Ruellia laslobasensis

This species was one of the most memorable discoveries of my life. My sister Gretchen, Kate, and I were riding in the back of a Jeep up a very steep route in Oaxaca when I spotted this species out of the corner of my eye. I immediately knew it was undescribed, and before I could find the Spanish word to say STOPPPPPPP I lunged out of the moving vehicle towards it. We sat up a couple of nights with it, but only saw sphinx moths visiting the flowers. See Ruellia conzattii: I think this species is also intermediate between bat and hummingbird pollination…

My tremendous thanks to Álvaro and Efrén Scherenberg, owners of Finca Monte Carlo in Oaxaca, for facilitating this discovery. What a cool plantation and family history you have.

The specific epithet honors the women who historically inhabited the area and ran a coffee farm there long long ago, plus the local mountain (Los Lobos). Hence, “the she-wolves”…

Wild collected, Mexico, Tripp, Deregibus, & Lowman #317 (DUKE); Photo by Erin Tripp

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