For starters, I will refer you to Ruellia “La Tranca” Numero Uno, aka Ruellia sp. nov., Tripp et al. 5971 & 5977. Why? Because Tripp et al. 5979 represents Ruellia sp. nov. 2, La Tranca Dos.
We thank you, Bolivia, for your most appropriately placed roadblocks on Earth.
This species was collected on a day that we were not planning on spending in the greater Caranavi area, but La Tranca kept us local for the next 8 hrs. We decided to head up a dirt track (a very dusty, dirt track) towards the small community of Bolinda. Along the way, we encountered this species, carpeting the steep, nearly vertical slope that comprised the roadside. I had guessed at the time that it must have been related to R. menthoides, or R. terminale. One massive RAD sequencing dataset later, I was partially correct…perhaps. This species, labeled as ‘sp48_Caranavi’ in the photograph of the clade shown here, is strongly resolved within the clade that contains R. menthoides and R. terminale, but it’s position therein is not yet well-understood (note the mere 27% bootstrap support…Felsenstein, you would be not be happy).
Some time has passed, and I am convinced this species is new to science. And that it is somehow, someway, ultimately related to R. menthoides, R. terminale, and a pile of other stuff, as you will appreciated.
Wild collected, Bolivia, E. Tripp #5979 w/ Manuel Luján & Dina Clark (COLO); Photos by Erin Tripp