Ruellia solitaria

Is this species even validly published? [note to self to check; yep, it is…. Vellozo 1825; now to sort thru the type material….].

Regardless of the correct name for this plant, it is super distinctive owing to its paired, large, leafy floral bracts. It reminds me of but of course is totally unrelated to the only other species in the genus with this sort of paired configuration: Ruellia boranica…. named by our dear friend and colleague Ensermu Kelbessa, who recently passed from this fine Earth.

The leaves of Ruellia solitaria are also incredibly fleshy (yep: just took the dive; first step is feigning familiarity), which is rather distinctive in the genus. Fits right into an everwet tropical rainforest.

It’s floral pigments are interesting too… not purple, not red… that in betweeny thing I can sympathize with.
Where does the plant get off being so variegated? Does it have some foreign genomic material that we don’t know about? Do I?

A lot to learn about this one. Keeps the botanists in business….

Wild collected, Brazil, Cíntia Kameyama #326 w/ Lucinda McDade (COLO); Photos by Cíntia Kameyama

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