Ruellia palustris


You won’t believe me because I have no photo nor herbarium voucher to prove it, but…. I have both seen and collected the rare and elusive Ruellia palustris in the cellulose. Unfortunately, at the end of that most memorable OTS ecology course back in 2005, I forgot my specimens next to the plant drier at Las Cruces Biological Station while packing in haste for Barro Colorado Island at 2:30 AM. Those specimens were never recovered….just like Alfred Russell Wallace’s tragic loss of Amazonian collections when his 1848 ship caught fire. OK: maybe a little less dramatic. But no less painful!

I have no idea what Ruellia palustris is related to. It is a narrow endemic and obviously a source of my anxiety until I can find and study it again. The type collection is from La Selva, near the junction of the Río Sarapiquí and the Río Puerto Viejo. Swamp forest, just like the epithet implies (thanks Durkee).

Have you seen it while traipsing around an OTS station? Go ahead, rub it in. Maybe even squeeze a little lemon into that sore, irresponsible wound of mine. Then send me a specimen and a photo….

Wild collected, Costa Rica, B. Hamml #9341 (DUKE, holotype)

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