puya from Central Peru.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Bromeliaceae (Identification and classification)
Bromeliaceae (Physiological aspects)
Phenetics (Research)
Botany (Morphology)
Botany (Research)
Biology (Identification and classification)
Biology (Research)
Authors: Flores, Noema Cano
Jabaily, Rachel Schmidt
Pub Date: 05/01/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of the Bromeliad Society Publisher: Bromeliad Society International Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Bromeliad Society International ISSN: 0090-8738
Issue: Date: May-June, 2010 Source Volume: 60 Source Issue: 3
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Peru Geographic Code: 3PERU Peru
Accession Number: 248734312
Full Text: Efforts to compile the Flora of Peru (Macbride, 1936; Weberbauer, 1945; Brako & Zarucchi, 1993; Ulloa et al., 2004; Leon et al., 2006) are ongoing and Puya mima L.B.Smith and R.W.Read is one of twenty two Peruvian Puyas known from the type collection only, prior to our recent collecting and taxonomic efforts. In light of recent collections of flowering material from multiple locations in the field, we present an updated species description and additional information about this beautiful Peruvian Puya. The type specimen of P. mima was found by P.C. Hutchison in the Department of Cajamarca, Province Jaen near San Felipe in October, 1964 (Figure 1). No vouchers were taken of the plant, but collected seeds were later cultivated in the Desert Collection of the Huntington Botanical Garden, home of the largest living collection of Puya. The type specimens grown from these seeds were made in 1977 and are deposited at the US National Herbarium, Jepson Herbarium, and Huntington Botanical Garden herbarium (HNT 697). The original species description was then published in 1978 by L.B. Smith and R.W Read in Phytologia. All living accessions of P. mima from the original seeds at Huntington had died by 1980, most likely from periodic frosts.

Recent collections of Puya mima from the Department of Ancash considerably expand the known geographic range of this species. Puya are particularly diverse in Ancash, home of the majestic Cordilleras Blanca and Negra and Huascaran National Park. Puya raimondii, P. macrura, and P. angusta are common in the vicinity and type-only localities of P. argentea, P. cerrateana, P. grandidens, P. hutchisonii, P. macbridei ssp. macbridei and ssp. yungayensis, P. nigrescens, P. rauhii and P. tyleriana also recorded. Much work remains to be done to describe new species and re-circumscribe the taxonomy of other Puya in Ancash.

Puya mima is a very unique Puya in many aspects of its morphology. The inflorescence is simple, glabrous and few flowered, both traits uncommon in Puya (Figure 2). The scape and floral bracts are entire, smooth, thick and slightly inflated. Puya mima has large, zygomorphic flowers on the end of a long pedicel, similar to P. ferruginea (Ruiz & Pavon) L.B. Smith, a species common throughout the central Andes. However, P. mima does not have ferruginous hairs or the white petals characteristic of that species. The petals are a brownish-pink color that changes throughout anthesis (Figure 3). It would be very interesting to determine the pollinator of P. mima! The capsules are some of the largest of any Puya species (Figure 4).



The species is common on rocky slopes covered by dry valley vegetation including Acacia macracantha, Schinus molle and Caesalpinia spinosa (Figure 2). Local people of this valley call it "queshque blanco", or the white Puya. The altitudinal range of Puya mima is between 1400-2600 m and the current species distribution is from the Department of Ancash to Amazonas. It is not yet known from Dept. La Libertad, but we would expect to find it there as well. One population of P. mima was found on an exposed hillside above the town of Caraz in Ancash. The plant was quite common and grew in sympatry with the shorter P. macrura. All individuals had just finished flowering and were setting seed in mid-April, 2008. Local people burn this hillside annually as part of the festival of San Juan in June, but this practice may not be detrimental to the plants if they have released their seeds by then and can perpetuate themselves as vegetative ramets.

Recent and ongoing studies of evolutionary relationships within Puya using two types of molecular data (Jabaily & Sytsma, 2010) show that Puya mima is one of the most genetically distinctive Puya species, and is often placed in the earliest diverging lineages of the entire genus. This species merits further studies both in the field and the laboratory and highlights the importance of ongoing fieldwork efforts in Peru.




Updated description of Puya mima L.B. Smith and R.W Read: Plant with many polycarpic ramets, flowering to 2m high. Leaves numerous per rosette, 5dm long, narrowly triangular, densely covered with scales beneath, becoming glabrous above, margin serrate with slender antrorse red spines, to 7mm long and slightly curved; sheaths 6cm wide, 3cm tall, lustrous castaneous beneath. Scape slender, glabrous, erect to 1.2m high, 20mm in diameter, completely covered by scape bracts; scape bracts to 7cm long, broadly oblong, mucronate, entire, glabrous, light brown, castaneous, slightly inflated, imbricate. Inflorescence simple, glabrous, to 1.5m; floral bracts like scape bracts, to 8cm, about equaling pedicels; pedicels ascending, stout, to 7 cm long, green at anthesis, drying dark brown. Flowers nutant, lax and secund strongly zygomorphic, emerging as a downcurved hook, petals twist tightly post-anthesis; sepals to 5.5cm long, broad lanceolate, mucronate, carinate., pale green when immature, dark brown at base when dried; petals more than twice as long as sepals, pink brown, becoming green at center; filaments, anthers and style with pinkish tinge. Pollen yellow. Capsule broadly ovate, to 5cm long, dark brown and lustrous; seeds alate, nearly triangular, 3-4mm.

Recent collections: Peru. Ancash: Prov. Huaylas: Cerro San Juan, above Caraz, 2594m, 09 02'29"S, 77 48'26"W, common on exposed hillsides, 10 April 2008, R. Jabaily & M. Ames 228 (WIS; USM). Ancash: Prov. Huari: Uco, on the right margin of Puchka river 300 m. before Gargahuayin, 2269m, 09[degrees]12'14.4" S--76[degrees]57'34.92" W, 15 May 2008, N. Cano-Flores & E. Jara-Pena NOE-022 (USM). Ancash: Prov. Yungay: Ranrahirca, Matacoto, 2376m, 18L 0197375--UTM 8985318, 10 April 2009, N. Cano-Flores & E. Jara-Pena NOE-078A (USM). Ancash: Prov. Antonio Raimondi: Aczo, in front of Piuroq, 2360m, 9[degrees] 13' 0S--76[degrees] 58' 0W, 11 April 2009, N. Cano-Flores & E. Jara-Pena NOE-078B (USM).Ancash: Prov. Pallasca: Pallasca, above the Lacramarca River, 2300m, 08[degrees]12'32.2" S--77[degrees]56'59.7" W 19 May 2005, A. Cano ACE-15567 (USM). Amazonas: Prov. Bagua: Bagua Grande, Longa Grande. Buenos Aires (Calpon), 1420m, 5[degrees] 45' 22S--78[degrees] 26' 28W, 19 May 1989, C. Diaz y J. Campos 3432. Amazonas: Prov. Luya: Camporedondo, between Brasil and Pucho, 1570-1780m, 06[degrees]15'10" S--78[degrees] 20'7" W, 22 June 1999, J. Campos, W Vargas and J. Sembrera 60843.

The authors met in April 2008 while Rachel Jabaily was on a collecting trip in Peru. We have formed a fruitful international partnership in our studies of Puya. Rachel Jabaily finished her Ph.D. thesis "Systematics and Evolution of Puya (Bromeliaceae)" at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the past several years, she observed and collected Puya throughout the Andes. Noema Cano-Flores completed her thesis "Taxonomic Study of the Bromeliaceae Family in Ancash, Peru" to obtain the title Biologist at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima, Peru. She currently is pursuing a Masters Degree in Applied Ecology at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Lima, Peru working on the diversity, distribution and conservation status of Peruvian Puya.


The authors wish to acknowledge the Bromeliad Society International and Garden Club of America award in Tropical Botany for helping to make our field research possible.


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Jabaily, R.S. and KJ.Sytsma. 2010. Phylogenetics of Puya (Bromeliaceae): Placement, major lineages and evolution of Chilean species. American Journal of Botany 97 (2): 337-356.

Leon, B., A. Sagastegui, I. Sanchez and M. Zapata. 2006. Bromeliaceas endemicas del Peru. Rev.Peru.BiolNumero Especial 13(2):708-737.

Macbride, J.F. 1936. Flora of Peru. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser.1, N[degrees] 3: 495-592.

Ulloa, C., J. Zarucchi and B. Leon. 2004. Diez anos de adiciones a la flora del Peru: 1993-2003. Arnaldoa (Numero especial Noviembre 2004): 1--242.

Weberbauer, A. 1945. ElMundo Vegetal de los Andes Peruanos, Estudio Fitogeogrdfico. Estacion Experimental Agricola de La Molina, Direccion de Agricultura, Ministerio de Agricultura. Lima, Peru. 776 pp.
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