Original Research

Generic status of Quisqualis (Combretaceae), with notes on the taxonomy and distribution of Q. parviflora

M. Jordaan, A. E. van Wyk, O. Maurin
Bothalia | Vol 41, No 1 | a37 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v41i1.37 | © 2011 M. Jordaan, A. E. van Wyk, O. Maurin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2011 | Published: 13 December 2011

About the author(s)

M. Jordaan, National Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
A. E. van Wyk, Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
O. Maurin, Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, APK Campus, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

The taxonomic status of Quisqualis L., a genus closely related to and sometimes considered congeneric with Combretum Loefl., is discussed. The genus Quisqualis is maintained to accommodate selected African, Indian, Asian and Malesian species (including Q. indica L. and Q. parviflora Sond.). Diagnostic characters for Quisqualis include: leaves with abundant subepidermal crystalliferous idioblasts, each containing a large druse of calcium oxalate; leaves, stems and flowers with stalked glands but no scales; persistent petiole bases that develop into curved spines; petals well developed; hypanthium tubular or cylindrical, usually longer than 20 mm; stamens and style not or scarcely exserted; style adnate to hypanthium for more than half its length. Quisqualis shares a number of morphological similarities with Combretum Loefl. subgen. Cacoucia (Aubl.) Exell & Stace sect. Poivrea (Comm. ex DC.) G.Don. Some species of Combretaceae from West, West Central and East Africa have the style adnate to the upper hypanthium and display features reminiscent of both Quisqualis and Combretum. These species also have characters of their own and in the past were placed in different sections under Combretum. It is suggested that at least some of these species may be best classified in genera distinct from Combretum and Quisqualis, one of which is Campylogyne Hemsley. Combretum s.str. is defined on the basis of a combination of characters and includes species of which the upper hypanthium is variable in shape, but when tubular or cylindrical, then always shorter than 20 mm. Other diagnostic characters include: stamens exserted well beyond petals; style exserted and free, but when shortly adnate to upper hypanthium (only at the base or for a short distance), then stamens long-exserted. It is suggested that different pollination strategies have developed independently in the Combretum–Quisqualis clade, resulting in convergent morphological trends in floral morphology. These homoplasious similarities in floral morphology are at the root of the difficulties experienced to demarcate genera. An alternative classification is provided for those preferring to include the southern African Quisqualis parviflora under Combretum s. l. For this purpose, a new combination and name, Combretum sylvicola O.Maurin is provided. Quisqualis parviflora is confined to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal coastal regions and does not extend beyond this area as has been claimed by some. A comparative table to differentiate among four groups in Quisqualis and Combretum in Africa, as well as a photo of a herbarium specimen and a distribution map of Quisqualis parviflora, are provided.

Keywords

Africa; Campylogyne Hemsley; Classification; Combretaceae; Combretum Loefl; New Combination; Phylogeny; Pollination; Quisqualis L; Southern Africa; Taxonomy

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