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Apacapa tepui does not exist. Or does it? Location of H.exappendiculata


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Hello everybody,

Recently, I've been obsessed by all the tepuis Heliamphoras grow at and started to collect Heliamphora clones from different tepuis to collect them all one day. But I noticed something strange to me. In numerous articles I read about tepuis I haven't come across the name Apacapa tepui, which was strange, as it is my favourite location of H.exappendiculata. When I googled specifically "Apacapa" tepui I only got results showing web pages of sellers (like Wistuba) and grower that all have their plants labelled "Apacapa tepui", no literature or scientific articles at all. 

When you look at some of the online sources listing tepuis that support Heliaphora, like Distribution of Heliamphora or Heliamphora: the various ranges and tepuis, none of them lists "Apacapa tepui". 

There are two similarly named tepuis that are part of the Chimantá Massif where H.exappendiculata grows though - Apacará tepui and Abacapá tepui. I started to think that "Apacapa" must be a typo of one of those tepuis.

Then I found the only literature on the internet that mentions Apacapa tepui - it is the Heliamphora exappendiculata description published in Carnivorous Plant Newsletter, available here. In the part of the article called "Specimens examined" there are, among others, mentioned herbarium specimens from both "Apacapa tepui" (Apacapa-tepui, 2125-2300 m, 13.04.1953 Steyermark No. 74888 (VEN, K)) and Apacará tepui (Apacara-tepui, 1900 m, 08.07.1946, Cardona No. 51648 (VEN)). This put Apacará out of the game and I thought that Apacapa is a typo of the right name Abacapá.

In the above-mentioned article, there is a picture - a scan of one herbarium specimen provided by the New York Botanical Garden. So I checked the website of the New York Botanical Garden and found out it has a virtual herbarium (which is amazing btw)! So I searched for the herbarium specimen from that article (Apacapa-tepui, 2125-2300 m, 13.04.1953 Steyermark No. 74888 (VEN, K) and found the answer - the correct location of that specimen is Abacapá tepui. You can check for yourself Heliamphora exappendiculata (Maguire & Steyerm.) Nerz & Wistuba. That means that Apacapa tepui is, indeed, a typo of Abacapá tepui, at least in that article.

So, unless Apacapa is a new tepui, that is not mentioned anywhere in the literature, to me "Apacapa" does not exist and all the plants in cultivation localised as "Apacapa" should be re-labelled to "Abacapá". It doesn't make a huge difference really, but what is the point of providing location information when it's adressing a non-existent place :)

I tried to reach the authors via e-mail but so far without any more details on this topic.

If you happen to know anything related to this, please, join the discussion :)

Pavel Vrana

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you are going to find that a lot with tepui names.

They could have been named by a character in Terry Pratchett's diskworld series who is a professor of cruel and unusual geography.

The same name is sometimes applied to two different tepuis and the same tepui is sometimes given two or more names.

And different people describe the same tepui as being in two different places.

Some of the Testugos chain have being given different names; Maringma has been described as being in different places; a sundew described as being from Yakon tepui is apparently from Maringma, and Waukauyengtipu is sometimes described as being the same location as one of the Cerro Venamos and other times stated to be separate from them.

There are also multiple spelling versions of places like Marahuaca and Huachamacari; and Marahuaca is sometimes considered  as two or three separate smaller peaks.

And the tepui with Heliamphora to the South of Roraima is called Wei tepui or Cerro del Sol; their is another tepui without Heliamphora near Auyan tepui also called Cerro del sol.



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I know, these are all well-known facts - I said I've read a lot about tepuis :yes: What have you found about Apacapa? It is not a known synonym of any other tepui. I found only one article from 2006 a there it is a typo as the original material from 1953 states Abácapa tepui (which is known and existent tepui). That is why I'm questioning its existence. I haven't found any information on Apacapa, such as its location. It might exist, why not. I honestly don't care whether it's a synonym or what is the real name, I just want to know where it is :smile:

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People are selling both H. exappendiculata and H. pulchella labelled as coming from Apacapa;  to confuse matters as well as the H. exappendiculata collected by Steyermark in 1953 on Abacapa he also collected H. pulchella 75776 on Apacara.

I strongly suspect like you do that Apacapa is an error or variant spelling of Abacapa.

However as the source of the plants is Wistuba only he can clear this up; if there is an Apacapa tepui it must be a very small one not on any map of Chimanta that I have been able to find.


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Yes, that is what I think so :smile: I thought Abacapa or Apacara, but based on all mentioned above I'd suspect Abacapa to be more likely. According to this Abacapa supports only two species - H.exappendiculata and H.pulchella. And only plants available in cultivation from "Apacapa" are H.exappendiculata and H.pulchella. That also makes me think "Apacapa" is an error or variant spelling of Abacapa.

Two weeks ago I e-mailed Mr Wistuba, Nerz and McPherson with this question but I have no response so far, only from Mr Nerz that it is part of Chimanta Massif and that I should ask Mr Wistuba for more information.

Edited by mesemb
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Hopefully he eventually replies to your email.

The wikipedia site is quite good, apart from it's confusion over the location of Maringma and it's missing that Heliamphora heterodoxa occurs on Waukauyengtipu.

Hopefully they will update it sometime.

What is interesting is that the tepuis on the North and East of the Chiimanta massif seem to have fewer Heliamphora species than those to the southwest; I wonder if this is due to being explored less.

It would also be interesting to know how high they extend on Murei tepui.



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