Meet Ruellia jaliscana….as the name implies, native to (and also endemic to) Jalisco, Mexico. This is a striking plant that is sub-woody and can grow several meters in height, just like its close relatives in section Chiropterophila. In the flowering season, all parts of the plant are extremely pungent. In the vegetative season, this odor is not apparent. Inflorescences of this species are highly dissected, fimbriate, and I would add, stunning!
Kate and I sat and watched this species for many hours for multiple days, with and without sunlight. The flowers open (and anthers dehisce) between 5-7 pm, and for the most part fall in mid morning. We observed abundant hummingbird pollination during crepuscular hours but no bat visitors despite nocturnal observations and infrared videotaping. We did, however, hear some sweet sounds bouncing around the noctural Mexican forest while enjoying some tasty resveratrol….
Ruellia jaliscana was beautifully illustrated by Amanda Labadie of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (the original now hangs in Kate’s living room), along with the other 10 species in Ruellia section Chiropterophila. See Tripp 2010 (Systematic Botany) for examples of her fine work. Kate’s hand is equally impressive….
Wild collected, Mexico, Tripp & Deregibus #199 (DUKE); Photo by Erin Tripp