Ruellia kaokoana


The readily lovable Ruellia kaokoana inhabits the driest of dry, slaty hillsides, mostly of northwestern Namibia (hence the epithet we honored the new species with). It’s sprawling / prostrate growth form is distinctive among the species it is related to (R. acetabula, R. aspera, R. diversifolia, R. marlothii…). This group is united by the presence of a unique “2+2+1” zygomorphic calyx configuration, with a prominent collecting vein on the widest calyx lobe, extremely dense / bracteate inflorescences, and production of a citronella-like vegetative odor. See Tripp & Dexter 2012, Syst. Bot.

I can’t believe how dry the habitat is in which this species thrives. Phenomenal. Some years, not a single drop of rain…

Wild collected, Namibia, Tripp & Dexter et al. #2019 (RSA-POM); Photo by Erin Tripp

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