Studies on Schismatoglottideae (Araceae) of Borneo XXVI Schismatoglottis scintillans, a new species with horticultural potential from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2013
Authors:Scherberich, D., Boyce P. C.
Journal:Willdenowia-Annals of the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem
Start Page:87
Keywords:Calyptrata Group

Schismatoglottis scintillans Scherberich & P. C. Boyce sp. nov., a taxonomic novelty with horticultural potential, is described from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Schismatoglottis scintillans belongs to the Calyptrata Group by the presence of hapaxanthic shoot modules, but differs from all species hitherto described for this Group by the combination of refractive variegated leaf blades, a pistillate flower zone extensively adnate to the spathe, a staminate flower zone only half exserted from the lower spathe portion, and a bullet-shaped appendix basally abruptly wider than the adjacent top of the staminate flower zone. The new species is keyed out and illustrated from living plants.

Full Text

Hay & Yuzammi (2000) provide an excellent overview of Schismatoglottis that has proved to be an invaluable basis for the extended research now active, especially on Borneo, and through which it has become apparent that a significant quantity of Schismatoglottis species still remains to be formally described.
A hindrance facing herbarium-based taxonomists attempting to work on aroids is that herbarium material, and especially historical specimens, is often depauperate and degraded, frequently compounded by the absence of properly prepared and pressed and, critically, liquidpreserved inflorescences. An additional problem with physically larger species, especially those with extensive hypogeal stems, is that they are habitually sampled from the smallest portions that will fit conveniently in a standard plant-press, or can be mounted on a single, standard herbarium sheet. Combined with often inadequate field notes, and almost always lacking associated images, it is little wonder that herbarium holdings of Schismatoglottis are so frequently incorrectly identified, or left undetermined.

The Calyptrata Group of Schismatoglottis (sensu Hay & Yuzammi 2000) remains one of the most poorly understood informal groups of the genus. Apart from the difficulties noted above, species of this group are mostly not popular horticultural subjects owing to their large size and often extensively colonial habit, which combined renders them difficult to maintain in pots, and makes them invasive in the open ground where the climate permits outdoor cultivation. Consequently, in addition to the difficulties of interpreting preserved material, there is also a dearth of available fresh material from which to attempt taxonomic analysis. This is ironic given that a scrupulously documented and well-maintained living collection is a vital resource for studying aroids and, thus, research on the Calyptrata Group suffers dually. This is not to say, however, that there are no species of the Calyptrata Group with horticultural potential; quite the reverse, in fact. Several species, notably Bornean Schismatoglottis silamensis A. Hay, S. venusta A. Hay, and S. decipiens A. Hay possess considerable ornamental qualities. Here is described another such novelty, originally collected in Sabah and now in cultivation in two botanic gardens in Europe (Jardin Botanique de la ville de Lyon, France, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.), and in the Lyon Arboretum and Botanical Garden of the University of Hawai’i, as well as in the extensive private collection of John Mood, Hawai’i, from whom Kew in 1998 obtained living material, from which, in turn, it was distributed to Lyon, France.

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