Vachellia baessleria Clarke, Seigler & Ebinger, Systematic Botany (in review)-
Synonymy and types
TYPE: Cuba, Province Guantánamo, Mpio. San Antonio del Sur, Abra de Mariana, monte seco, calizo, alt. 100-300 m, 21 May 1982, J.Bisse, M.Bässler, M.A.Diaz, H.Dietrich, L.Gonzáles & K.F.Gunther 48121 (holotype: K, isotype: NY).
Small tree to 8 m tall. Bark dark brown to reddish brown to gray, rough. Twigs gray to dark reddish-brown, slightly flexuous, glabrous to lightly puberulent. Short shoots present above the stipular spines, to 2 mm long, covered with acuminate stipules and old leaf bases. Leaves alternate, also clustered on the short shoots 0.2-0.9 mm long. Stipular spines light reddish-brown, becoming gray or dark brown with age, symmetrical, terete, straight, aciculate, to 16 x 1.2 mm near the base, mostly lightly pubescent toward the base, glabrous above. Petiole rarely adaxially grooved, 0.2-0.9 mm long, sparsely puberulent; petiolar gland solitary, located just below the pinna pair, columnar, 0.2-0.7 mm long, commonly inclined toward the apex of the petiole, apex circular, 0.2-0.4 mm across, glabrous, depressed. Rachis absent. Pinnae 1 pair per leaf, 2.0-4.8 mm long. Petiolules 0.3-0.7 mm long. Leaflets 3 to 6(7) pairs per pinna, opposite, 0.3-1.0 mm between leaflets, linear, 1.3-2.8 x 0.3-0.6 mm, glabrous, lateral veins mostly not obvious, only one vein from the base, base oblique, margins lightly ciliate, apex acute to obtuse. Inflorescence a densely flowered globose to subglobose head, 5-7 mm across, usually solitary from the short shoots. Peduncles 0.8-1.8 x 0.3-0.5 mm, lightly puberulent. Involucre of 4- to 6- small bracts, located just below the base of the head, lightly ciliate, early deciduous. Floral bracts spatulate, 0.3-0.5 mm long, sparsely ciliate, persistent. Flowers sessile, yellow; calyx 5-lobed, 0.7-0.9 mm long, glabrous; corolla 5-lobed, 1.3-1.6 mm long, glabrous; stamens 20 to 25, stamen filaments 2.0-2.7 mm long, distinct; ovary with a few scattered hairs, on a stipe to 0.2 mm long. Legumes unknown. Seeds unknown. Flowers in April and May. Chromosome number unknown.
Restricted to arid areas less than 400 m in elevation, Guantánamo and Las Tunas Provinces, Cuba.
Vachellia baessleria appears to be a rare endemic, restricted to a few sites in eastern Cuba. It is similar to other members of the V. acuifera group, and appears to be a cohesive, well-defined taxon that does not overlap in its characteristics with other members of the group. It is most comparable to Vachellia barahonensis of Hispaniola in that the leaves are similar, have short petioles, a columnar petiolar gland, and a single pair of pinnae with relatively few leaflets. Vachellia baessleria differs from V. barahonensis by having shorter petioles (< 1 mm vs. to 3.1 mm), leaflets shorter (1.3-2.8 mm vs. 3-6.8 mm) and narrower (0.3-0.6 mm vs. 0.9-2.2 mm), and involucral bracts at the base of the globose head, not 1-2 mm below the head. This species is also similar to the Cuban endemic V. belarioides, but differs in having a small columnar petiolar gland in which the apex is not enlarged, and smaller leaflets with ciliate margins that are not coriaceous. It is easily separated from other Cuban endemic species of the Vachellia aculifera group. Vachellia baessleria consistently has 3 to 7 pairs of leaflets per pinna, whereas V. bucheri, V. daemon, and V. zapatensis have > 11 pairs of leaflets per pinna. A. roigii has a single pair of large leaflets per pinna.
Of the three collections available for examination, two contained some flowering inflorescences, although most had few flowers, were relatively small, and were not very conspicuous. A few young fruits were present (Álvarez et al. 43103). These were less than 30 cm long, dark brown, flat, oblong, not striate, glabrous, eglandular, showed no indication of constrictions between the seeds, had an acute base that lacked a stipe, and an obtuse apex. This species is named after Dr. Manfred Bässler (born 1935) who has extensively studied the Mimosoideae of Cuba (Bässler 1998), and was one of the collectors of the type.
- San Antonio del Sur: lomas al E del Abra de Mariana, 5 km al NE (noroeste) de San Antonio, monte seco, caliza, alt. 100-300 m, 11 May 1980, A.Alvarez, J.Bisse, J.Gutíerrez, & F.K.Meyer 43103 (K).
Las Tunas Province:
- Jesús Menéndez, Maniguas cerca de Playa Herradura, 22 Apr 1987, I.Arias, M.Bässler, E.Genes, L. González, J.Gutíerrez, L.Lepper, E.Méndez & B.Sorribes 61665 (K).