Compsoneura sprucei represents a difficult species complex that has not been studied since the 1930s. Multivariate analysis of morphological data based on 454 herbarium specimens from 14 neotropical countries provided supporting evidence that Compsoneura sprucei is a complex of at least two species, one in western Amazonian South America, and the other in the eastern lowlands of Central America from Veracruz, Mexico to isthmian Panama. The gross aspects of herbarium specimen morphology, particularly of the dried leaves and fruit, have helped to perpetuate a broad concept of the widespread C. sprucei. Lack of detailed information for staminate flowers has also delayed understanding of the Compsoneura sprucei species complex. The name Compsoneura mexicana is proposed as a new combination for the Central American component. It is moved from synonomy under the name Myristica mexicana to valid species-level status in Compsoneura. Compsoneura sprucei sensu stricto is maintained for the South American component. Results of morphological analysis, a diagnostic key, species descriptions, and a list of representative specimens studied are provided for these two closely related species.
Communicating Editor: John V. Freudenstein