Unpublished Notes on Species of Adelphia – W. R. Anderson, June 2008

Adelphia hiraea (Gaertn.) W. R. Anderson—Jamaica, Mexico east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Chiapas and Tabasco), Central America (Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama), and northwestern South America (Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador). Lamina of larger leaves 9–19 (–26) cm long, 4–10 (–12.5) cm wide, glabrous at maturity or very sparsely sericeous below, especially on midrib, eglandular or bearing very small marginal glands, often drawn out into vascularized cilia, on distal half, especially near apex; petiole 6–15 (rarely –27) mm long, eglandular or (often) bearing 2 large bulging glands above middle; sepals abaxially glabrous or proximally sericeous, ciliate on margin, all 5 biglandular or the anterior eglandular; posterior petal eglandular-fimbriate all around margin; samara ± butterfly-shaped, membranous, 30–55 mm wide; lateral wings 12–25 mm wide, 15–40 mm high, flabelliform; dorsal wing 3–5 mm wide, 6–14 mm high. This species is extremely variable in size of leaves and samaras, but I can find no consistent basis for dividing it. The plants of Jamaica tend to have small leaves and fruits, but similar plants can be found elsewhere in the range of the species, e.g., in Ecuador.

Adelphia macrophylla (Rusby) W. R. Anderson—Amazonian Peru and Bolivia. Lamina of larger leaves (21–) 23–30 cm long, (11–) 13–19 cm wide, glabrous at maturity or very sparsely sericeous below, especially on midrib, eglandular; petiole (20–) 25–60 mm long, bearing 2 large bulging glands above middle; sepals abaxially densely and evenly appressed-tomentose, all 5 biglandular; posterior petal proximally glandular-fimbriate, distally eglandular-fimbriate; samara ± orbicular, membranous, (55–) 60–80 mm wide; lateral wings 25–40 mm wide, 50–72 mm high, semicircular; dorsal wing 4–7 mm wide, 10–13 mm high.

Adelphia mirabilis (W. R. Anderson) W. R. Anderson—Amazonian Peru. Samara (immature) with the lateral wings rudimentary, 1–2 mm wide, and the dorsal wing dominant, 3–4 mm wide, 8–10 mm high; otherwise resembling A. macrophylla, q.v. It is possible that what I originally interpreted as samaras with rudimentary lateral wings were simply  immature samaras of A. macrophylla; only the discovery of A. mirabilis with mature samaras will resolve that matter.

Adelphia platyrachis (Triana & Planch.) W. R. Anderson—Pacific coast of Colombia (Chocó and Valle). Samara 15–25 mm wide; lateral wings 5–10 mm wide, 10–25 mm high, coriaceous; otherwise resembling A. hiraea, q.v. Cuatrecasas (1958) recognized Mascagnia platyrachis (Triana & Planch.) Cuatrec. as a distinct species on the basis of its small, coriaceous samaras, and they are indeed different from those of most populations of A. hiraea. I am accepting the species for the present, but additional collections may eventually make it impossible to recognize this as anything more than an extreme in the variation of a very variable species. Cuatrecasas & Croat (1981) applied the name M. platyrachis to plants of Colón, Panama, but those plants are probably referable to A. hiraea, which Cuatrecasas & Croat called Mascagnia hippocrateoides (Triana & Planch.) Nied.