Guabisay or romerillo (Farjon 2010).
Syn.: Nageia sprucei (Parl.) Kuntze 1891 (Farjon 1998). The type collection, R. Spruce 5519, was in the "Valle de Pangor" in Ecuador, at about 11,500 ft (3,500 m) elevation (Farjon 2010). This is a rather approximate location that would seem to correspond to about 1.8°S, 78.9°W, near the highest mountains in the Pangor basin, in a currently unforested area.
Trees to 20 m tall and 50 cm dbh (much smaller at the highest elevations), with a bushy crown of ascending, spreading branches. Bark scaly and red-brown. Leaves on saplings somewhat larger than on fully grown trees, dense on exposed branches, 2-4(-7) cm long and 3-5 mm wide, elliptical to linear, gradually narrowing to a short-petiolate base, apex acute, texture stiff-coriaceous, margins slightly revolute, dark green above, pale green below, midrib on upper side a continuous shallow groove, and on lower side raised basally, fading toward apex. Pollen cones in clusters subtended by short triangular bud scales, up to 10×2 mm. Seed cones axillary, solitary on 3-7 mm peduncles, receptacles 6-7 mm long, succulent, purple-red when ripe; seed globose, 5-7 mm diameter including epimatium (Farjon 2010).
W Ecuador and the Piura area in N Peru, at elevations of 1,800 to 3,900 m, which corresponds to high montane and subalpine forests. The wood is logged from primary forest and used in home construction and furniture making; it is also somewhat used as an ornamental in Ecuador. Although its conservation status is "LC" (Least Concern), it is in decline and reassessment is warranted (Farjon 2010).
The epithet sprucei commemorates Richard Spruce (1817-1893), who collected widely in Ecuador (Farjon 2010).
The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.
Last Modified 2017-11-12