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Squamellaria (was Hydnophytum) guppyanum, Tunurua, Bougainville Island.


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Photographing and then naming specimens that were high in trees is of course rather challenging, hence my images are often best used as possibilities. I have now added to this post all examples that I think are H. guppyanum. Tuber form is either very variable or there is another species mixed herein, but if so I have no idea what it might be.

24 Hydnophytum guppyanum (sp2). Tunurua mangrove swamp near Arawa, Bougainville Isl..JPG]











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There has been much historical confusion between H. guppyanum and H. kajewskii resulting from a mixture of type materials from both species being placed on one herbarium sheet. 

The problem seemed to have been fixed due to the following URL with its well known image. http://www.botanicgardens.ie/herb/research/hydnophytum.htm . Yet from Guppy's original notes and the names used by Merrill & Perry 1945, See http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8443412#page/29/mode/1up .  I think the naming intention was opposite the now popularly accepted names..

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I have just posted another image to the H. 'kajewski'  post of a plant photographed on Santa Isabel Island, a long way south of Bougainville. Also, the type collection was on the Shortland Islands but that is only a short distance south of Bougainville. 

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The leaves in this herbarium sheet belong to what seems to be now accepted as H. guppyanum while the tuber is that of H. kajewskii as currently accepted.

H. guppyanum Beccari in Malesia 2, 133, 1885 from which I quote. “Tuber magnum globoso-elongatum, nigrescens, inerme, dissepimentis verticalibus, intus in cellas magnas divisum. Caulis lignosus, gracilis, elongatus, simplex, vel e basi pauciramosus, internodis cylindraceis, summis subherbaceis compressiusculis. Folia membranacea, glaberrima, intergerrima, margine acuto, late obovata, ad basin in petiolum brevem (2-4 mill.) attenuato-cuneata, apice abrupte breviterque apiculata, acuta; costa supra anguste sulcata, subtus prominenti rotundata, costulis utrinque 8-9, tenuibus subparallelis, arcuatis, subtiliter et laxe reticulato-anastomosatis. Inflorescentiae axillares (binae?) dichotomae. Flores sessiles bracteolati in alabastro anguste ovati, ad apicem attenuati.  Calyx cupularis, glaber, limbo truncato, integro non ciliato. Corolla tubuloso-campanulata, lobis lanceolatis in anthesi reflexis convolutis; fauce barbata et pilis interstaminalibus erectis praedita. Stamina inclusa pilis subaequilonga, filamento brevi; antheris late linearibus utrinque obtusis.  Stylus elongatus longe exertus filiformis, piloso-scabridus, stigmate profunde bipartito, lobis linearibus papillosus divergentibus.  Fructus obovato-turbinatus, limbo calycis coronatus. Pyrenia 2 obtuse subtrigona, ventre plana, apice rotundata, basi attenuato-acuta.”  However, this description surely applies to the species popularised by Jebb 2009 as Hydnophytum kajewskii. Certainly the error on the herbarium sheet above has created quite some taxonomic confusion.

Notes from herbarium record above left: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K), K000772006. Collector Guppy, H. B., #140, Collection date 05-1884, Locality Shortland Islands, Solomon Islands. Identifications, Hydnophytum guppyanum Becc. Family Rubiaceae. Notes. Small-leaved epiphyte with flower stalk. (Yet note the large leaves on the sheet) Swollen stem frequented by ants (and) attached to mangrove trees. Illustration given

I am not aware of a later valid type description of H. guppyanum so perhaps it is a nomen nudum. Also, it seems that the original naming intention was the reverse of what are those currently accepted by Jebb 2009.


Here is a link to the herbarium sheet.  This platform will not let me copy the image here.

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  • Frank changed the title to Squamellaria (was Hydnophytum) guppyanum, Tunurua, Bougainville Island.


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