A new species, Sonerila keralensis, from the Western Ghats of Kerala is described and illustrated. It is allied to S. rheedei differing by having a tuberous root stock, three to seven flowers, and petals with sparsely glandular-hairy margins.
Keywords: taxonomy, Sonerila keralensis, Thirunelli, Melastomataceae, tropical Asia, endemic
Habitat and Ecology: Sonerila keralensis grows in moist rock crevices in the spray zone
of waterfalls and along stream banks in semievergreen and evergreen forests at an altitude
of 150 m to 1000 m in association with Begonia crenata Dryand., Biophytum candolleanum Wight, Impatiens scapiflora B. Heyne ex Roxb., I. diversifolia B. Heyne ex Wight & Arn., I. goughii Wight., I. minor (DC.) Bennet, etc.
Distribution: India: Western Ghats located within the boundary of Wayanad, Idukki, and Thrissur districts, Kerala State.
Conservation status: The species was collected by several workers from different parts of Western Ghats from 150–1000 m above sea level and identified as Sonerila rheedei. The extent of occurrence, by taking into account all known locations, comes to 20,000 sq.km., the habitable sites within this range determining population size. Therefore, at present the species can be treated as vulnerable under the IUCN guidelines (IUCN 2001, 2010).
K Deepthikumary and A Pandurangan. 2014. A New Species of Sonerila (Melastomataceae) from the Western Ghats of Kerala, India. TAPROBANICA. 6(2): 72-75. DOI: 10.4038/tapro.v6i2.7229