Columnea in Antioquia

The following list was extracted from the Missouri Botanical Gardens (MOBOT) Tropicos database. It includes 38 species of Columnea which have been recorded as growing in the Department of Antioquia, Colombia.

The text covers mostly the geographic and elevation ranges presented.  As I find them growing in the field I will make additional comments and with any luck prepare some images.

I was able to find links to images of many of the species. These links appear in a dull orange color. Please click them to see what is available.

Many of these plants are not the typical hanging basket Columnea that are popular in cultivation. I hope this work provides some insight into what the genus looks like here in Colombia.

Columnea angustata

Colombian plants identified as Columnea angustata at MOBOT have been collected at elevations between 150 meters and 3250 meters. The single collection at +3000 meters appears anomalous give that the other 6 specimens were found at elevations between 250 meters and 1490 meters.  Most of the plants were considered to be epiphytes.  These collections are from both the central and western chains of the Andes and from the coastal lowlands.

Columnea anisophylla

This appears to be a high elevation species in Antioquia. Two collections are recorded from between 1800 and 2100 meters.  Both are from the Frontino area. C. anisophylla also occurs from Costa Rica south Into Peru at mostly mid-elevations with a few collections greater than 2400 meters. It appears likely that this species occurs more widely in both in Antioquia and the rest of Colombia.

Columnea arguta

Most of MOBOTs collections of C. arguta are from Panama. Adrian Juncosa’s collection from Antioquia was determined by L. E. Skog so it is no doubt valid. This being the case it is likely that the species occurs in other parts of Antioquia, probably to the north.  Juncosa’s plant was growing at 1830 meters which is considerably above the 10 to 1000 meter range where most of the other specimens originated.

Columnea bilabiata

C. bilabiata specimens were collected between 150 meters and 800 meters in Antioquia. It also occurs in the Colombian Chocó and adjacent portions of Ecuador where it is recorded from between 5 and 300 meters.

Columnea byrsina

In addition to the 4 specimens from Antioquia, MOBOT has many other collections from Western Colombia and Western Ecuador. This appears to be a mid-elevation species with most examples originating between about a 1200 and 1800 meters. There are some collections from both above and below this range.

Columnea calotricha

Most collections of this species are from Central America. Turbo is the location given for the one specimen from Antioquia. This is located near Panama. Other areas where the species occurs include French Guiana and Brazil.

Columnea ciliata

Most collections of C. ciliata at MOBOT are from Ecuador between about 1300 and 2000 meters. The collection from Frontino, Antioquia  is at a similar elevation  and was determined by L. E. Skogg. This being the case this species should be looked for at other locations in Colombia along the western slopes of the Andes.

Columnea consanguinea

At MOBOT this species is represented by collections from Nicaragua south into northern Ecuador. In Antioquia most of the collections are from Frontino which is located in the western chain of the Andes.  The elevation range appears to be between sea level and about 2000 meters.

Columnea coronata

This Columnea may be a Colombian endemic. It was described by Amaya, Skog and Kvist (;jsessionid=E7FEA652CFE9B363F621AB29DB49BB62.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=214943 ) in 2003 in a paper dealing with new Columnea species from the Western and Central ranges of the Andes in Colombia. The only MOBOT specimen with an elevation was from 2100 meters near Yarumal, Antioquia. This is located north of Medellin.

Columnea dimidiata

All of the collections of this species in the MOBOT database are from Colombia. It may represent another Colombian endemic. It occurs in the western and north central chains of the Andes. A number of the specimens are from the Medellin area.

Columnea dissimilis

Most collections of this species are from Panama and Ecuador. A single Colombian specimen is listed in the MOBOT database from Amalfi, Antioquia. As this specimen was determined by Skog .  C. dissimilis should be looked for in other portions of northern and western Colombia.

Columnea filipes

All specimens of C. filipes in the MOBOT database are from Colombia at elevations between 2125 and 2250 meters. It has been collected in Antioquia at Fromtino and in th eMunicipio of Caldas. In the Department of Caldas if occurs near the head of the  Río Mapa, on Cerro Tatamá. This species appears to a Colombian endemic and may be restricted to a relatively small area in the northern Central and Western ranges of the Andes.

Columnea florida

Columnea florida has been collected from Nicaragua south in to Ecuador.  In Colombia it is known from Antioquia, Chocó and Valle de Cauca. Most collections have been made in a range of from 100 to 1800 meters. Within Antioquia it is best known from the Frontino area in the Western chain of the Andes above the Chocó. One specimen is recorded from Anori in the Central chain.

Columnea fuscihirta

This species occurs from Colombia south into Peru at elevations between about 400 and 2500 meters. Most collections are from between 1500 and 2200 meters. In Antioquia it occurs at Betania and in the Fronino area above the Choco. These locations and other places where it occurs are in Colombia in the Western Chain of the Andes.

Columnea guttata

This is primarily a plant of Ecuador and Peru but has been collected in both Bolivia and Colombia. The one Colombian collection listed at MOBOT was determined by J. Clark and is from Antioquia, a long ways from Ecuador.

Columnea inaequilatera

Columnea inaequilatera  I predominantly a plant of Peru and Ecuador with a few collections having been made from Bolivia and Colombia. In Antioquia it is recorded from the Frontino area (Urrao). It generally grows between 200 and 2500 meters with the majority of occurrences between 900 and 1700 meters.

Columnea incredibilis

This species has been collected in Colombia and Ecuador in the western chain of the Andes between 250 and 1990 meters.

Columnea kalbreyeriana

Collected from areas between Nicaragua and Northern Ecuador at elevations ranging from 10 to about 1500 meters.  In Colombia it occurs in the Western Andes and there are a few collections from the northern part of the central chain.

Columnea kienastiana

Coloumnea kienastiana is mostly a plant of low elevations in western Colombia and western Ecuador. One collection (determined by L. P. Kvist) from San Francisco, Antioquia at about 1200 meters is from a location higher than its normal range.

Columnea labellosa

This species appears to be a Colombian endemic with only one collection at MOBOT. It was found in the Frontino area at about 850 meters.

Columnea lehmannii

This species occurs mostly in western Colombia and western Ecuador at low elevations. Its range is between about 70 and 1500 meters with most collections between 200 and 400 meters. There is question regarding the identity of the plant at the link I posted. When this is cleared up  relink it or I will post another link. Sorry about that!

Columnea macrophylla

The MOBOT database lists only one collection of this species. It was made in the Frontino area at an elevation of about 1000 meters. The determination was made by J. Clark.

Columnea microcalyx

C. microcalyx occurs from Costa Rica south into western Colombia. Most Colombian collections are from low elevations in  the Chocó. Two collections are recorded from Antioquia, both at somewhat higher elevations, 500 and about 1400 meters. It occurs at moderate elevation over most of its Central American range.

Columnea minor

Columnea minor occurs in Colombia and Ecuador between 40 and about 2000 meters. Collections in Antioquia are from the Frontino area.

Columnea nematoloba

Columnea nematoloba was described in 1992 and appears to be endemic to the lowlands of northwestern Colombia. Specimens in the MOBOT collection are all from less than 100 meters above sea level.

Columnea parviflora

C. parviflora is distributed from Costa Rica into northern Ecuador. Colombian collections are from the area west of the Andes and on their western slopes. The one collection from Antioquia is from Frontino on the slopes above the Chocó.  Most collections are from less than 1000 meters and most considerably lower.

Columnea pedunculata

C. penduculata shares the west coast distribution typical of many Columnea species. All of the MOBOT collections are from western Colombia on the slopes of the western chain of the Andes. The elevations range from 1300 meters to 1900 meters so this is an “intermediate” grower in the sense used by orchid fans. These have been referred to as Cattaleya conditions.

Columnea picta

Columnea picta has been collected from Panama into Ecuador mostly in or below the western Andes. It occurs over a wide elevation range from sea level to more than 2800 meters assuming all collections are correctly identified. Most locations however are between sea level and 1600 meters. This would generally make them warm to intermediate growers. It is possible that there are local populations adapted to cooler conditions.

Columnea pulcherrima

All collections of Columnea pulcherrima at MOBOT are from western Colombia at elevations between sea level and about 2000 meters. Most however are from low elevations with few from greater than 800 meters. Again this is a species of the west coast and may be a Colombian endemic.

Columnea purpurata

Columnea purpurata is a wide-spread species whose distribution extends from Chiapas, Mexico south into the Colombian Chocó.  Its elevation range also is wide, from sea level to about 2800 meters. In Antioquia it occurs in the western Andes, a few locations in the north-central chain and at Mutatá.

Columnea rosea

Like so many other species of this genus in Colombia, Columnea rosea is primarily a plant of the western Andes. It also penetrates in to northwestern Ecuador. Its elevation range is mostly between 50 meters and 1700 meters but a few collections exist from areas above 2000 meters.

Columnea rubriacuta

This is a species of western Colombia and western Ecuador which occurs at low and moderate elevations. A few specimens identified as C. rubriacuta  were taken at greater than 2000 meters. The single collection from Antioquia is from Urrao, near Frontino.

Columnea rubrocincta

Only two collections of C. rubrocincta are listed in the MOBOT database, both of them from Antioquia. Neither has elevation data, geographic coordinates or more specific locality.

Columnea sanguinea

Columnea sanguínea occurs further east tan many Columnea species. It has been collected on several Caribbean islands, in Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia. It is mostly a mid-elevation species with a few examples from below 500 meters and a few above 2000 meters. In Antioquia it occurs on the low lands near Panama and in the western and central chains of the Andes.

Columnea sanguinolenta

Columnea sanguinolenta occurs from Costa Rica south into the Colombian Department of Antioquia. This is mostly a low elevation plant ranging from sea level to about 1000 meters.

Columnea strigosa

Columnea strigosa has been collected from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela elevations mostly above 2000 meters. One Ecuadorian specimen is recorded from 3800 meters. This is defiantly a plant adapted to cool growing conditions. I need to keep an eye out for this one at the finca. This is a very attractive species.

Columnea tenella

Columnea tenella occurs in western Colombia and Ecuador at moderate elevations (about 600 to 1800 meters). In Antioquia it was collected near Frontino.

Columnea tenensis (Wiehler) B.D. Morley

Columnea tenensis occurs in western Colombia and western Ecuador at elevations between about 400 and 1800 meters. Most are from about the middle of this range. The single collection from Antioquia is from the Frontino area.



  1. Karen said,

    December 8, 2009 at 19:48

    Wonderful pictures of a group of plants that most of us will never see as Colombia forests/jungles are not tourist friendly. Thanks for the opportunity to see such a collection of Columnea species.

    • pbunch said,

      December 9, 2009 at 05:33

      Thanks for your kind comment. Things are getting better here. There are still places where it is not wise to go but the Medellin area is quite safe.

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