Friday, January 14, 2011

Maytennus magellanica in California?

This post pertains to UC1755439, my number 21,098, collected 28 October 2010. The report may be the first detection of a second non-native Maytenus for California.

Maytenus magellanica (Lam.) Hook. f. (Celastraceae) is a large shrub native to the southern portion of South America (Argentina and Chile). Enciclopedia de la Flora Chilena (2010) attributes it to south of 36oS. The genus Maytenus consists of about 225 species, according to Maberly, topical to warm Old World and Australasian distribution, with only Maytenus phyllanthoides Benth. being native to the se U.S.

I have had this putative taxon of Maytenus under observation for many years. A small colony, consisting of multiple age cohort plants, grows in Aptos, Santa Cruz County. The plants are tall shrubs to ca. 4 meters tall and with multiple branched stems to ca. 15 cm basal diameter.

Photographs of authentic Chilean material show a taxon with bright red flowers, whereas the plants under discussion here have greenish and less showy flowers. In this respect, the Aptos plants of Maytenus are more similar in appearance to the USDA Plants database photo of Maytenus cymosa Krug & Urb., which is native to the Caribbean. Maytenus boaria Molina is a commonly seen plant in coastal California gardens, known for its distinctive pendant branches; it is now sparingly naturalized in California. Clearly, our plant is not this taxon.

The taxonomic assignment of UC1755439 DWT#21098 requires assessment of a monographer, and awaits treatment of Celastraceae for FNA. Regardless, the report herein is an early detection and requires monitoring and assessment for invasibility.

No comments: