Thursday, September 13, 2018

[Botany • 2018] Vepris bali (Rutaceae) • A New Critically Endangered (possibly Extinct) Cloud Forest Tree Species from Bali Ngemba, Cameroon

Vepris bali Cheek

in Cheek, Gosline & Onana, 2018
  DOI:  10.3372/wi.48.48207 

Vepris bali is the first known species of Vepris in WC Africa with opposite, trifoliolate leaves and is further unusual for its long petiolules. Known only from Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve, a remnant of submontane forest under great pressure of degradation in the Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon, it may already be extinct due to tree cutting and agricultural incursions. Here, V. bali is compared with other endemic cloud forest Vepris of the Cameroon Highlands and is described, illustrated, mapped and assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) using IUCN 2012 criteria.

Fig. 1. Vepris bali. A: habit, flowering stem with male inflorescence; B: stem detail showing indumentum and lenticels; C: abaxial leaf surface showing oil glands; D: portion of partial-inflorescence showing bracts; E: male flower, side view; F: male flower, 2 sepals and petals removed and staminal filaments truncated; G: cross-section of rudimentary pistil.
 Drawn from the holotype, Ujor FHI 30422 (K), by Hazel Wilks.

Vepris bali Cheek, sp. nov. 
Toddaliopsis ebolowensis sensu Letouzey (1963: 108), non Engl. (1917: 305).
Vepris cf. heterophylla sensu Mziray (1992: 73), non (Engl.) Letouzey (1966: 246).
– “Vepris sp. B” Cheek in Harvey & al. (2004: 55 [fig. 7], 124); Onana & Cheek (2011: 309).

Diagnosis — Differing from Vepris ebolowensis (Engl.) Onana in being a submontane tree, with a trunk c. 28 cm in diam, at 1.5 m from ground, leaves opposite, and median petiolules 9–14 mm long (whereas V. ebolowensis is a shrub of lowland forest, with leaves alternate, and median petiolules c. 0 mm long).

Holotype: Cameroon, Northwest Region, “Bamenda District, Bali-Ngemba Forest Reserve, in high forest on ... at the height of  1700 m. alt. with Uapaca sp., Garcinia sp., and Aningeria”, male fl., Mar 1951, Ujor FHI 30422 (K; isotype: FHI n.v.).

Etymology — The specific epithet is a noun in apposition, from the town and people of Bali in the Bamenda Highlands of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, near which, in the Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve, the only known locality for this tree is found.

Martin Cheek, George Gosline and Jean-Michel Onana. 2018. Vepris bali (Rutaceae), A New Critically Endangered (possibly Extinct) Cloud Forest Tree Species from Bali Ngemba, Cameroon. Willdenowia. 48(2); 285-292. DOI:  10.3372/wi.48.48207

New Tree Species Discovered — and Declared Extinct

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