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Derrick

Squamellaria thekii

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The much rarer Squamellaria thekii on lower elevations of the Des Voeux Peak track near the start of protected forest.  Taveuni Island, Fiji.

Fiji Photo's 123B, Squamellaria thekii..JPG]

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attachment=639:

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Squamellaria thekii Jebb, published in Blumea 36, 1991.  This is a little known species, only collected once.  Again, the tuber is sub pendent, irregularly rotund and notable for having distinct encircling rings of entrance holes where the tuber is slightly constricted.  Stems several, clustered, unbranched, reaching 36x08 cm.

Habitat:  A low-level epiphyte on forest tree trunks at 300-400 m. (984-1312 ft.) Record: Taveuni Island, on 'road' to Des Voeux Peak at 16o.50' S. 180o 00' E.

  The leaves of the plant in this photo are a little reminiscent of S. major being somewhat glossy but the shape is less rounded, less undulate and venation is far less apparent. Also the branches of S. major are much thicker and produced singly, while these branches are thinner and arise in scattered clusters but there is (possibly?) some branching. The apex of the tuber is rounded, another diagnostic for S. thekii, while the tuber apex of S. imberbis is usually very flattened. An anomaly is that in this telephoto image, some branches seem to be thickened towards their apex which is a diagnostic of S. major.  However, I suspect the type description was made from limited material. I also wonder (purely idle speculation) if this species may be a natural hybrid between S. imberbis & S. major. Another extremely low possibility is that this specimen is something new taxonomically. 

  With most specimens high in trees I was not aware that I had photographed this species until I was able to view my images on a large screen when I returned home.

Edited by Derrick

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magnifique

 

it  seem  to be S.thekii ,  their distribution stem is very differente than these others 2 ( or 3).

 

jeff

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In summation, I am confident that this is S. thekii.  For future visitors to the Des Voeux Peak track, note the very low altitudes for this species occurrence.  The plant in the above photo can be seen on ones right hand side (when traveling upward) and it is obviously wise to thoroughly check the very first forest patches for this particularly rare species. Unfortunately, much of this lower altitude forest has been decimated by the locals, so the survival of this species is probably severely threatened.  The other two species are quite common, most especially S. imberbis, with some specimens on one's left side a little further along positioned near head height.  There is more information here in special edition 3.  http://xerophilia.ro/

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Derrick, when did you take these pics?

Hello Aurelien.  My Squamellaria photos were taken in August 2013.  Since then at least two forum members have visited Taveuni Island to see and photograph these plants so there are some small benefits from our sharing.  However, we now need more members to follow up on my visit to Bougainville Island in the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

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Hello Aurelien.  My Squamellaria photos were taken in August 2013.  Since then at least two forum members have visited Taveuni Island to see and photograph these plants so there are some small benefits from our sharing.  However, we now need more members to follow up on my visit to Bougainville Island in the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

 

Ok, so that's really recent.

Bougainville, Solomons and New Guinea are a long travel for Europeans like us... And not really cheap destinations.

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However, we now need more members to follow up on my visit to Bougainville Island in the Solomons and Papua New Guinea.

 

I'll be in the Indonesian part of Papua again next summer :)

I hope that counts as a decent field trip ;)

All the best

Andreas

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I thought thekii was a patronym (male, last name Thek = thek-ii). Though I found this in a book:

“thekii From the Fijian name ‘theke theke nkau’ for tuber-forming ant-plants, literally meaning ‘testicles of trees’. (Squamellaria)” (Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton p.239).

Trying to "piece" the name together. This suggests thekii is derived from a Fijian word for a particular body part and not the last name of a person who is male. Very interesting!

What is the meaning of the word theke?

I found the Fijian word "ceke" = enlarged family jewels, which is a very close match. An online translator showed ni kau = of wood, and vu ni kau = stem of wood. In a Fijian-English dictionary, I looked up the word kau, I believe this means tree or wood. Couldn't find nkau, but I did find vu ni kau.

"vunikau n. plant, shrub, tree." (Gatty, Ronald p.311).

I was reading in this useful Fijian-English dictionary: "The letter c is pronounced as a soft th, as in this..." (Gatty, Ronald p.37).

So does this mean ceke is pronounced "theke", because "c" is pronounced "th"? 

I have not found any Fijian words that are written with a "th" as in "theke", in fact I don't think the letter "h" is written in the Fijian language. I did find that  F, H and P are used in Fijian from foreign loan words ( words adopted from another language). https://omniglot.com/writing/fijian.htm

 So "theke" could be the written audible form of the Fijian written word "ceke". I am not sure yet if "theke" is adopted.

 

 

 

Edited by Philpatrick
Condensed to add more information gathered.

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