Petalidium bracteatum

Don’t be jealous just because evolution didn’t fare so well for you.

Petalidium bracteatum has it ALL figured out. On a bloody hot day while I was cruising along on the right (wrong) side of the 4×4 track, in the Kaokoveld, in a heat-induced stupor, Kyle and Lucinda simultaneously spotted this thing through their awesome Acanth spectacles. It was growing out of vertical cracks in cliffs very near to the Kunene River / Angola border. We have yet to encounter this remarkable species anywhere else. At this site, 100% of its fruits were severely predated by some specialist frugivore (damnit!). Seeing the species in the cellulose absolutely clears up any doubt that we may have ever had about its distinctiveness from Petalidium coccineum. Definitely different, although almost certainly related. Need ‘Next Generation’ sequence data, as it’s clear that Sanger Sequences aren’t going to cut it…

Wild collected, Namibia, Tripp et al. #4054 (RSA-POM); Photo by Erin Tripp

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