Saturday, June 12, 2021

[Botany • 2021] Sonerila kanjilasseriensis (Melastomataceae) • A New Tuberous Species from Kerala, India

Sonerila kanjilasseriensis Arunraj, R.Reshma & Vishnupr.
in Arunraj, Reshma & Vishnuprasad, 2021.

A new tuberous species of Sonerila from suburban areas of Kozhikode district of Kerala, India is described and illustrated as Sonerila kanjilasseriensis sp. nov. The new species resembles S. rheedei Wall. ex Wight & Arn., but differs in having a subterranean tuber, cylindrical to sub-quadrangular stem, many-flowered cyme, acuminate apex of the petals and distinctly 4 – 6-ribbed hypanthium and capsule. A detailed description, comparison, photographs and illustrations are provided.

 Key Words: Endemic, new species, taxonomy

Fig. 2. Sonerila kanjilasseriensis Arunraj, R.Reshma & Vishnupr.
A subterranean tuber; B cross sections of stem; C inflorescence D single flower; E hypanthium; F petal; G capsule; H seeds.
photos: P. T. Arunraj.

Fig. 1. Sonerila kanjilasseriensis Arunraj, R.Reshma & Vishnupr.
A habit; B, C & D colour variation in leaves.
photos: P. T. Arunraj & C. P. Vishnuprasad.

Sonerila kanjilasseriensis Arunraj, R.Reshma & Vishnupr., sp. nov.

 RECOGNITION. Sonerila kanjilasseriensis is closely similar to S. rheedei Wall. ex Wight & Arn. (a species endemic to the southern Western Ghats) in its caulescent habit, non-glandular hairs on leaves and stem, large ovate-elliptic leaves with obtuse to acute tip, petiole up to 6 cm long, peduncle up to 12 cm long, glabrous petal margins, beaked anthers and campanulate capsules. But the former can be easily distinguished from the latter in having a subterranean tuber (vs absence of subterranean tuber), the cylindrical to subquadrangular stem (vs quadrangular stem), (10 –) 12 – 24 (– 29) flowers per cyme (vs 6 – 12 flowers per cyme, very rarely up to 14), petals with an acuminate apex (vs mostly acute or rarely mucronate apex), and the distinctly 4 – 6-ribbed hypanthium and capsule (vs indistinctly ribbed hypanthium and capsule).

ETYMOLOGY. The specific epithet corresponds to the type locality

P. T. Arunraj, Reshma Raju and C. P. Vishnuprasad. 2021. Sonerila kanjilasseriensis (Melastomataceae), A New Tuberous Species from Kerala, India. Kew Bulletin. 76; 77–84. DOI: 10.1007/s12225-021-09929-4