Life was easy in my stupid bliss, back when I only ever knew this species flattened in a herbarium.
Into that desolation of reality: I’ve now seen it in the field, in its many manifestations, and sort of feel like I need to talk to a counselor. Or perhaps try a confession booth.
Sometimes it’s scrambling, sometimes it’s a shrub. You find it purple, you find it yellow, you find it short, you find it tall. See a bit of this variation in the photos.
Nonetheless, Ruellia nitens is relatively distinctive by its small, elliptical, always shiny leaves. The latter trait gives away its identity more than any other.
And, as with several others, “I have no idea where this species goes phylogenetically”. I cannot wait sink these many mysterys into an Illumina lane…
Wild collected, Brazil, Erin Tripp #5916 & #5941 w/ Nico Medina, Cíntia Kameyama (COLO); Photos by Erin Tripp