4. New Species Description
Ceratozamia aurantiaca Pérez-Farr., Gut.-Ortega, J.L.Haynes & Vovides sp. nov. (Figure 5, Figure 6 and Figure 7).
Figure 5. Ceratozamia aurantiaca sp. nov. (A) Adult plant with orange emerging leaves beginning to transition to green. (B) Adult plant with erect trunk. (C,D) Details of leaflet articulation, prickles, and leaflet shape. (E) Details of apex and heavily armed petioles.
Figure 6. Strobili of Ceratozamia aurantiaca sp. nov. (A) Microstrobilus; (B) megastrobilus.
Figure 7. Mature megastrobilus of Ceratozamia aurantiaca sp. nov., showing details of megasporophylls and peduncle (A), mucronate apex (B) and view from below (C). Scale = 10 cm. Photos by José García.
Holotype:—MEXICO. Oaxaca, Sierra Norte, San Pedro Teutila, 30 May 2021, Pérez-Farrera M.A & Díaz-Jiménez p. 4014 ♀ (HEM!). Isotypes: (XAL).
Ceratozamia aurantiaca is easily distinguished by its emerging leaves of orange color that turn green at maturity. It resembles C. robusta, but has longer petioles and wider separation between leaflets along the rachis.
Additional specimens examined:—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Santa Maria Tlalixtac, 675 m a.s.l. (above sea level), 26 November 2004, Gonzalo Juárez García & Cutberto Ángel Cruz Espinosa 868 (MEXU, SERO); Chiquihuitlán de Benito Juárez, 861 m a.s.l., 26 November 2004, Cutberto Ángel Cruz Espinosa & Gonzalo Juárez García 1945 (MEXU, SERO); San Pedro Teutila, 708 m a.s.l., 10 June 2004, Gonzalo Juárez García & Laura Escobar 425 (MEXU, SERO); 588 m a.s.l., 30 May 2021, Miguel Ángel Pérez-Farrera & Pedro Díaz-Jiménez 34,015 ♂ (MEXU; HEM).
Plant rupicolous, arborescent, unbranching. Stem cylindrical, erect, sometimes decumbent with age, 20–150 cm tall, 10–15 cm in diameter, covered with persistent leaf bases. Cataphylls persistent, triangular, brown, densely tomentose at emergence, apex acuminate. Leaves pinnate, 10–27 per apex (mean = 15), crown open, erect, ascending, eventually arching at maturity, basally slightly keeled, 117–257 cm long, 53–77 cm wide, reddish-light brown at emergence, becoming bright orange, and then green at maturity. Petiole terete 31–73 cm long (mean = 54 cm), densely armed with thick prickles. Rachis terete, 85–187 cm long (mean = 135 cm), with spaced prickles diminishing apically, green at maturity. Leaflets coriaceous, linear to subfalcate, occasionally sigmoid, 19–31 pairs (mean = 25), subopposite basally, opposite medially, margin entire, apex asymmetric, acute to acuminate; base broad attenuate, articulation brownish to green, depending on age; veins 29–37, parallel, inconspicuous, slightly translucent; median leaflets 21–38 cm long (mean = 33 cm), 3.4–4.7 cm wide (mean = 4.0 cm), 2.4–4.7 cm between leaflets (mean = 3.5 cm), articulation 0.75–1.5 cm wide (mean = 1.0 cm). Microstrobilus solitary, cylindrical, erect, 34–36 cm long, 4–6 cm diameter, light-orange and tomentose when emerging, light brown when mature, peduncle 4.5–7.5 cm long, 1.2–1.9 cm diameter, densely tomentose. Microsporophyll cuneiform, distal face bicornate, 16–25 mm long, 7–13 mm wide, sporangia zone on abaxial surface 11–20 mm long, microsporangia grouped in sori of 3–4. Megastrobilus solitary, cylindrical, erect, 39–42 cm long, 10.3–10.7 cm diameter, light-orange pubescent base color with green diamond-shaped patches and dark brown trichomes on megasporophyll terminal facets at emergence, maturing light-orange with greenish-yellow horizontal line and brown trichomes on megasporophyll terminal facets; apex mucronate, peduncle 7–8.8 cm long, 1.8–1.9 cm in diameter, tomentose. Megasphorophylls peltate, bicornate, 3–4.25 cm wide, 1.7–2.4 cm tall, distal face pubescent, brown to reddish-orange (including horns) at maturity, base green with light-orange pubescence; peduncle tomentose, light green when immature, light brown at maturity. Seeds ovoid, sarcotesta cream when immature, orange-brown when mature, sclerotesta beige, 2.3–2.7 cm diameter, 1.6–1.9 cm long, with micropylar ridges.
Habitat description: Ceratozamia aurantiaca grows in karst tropical forests or Pinus-Quercus forests, between 200 to 800 m a.s.l.
Etymology: The specific epithet is from the Latin “aurantiacus” and refers to the glowing orange color of emerging leaves.