Petalidium rautanenii

A quick flash of something brilliant and summoning at 80 km / hr from the Land Cruiser. So alluring that even my mom noticed it (yep – fieldwork with the parents in Namibia – never a dull). We were gliding down a dirt highway not far from Waterberg when I first laid eyes on Petalidium rautanenii. 

Petalidium rautanenii cannot possibly confused with any other species in the genus, based on macromorphology alone. One of the very few taxa with gaudy, pure white flowers. I suspect my immediate love for it was far greater than its’ for me. Another unrequited…sigh.

This is my 23rd species (not including all the putative new species), and the most recent, that I have encountered in the field. It’s getting harder to find new ones without going to Angola, but, that being said, the world of discovery about each of those 23 is wide open. Community assembly, niche biology, adaptation, speciation, climate change tracking…. you name it.

Wild collected, Namibia, E. Tripp w/ L. Tripp & C. Tripp #4796 (COLO); Photos by Erin Tripp

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