Sloanea sect. Anoniodes

Sloanea pulchra, from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Belongs within: Elaeocarpaceae.

Only the Sloanea
Published 11 September 2023

Like tropical regions everywhere, the forests of New Guinea are home to a broad range of plant species. Among these are various species of Sloanea, a pantropical genus of small to large trees belonging to the family Elaeocarpaceae. Sloanea species can be readily recognized by their fruit, which are woody, thick-walled capsules that split into regular sections at maturity. A number of Sloanea species are partially or entirely deciduous, and fruit commonly persist on the bare stems after leaves are lost. Among the Sloanea species peculiar to New Guinea are those that have been assigned to the section Anoniodes.

Leaves, flowers and fruit of Sloanea sogerensis, from Coode (1981).

Nine species were assigned to section Anoniodes by Coode (1981), found in various parts of New Guinea and the neighbouring islands of the Bismarck Archipelago. One of these species, S. sogerensis, was subsequently recorded from the Moluccas by Coode (1983). Anoniodes species are distinguished by flowers with petals similar in appearance to the tepals, and most or all anthers fertile. Fruits commonly bear a covering of coarse spines. The seeds are more or less enclosed in a fleshy, brightly coloured aril. Leaves are solitary with a long petiole but may be pinnate in young plants. The base of the petiole is often associated with leaf-like stipules that may grow several centimetres long in some species.

Open fruit of Sloanea sogerensis, from Coode (1983).

Species of section Anoniodes may be found in a variety of habitats, from the coast to the mountains, in both primary and disturbed forest. Larger species may grow up to 40 metres in height and have buttressed trunks. I haven’t found any direct reference to the Anoniodes species being utilised by humans, but the wood of other species of the genus is used elsewhere. Species of Sloanea generally produce a hard, attractively pale wood, and I see no inherent reason why Anoniodes should be any different.

Systematics of Sloanea section Anoniodes
<==Sloanea sect. Anoniodes (Schlechter) Sm. 1944 [=Anoniodes Schlechter 1916]C81
|--S. brachystyla (Schlechter) Sm. 1944 (see below for synonymy)C81
|--S. ledermannii Sm. 1944 [incl. Anoniodes rufa Schlechter 1916 non S. rufa Planch. ex Benth. 1861]C81
|--S. nymanii Sch. in Sch. & Laut. 1905 (see below for synonymy)C81
|--S. pulchra (Schlechter) Sm. 1944 [=Anoniodes pulchra Schlechter 1916]C81
| |--S. p. ssp. pulchra [incl. S. clemensiae Sm. 1944]C81
| `--S. p. ssp. morobensis Coode 1978C81
|--S. pullei Sm. 1944C81
|--S. pulleniana Coode 1978C81
|--S. schumannii Warbg. 1891 (n. d.) [=Anonioides schumannii (Warbg.) Schlechter 1916]S16
|--S. sogorensis Bak. f. 1923 (see below for synonymy)C81
|--S. speciosa Sm. 1944 [incl. S. aculeata Sm. 1944]C81
`--S. velutina (Schlechter) Sm. 1944 [=Anoniodes velutina Schlechter 1916]C81

Sloanea brachystyla (Schlechter) Sm. 1944 [=Anoniodes brachystyla Schlechter 1916; incl. S. micrantha Sm. 1944, A. parviflora Schlechter 1916 non S. parviflora Planch. ex Benth. 1861]C81

Sloanea nymanii Sch. in Sch. & Laut. 1905 [=Anoniodes nymanii (Sch.) Schlechter 1916; incl. A. glabra Schlechter 1916, Sloanea glabra (Schlechter) Sm. 1944]C81

Sloanea sogorensis Bak. f. 1923 [incl. S. oxyacantha Sm. 1944, Anoniodes sterculiacea Schlechter 1916 non S. sterculiacea Rehder & Wilson 1915]C81

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

[C81] Coode, M. J. E. 1981. Elaeocarpaceae. In: Henty, E. E. (ed.) Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea vol. 2 pp. 38–185. Melbourne University Press.

Coode, M. J. E. 1983. A conspectus of Sloanea (Elaeocarpaceae) in the Old World. Kew Bulletin 38 (3): 347–427.

[S16] Schlechter, R. 1916. Die Elaeocarpaceen Papuasiens. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 54: 92–155.

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