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This species is accepted, and its native range is E. Brazil.
Marsdenia caatingae Morillo


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 caatingae is broadly distributed in the Brazilian semi-arid region, occurring in several rocky outcrops throughout the Caatinga domain; thus, it is assessed as Least Concern: LC.
Northeast Brazil and northern Minas Gerais.
Granitic outcrops, from seasonally dry forests to rocky grasslands and in upland remnants of moist forests surrounded by the lowland drier vegetation in northeastearn Brazil (“brejos de altitude”).
Morphology General Habit
Shrubs erect, up to 2 m tall; stems puberulent when young, glabrescent
Morphology Leaves
Leaves with petiole 0.2 – 0.8 cm long, puberulent; lamina 2.3 – 7.7 × 1.1 – 7.9 cm, ovate or elliptic, rarely suborbicular or cordiform, base obtuse, rounded, cuneate or cordate, apex acute or cuspidate, margins revolute, adaxially with or without 2 colleters at the base of the main vein, coriaceous, glabrous, except for trichomes abaxially along the main vein
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 2 – 4 × 1.05 – 2.3 mm, oblong-ovate or elliptic, apex obtuse, margins ciliate, abaxially glabrous or with sparse trichomes, adaxially with 5 alternisepalous colleters at the base of calyx
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla tubular to slightly urceolate, abaxially greenish to greenish-cream or vinaceous, glabrous, adaxially cream, yellowish-orange, brownish or vinaceous, pilose on throat and inside the tube, glabrous along the lobes; tube 5.5 – 8.6 × 2 – 2.3 mm; lobes 2.1 – 4 × 1.5 – 2.1 mm, ovate, oblong or ovate-oblong, recurved, apex obtuse, margins ciliate, with a fleshy appendix at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corona
Corona lobes 0.82 – 1 × 0.65 – 0.85 mm, ovate to triangular-ovate, completely fused to the anther
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynostegium
Gynostegium c. 3.1 mm high, stipitate (stipe c. 1 mm high), inserted in the corolla tube; style-head c. 0.78 × 0.95 mm, conical, bilobed; anthers c. 0.45 × 0.15 mm, apical membranous appendix 1.26 – 1.76 × 0.57 – 0.61 mm, oblong; corpusculum 0.2 – 0.27 × 0.04 – 0.05 mm, lanceolate, apex acute, curved; caudicles 0.13 – 0.16 mm long; pollinia 0.4 – 0.52 × 0.09 – 0.12 mm, oblong
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Follicles 5.9 – 10.2 × 1.15 – 1.5 cm, fusiform, glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences umbelliform, 6 – 20 flowers; peduncle 0.6 – 3.9 cm long, puberulent to pubescent; bracts 0.49 – 15.8 × 0.38 – 1.18 mm, ovate to triangular, margins ciliate; flowers sessile or pedicels up to 2 mm long, puberulent
Ruehssia caatingae may also be related to R. otoniensis because of the habit and the morphology of inflorescence and corolla, but is easily differentiated from it by the corolla, with larger (> 2 × 1.4 mm vs < 1.4 × 1.1 mm) and recurved (vs erect to suberect) lobes and a longer (> 5.4 mm vs < 3.3 mm) tube, and especially by the ovate to triangular-ovate corona lobes (vs segmented in a shortly auriculate, subovate to sub-rectangular lower portion and an oblong to oblong-obovate upper portion). Ruehssia caatingae is characterised by the shrubby habit, petiolate, usually ovate or elliptic leaves, umbelliform inflorescences, tubular to slightly urceolate corolla, with recurved lobes, 5-lobed corolline corona, with fleshy lobes exserted from corolla tube, ovate to triangular-ovate staminal corona lobes completely fused to the anther and pollinaria with a lanceolate, apically curved corpusculum. It shows a wide morphological variation and is closely related to R. loniceroides, which occurs in rocky outcrops of the Atlantic forest in Southeast Brazil (Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro). The morphological overlap between the two species, particularly in plants from moist uplands in Caatinga (“brejos de altitudes”), makes a precise identification of some specimens difficult. According to Morillo (1993), the two species can be differentiated by the indumentum of new branches, sessile or petiolate leaves, size and shape of leaves and sepals, and shape and colour of corolla. However, most of these characters are not absolutely consistent for their differentiation. Among the characters presented by Morillo (1993) and confirmed here, the corolla with recurved lobes (vs erect to suberect corolla lobes in R. loniceroides) and, especially, the corolline corona with fleshy lobes (vs lacking these fleshy appendices) support the specific delimitation proposed by Morillo (1993), which is also consistent with their geographical distributions and phylogenetic positions.
Collected with flowers and fruits throughout the year.
Brazil, Bahia, Milagres, Harley 19427 (holotype K!; isotypes CEPEC!, MBM!, NY!, SPF!).

Native to:

Brazil Northeast, Brazil Southeast

Ruehssia caatingae (Morillo) F.Esp.Santo & Rapini appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 1992 Harley, R.M. [19427], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K000438640
Jan 1, 1992 Harley, R.M. [20521], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K000095811
Jan 1, 1992 Ule, E. [7012], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K000095812
França, F. [5163], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K001060813
Harley, R.M. [28223], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K000095801
França, F. [5138], Brazil Marsdenia caatingae K001060812

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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  • Forzza, R.C. & al. (2012). Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil

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