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This species is accepted, and its native range is Brazil (Bahia).
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Espírito Santo, F., Rapini, A., Ribeiro, P.L. et al. (2019). Phylogeny of the tribe Marsdenieae (Apocynaceae), reinstatement of Ruehssia and the taxonomic treatment of the genus in Brazil. Kew Bulletin 74: 30.

Ruehssia breviramosa is known only from the type locality, whose population is composed of less than 15 individuals. The close association of the species with karst environments suggests a small area of occupation and great fragmentation within its distribution, reasons that led Rapini & Fontella-Pereira (2011) to assess it as Vulnerable: VU B1ab(iii) + 2ab(iii) + D2.
Brazil, Carinhanha, state of Bahia.
Heliophyte, occurring directly on exposed rocks of limestone outcrops in a karst landscape surrounded by seasonally dry forests.
Morphology General Habit
Shrubs erect, up to 1.5 m tall; stems puberulent when young, glabrescent
Morphology Leaves
Leaves often arranged at the apex of short branches (brachyblasts), sessile; lamina 0.36 – 0.85 × 0.05 – 0.15 cm, filiform, base frequently with sparse trichomes, adaxially with 2 – 6 colleters at the base of the main vein, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 1.77 – 2 × 0.72 – 0.9 mm, oblong, apex obtuse to rounded, margins not ciliate, abaxially glabrous or with sparse trichomes at the base, adaxially with c. 15 colleters at the base of the calyx
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla shortly campanulate, greenish-cream, abaxially glabrous, adaxially with 5 rows of trichomes, villous on the throat, glabrous along the lobes; tube 1.52 – 1.91 × 1.1 – 1.8 mm, lobes 2.1 – 2.4 × 1.3 – 1.7 mm, oblong to ovate, recurved, apex irregularly emarginate, margins not ciliate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corona
Corona lobes 0.7 – 0.79 × 0.09 – 0.17 mm, narrowly triangular, basally fused to the anther, exceeding the style-head
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynostegium
Gynostegium c. 1.1 mm high, shortly stipitate (stipe c. 0.8 mm high), inserted to slightly exserted from the corolla tube; style-head c. 0.4 × 0.7 mm, depressed-conical; anthers c. 0.2 × 0.08 mm, apical membranous appendix 0.66 – 0.75 × 0.64 – 0.69 mm, deltoid; corpusculum 0.19 – 0.22 × 0.03 – 0.04 mm, narrowly oblong to linear, apex rounded, straight; caudicles 0.16 – 0.17 mm, distally plicate; pollinia 0.2 – 0.25 × 0.09 – 0.13 mm, obovoid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Follicles c. 11.3 × 1.6 cm, ellipsoid, glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences fasciculate, 1 – 6 flowers; peduncle up to 0.2 cm long, pubescent; bracts 0.42 – 0.91 × 0.3 – 0.5 mm, narrowly triangular to ovate, margins not ciliate; pedicels 1.3 – 2.8 mm long, pubescent
Ruehssia breviramosa is characterised by the erect, shrubby habit, sessile, filiform leaves, usually arranged in brachyblasts, oblong sepals, greenish-cream, adaxially 5-bearded, shortly campanulate corolla, with glabrous lobes, and narrowly triangular free corona lobes. Due to the shrubby habit and occurrence restricted to calcareous outcrops, R. breviramosa seems to be closely related to R. calcaria, R. phallica and R. zehntneri, which are also shrubs from limestone, but is readily distinguished from them by the filiform leaves and narrowly triangular corona lobes.
Collected with flowers and fruits in January.
Brazil, Bahia, Carinhanha, Rapini et al. 1477 (holotype HUEFS!; isotypes HUEFS!, IAN!, K!, MBM!, MO!, NY!, RB!, SPF!, UB!).


Rapini, A. & Pereira, J.F. Kew Bull (2011) 66: 137.

Despite occurring in an area that remains poorly explored in floristc studies and being known only by the type collection, Marsdeniabreviramosa seems to show a pattern found in species closely associated with limestone. This indirect assessment suggests that this species has a small area of occupancy, with its population severely fragmented in a small extent of occurrence (possibly smaller than that of Allamanda calcicola; Souza-Silva & Rapini 2009). Based on this indirect evidence and considering that western Bahia is quickly losing its natural vegetation to agriculture and pasture, the species should be classified as Vulnerable [VU B1ab(iii)+B2ab(iii)+D2] following the catgories and criteria of IUCN (2001).
Brazil: south-western Bahia, in Serra do Ramalho.
Marsdeniabreviramosa was found emerging from deep crevices of rocks in an open calcareous outcrop; 585 m. The few specimens (around 10) were isolated in a small area also marked by the presence of Allamanda calcicola, another species of Apocynaceae endemic to this calcareous region of the São Francisco River Basin.
Morphology General Habit
Shrub erect, c. 1.5 m high; stems puberulent to glabrescent, the older ones with papery bark, latex white
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, often several arranged in short branches, sessile, filiform, 4.5 – 8.5 cm × c. 0.5 mm, glabrous or almost so
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers: pedicels 1.5 – 3 mm long, puberulent; calyx almost glabrous; sepals oblong, 1.8 – 2.1 × 0.7 – 0.9 mm; axillary colleters finger-like, c. 0.34 × 0.18 mm; corolla greenish-cream, funnel-shaped, constricted at the mouth, fused to the gynostegium along its basal half, glabrous abaxially, barbellate adaxially at the base of lobes; corolla tube 1.5 – 1.9 mm long, 0.9 – 1.1 mm wide at the basal half, 1.5 – 1.9 mm wide at the apical half; corolla lobes oblong to ovate, 2.2 – 2.5 × 1.25 – 1.5 mm, emarginate, erect to recurved; corona 5-lobed, lobes linear, 0.75 – 0.8 × 0.08 – 0.1 mm, incurved, membranous, almost as long as the gynostegium; anthers with subcuneate, denticulate lateral wings and ligulate apical membranous appendix; corpusculum narrowly oblong, 0.21 – 0.24 × 0.04 – 0.05 mm; caudicles 0.14 – 0.16 mm long, horizontal, distally plicate; pollinia obovoid to obdacrioid, 0.21 – 0.25 × 0.07 – 0.12 mm; style-head shortly mammilate at the apex, included within the corolla tube
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Follicle ellipsoid, c. 11.5 cm long, apex acuminate, glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences fasciculate, 1 – 6 flowers; bracts c. 0.85 × 0.3 mm, narrowly triangular
Marsdenia breviramosa is distinguished from the other Brazilian species of the genus by its filiform leaves, which are arranged in short branches forming brachyblasts. It is possibly related to M. zehntneri Fontella, another shrubby species associated with calcareous outcrops in the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and Goiás. In M. zehntneri the leaves are narrowly elliptic, much larger (more than 2 mm vs. c. 0.5 mm wide in M. breviramosa), and the flowers are two times larger (corolla more than 1 cm vs. less than 0.5 cm long in this species). The species was collected with flowers and an open, dry fruit in January.
Typus: Brazil, Bahia, Carinhanha, Rapini et al. 1477 (holotypusHUEFS!; isotypi BHCB!, CTES!, HUEFS!, IAN!, K!, MBM!, MO!, NY!, P!, R!, RB!, SPF!, UB!).

Native to:

Brazil Northeast

Ruehssia breviramosa (Rapini & Fontella) F.Esp.Santo & Rapini appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 2011 Rapini, A. [1477], Brazil Marsdenia breviramosa K000543832 isotype

First published in Kew Bull. 74(2)-30: 20 (2019)

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.


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