全 文 ：植 物 分 类 学 报 44 (5): 608–611(2006) doi:10.1360/aps040177
Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica http://www.plantsystematics.com
Received: 20 December 2004 Accepted: 14 July 2005
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant No. 30570314, and the Natural Science Foundation of
Guangdong, Grant No. 04002308.
* Author for correspondance. E-mail:
Three new synonyms in Mussaenda (Rubiaceae) from China
1,2DENG Xiao-Fang 1ZHANG Dian-Xiang*
1(South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China)
2(Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
Abstract The taxonomic status of two species and one form of the genus Mussaenda
(Rubiaceae) from China is clarified: M. inflata Hsue & H. Wu, M. anomala Li and M.
pubescens Ait. f. forma clematidiflora Chun ex Hsue & H. Wu are reduced to synonyms of M.
hirsutula Miq., M. esquirolii Lévl. and M. pubescens Ait. f. respectively.
Key words Mussaenda, Mussaenda hirsutula, Mussaenda esquirolii, Mussaenda pubescens,
In the course of revising the genus Mussaenda L. (Rubiaceae) from China, based on the
study of specimens, especially type specimens, we came to the doubt that the establishment of
two species and one form might not be well supported. Our field observations in Hainan,
Guangdong and Guangxi provinces have confirmed our previous suspicion. Therefore, we
suggest that M. inflata Hsue & H. Wu (1986) should be reduced to synonymy of M. hirsutula
Miq. (Hutchinson, 1916; Hemsley, 1888), M. anomala Li (1943) to synonymy of M.
esquirolii Lévl. (Léveillé, 1915), and M. pubescens Ait. f. forma clematidiflora Chun ex Hsue
& H. Wu (1986) to synonymy of M. pubescens Ait. f. ( Rehder, 1935).
1. Mussaenda hirsutula Miq. in Journ. Bot. Néerland. 1: 109. 1861. Type: not designated.
M. inflata Hsue & H. Wu in Acta Phytotax. Sin. 24: 234, fig. 1: 6–10. 1986, syn. nov.
Type: China. Guangdong (广东): Yangchun (阳春), 1935-11-05, C. Wang (黄志) 38650
The name M. inflata was based on a single specimen (Fig. 1: A). Other than the type, no
specimen has ever been collected. In the original description of M. inflata, the authors
indicated that it differs from M. hirsutula Miq. (Fig. 1: B) in having elliptic and
ovate-lanceolate leaves, turbinate calyx-tubes, lanceolate calyx-lobes and corolla-tube inflated
from the contracted throat to the base. Otherwise, the two species are not essentially different
from each other.
After examining more materials of M. hirsutula, we conclude that the shape of the leaf of
M. inflata falls well within the range of variation of M. hirsutula (Table 1).
In observing the flowering individuals in the field, we found that the character of
corolla-tube inflated from contracted throat to base very often occurs in M. hirsutula and M.
hainanensis Merr. in Hainan Province. After dissecting fresh flowers of M. hirsutula (Fig. 1:
C), we confirmed that the phenomenon of corolla-tube with swollen base had been caused by
insect-damage because the anthers and style in the corolla all disappeared in the flowers.
Instead, a larva, or the feces left by the larva, was found in the corolla tube. The infection of
insects that caused the change in corolla shape was often accompanied by other changes: the
petals and the calyx-lobes swollen and enlarged, and the calyx-tubes inflated, making the
calyx-tubes turbinate in shape. We dissected flowers of the type of M. inflata (Fig. 1: D), and
No. 5 DENG Xiao-Fang et al.: Three new synonyms in Mussaenda (Rubiaceae) from China 609
Fig. 1. Photographs of some specimens and two dissected flowers of Mussaenda. A, The holotype of M. inflata Hsue &
H. Wu (C. Wang 38650, IBSC). B, M. hirsutula Miq. (H. Y. Liang 62074, IBSC). C, A dissected flower of M. hirsutula (X.
F. Deng 259, IBSC), showing a larva in the corolla tube. D, A dissected flower of the holotype of M. inflata (C. Wang
38650, IBSC), showing a larva and the feces left by the larva in the corolla tube. E, M. esquirolii Lévl. (C. T. Lee 629,
IBSC). F, The holotype of M. pubescens Ait. f. forma clematidiflora Chun ex Hsue & H. Wu (S. Wang 161915, IBSC). G,
The isotype of M. anomala Li (C. Wang 39567, IBK). H, M. pubescens, showing the unequal “petaloid” calyx-lobes.
A, B, E, F, scale bar=4 cm; C, D, H, scale bar=0.5 cm.
found nothing but a larva with its feces in the corolla, and the anthers and the style had also
disappeared. This examination revealed that insect-damage really brought about the inflation
of the calyx-tubes, corolla-tube, and the calyx-lobes, and the enlargement of petals and the
calyx-lobes to the flowers on the type specimen.
Mussaenda inflata falls well within the variation range of M. hirsutula except the
inflated corolla-tube. According to our investigation mentioned above, however, the
formation of the inflated corolla-tube is the result of insect-damage. So M. inflata is reduced
as a synonym of M. hirsutula.
2. Mussaenda esquirolii Lévl. in Fl. Kouy-chéou 369. 1915. Type: China. Forêts de
Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica Vol. 44 610
Table 1 Comparison between Mussaenda inflata and M. hirsutula
Character M. inflata M. hirsutula
Twig pubescence +, brown +, brown or grey
Leaf shape elliptic or ovate-lanceolate elliptic or oblong, subovate
Leaf size (mm) 65–78×25–32 55–100×25–40
Stipule (mm) 2-partite, lanceolate, 5 2-partite, lanceolate, 4–6
Calyx-tube (mm) turbinate, 3–4.5 elliptic, 4
Calyx-lobe (mm) lanceolate, 9–11×0.1 lanceolate, 7–10×0.05
Petaloid calyx-lobe (mm) broadly elliptic, 40×20 broadly elliptic, 40–45×30–35
Corolla-tube (mm) inflated from throat to base, 19 mm long inflated from middle of the tube upward, 20
Corolla-lobe (mm) ovate-elliptic, 7–8×3 elliptic, 6×3
+, present; –, absent.
Tong-Tchéou (贵州桐梓关?), 1912-06-22, Jos. Esquirol 3264 (holotype, E; isotype, A).
M. anomala Li in Journ. Arn. Arb. 24: 454. 1943, syn. nov. Type: China. Guangxi (广
西): Jinxiu (Tseung-yuen) (金秀), Yao Shan (瑶山), 1936-06-27, C. Wang (黄志) 39567
(holotype, IBSC!; isotype, IBK!).
M. anomala (Fig. 1: G) resembles M. esquirolii (Fig. 1: E) in having large, broad, thin
leaves. The most remarkable difference between these two species is that all the calyx-lobes
in M. anomala are enlarged to become “petaloid”, while the calyx-lobes in M. esquirolii are
foliar, and lanceolate in shape, and only one of the calyx-lobes of several flowers is enlarged
to become “petaloid” (Table 2).
Table 2 Comparison between Mussaenda anomala and M. esquirolii
Character M. anomala M. esquirolii
Leaf shape elliptic or elliptic-ovate broadly elliptic or broadly ovate
Leaf size (mm) 130–170×75–115 100–200×50–100
Leaf texture thinly chartaceous thinly chartaceous
Lateral nerve 8–10 opposite 9 opposite
Bracteole (mm) lanceolate, 9–10×2–3.5 linear lanceolate, 5–10×2–3
Calyx-tube (mm) oblong, 4–5 mm long elliptic, 4 mm long
Calyx-lobe (mm) all enlarge into petaloid foliar lanceolate, 9–10×2–3
Petaloid calyx-lobe (mm) ovate-elliptic, 20–40×15–25 elliptic, 30–40×20–25
Corolla-tube (mm) 12 mm long 9–12 mm long
Corolla-lobe (mm) ovate, 3 mm long ovate, 2–4 mm long
However, the character that all the calyx-lobes being enlarged into “petaloid” has been
noted in M. erythrophylla Schum. & Thonn., M. hybrida Hort. cv. Alicia and in the Philippine
M. philippica A. Rich. var. aurorae Sulit, and we have also observed all the calyx-lobes were
enlarged to become “petaloid” in several inflorescence of M. pubescens in South China
Botanical Garden, though this phenomenon is not universal in all these species, and varies in
different flowering seasons.
Ever since M. anomala was published in 1943, no additional specimen of this species has
been collected. In spite of extensive visits to the type locality (including visits by the present
authors), no specimen referrable to M. anomala was ever collected. Since the phenomenon of
all five calyx-lobes becoming “petaloid” is an unstable character, and it may be an abnormal
development induced by environmental factors, we concluded that it is unjustifiable to
establish a new taxon based solely on the character of all calyx-lobes becoming “petaloid”.
Furthermore, all important characters of M. anomala, such as shape and size of leaf and
corolla, arrangement of branches and flowers, are perfectly consistent with those in M.
esquirolii. We thus consider that the two species are deemed to be conspecific and M.
No. 5 DENG Xiao-Fang et al.: Three new synonyms in Mussaenda (Rubiaceae) from China 611
anomala is therefore treated as a synonym of M. esquirolii.
3. Mussaenda pubescens Ait. f. in Hort. Kew. ed. 2, 1: 372. 1810. Type: not designated.
M. pubescens Ait. f. forma clematidiflora Chun ex Hsue & H. Wu in Acta Phytotax. Sin.
24: 239. 1986, syn. nov. Type: China. Guangdong (广东): Gaoyao (高要), 1956-05, S. Wang
(黄成) 161915 (holotype, IBSC!).
The type of M. pubescens f. clematidiflora (S. Huang 161915, IBSC) (Fig. 1: F) is very
similar to M. pubescens, except that all the calyx-lobes are enlarged to become unequal
“petaloid”, 10–18×2–8 mm in size. The calyx-lobes in typical M. pubescens are
linear-lanceolate, 7–10×0.2–0.5 mm in size and only one of the calyx-lobes of several
flowers is enlarged to become “petaloid”, up to 20–50×20–35 mm. There are no other
characters that distinguish M. pubescens f. clematidiflora from M. pubescens. The other
characters of M. pubescens f. clematidiflora specified in the protologue are quantitative in
nature and clearly fall within the variation range of M. pubescens.
Although the phenomenon that all the calyx-lobes are enlarged to become “petaloid” is
not universal, we have observed this phenomenon in several inflorescences of M. pubescens
(Fig. 1: H) in South China Botanical Garden in 2004, while it did not appear in the same plant
in 2005. We thus conclude that all the calyx-lobes being enlarged to become “petaloid” is an
unstable and unusual character, which could not be used to establish a new taxon. M.
pubescens f. clematidiflora is thus reduced to synonymy of M. pubescens.
Acknowledgements We would like to thank LI Shi-Jin and GU Lei (South China Botanical
Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences) for their assistance in the field and in preparing the
Hemsley W B. 1888. Enumeration of all the plants known from China Proper, Formosa, Hainan, the Corea, the
Luchu Archipelago, and the Island of Hongkong, together with their distribution and synonymy.
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 23: 1–489.
Hsue H-H (徐祥浩), Wu H (吴翰). 1986. New taxa of Mussaenda Linn. from China. Acta Phytotaxonomica
Sinica (植物分类学报) 24: 233–239.
Hutchinson J. 1916. Rubiaceae: Mussaenda. In: Sargent C S ed. Plant Wilsonianae. Cambridge: The
University Press. 3: 399.
Léveillé H. 1915. Flore du Kout-Tchéou. France: Le Mans Press. 369.
Li H-L. 1943. Notes on the flora of Kwangsi. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 24: 454–455.
Rehder A. 1935. Notes on the Ligneous Plants Described by Léveillé from Eastern Asia. Journal of the Arnold
Arboretum 16: 320.
1(中国科学院华南植物园 广州 510650)
2(中国科学院研究生院 北京 100039)
摘要 澄清了中国产玉叶金花属Mussaenda 2种1变型的分类学位置, 分别将胀管玉叶金花M. inflata
Hsue & H. Wu、异形玉叶金花M. anomala Li和灵仙玉叶金花M. pubescens Ait. f. forma clematidiflora
Chun ex Hsue & H. Wu作为粗毛玉叶金花M. hirsutula Miq.、大叶白纸扇M. esquirolii Lévl.和玉叶金花M.
pubescens Ait. f.的新异名处理。
关键词 玉叶金花属; 粗毛玉叶金花; 大叶白纸扇; 玉叶金花; 新异名; 茜草科