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Pouteria macrocarpa (Mart.) Dietrich (Sapotaceae) Drift Seed from the Little Cayman Island, Caribbean Sea
Declan T.G. Quigley

Caribbean Naturalist, No. 57 (2019)

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Caribbean Naturalist 1 D.T.G. Quigley 22001199 CARIBBEAN NATURALIST No. 5N7o:1. –567 Pouteria macrocarpa (Mart.) Dietrich (Sapotaceae) Drift Seed from the Little Cayman Island, Caribbean Sea Declan T.G. Quigley* Abstract - I describe and illustrate a Pouteria macrocarpa drift seed, which was discovered stranded on Little Cayman Island. The specimen is the first known record of a P. macrocarpa drift seed from the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico region. Herein, I also review previous records of Pouteria drift seeds from the northwestern and northeastern Atlantic. Between 2008 and 2012, Judie Clee discovered a drift seed of Pouteria macrocarpa (Mart.) Dietrich stranded on the Little Cayman Island (19.68oN, 80.03oW) in the Caribbean Sea and deposited the specimen in the Bermuda Museum of Natural History, Flatts, Bermuda, where it was photographed by Lisa Green (Bermuda Museum of Natural History; Figs. 1–3). The seed, measuring ~50 mm in length and ~25 mm in width (hilum ~20 mm in length and 5 mm in width), fits closely with P. macrocarpa seeds described by Van Roosmalen and Garcia (2000:272) as “globose or plano-convex measuring 27 x 20 x 18–50 mm in length, testa smooth, reduced to a narrow abaxial strip, testa *Dingle Oceanworld (Mara Beo Teo), Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland; Manuscript Editor: Noris Salazar Figure 1. Seed of Pouteria macrocarpa from the Little Cayman Island, back view. Scale is in centimeters. Photograph by Lisa Green. Caribbean Naturalist D.T.G. Quigley 2019 No. 57 2 woody, scar (hilum) covering most of the seed surface, rough, dull brown”. Dr. Anderson Alves Araújo (Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil) confirmed the identity of the specimen by comparing the photographs with a type specimen of P. macrocarpa (deposited at the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland). Figure 2. Seed of Pouteria macrocarpa, front view showing the hilum region. Scale is in centimeters. Photograph by Lisa Green. Figure 3. Seed of Pouteria macrocarpa, apex view. Photograph by Lisa Green. Caribbean Naturalist 3 D.T.G. Quigley 2019 No. 57 P. macrocarpa has a disjunct geographic distribution in Central and South America, including Costa Rica, Columbia, and Brazil (Amazonas, Para, Roraima, Bahia, and Espírito Santo), where it is colloquially known as Abiu-grande or Abiurana. It is a relatively large tree, reaching up to 30 m in height and 65 cm in diameter, with a fluted bole. The species is generally found in lowland Amazonian and Atlantic rainforests but has also been recorded, albeit on only 1 occasion, at an altitude of 1800 m in Columbia (Mônico et al. 2017, Van Roosmalen and Garcia 2000). Although the status of P. macrocarpa is currently regarded as vulnerable under IUCN Red List criteria (IUCN 2015), Mônico et al. (2017) suggested that the species is apparently rare and should actually be considered as endangered under IUCN criteria. The only species of Pouteria known to be established on the Cayman Islands is P. campechiana Baehni (Canistel), a naturalized species, originally introduced by humans (Brunt and Davies 1994, Proctor 2012). The current specimen would therefore appear to represent the first known record from the Little Cayman Island, and indeed elsewhere throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, of a drift seed of P. macrocarpa. Pouteria is a large genus of polymorphic flowering trees and large shrubs, which is restricted to the Neotropics. Although up to 325 Pouteria species have been described, the actual number of species within the genus is continually in a state of taxonomic flux (Govaerts et al. 2001; Pennington 1990, 1991; Swenson and Anderberg 2005; Triono et al. 2007). About 200 species of Pouteria have been described throughout the Neotropics, including South and Central America and the West Indies (Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong 2016, Alves-Araújo and Alves 2013, Alves-Araújo and Mônico 2017, Alves-Araújo et al. 2014, Cornejo and Janovec 2010, Mônico et al. 2017, Morales 2012, Popovkin et al. 2016, Roosmalen and Garcia 2000, Sobral and Stehmann 2009). Many Pouteria species are of economic importance, producing high-quality timber and edible fruit, as well as remedies in folk medicine (FAO 1987, Silva et al. 2008). Although Pouteria fruits and seeds are consumed and dispersed by terrestrial animals (endochory), nothing is known about the possible long-term flotation properties and subsequent viability of Pouteria seeds that enter fresh or salt water (hydrochory). Gunn and Dennis (1999) suggested that the presence of an empty space around the embryo would most likely facilitate buoyancy . Northwest Atlantic Records of Pouteria Drift Seeds Although many of the Neotropical Pouteria species occur within hydrographic catchments draining into the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico (Lentz and Dickau 2005, Van Roosmalen 1985, Van Roosmalen and Garcia 2000), it is surprising that only 2 species have been positively identified as maritime drift seeds throughout this region: P. sapota (Jacq.) (Mamee Apple) and Canistel (Sullivan and Williams 2007, 2010; Sullivan et al. 2008). It is worth noting that both of these species are native to Mexico (Arias et al. 2015) and have been widely introduced throughout the West Caribbean Naturalist D.T.G. Quigley 2019 No. 57 4 Indies and Florida (Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong 2016, Martin and Malo 1978), so these stranded seeds may have a more local origin. There are also unconfirmed reports that P. domingensis (C.F. Gaertner) Baehni (Jacana), which is native to the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola, has become naturalized in southern Florida, USA (Wunderlin and Whetstone 2016). Elsewhere, unspecified Pouteria drift seeds have been reported from the Atlantic beaches of Florida, USA (Katz 1995, Mitchell 2005). Gunn and Dennis (1999) noted that the larger drift seeds appeared to be Mamee Apple, while the smaller ones probably represented 1 or more species. Northeast Atlantic Records of Pouteria Drift Seeds Pouteria drift seeds have rarely been recorded from northeastern European waters. Guppy (1917) collected 2 Pouteria seeds near Salcombe, South Devon, UK, during May 1911. Gunn and Dennis (1999) suggested that the seeds were most likely Mamee Apple. However, Nelson (2000) noted that Guppy (1917) had compared the seeds with specimens of Mamee Apple in Kew Gardens, and was still unable to identify them to species level. Gunn and Dennis (1999) also suggested that 2 Trieghemella heckelii (A. Chev) Pierre ex Dubard (Cherry Mahogany) seeds, which were found at Rosscarbery, County Cork, Ireland, during April 1965, were probably Mamee Apple. However, Nelson (2000) subsequently examined the specimens, which are housed in the collections of the National Herbarium in Dublin (DBN 19:1977), and confirmed their identity as Cherry Mahogany. During 2004, Cadée and Mol (2004) recorded 2 unidentified Pouteria drift seeds from the North Sea coast on the Frisian Island of Texel, Netherlands. Although all of the northwestern European Pouteria specimens were considered to have been locally discarded rather than true peregrine drifters, it is possible that some of these seeds could have originated in the Neotropical Western Atlantic and drifted across the North Atlantic via the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift. Acknowledgments I am grateful to Lisa Green (Bermuda Museum of Natural History) for bringing the current specimen to my attention and for her permission to publish the photographs, and to Anderson Alves Araújo (Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil) for confirming the identification. I also thank Ed Perry (Melbourne Beach, FL, USA) and Mark Van Roosmalen (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia – INPA, Manaus, Brazil) for their assistance. Literature Cited Acevedo-Rodriguez, P., and M.T. Strong. 2016. Flora of the West Indies. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Available online at WestIndies/. Accessed 25 January 2019. Alves-Araújo, A., and M. Alves. 2013. Checklist of Sapotaceae in Northeastern Brazil. Check List 9(1):59–62. Alves-Araújo, A., and A.Z. Mônico. 2017. Pouteria samborae, a new species of Sapotaceae (Chrysophylloideae) from Espírito Santo, Brazil. Systematic Botany 42(2):358–363. Caribbean Naturalist 5 D.T.G. Quigley 2019 No. 57 Alves-Araújo, A., U. Swenson, and M. Alves. 2014. A taxonomic survey of Pouteria (Sapotaceae) from the northern portion of the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil. Systematic Botany 39(3):915–938. Arias, R.S., J. Martinez-Castillo, V.S. Sobolev, N.H. Blancarte-Jasso, S.A. Simpson, L.L. Ballard, M.V. Duke, X.F. Liu, B.M. Irish, and B.E. Scheffler. 2015. Development of a large set of microsatellite markers in Zapote Mamey (Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H.E. Moore & Stearn) and their potential use in the study of the species. Molecules 20:11400–11417. Brunt, M.A., and J.E. Davies. 1994. The Cayman Islands: Natural History and Biogeography. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. 604 pp. Cadée, G.C., and I. Mol. 2004. Drift seeds of the egg fruit, Pouteria sp. (Sapotaceae) rediscovered on the European coast. The Drifting Seed 10(2):11–12. Cornejo, F., and J. Janovec. 2010. Seeds of Amazonian Plants. 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Seeds of Central America and Southern Mexico: The economic species. Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden 91:1–296. Martin, F.W., and S.E. Malo. 1978. Cultivation of neglected tropical fruits with promise. Part 5. The Canistel and its relatives. US Department of Agriculture, Science and Education Administration, New Orleans, LA, USA. 24 pp. Mitchell, M. 2005. Symposium Review, 2005. The Drifting Seed 11(3):8–9. Mônico, A.Z., L. de Almeida Silva, V.F. Duta, J. Freitas, and A. Alves-Araújo. 2017. New records of Pouteria macrocarpa (Sapotaceae) from the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Rodeiguesia 68(4):1493–1498. Morales, F. 2012. Neuvas especies de Sapotaceae para Costa Rica. Darwiniana 50(1):1–5. Nelson, E.C. 2000. Sea Beans and Nickar Nuts: A handbook of exotic seeds and fruits stranded on beaches in north-western Europe. BSBI Handbook No. 10. Botanical Society of the British Isles, London, UK. 156 pp. Pennington, T.D. 1990. Flora Neotropica: Sapotaceae. Monograph 52:1–41. New York Botanical Garden, New York, NY, USA. 770 pp. Pennington, T.D. 1991. The Genera of the Sapotaceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. 307 pp. Popovkin, A.V., A.D. De Faria, and U. Swenson. 2016. Pouteria synsepala (Sapotaceae: Chrysophylloideae): A new species from the northern littoral of Bahia, Brazil. Phytotaxa 286(1):39–46. Proctor, G.R. 2012. Flora of the Cayman Islands, 2nd Edition. Kew Publishing, Kew, UK. 736 pp. Caribbean Naturalist D.T.G. Quigley 2019 No. 57 6 Silva, C.A.M., L.A. Simeoini, and D. Silveira. 2008. Genus Pouteria: Chemistry and biological activity. Brazilian Journal of Pharmacolognosy 19(2A):501–509. Sobral, M., and J.R. Stehmann. 2009. An analysis of new angiosperm species discoveries in Brazil (1990–2006). Taxon 58(1):227–232. Sullivan, G., and J. Williams. 2007. UTMSI Drift-seed Collection continues to Florida. The Drifting Seed 13(2):8–9. Sullivan, G., and J. Williams. 2010. What’s new on Mustang Island. 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