Momordica argillicola Thulin

First published in Kew Bull. 64: 487 (2009)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Ethiopia to Kenya. It grows primarily in the seasonally dry tropical biome.

Descriptions

Extinction risk predictions for the world's flowering plants to support their conservation (2024). Bachman, S.P., Brown, M.J.M., Leão, T.C.C., Lughadha, E.N., Walker, B.E. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.19592

Conservation
Predicted extinction risk: threatened. Confidence: confident
[AERP]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Trailing or climbing herb from a perennial rootstock
Morphology Stem
Stems up to 1 m long or more, sparsely to ± densely pubescent with spreading hairs
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blade suborbicular to reniform in outline, 2–9 x 2.5–11 cm, shallowly 5-lobed, the lobes ± equal or the midlobe sometimes slightly larger, cordate at the base, acute to rounded and ± distinctly apiculate at the apex, shallowly and sparsely sinuate-toothed, shortly scabrid-pubescent above particularly along margins, glabrous or sparsely pubescent along veins beneath; petioles 1–10 cm long
Morphology General Tendrils
Tendrils simple
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Monoecious Female flowers yellow, solitary or occasionally occurring in male inflorescences Male flowers orange yellow with dark or occasionally white centre, 1–3, on peduncle 3–7 cm long, additional flowers subtended by up to 6 mm long linear bract
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicels up to 2 cm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium wide and shallow, c. 4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Peduncles
Peduncle 1.5–3 cm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals linear-subulate, green, 2.5–7 mm long Sepals lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 8–15 x 4–5 mm, acute to acuminate, blackish, ± densely pubescent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals obovate, c. 11 x 5 mm, obtuse Petals 25–35 x 14–16 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit on 3–8 cm long stalk, fleshy, fusiform, beaked at the apex, c. 30–50 x 8–10 mm, longitudinally 8-ribbed, pubescent to subglabrous, several-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ± broadly elliptic in outline, 7–9 x 4–5 x 3–3.5 mm, rugose-appendaged at one end, whitish, obscurely and irregularly warty.
Distribution
S1, 2; E Ethiopia, Kenya
Ecology
Altitude range 60–490 m.
Note
This was treated as M. boivinii Baill. in vol. 1: 231 (1993), but differs from this by its several-seeded fruits, more rounded leaves and seeds appendaged at one end only. M. boivinii is widespread from southern Ethiopia through eastern tropical Africa to South Africa (Transvaal) and Namibia. It is not known from Somalia.
[FSOM]

Thulin, M. 2009. New species of Coccinia and Momordica (Cucurbitaceae) from north-eastern tropical Africa. Kew Bulletin 64: 485. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12225-009-9124-4

Type
Ethiopia, Somali National Regional State, Harerge, 8 km SE of KebriDehar, Thulin, Kaariye & Wilhelmi 11281 (holotypus ETH; isotypi K, UPS).
Morphology General Habit
Trailing or climbing herb from a perennial rootstock, monoecious; stems annual, up to 1 m long or more, longitudinally ribbed, sparsely to ± densely pubescent with spreading hairs
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades suborbicular to reniform in outline, 2 – 9 × 2.5 – 11 cm, shallowly 5-lobed, the lobes ± equal or the midlobe sometimes slightly larger, cordate at the base, acute to rounded and ± distinctly apiculate at the apex, shallowly and sparsely sinuate-toothed, shortly scabrid-pubescent above particularly along margins, glabrous or sparsely pubescent along veins beneath; petiole 1 – 10 cm long, subglabrous to pubescent
Morphology General Tendrils
Tendrils simple
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Female flowers yellow, solitary or occasionally occurring in male inflorescences; peduncle 1.5 – 3 cm long, pubescent to subglabrous, usually with c. 1 mm long bract near the middle or in lower half; ovary fusiform, c. 8 × 1.5 mm, ribbed, densely pubescent to subglabrous; hypanthium short, shallow; lobes linear-subulate, green, 2.5 – 7 mm long, pubescent; petals obovate, c. 11 × 5 mm, obtuse; style 3 – 4 mm long with 2 stigma-lobes with expanded and ± 2-fid tips Male flowers orange yellow with dark or occasionally white centre, 1 – 3, on peduncle 3 – 7 cm long, pubescent with spreading hairs, additional flowers subtended by up to 6 mm long linear bract; pedicels up to 2 cm long, pubescent; hypanthium wide and shallow, c. 4 mm long; lobes lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 8 – 15 mm long, 4 – 5 mm wide, acute to acuminate, blackish, ± densely pubescent; petals 25 – 35 mm long, 14 – 16 mm wide, the 2 outer with scales inside at the base; stamens 2 or 3, thecae arcuate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit on 3 – 8 cm long stalk, fleshy, fusiform, beaked at the apex, c. 30 – 50 × 8 – 10 mm, longitudinally 8-ribbed, pubescent to subglabrous, several-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ± broadly elliptic in outline, 7 – 9 × 4 – 5 × 3 – 3.5 mm, rugose-appendaged at one end, whitish, obscurely and irregularly warty
Distribution
Momordica argillicola is known from the eastern part of the Somali National Regional State (previously Harerge) in Ethiopia, south-central Somalia, and from north-eastern and eastern Kenya.
Ecology
Open plains or bushland on alluvial soils, usually silt or clay; 60 – 900 m.
Vernacular
Korkut (fide Adamson 375 in Bally 7368).
Conservation
This is a relatively widespread species, with occurrences in three countries and in habitats not under any particular threat. It is therefore given the status Least Concern (LC).
Note
Momordica argillicola and M. cymbalaria both occur in Ethiopia and Kenya, but so far they have never been found together, whereas only M. argillicola is known from Somalia. M. boivinii is distributed in eastern tropical Africa from southern Ethiopia in the north to South Africa in the south, but is not known from Somalia. The most conspicuous and clear difference between Momordica argillicola and M. cymbalaria is the much larger male flowers in M. argillicola (petals 25 – 35 × 14 – 16 mm versus 7.5 – 13 × 3 – 8 mm) that are orange yellow and almost always with a dark centre (not uniformly and more or less pale yellow), and have blackish calyx-lobes 8 – 15 × 4 – 5 mm. In M. cymbalaria the male calyx-lobes are greenish and 3 – 6 × c. 2.5 mm. Furthermore, the male peduncles are 3 – 7 cm long in M. argillicola (versus up to 3 cm in M. cymbalaria), the male pedicels are up to 20 mm (versus up to 10 mm) long, the stalk of the female flowers are 1.5 – 3 cm (versus 0.5 – 1 cm) long, the female calyx-lobes are 2.5 – 7 mm (versus 2.5 – 3 mm) long, the fruits are 30 – 50 mm (versus up to 30 mm) long, and the seeds are 7 – 9 mm (versus 6 – 7 mm) long. The nearest relative of Momordica argillicola instead is M. cymbalaria Hook. f., a species distributed in eastern Africa, including Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as in Pakistan and India. M. argillicola and M. cymbalaria agree very well in habit, leaf shape, as well as in the structure of flowers, fruits and seeds. The close relationship between these two species has also been confirmed by molecular data (H. Schröder pers. comm.). Jeffrey (1967) cited Adamson 353 in Bally 5847 as Momordica boiviniiBaill., and also Adamson 375 in Bally 7368 at K is annotated as M. boivinii by Jeffrey. Following these early identifications all subsequent material of M. argillicola at K has also been identified as M. boivinii, and this name was used for the plant also by Jeffrey & Thulin (1993). However, there is an annotation by J. H. Hutchinson on Adamson 353 in Bally 5847 saying “note the many seeded condition of the fruit and the small apiculate leaves”, and indeed this collection, as well as all other collections of M. argillicola differs from M. boivinii by its many-seeded (not up to 4-seeded) fruits and its more rounded leaves. Furthermore, the seeds of M. argillicola are rugose-appendaged at one end only (Fig. 2E, F), not at both ends as in M. boivinii.
[KBu]

Sources

  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Bulletin

    • Kew Bulletin
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0