Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A new species of Gesneriad from Malaysia.

Gesneriads are small tropical or subtropical flowering plants; most are herbaceous but a few woody forms grow to shrub- or small tree-sized. Most members of the group produce conspicuous coloured flowers, with many becoming popular house or garden plants, such as African Violets, Temple Bells or Cape Primroses. The Generiads are thought to be related to the Lady's Purses and Slipperworts.

In a paper published in the journal PhytoKeys on 7 December 2012, Ruth Kiew and Yen-Yen Sam of Forest Research Institute Malaysia, describe a new species of Gesneriad from Terengganu State in Malaysia.

The new species is placed in the genus Codonoboea and given the specific name personatiflora, meaning 'closed flower'. All plants in the genus Codonoboea have tube- or bell-shaped flowers, but the flowers of Codonoboea personatiflora are closed by a pair of lip-like recurved lobes. This unusual structure suggests the plant is pollinated by an insect capable of entering the flower, but the pollinator is

The flowers of Codonoboea personatiflora. Kiew & Sam (2012).

Codonoboea personatiflora is an unbranched woody herb growing up to 65 cm in height, with plants flowering from when they reach about 15 cm. It has thin, leathery leaves 12-34 cm in length, coloured reddish at the base and with white or yellow veins. It produces cylindrical fruit up to 45 mm in length.

Leaves and flower of Codonoboea personatiflora. Kiew & Sam (2012).

Codonoboea personatiflora grows as an understory plant in lowland mixed dipterocarp forest at low altitudes (below 100 m). It is know only from five locations in Terengganu State, all of which are at threat from logging and conversion to Palm Oil plantations. For this reason Kiew and Sam consider that Codonoboea personatiflora be considered to be Endangered under the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


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