Vachellia belairioides (Urban) Seigler & Ebinger, Phytologia  87:  145.  2005.
syn.  Acacia  belairioides Urban, Symb. antill. 9: 439.  1928.

Synonymy and types

Basionym:  Acacia belairioides Urb., Symb. antill. 9: 439.  1928.  Feracacia belairioides (Urb.) Britton and León, N. Amer. Fl. 23: 87.  1928. - TYPE:  CUBA.  HOLGUÍN:  Holguín, in carrascales (serpentine barrens) toward El Paraiso, 26 Aug 1916, E. L. Ekman 7589 (holotype:  S; isotypes:  MT, NY).

Formal description

Tree to 7 m tall.  Bark unknown.  Twigs gray to dark reddish-brown, not flexuous, glabrous.  Short shoots commonly present above the stipular spines, to 2 mm long, covered with acuminate stipules and old leaf bases, sometimes elongating into branches with scattered leaves.  Leaves alternate, also commonly clustered on the short shoots, 0.5-5.5 mm long.  Stipular spines reddish-brown, becoming gray with age, symmetrical, terete, straight, aciculate, to 24.0 x 1.2 mm near the base, glabrousPetiole adaxially grooved, 0.5-5.5 mm long, glabrous; petiolar gland solitary, located just below the first pinna pair, sessile to short, stalked, apex circular to elliptical, 0.5-1.1 mm across, cupular, glabrous. Rachis absent.  Pinnae 1 pair per leaf, 3-17 mm long.  Petiolules 0.7-1.5 mm long. Leaflets 3 to 7 pairs per pinna, opposite, 1.1-2.8 mm between leaflets, oblong, 3.5-7.5 x 1.8-2.5 mm, glabrous, coriaceous, lateral veins usually not obvious, only one vein from the base, base oblique, margins not ciliate, apex obtuseInflorescence a densely flowered globose head 6-7 mm across, in fascicles of 1 to 5 from the short shoots.  Peduncles 15-20 x 0.4-0.6, glabrousInvolucre 4- to 5-lobed, located at the base of the head, glabrous, deciduous.  Floral bracts spatulate, 0.6-0.9 mm long, glabrous, more or less persistent. Flowers sessile, yellow, calyx 5-lobed, 0.8-1.2 mm long, glabrous; corolla 5-lobed 1.9-2.2 mm long, glabrous; stamens 45 to 50, stamen filaments 2.4-3.1 mm long, distinct; ovary glabrous, on a stipe to 0.2 mm long.  Legumes unknown.  Seeds unknown.  Flowers in March. Chromosome number unknown.


Known only from the type locality at relatively low elevation in a serpentine area near Holguín, Holguín Province, Cuba.

Additional info

Urban (1928a) described Vachellia belairioides basis on a single, sterile collection.  He distinguished this taxon from V. daemon on the basis of its larger leaflets and pinnae with fewer pairs of leaflets.  Vachellia belairioides has elliptic-oblong leaflets 4.5-7.5 mm long and 1.8-2.5 mm wide and with 4-7 pairs of leaflets per pinna.  Vachellia daemon, in contrast, has 10-30 pairs of linear leaflets per pinna that are 2.5-5.2 mm long and 0.6-1.3 mm wide.  However, Vachellia belairioides most closely resembles V. barahonensis with regard to the size of the leaflets and the number of pairs of leaflets per pinna.  It may be distinguished from V. barahonensis by its longer petiole (up to 5.5 mm long vs. always < 3.1 mm long) and the diameter of the gland apex (0.5-1.1 mm across vs. 0.2-0.4 mm across).  Because of these differences, V. belairioides is provisionally recognized as a distinct species in this treatment.  A final determination of its status must await the availability of better, fertile collections, as well as better documentation of the distribution and variation of all of the Cuban members of the V. acuifera species group.  If there are found to be persistent morphological and geographical discontinuities among V. baessleria, V. belairioides, V. bucheri, and V. daemon, then V. belairioides may represent a vicariant member of this group that occurs on serpentine areas near Holguín, Holguín Province.


Representative specimens


Holguín Province: