Ruellia adenostachya

 

Here is a terrific species that I knew almost nothing about and didn’t even have a name to put on it until Ulisses Fernandes commented on this webpage and identified it! Huge thanks to him for that!

Ruellia adenostachya is a species I knew absolutely nothing about prior to working in Brazil. It was described by Lindau (a man I should have liked to have coffee with) in 1898, based on material from “estrada do norte out da Canastra” in Goiás. The original material of this name lives at Paris, and that is just about all I had to reference, except for two collections that I made during our recent fieldtrip (E. Tripp et al. 5943 and E. Tripp & N. Medina 5964).

I am still trying to learn something meaningful about the history of this species. It is apparently known only from four collections, including the type, all of which are historical (pre 1900). How can that be? How can we have made two of the only modern voucher specimens of it? I don’t quite understand or believe this, and need to visit some Brazilian herbaria to embark on a search.

Time will tell. For now, I will merely comment that it is (1) highly distinctive, (2) lovely, and (3) does not appear to be exceptionally rare. The first collection (E. Tripp et al. 5943) derived from Reserva Natural Vagofogo in Goiás, which is where I also learned the remarkable Ruellia eurycodon for the first time in the cellulose. The second collection we made in Brazil (E. Tripp & N. Medina 5964) derived from Goiás State Hwy 241, between Formoso and Campinaçu.

Wild collected, Brazil, E. Tripp #5943 & 5964 w/ Nico Medina & Cintia Kameyama (COLO); Photos by Erin Tripp

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