Blepharis gypsophila Thulin & Vollesen

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


Thulin, M. & Vollesen, K. 2015. Blepharis gypsophila (Acanthaceae), a new species from Ethiopia. Kew Bulletin 70: 26. DOI

The single locality known of Blepharis gypsophila is in a sparsely populated area, where human activities mainly involve livestock grazing and gathering of firewood and building materials. However, these activities would probably not pose any serious threats to the habitat or to the present species. Only a few plants were seen at the type locality, but as gypsum outcrops are common in the region, it may be assumed that the fairly inconspicuous B. gypsophila will eventually prove to be more widespread. At present we classify it as Data Deficient (DD) (IUCN 2012).
Known only from the type locality in the south-eastern part of the Somali National Regional State (previously Harerge region) of Ethiopia.
Open Acacia-Commiphora bushland on stony hillside on gypsum; alt. 280 – 320 m. Associated plants in the type locality include Acacia fumosa Thulin, Boswellia ogadensis Vollesen, Cadaba divaricata Gilg, Commiphora multifoliolata J. B. Gillett ex Thulin, C. obovata Chiov., C. oddurensis Chiov., Gossypium bricchettii (Ulbr.) Vollesen, Indigofera gypsacea Thulin, Pleuropterantha revoilii Franch. and Pluchea kelleri (Thell.) Thulin.
Morphology General Habit
Shrublet, much branched, c. 40 cm tall; young branches whitish, finely hispid-puberulous, soon glabrescent, older branches greyish and eventually brownish
Morphology Leaves
Leaves in whorls of four, finely uniformly hispid-puberulous on both sides, subsessile; lamina lanceolate, largest c. 12 × 2 mm; apex acute, with a sharp mucro c. 1 mm long; base attenuate; margin entire
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments c. 5 mm long, exserted; appendage hardly apparent, almost like a “shoulder”; anthers 1.5 – 2 mm long, apically with tuft of long straight hairs, glandular, theca about half the length of anther, densely bearded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals glabrous, whitish with pale green central area, membranaceous towards margins, ventral and dorsal sepals subequal, obovate, dorsal 3-veined, c. 10 mm long and terminating in a mucro c. 1.5 mm long, ventral 2-veined, c. 9 mm long and terminating in 2 narrowly triangular teeth c. 0.25 mm long, lateral elliptic, c. 7 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla yellowish, c. 12 mm long of which the tube c. 5 mm; limb oblong-obovate, c. 4 mm wide, puberulous above, finely so beneath; lobes 3, triangular, c. 1 mm long; callus not ribbed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule c. 6 mm long, glabrous; seeds not seen
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Spikes solitary, axillary, sessile, detaching whole at maturity; bracts whitish, ovate-elliptic with a long triangular apical part and terminating in a sharp straight mucro c. 0.5 (outer bracts) to 1 (inner bracts) mm long, entire at first but with frayed margins when old, with conspicuous midrib but no lateral ribs, very finely and sparsely puberulous in central part, outer pair c. 2.5 mm long, second pair c. 4 mm, third pair c. 6 mm and inner pair c. 8 mm long; bracteoles absent
Blepharis gypsophila differs from B. tanae Napper in the yellowish (not blue) and larger (c. 12 mm versus 8 – 11 mm long) corolla, from B. somaliensisVollesen and B. thuliniiVollesen in the smaller (c. 12 mm versus c. 16 mm long) corolla, and from B. turkanaeVollesen and B. spinescensVollesen in not having dichotomously branched and spine-tipped stems.

As mentioned by Vollesen (2000: 23), Blepharis has a distinct centre of endemism in the Acacia-Commiphora bushlands in the north-eastern part of the Somalia-Masai Region (White 1983). Endemic in this area are B. boranensisVollesen, B. diplodontaVollesen, B. forgiarinii J.-P. Lebrun & Stork, B. glinus Fiori and B. kuriensisVierh. of sect. Acanthodium (Delile) T. Anderson, and B. cuspidata Lindau, B. gypsophila, B. hildebrandtii Lindau subsp. phillipsiae (Rendle) Vollesen, B. ogadenensisVollesen, B. scandens Vollesen, B. somaliensis, B. tanae, B. thulinii and B. turkanae of sect. Blepharis. This area also is home to B. trifidaVollesen of the monotypic sect. BifloraVollesen and B. spiculifoliaBalf. f. of the monotypic subg. EbracteataVollesen.

Type: Ethiopia, Somali National Regional State, Harerge, 5 km NE of Kelafo, Thulin, Kaariye & Wilhelmi 11323 (holotype ETH; isotypes K, UPS).

Native to:


Blepharis gypsophila Thulin & Vollesen appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 70(2)-26: 1 (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. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Bulletin

  • IUCN (2012). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland and Cambridge.
  • Thulin, M. (2008). Acacia fumosa sp. nov. (Fabaceae) from eastern Ethiopia. Nord. J. Bot. 25: 272 – 274.
  • Thulin, M. (2009a). New species of Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae) from eastern Ethiopia. Kew Bull. 64: 469 – 476.
  • Thulin, M. (2009b). New Species of Caralluma and Ceropegia (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae-Ceropegieae) from eastern Ethiopia. Kew Bull. 64: 477 – 483.
  • Thulin, M. (2009c). New species of Coccinia and Momordica (Cucurbitaceae) from north-eastern tropical Africa. Kew Bull. 64: 485 – 489.
  • Thulin, M. (2011). Ogaden — still terra incognita? Symb. Bot. Upsal. 35 (2): 79 – 93.
  • Thulin, M., Goyder, D. & Liede-Schumann, S. (2009). Cibirhizaspiculata (Apocynaceae), a remarkable new species from eastern Ethiopia. Kew Bull. 63: 617 – 624.
  • Vollesen, K. (2000). Blepharis (Acanthaceae) A taxonomic revision. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Vollesen, K. (2002). Three new species of Blepharis (Acanthaceae). Kew Bull. 57: 451 – 457.
  • White, F. (1983). The Vegetation of Africa. UNESCO, Paris.

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Bulletin

    Kew Bulletin

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.