Notes on the morphology, ecology and distribution of Quisqualis parviflora (Combretaceae)
Keywords:Quisqualis parviflora, Combretum sylvicola, fruit, distribution, phenology, ecology, lianas, forest
Background: Quisqualis parviflora Gerrard ex. Sond. is endemic to the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces, South Africa. The species’ distribution has previously been thought to extend to Mpumalanga and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. Most published distributions include Maputaland in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal, and it has been suggested that the species may occur in Mozambique. Sterile material of several Combretum Loefl. lianas may be confused with Q. parviflora.
Although the species may be locally common, it has never been collected in fruit. Published fruit descriptions are based on erroneously identified material.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to supply a revised distribution range, to describe the fruit of Q. parviflora and to present notes on the phenology and ecology of the species.
Method: Herbarium specimens of Q. parviflora, and similar taxa, were examined in various herbaria. Fieldwork was undertaken, and other active field botanists were consulted.
Results: Quisqualis parviflora is almost entirely restricted to scarp forest between Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape and Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal. Although the species may be locally common, it has only been collected from a few localities. The current dispersal ability of the species may be extremely limited, which could have long-term conservation implications.
Samaras are described, and notes are provided on the phenology and ecology of the species.
Conclusion: Although not currently threatened, the long-term prospects of Q. parviflora may be less secure. Proposed forest management interventions like liana thinning should not be undertaken without more information.