Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Botany • 2017] New species of Xylopia (Annonaceae) from East Africa; Xylopia lukei, X. tenuipetala, X. tanganyikensis & X. keniensis

Fig. 1: Xylopia lukei: A buds; B open flowers, showing petal orientation.
X. tenuipetala: C flowers; D dehisced monocarp, showing red endocarp, black seed, and white aril.
X. keniensis: E flowers, lateral view; F flower, apical view.

photos:a – c, e – f Quentin Luke; d Jonathan Timberlake.

Four new species of the pantropical genus Xylopia L. (Annonaceae) in East Africa are proposed. Two of the new species, Xylopia lukei D. M. Johnson & Goyder and X. tenuipetala D. M. Johnson & Goyder, most closely resemble the East African species X. mwasumbii D. M. Johnson. This species group is confined to the lowland coastal dry forests extending from central Tanzania to northern Mozambique. Problems with the circumscription of X. parviflora (A. Rich.) Benth. in eastern Africa are presented. East African plants identified as that species differ in numerous ways from the plants in central and western Africa, and in this paper are distinguished as X. parviflora sensu Verdcourt. Complicating the picture further is the fact that two rare but readily distinguishable species, X. tanganyikensis D. M. Johnson and X. keniensis D. M. Johnson, both described here, have been confused with X. parviflora sensu Verdcourt. The newly described species are narrowly distributed and most sites are threatened by habitat alteration, three of the four species having provisional IUCN conservation assessments of EN B1ab(iii)+ B2ab(iii).

Key Words: Coastal dry forest, endemism, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania 

David M. Johnson, Quentin Luke, David J. Goyder and Nancy A. Murray. 2017. 
New species of Xylopia (Annonaceae) from East Africa.
Kew Bulletin.  72:11.  DOI:  10.1007/s12225-017-9681-x

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