No matter how far you travel from home, a purple Ruellia is always nearby. Here is one of the many ‘LPJs’ (little purple jobs) that I have the joy of trying to understand. I must add: no matter how boring Lucinda thinks LJPs are, they are fascinating from a floral morphological evolutionary perspective. Time and again, no matter which clade you hone in on, they seem to give rise to lineages with wildly diverse corolla shapes. That is, something about the genetic architecture that underlies LPJ is diverse and ‘creative’ enough to yield all kinds of evolutionarily downstream novelties… but not the other way around.
The native habitat of Ruellia bahiensis in the cerrado leads me to predict this species will be resolved in the Ruellia geminiflora clade along with Ruellia bulbifera and others, but time will tell. For now, sit back and enjoy the story that unfolds…almost as exciting as duet male calling of the black-capped Donacobius.
Wild collected, Brazil, Erin Tripp #5896 w/ Nico Medina, Cíntia Kameyama (COLO); Photos by Cíntia Kameyama