Tuesday, May 31, 2016

[Botany • 2016] Four New Species of Microchirita (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand


Fig. 1. Microchirita flowers.
A หยาดอุทัย |  Microchirita personata; B บุหงาหุบป่าตาด | M. huppatatensis;
C ศรีเห็มรัตน์ | M. hemratii; D บุหงาอุ้มผาง | M. lilacina.

PHOTOS: P. KARAKET.  DOI: 10.1007/s12225-016-9614-0 

Summary
Four new species of Microchirita (C. B. Clarke) Yin Z. Wang are here described: Microchirita huppatatensis C. Puglisi and M. personata C. Puglisi, from Uthai Thani province, and M. hemratii C. Puglisi and M. lilacina C. Puglisi, from Tak province. Proposed conservation assessments are given for all species.

Key Words: Chirita, limestone, Tak, Uthai Thani



หยาดอุทัย | Microchirita personata C. Puglisi sp. nov.
Type: Thailand, Uthai Thani, Lan Sak, Huppatat Non Hunting Area, D. J. Middleton, C. Hemrat, P. Karaket, C. Puglisi & S. Suddee 5688 (holotype BKF; isotypes AAU, E, K, QBG, SING).

Habitat. Lithophyte, on bank over limestone rocks in secondary forest.

Conservation Status. Critically Endangered [CR B1ab(iii,iv)+B2ab(iii,iv)]. This species is only known from the type collection in the Huppatat Non Hunting Area, where only one, small population was observed. The limestone range there is only about 12 km2 in total and is subject to disturbance from tourism. There are no collections from the nearby Khao Pha Ra, and the area is surrounded by cultivated land.

Etymology. Named for the personate corolla mouth.

Notes. Microchirita personata is the most immediately recognisable of the four new species and arguably the most distinctive species in the genus. Its main diagnostic feature is the personate corolla, a unique occurrence in Microchirita. The small corolla is also remarkable, with the entire flower hardly reaching 1 cm in length and the upper two lobes strongly reduced. M. personata appears most similar to M. woodii D. J. Middleton & Triboun (2013: 15) and M. huppatatensis, both with a corolla primarily white and with a smaller upper lip and expanded and slightly raised lower lip. These species, however, have much larger and non-personate flowers.


บุหงาหุบป่าตาด | Microchirita huppatatensis C. Puglisi sp. nov.
Type: Thailand, Uthai Thani, Lan Sak, Huppatat Non Hunting Area, D. J. Middleton, C. Hemrat, P. Karaket, C. Puglisi & S. Suddee 5689 (holotype BKF).
Recognition. Very similar to Microchirita woodii, differing in the indumentum of the anthers, the smaller flower, the more prominent yellow ventral stripe, and the acuminate leaves.


Habitat. Lithophyte, on bank over limestone rocks in secondary forest.


Conservation Status. Critically Endangered [CR B1ab(iii,iv)+B2ab(iii,iv)]. This species is only known from the type collection growing in a mixed population with Microchirita personata. Therefore, the same justifications apply.

Etymology. The new species is named after the type locality.

Notes. Microchirita huppatatensis is most similar to M. woodii, a species only known from Nan province. Both species share a corolla colour pattern of mostly white with a yellow ventral stripe surrounded by purple-brownish spots. The two species, however, differ significantly in the size of the corolla (much larger in M. woodii), the leaf ratio (higher in M. huppatatensis), leaf apex (acute, not acuminate, in M. woodii), leaf size (much larger in M. woodii), and the basal inflorescence, which can be compound in M. woodii. In living material the following additional differences in the corolla are observed, but these, unfortunately, are not preserved in dry or rehydrated flowers. The overall mouth shape is depressed in M. woodii and apically compressed in M. huppatatensis; the yellow stripe that runs down the inner, ventral part of the corolla is strongly raised in M. huppatatensis and much less so in M. woodii, which also has the ventral part of the tube linear, not pouched.



ศรีเห็มรัตน์ | Microchirita hemratii C. Puglisi sp. nov.
 Type: Thailand, Tak, Mae Sot distr., Wat Tham Inthanin, D. J. Middleton, C. Hemrat, P. Karaket, C. Puglisi & S. Suddee 5775 (holotype BKF; isotypes E, SING).
Recognition. Similar to Microchirita suddeei D. J. Middleton & Triboun (2013: 18), M. lilacina and M. albiflora Middleton & Triboun (2013: 19), but is characterised by the combination of open corolla mouth (unlike M. suddeei and M. albiflora), ventral yellow stripe (unlike M. suddeei) and hairy anthers (unlike M. albiflora and M. lilacina).

Habitat. Lithophyte on limestone in mixed deciduous forest.conservation status. Endangered [EN B1ab(iii,iv)+B2ab(iii,iv)]. The known EOO of this species would qualify it for Critically Endangered but the collecting localities are in a limestone range much of which has so far not been explored and where it is also likely to occur. Even if it were to occur throughout this range its EOO would still qualify it as Endangered. Parts of this range, including some of the known localities, are outside protected areas and subject to disturbance from visitors, particularly at the religious sites.

Etymology. The species is named in honour of Chandee Hemrat, one of the collectors of the types of all of the new species.
Notes. See notes under Microchirita lilacina.


บุหงาอุ้มผาง | Microchirita lilacina C. Puglisi sp. nov.

Type: Thailand, Tak, Umphang, D. J. Middleton, C. Hemrat, P. Karaket, C. Puglisi & S. Suddee 5704 (holotype BKF; isotypes AAU, E, K, QBG, SING).
Recognition. Similar to Microchirita suddeei, M. albiflora and M. hemratii. Differs from M. suddeei in the glabrous anthers and the presence of a yellow stripe; differs from M. albiflora in the shape of the tube (trumpet shaped in M. albiflora and narrow at base and suddenly broadening into a campanulate upper tube in M. lilacina) and the size of the corolla lobes; and differs from M. hemratii in the glabrous anthers (densely hairy dorsally in M. hemratii).

Habitat. On limestone in dry and disturbed environments.
Conservation status. Endangered (EN B1ab(iii,iv)+B2 ab(iii,iv)). This species is known from disturbed roadside collections, with the exception of two collections in Doi Hua Mot Wildlife Sanctuary, over an area within the bounds of an EOO in the Endangered category. Its known localities are subject to disturbance.

Etymology. The plant is named after its pale lilac corolla.
Notes. Microchirita hemratii and M. lilacina belong to a group of species characterised by corolla colours ranging from pale lilac-white to blue. M. hemratii and M. lilacina have small corollas in comparison with most members of their group, which are also much darker in colour. The only species somewhat similar to them are M. suddeei, M. albiflora and M. karaketii D. J. Middleton & Triboun, all from Northern Thailand. M. karaketii is similar in the shape of the corolla tube, but differs in the colour pattern of the corolla, being white with a ventral yellow line and purple spots to either side of it. M. albiflora is pure white and differs from the other species in having its anthers free, a rare feature in Microchirita. M. suddeei is much closer to M. hemratii and M. lilacina, and the main difference is in the absence of the ventral yellow stripe in the flower, which is present in both the new species. Finally, one other important distinguishing feature between these closely related species is the indumentum dorsally on the anthers, which is present in M. suddeei and M. hemratii, reduced in M. karaketii and absent in M. lilacina and M. albiflora.



Carmen Puglisi, David J. Middleton and Somran Suddee. 2016. Four New Species of Microchirita (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand.
 Kew Bulletin. 71(1);   DOI: 10.1007/s12225-016-9614-0

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