Tepuianthaceae

Nota de alcance (en)

The family has been created in 1981, when MAGUIRE & STEYERMARK decided to introduce a new family name for the only genus Tepuianthus. The genus is endemic in the mesetas of the Roraima sandstone formation in the highlands of Venezuelan Guiana. The name of the genus and family is derived from the Indian word tepui which means the mesetas or 'houses of the gods'. These are tableshaped mountains, rising up to a height of about 3000 m. For geological reasons, endemisms of plants and animals are accumulated in this region, and even differ from Tepui to Tepui. A certain relationship of the Tepuianthaceae with the Sapindaceae and Rutaceae is obvious (MAGUIRE & STEYERMARK 1981). For a more detailed description see ROTH & LINDORF (1990). Leaf and bark structure of T. auyantepuiensis were studied by ROTH & LINDORF (1990).

Tepuianthus is a new genus of a plant family unknown up to the present. MAGUIRE & STEYERMARK (1981) gave the family the name
'Tepuianthaceae'. 'Tepui' is an Indian word for 'meseta', a mountain of tabular shape, which the Indians considered as 'houses of the Gods'. The Tepuianthanceae comprise only a single genus, Tepuianthus. It is represented in Venezuela by 6 taxa. MAGUIRE & STEYERMARK (1981) observe a relationship with the Sapindaceae or Rutaceae and localize the family in the Sapindales. About 100 mesetas, 1500-3000 m high, occur in an almost inaccessible area of 1/2 million sqaure kilometers, 65 of which never have been entered by human beings, as far as we know. One of the best known mesetas is the Auyantepui. Endemisms have developed abundantly on the mesetas; about 50-70% of the plants are endemic. This is due mainly to the characteristic geographical and geological structure of the region. Even from Tepui to Tepui, the plants are distinguished from one ana other.  During each expedition, dozens of new plant and animal species are discovered. Tepuianthus is a very promising plant because its chemical compounds have not yet been studied. But it contains a large quantity of slime, tannins, resins and a bitter principle. The multilayered slime epidermis as well as the characteristic venation pattern of the blade facilitate identification.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

Tepuianthaceae
Término aceptado: 03-Feb-2017