Hypoestes ecbolioides I.Darbysh.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Angola.


Darbyshire, I. 2015. The genus Hypoestes (Acanthaceae) in Angola. Kew Bulletin 70: 44. DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s12225-015-9595-4

This species is known from only the three specimens cited which give an Extent of Occurrence of 2160 km2 and an Area of Occupancy of 12 km2. Both of these measurements, together with having only three known locations, fall within the threshold of the “Endangered” category under criterion B of IUCN (2012). However, since Angola is so patchily botanised, particularly for the Acanthaceae (see Introduction), it is difficult to assess the true range or abundance of this species. Helen Faulkner noted on her specimen “I do not know how common this plant is as I have not been able to thoroughly investigate the Capacca area”. The only habitat information available suggests it is tolerant of some disturbance since Faulkner recorded it from a track in a sisal plantation but it may be that this population was clinging on as a remnant of the pre-plantation natural vegetation. Based on the current data available, it can only be assessed as Data Deficient (DD), since we have insufficient information on threats and abundance, but it may well prove to be threatened.
Southwest Angola (Map 1).
Faulkner recorded this species from tracks [presumably man-made tracks] in a sisal plantation at c. 1050 m alt.; there are no further habitat data available.
Morphology General Habit
Perennial herb [? — rootstock not seen], ± erect, 50 – 90 cm tall; stems quadrangular or convexly so when young but becoming subangular with age, swollen above the nodes (constricted in dry state), shortly pubescent throughout, hairs retrorse or subappressed in proximal portion of stems or throughout, hairs in distal portion sometimes antrorse
Morphology Leaves
Leaves ovate or elliptic, 6 − 16 × 2.7 − 6 cm, base long-attenuate to broadly obtuse, margin entire or obscurely crenate, apex acute or attenuate, shortly pubescent mainly on midrib above and main veins beneath, adaxial surface with scattered hairs; cystoliths numerous, shortly rod-shaped; lateral veins 7 – 9 pairs; petiole to 10 – 33 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted at apex of corolla tube; filaments 17 – 18 mm long, sparsely pubescent; anthers 2 – 2.3 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx pale-hyaline, tube 3 – 5.5 mm long, lobes 5, linear-lanceolate, 4 – 4.7 mm long, minutely glandular-puberulous externally, margin with longer eglandular hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla c. 35 – 38 mm long, white with yellowish throat and with purple markings on lip held in upper position, pubescent externally with mixed eglandular and shorter glandular hairs; tube 15 – 16 mm long, cylindrical, somewhat to markedly widened above the 180° twist; lip held in lower position subulate, 19 – 20.5 × 1.7 – 2.8 mm, apex rounded or minutely emarginate, inrolled distally; lip held in upper position narrowly oblong or somewhat broadened upwards, 20 – 23.5 × 6 – 8 mm, recurved distally, apex shortly 3-lobed, lobes 2 – 2.7 mm long, palate with minute papillose hairs towards mouth
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Pistil glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule ± 10 – 13.5 mm long (probably immature), stipitate, glabrous or with few minute hairs towards apex; immature seeds only seen, rugose-tuberculate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary and terminal, spiciformthyrses 2.5 – 7 cm long, comprising a series of contracted monochasial cymes; primary peduncle longest on spikes at lowermost fertile nodes where up to 30 – 60 mm long, considerably shorter at uppermost nodes where 4 – 15 mm long, indumentum as on stems or also with longer, more spreading hairs distally on two opposite sides; several orders of bracts present: primary (thyrse) bracts leafy, imbricate, pairs subequal, elliptic or ovate, typically 15 – 24 × 6 – 15 mm, green with a paler proximal portion or turning straw-coloured, base attenuate, margin entire or obscurely toothed, apex acute to acuminate, external surface with short appressed or antrorse hairs mainly along the veins; secondary bract pairs fused at base, unequal or somewhat so, the longer bract oblong-lanceolate, 16 – 17 × 2.5 – 3 mm, the shorter bract narrowly oblong elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, 15 – 16 × 3 – 3.7 mm, both (pale) green towards apex, pale straw-coloured and hyaline towards base, margin entire or obscurely toothed, apex (sub)attenuate, surface with pinnate-reticulate venation; tertiary (cymule) bract pairs fused at base, slightly unequal, linear-lanceolate, the longer 13.5 – 15 × 1.5 – 2 mm, apex attenuate, pale-hyaline except for (yellow-) green apex, only midrib prominent, surface minutely pubescent, with longer hairs along margin and midrib; bracteoles as cymule bracts but 9 – 11 × 1 – 1.5 mm

The species epithet “ecbolioides” denotes the fact that the inflorescence spike, with its imbricate green bracts, resembles the inflorescences of several species in the genus Ecbolium.

This species is unlikely to be mistaken for any other Hypoestes in continental Africa since the inflorescence form is unique; no other species have spike-like thyrses with imbricate foliaceous bracts. In Angola, this species is additionally easily separated by the considerably larger corollas with a strikingly narrow lip held in the lower position. However, two of the common and widespread species can have comparably large corollas elsewhere in Africa: Hypoestestriflora — in the two Angolan collections seen, the corollas of H. triflora only reach 15 – 20 mm long. However, large-flowered forms of this species are frequent in the eastern part of its African range, particularly in Malawi. This species is easily separated from H. ecbolioides by having an umbellate inflorescence, commonly comprising 2 – 4 cymules, each of which is enclosed within a pair of obovate to oblong-elliptic cymule bracts, the umbel subtended by a pair of spreading leafy bracts (Fig. 1F & G). In some instances, the umbel can be reduced to a single cymule (see Fig. 1E) or it can become partially compounded and more lax such that the inflorescence is less clearly umbellate, but it is still very different from the spikes of H. ecbolioides. It additionally differs in having conspicuous arcuate cystoliths on the leaves (those of H. ecbolioides being rod-shaped) and in the corolla having a broader, obovate or oblong-elliptic lip held in the lower position (Fig. 1E). Hypoestesaristata — corolla size is also variable in this species which has not so far been recorded from Angola but may possibly occur in the wet forests in the north and east of the country. Large-flowered forms are easily separated from H. ecbolioides by, amongst other differences, having fascicles of cymules arranged in verticils along the branches, in the cymule bracts being conspicuous and aristate, and in having a 4-lobed calyx. The inflorescence structure in Hypoestesecbolioides is very complicated and more difficult to interpret than in most species of Hypoestes. Each of the bracts along the rachis of the thyrse (the primary bracts) can support a series of contracted inflorescence units each with a pair of secondary bracts and one or more pairs of tertiary (cymule) bracts. The cymule bracts are not nearly so conspicuous as in other species in the genus in Africa, and are only poorly differentiated from the bracteoles (Fig. 2C).

Hypoestes ecbolioides differs from all other tropical African species of Hypoestes in (1) having a spiciformthyrse with imbricate first order bracts that largely hide the cymule bracts, the latter being clearly exposed in other African species of the genus; and (2) in the corolla lip held in the lower position being subulate and 1.7 – 2.8 mm at its widest point, vs variously (oblong-) elliptic, obovate or lanceolate, at least 2 mm wide and usually considerably wider.
Type: Angola, Benguela, Cubal, Capacca, 218 km inland, Faulkner A.286 (K! holotype; BM!, PRE [n.v.] isotypes).

Native to:


Hypoestes ecbolioides I.Darbysh. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 70(4)-44: 4 (2015)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00997-6 Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Bulletin

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