Tuesday 10 February 2015

A new species of Munronia from Vietnam.

The genus Munronia comprises small woody shrubs from South and East Asia. There are currently four recognised species, Munronia pinnata, which is found from India and Sri Lanka in the west to Indonesia in the east and as far north as China (although this widespread and somewhat variable species has been described under a number of different names, now considered invalid), Munroni aunifoliolata, which is found in China and Vietnam (which has also been described under several other names now considered invalid), and Munronia humilis and Munronia breviflora from Indoneasia.

In a paper published in the journal Blumea on 11 December 2014, Nguyen The Cuong and Doung Thi Hoan of the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources of the Vietnam Academy of Sciences and Technology and D Mabberley of the NaturalisBiodiversity Center in Leiden, Wadham College at the University of Oxford and the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust in Sydney, describe a new species of Munronia from Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam.

The new species is named Munronia petiolata, which is not explained but presumably refers to the species’ extremely long petioles (leaf stems). Munronia petiolatais a small shrub reaching 30-60 cm in height, with leaves arranged in spirals, clustering towards the ends of the stems. Flowers are white and produced from June onwards, fruit are produced in September. The plant was found growing in crevices in limestone on Bo Hon, Hang Luon and Cat Lanislands in Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province. The known population is very small, and confined to a limited area, however Cuonget al. refrain from assigning it a conservation status pending further investigations.

Munronia petiolata. Branch bearing inflorescences and infructescences. Cuonget al. (201­4).

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