LI Heng*, DAO Zhi-Ling, LI Rong
全 文 ：植 物 分 类 学 报 44 (6): 707–711(2006) doi:10.1360/aps050067
Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica http://www.plantsystematics.com
Received: 18 April 2005 Accepted: 14 July 2006
Supported by the US National Geographic Society (6578-99), the US National Science Foundation (DEB-0103795), and
Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
* Author for correspondence. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: 86-871-5223533; Fax: 86-871-5223533.
Reappraisal of Fosbergia shweliensis (Rubiaceae),
a species endemic to the Gaoligong Mountains,
Western Yunnan, China
LI Heng* DAO Zhi-Ling LI Rong
(Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China)
Abstract Based on collections from the Gaoligong Mountains in 1998–2004, western
Yunnan, China, the present paper describes in detail the fruit characters of Fosbergia
shweliensis (Anth.) Tirveng. & Sastre (Rubiaceae), a species endemic to the Gaoligong area.
The paper also reviews the flower structure and reports on the habit and distribution of the
species. Comparing the original description of Randia shweliensis Anth. (the basionym of
Fosbergia shweliensis), our collections are the same species as Fosbergia shweliensis.
Key words Fosbergia shweliensis, Gardenieae, Rubiaceae, Reappraisal.
From 1998 to 2004, during our expeditions to southern Gaoligong Mountains, we
collected a series specimens with massive fruits and large flowers of Rubiaceae. Comparing
our collections with the genera distributed in China and belonging to the tribe Gardeniae of
Rubiaceae, we determined our collections to be one of the species of Fosbergia (Tirvengadum
& Sastre, 1997). Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (Chen W-Q, 1999), Flora of Gaoligong
Mountains (Tao et al., 2000), and Flora Yunnanica (Chen W-Q, 2003) do not mention the
genus Fosbergia, and Rubiaceae in the web version of the Flora of China still keeps the genus
Randia which at present is considered to be strictly a neotropical genus of approximately 90
species (Gustafsson & Persson, 2002). However, Fosbergia as a good genus in the Rubiaceae
is different from other genera in the tribe Gardeniae by having large showy flowers and
massive fruits as well as a unique microstructure of the seed coat. It differs from Aidia Lour.
by terminal inflorescences (non axillary or opposite to leaf), large flowers (corolla lobes >2.5
cm long, non <10 mm), massive fruits (>4 cm diam., non <10 mm as that in Aidia), and
included anthers (non exposed). Thus, Tirvengadum and Sastre (1997) moved the Randia
shweliensis Anth. into their new genus Fosbergia as the type species F. shweliensis (Anth.)
Tirveng. & Sastre. We also suggested that Aidia shweliensis (Anth.) W. C. Chen (1999, 2003)
be changed to Fosbergia shweliensis. Unfortunately, both Tirvengadum and Sastre as well as
W. C. Chen did not check the type specimen in detail and could not describe the fruit of this
Fosbergia is restricted to Southeast Asia along an axis extending from the Gaoligong
Mountains (Northern Myanmar and southwestern China) to southern Vietnam (Tirvengadum
& Sastre, 1997).
After checking the type specimens and the original description of Randia shweliensis, the
basionym of Fosbergia shweliensis, and careful observation on the flowers and fruits of our
collections, a detail description of Fosbergia shweliensis is provided as following.
Fosbergia shweliensis (Anth.) Tirveng. & Sastre, Biogeographica 73 (2): 88. 1997, p.p.
specimen C. W. Wang 78281 exclud. ——Randia shweliensis Anth. in Notes Roy. Bot. Gard.
Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica Vol. 44 708
Edinb. 18: 205. 1934; C. Y. Wu, Index Fl. Yunnan. 2: 1270. 1984.——Aidia shweliensis
(Anth.) W. C. Chen in H. S. Lo, Fl. Reip. Pop. Sin. 71 (1): 350. 1999; W. C. Chen in C. Y.
Wu, Fl. Yunnan. 15: 179. 2003, syn. nov. Type: China. Yunnan (云南), Shweli-Salwin divide
(瑞丽江-怒江分水界), 25°40′ N, alt. 7000–8000 ft. 1919-06, G. Forrest 18064 (holotype, E!;
isotypes, A!, BM, K).
瑞丽茜 Fig. 1
Tree without spines, 8–20 m tall, d.b.h. 11–17 cm, bark coarse, brown, bearing minute
lenticels; branches dichotomous, internodes 1–2.5 cm long, glabrous; annual branches 10–15
cm long, brown, hirsutulous, bearing 2–3 pairs of leaves, bark easily peeling off, greenish
inside. Petiole 5–10 mm long, glabrous. Leaf blades green, chartaceous, obovate-lanceolate,
15×6 cm, 9.5×3.5 cm or smaller on annual branches, entire, unequal-sided, abruptly
acuminate, slightly caudate at apex, narrowly cuneate at base, glabrous on both surfaces,
sparsely hirsute on main and lateral nerves below; main nerve inconspicuous above, slightly
prominent below, lateral nerves 10–12 per side, raising to margins, nervules reticulate,
inconspicuous. Stipules triangular, ca. 5 mm long, hirsutulous outside, with filiform acumen
ca. 5 mm at apex.
Inflorescence terminal, young flower buds pseudo-axillary between 2 young and difficult
for seeing branch-buds, flowering cyme consisting of 3(–4) flowers, sitting between 2 short
opposite annual leaved branches and much shorter than latter; young buds appearing in
August, and flowering in June next year. Peduncle 1–1.5 cm long, robust, hirsutulous to
glabrous, lenticels grayish white, bracts 1-pair, opposite at the top of the peduncle, linear
lanceolate, aristate at apex, 4×2 mm, hirsutulous; flowers 3–4, usually 1–2 flowers reduced;
pedicel green, 1–1.8 cm long, 2–3 mm in diam., glabrous, with a pair of tiny bracteoles at the
middle, usually bracteoles reduced; bracteoles narrowly lanceolate, aristate at apex, ca. 3 mm
long, early deciduous. Calyx tube cylindrical to narrow bell-shaped, green outside, greenish
inside, glabrous on both sides, 8–13 mm long, 5 mm in diam.; calyx lobes 5, linear lanceolate,
5 mm long, 2 mm wide at base, aristate at apex. Corolla tube pale greenish to yellowish, long
campanulate, coriaceous, 2.2–2.5 cm long, 4 mm in diam. at lower part, 6–7 mm in diam. at
upper part, glabrous outside, yellowish tomentose at middle part inside; corolla lobes 5,
longer than calyx lobes, lanceolate, imbricate in the bud, greenish yellow to yellow, thickly
coriaceous, fragile when fresh, glabrous on both surfaces, recurved, 2.6 cm long, 6 mm wide
at base. Anthers 5, setting at throat of corolla tube and opposite to lobes; filament almost
absent, anther oblong, yellow, extrorse, 5 mm long, bilocular, dehiscing by longitudinal slit;
style yellowish green, glabrous, 2 cm long; stigma clavate, 5 mm long, deeply bilobed; ovary
inferior, pyriform or obovate, green, 4 mm in diam., bilocular with axile placentation, ovules
many per locule, amphitropous. Fl. June.
Young fruit (ca. 60 days after flowering) usually one per inflorescence, erect, green,
oblong, ovate-globose, 3.2–5×2.8–3.5 cm, green calyx persistent at the top, stalk green,
1.7–3.5 cm long. Mature fruit pendulous, dirt green, ovate-globose, up to 11×9 cm and
larger, top rounded with cupped calyx tube; exocarp woody, greenish white, thickened, up to
3 cm at the top, 1.3–1.7 cm at the lateral; endocarp white, soft bony, translucent; seeds many,
white, irregularly triangulate ovate or oblong, 1.2×0.7 cm, hiding in the white, fleshy, axile
placentation; seed coat membranous, translucent; embryo large, white, bony; stalk brown,
1.5–2 cm long. Mature fruits 2 years (?) after flowering.
Distribution: This species is distributed in west slope and watershed of the southern
Gaoligong Mountains, Yunnan, China, belonging to the Irrawaddy drainage. It is endemic to
Gaoligong Mountains. Tirvengadum and Sastre in Fosbergia shweliensis cited C. W. Wang
78281 (2 sheets, A, KUN), which was collected from Meng Soong (Mengsong), Dahl Meng
No. 6 LI Heng et al.: Reappraisal of Fosbergia shweliensis (Rubiaceae) 709
Fig. 1. Fosbergia shweliensis (Anth.) Tirveng. & Sastre. A, branch with flowers; B, flower and young branches; C,
calyx; D, corolla tuber; E, style & stigma; F, stamen; G, longitudinal section of ovary; H, branch with fruit; I, longitudinal
section of fruit. A, B, C, D, E, F and G are based on J. H. Li s.n.; H and I on Gaoligong Shan Biodiversity Survey 17745;
drawn by X. L. Wu.
Lung, Che-Li Hsien (=Jinghong County), alt. 1900 m. These specimens with large fruits
differ from Fosbergia shweliensis in thinned exocarp (less than 1 cm), triangular seeds, and
distribution area belonging to Mekong drainage area. In Fig. 1 the collection locality of C. W.
Wang 78281 is incorrectly shown nearly south of the collection locality of G. Forrest 18604
and 18855, south of Gaoligong Mountains (Tirvengadum & Sastre, 1997). Therefore, the
Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica Vol. 44 710
authors of this paper considered that C. W. Wang 78281 is an additional specimen of
Fosbergia thailandica Tirveng. & Sastre, distributed in Northern Thailand.
Phenology: Flower buds appear in July to August, flowering in next June, fruiting from
June through several years.
Ecology: The type specimen of F. shweliensis was collected from an open thicket, while
the present populations of F. shweliensis are distributed in primary moist subtropical
evergreen broadleaf forests in the Gaoligong Mountains State Nature Reserve. Here all trees
of Fosbergia are in old age. On stems and branches there are abundant mosses, and many
epiphytic plants such as Rhaphidophora decursiva (Roxb.) Schott, Epigeneium rotundatum
(Lindl.) Summerh., Otochilus fuscus Lindl., Aeschynanthus bracteatus Wall. ex A. DC.,
Lysionotus forrestii W. W. Smith, and ferns such as Lepisorus bicolor (Takeda) Ching, and
Lepidogrammitis rostrata (Bedd.) Ching. The forest is dominated by Lithocarpus spp.,
Michelia doltsopa Buch.-Ham. ex DC., and Manglietia insignis Bl. The second layer of forest
consists of Cinnamomum porrectum (Roxb.) Kosterm., Sterculia euosma W. W. Smith,
Reevesia pubescens Mast., Acanthopanax evodiifolius Franch., and Ilex spp. The forest floor
consists of Arisaema decipiens Schott, Sarcopyramis bodinieri Lévl. & Van., Polygonum
wallichii Meisner, Selaginella spp., and other ferns. In the forest it is difficult to find young
trees of Fosbergia shweliensis as well as gemmiferous seeds.
Additional specimens examined:
China. Yunnan (云南): Baoshan (保山), Lujiang (潞江), Lihuipo (里惠坡) near Nankang village (赧
亢村), alt. 2210 m, 24˚50′ 8′′ N, 98˚46′4′′ E, tree ca. 10 m tall, fruit green, 2003-08-26 (fr. KUN), Gaoligong
Shan Biodiversity Survey (高黎贡山生物多样性队) 17745; the same location and the same tree as the
specimen Gaoligong Shan Biodiversity Survey (高黎贡山生物多样性队) 17745, flower greenish to yellow,
2004-06-12, J. H. Li (李家华) s.n. ( fl. KUN). Tengchong (腾冲), Shangying (上营), Small N-S valley in the
Tanchang (炭厂) area, alt. 2200 m, 24˚57′7′′ N, 98˚43′52′′ E, tree ca. 10 m tall, fruit green, persistent for
several years, 2003-09-02, Gaoligong Shan Biodiversity Survey (高黎贡山生物多样性队) 18501 (KUN,
CAS, E ), alt. 2208 m, 24˚57′31′′ N, 98˚44′4′′ E, tree ca. 10 m tall, flower buds axillary, 2003-09-03,
Gaoligong Shan Biodiversity Survey (高黎贡山生物多样性队) 18667 (flower buds, KUN, CAS, E); the
same tree as collection number 18667, old fruit green, 2003-09-03, Gaoligong Shan Biodiversity Survey (高
黎贡山生物多样性队) 18668 (fr. KUN, CAS, E); Datianpo (大田坡) , alt. 2170 m, 24˚57′ 30′′ N, 98˚44′4′′ E,
broadleaved evergreen forest, tree ca. 8 m tall, fruit green, 1998-11-06, H. Li et al. (李恒等) 11584 (KUN,
The new collections of Fosbergia shweliensis are different from the original description
of Anthony (1934) in having cylindrical to narrow bell-shaped calyx tube glabrous on both
sides; biggish pale greenish to yellowish corolla 2.2–2.5 cm long, 4 mm in diam. in lower
part, 6–7 mm in diam. in upper part, long campanulate corolla tube glabrous outside,
yellowish tomentose at middle part inside; lanceolate recurved corolla lobes imbricate in the
bud, greenish yellow to yellow, thickly coriaceous, fragile when fresh, glabrous on both
surfaces, 2.6 cm long, 6 mm wide at base. At our request, Mr. Lawrie Springate from Royal
Botanic Garden Edinburgh removed the flower bud from the type specimen Forrest 18064
and cut open. He found: “The calyces seem glabrous throughout on both sides. I can not
explain Anthony’s statement ‘intus inter lobos villosus’, though there are many fungal ‘hairs’
inside on top of the ovaries of old flowers. The corollas are glabrous outside. The tube of the
dissected corolla is 22 mm long and the lobes 16 mm long. It is densely villous inside from
4–10 mm above its base…” Therefore, we are convinced that the new collections are the same
species as the type of F. shweliensis.
No. 6 LI Heng et al.: Reappraisal of Fosbergia shweliensis (Rubiaceae) 711
Because after collections of Forrest (in 1919) there were no additional collections in the
last 85 years, the fruit of F. shweliensis is described for the first time. However, the following
features may indicate that our collections with fruits might be the same species as G. Forrest
18604, namely, F. shweliensis: the mature (?) fruit up to 11×9 cm and larger; exocarp
woody, greenish white, thickened, up to 3 cm at the top, 1.3–1.7 cm laterally; endocarp white,
soft bony, translucent; seeds many, white, irregularly triangulate ovate, 1.2×0.7 cm, hidden
in the white, fleshy, axile placentation; seed coat membranous, translucent; embryo large,
We really do not know when the fruit is in the mature stage, how many years or months
after flowering, because we never found any mature fruit under the trees, but some massive
pendulous fruits on the trees.
Acknowledgements We are grateful to SHI Xiao-Chun (Baoshan Division, Gaoligong
Mountains State Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China) and LI Jia-Hua (Longyang Nature Reserve
Bureau of Baoshan Division, Gaoligong Mountains State Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China) for
their assistance in the field; LIU Yi-Tao and LU Yuan-Xue for their photos from collections
locations, and WU Xi-Ling for preparing the line drawing. The authors thank Philip Thomas
and Lawrie Springate (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK) for their scanning the type
specimen 18604 (E) and the paratype Forrest 18852, and dissecting and observing the flower
characters from the type, Anthony Brach and Walter Kittredge (Harvard University Herbaria)
for scanning the specimen and fruit specimen C. W. Wang 78281 (A) of Fosbergia
shweliensis (Anth.) Tirveng. & Sastre. We also thank Bruce Bartholomew (California
Academy of Sciences, USA) for reviewing this paper and providing many helpful comments.
Anthony J. 1934. Diagnoses specierum novarum in herbarium in herbario Horti Regii Botaniici
Edingburgensis cognitarum DLXX-DC, Randia shweliensis Anth. sp. nov. Notes from the Royal Botanic
Garden, Edinburgh 18: 205.
Chen W-Q (陈伟球). 1999. Rubiaceae (1). In: Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (中国植物志). Beijing:
Science Press. 71 (1): 348–356.
Chen W-Q (陈伟球). 2003. Rubiaceae. In: Wu C-Y (吴征镒) ed. Flora Yunnanica (云南植物志). Beijing:
Science Press. 15: 176–179.
Gustafsson C, Persson C. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships among species of the neotropical genus Randia
(Rubiaceae, Gardenieae) inferred from molecular and morphological data. Taxon 51: 661–674.
Tao D-D (陶德定), Li H (李恒), Li R (李嵘). 2000. Rubiaceae. In: Li H (李恒), Guo H-J (郭辉军), Dao Z-L
(刀志灵) eds. Flora of Gaoligong Mountains (高黎贡山植物). Beijing: Science Press. 871–888.
Tirvengadum D D, Sastre C C. 1997. Taxonomy and chorology of Fosbergia, gen. nov. from Southeast Asia.
Biogeographica 73 (2): 87–94.
李 恒* 刀志灵 李 嵘
(中国科学院昆明植物研究所 昆明 650204)
摘要 瑞丽茜Fosbergia shweliensis (Anth.) Tirveng. & Sastre的基名为Randia shweliensis Anth., 是高黎
的形态描述, 更正了关于本种原描述的若干错误, 报道了本种的生活习性、生境和分布情况。
关键词 瑞丽茜; 栀子族; 茜草科; 再确认