This is a mess of a species. Ruellia tubiflora. It never should have happened, but it did. And so I am stuck with a giant taxonomic + nomenclatural mess left by Emery Leonard. James and I have a running joke that we should just synonymize all lichens into Lichen lichen. Maybe I should do the same to whatever variant of Ruellia tubiflora this ends up being?
Relax, I am rarely serious.
Ok, in all seriousness, this plant, no matter how much it vexes me, is probably a new species. It is from the Orellana region, just west along a shitty dirt road used by oild field operators, on the road from Coca to Dayuma. Do I have the time and stamina to deal with it? Maybe or maybe not. Do I have the drive to prioritize publishing it over several other new species in the genus awaiting description…species that are much less unruly, and way more behaved? Unlikely.
The phylogeny snippet included here is a little RADseq data teaser. As you can see, this species (E. Tripp et al. 6776, which is sp54tubiflora in this phylogeny) is most closely related to sp55 (Heringer 10483, housed at the US National Herbarium) along with spnov2_Colombia, which is the thing that looks just like it that we collected in Colombia two years earlier (see the following Ruellia Page: Ruellia vel. aff. tubiflora, Tripp et al. 5228). So, there you have it. Yeah, that’s where I’m at, too.
Wild collected, Ecuador, E. Tripp #6776 w/ Manuel Luján & Matt Schreiber (COLO); Photos by Erin Tripp