5. Manihot subspicata D. J. Rogers & Appan in Organization for Flora Neotropica, Fl. Neotrop. 13: 62, figs. 19D, 20A–C. 1973.
Spiked manihot, palo mulato Spiked manihot, palo mulato
Herbs or subshrubs, to 1 m. Roots thickened. Stems lax (often leaning on other vegetation), terete when young; nodes not swollen; leaf and stipule scars not elevated. Leaves: stipules lanceolate, entire; petiole 2–10 cm; blade basally attached to subpeltate, 5-lobed, lobes with acute secondary lobes near base, median lobe 2–10 cm, margins thickened and revolute, remotely serrate, apex acute to acuminate (bristle-tipped), surfaces glabrous, abaxial smooth. Inflorescences terminal, racemes, 25 cm. Pedicels: staminate 1–5 mm; pistillate 10–20 mm in fruit, downcurved. Staminate flowers: calyx campanulate to conic, 8–13 mm, lobes reflexed; stamens 10. Capsules 1.5 cm, smooth, not winged. Seeds oblong, 10 mm.
Flowering Jun–Aug. Savannahs and grasslands with scattered shrubs and trees; 30–60 m; Tex.; Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas).
Although D. J. Rogers and S. G. Appan (1973) characterized leaf blades of Manihot subspicata as peltate, seldom are leaves unambiguously so. Typically, just the thickened margins of lateral lobes are confluent across the distal end of the petiole. Though relatively common in northern Mexico, M. subspicata is known in Texas only from the vicinity of Lake Corpus Christi (Jim Wells and Live Oak counties); whether native or introduced there is unresolved. In Mexico, M. subspicata appears to be tolerant of disturbance, frequently colonizing roadsides and similar habitats.