Saturday, March 9, 2019

[Botany • 2019] Microchirita hairulii (Gesneriaceae) • A New Species from Perlis, Peninsular Malaysia

Microchirita hairulii Rafidah

in Rahman, 2019. 

A new speciesMicrochirita hairulii Rafidah (Gesneriaceae) from limestone hills in Perlis, Peninsular Malaysia, is described and illustrated. Diagnostic characters, description, detailed illustrations, geographical distribution, regional provisional conservation status assessment (Endangered) and ecological observations of the new taxon, as well as an updated key to Microchirita species in Peninsular Malaysia, are provided.

Keywords: conservation, flora, limestone, Malaysia, taxonomy

Figure 1. Microchirita hairulii Rafidah.
A Habit B mature flower, front view C flower, side view D dissected corolla tube showing five lobes and a pair of stamens and staminodes E stamens F staminodes G calyx H fruit I LS section of fruit J pistil K indumentum of stigma L indumentum of ovary M seeds, upper and lower view N leaf epidermis with indumentum (Rafidah FRI86669).
Drawn by Mohamad Aidil Noordin. 

Figure 2. Microchirita hairulii Rafidah.
 A Habit B flowering and fruiting plant C flower, side view D flower, front view.
Photographs A, C, D by Ong Poh Teck. Scale bar: 5 mm.

Microchirita hairulii Rafidah, sp. nov.

Diagnosis: Microchirita hairulii most closely resembles M. caliginosa and M. sericea in having a branched stem, pale purple corolla and hairy capsule. This new species differs in having ovate leaves (vs elliptic to narrowly elliptic in M. caliginosa and M. sericea or sometimes narrowly ovate in M. sericea), serrate leaf margin (vs serrulate in M. caliginosa and M. sericea), 5–10 mm long corolla tube (vs 24–55 mm long in M. caliginosa and 10–26 mm long in M. sericea), glabrous anthers (vs hairy in M. caliginosa and M. sericea) and the seed without papillate surfaces (papillate or canaliculate in M. caliginosa and M. sericea).

Microchirita hairulii is distinct from M. viola in the length of calyx lobes, 3–4 mm long, narrowly lanceolate (7–10 mm long, narrowly ovate in M. viola), corolla lobes very faintly striped or plain (conspicuous dark purple stripes in M. viola), having glandular hairs above the anthers, translucent pale brown (glandular hairs golden yellow, apically swollen in a cluster above the anther in M. viola)

Etymology: The specific epithet honours Mohd. Hairul bin Mohd. Amin, a dedicated field collector who collected the species in the field.

Geographic distribution and ecology: Endemic in Perlis, Peninsular Malaysia (Fig. 3). The species is restricted to karst limestone, where it grows on cliffs in crevices or soil pockets, or on a very thin soil layer at cave mouths, below the canopy or sometimes directly exposed to sunlight. It is found in very small populations.

Figure 3. Distribution of Microchirita hairulii in Peninsular Malaysia.


 Rafidah Abdul Rahman. 2019. Microchirita hairulii (Gesneriaceae), A New Species from Perlis, Peninsular Malaysia. PhytoKeys. 118: 65-73. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.118.32186

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