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  1. Family: Stemonuraceae Kårehed
    1. Genus: Medusanthera Seem.
      1. Medusanthera megistocarpa Utteridge

        This species is accepted, and its native range is New Guinea.


    Utteridge, T.M.A. Kew Bull (2011) 66: 49.

    Typus: Papua New Guinea, Southern Highlands Province, Lake Kutubu, on ridge behind Government Station, [6°24'S 143°20'E], 24 May 1956 (fr.), Gray NGF 8146 (holotypus LAE-2 sheets; isotypi A, BRI n.v., K).
    Small tree 3 – 8 m high, d.b.h 2.5 – 3 cm
    Indumentum of simple appressed hairs, translucent, colourless to pale yellow (giving the young parts a golden sheen), 0.1 – 0.5 mm long (see description of specific structures for distribution)
    Branches 2 – 4.5 mm in diameter, densely hairy becoming sparsely hairy or glabrous, drying dull olive-green
    Leaves membranous – chartaceous, (broadly elliptic –) obovate, (6.2 –) 9 – 22 (– 37) × (1.9 –) 4 – 10.5 (– 12.2) cm; apex acuminate or rarely attenuate, acumen (0.5 –) 1 – 2 (– 4) cm long, base cuneate; adaxial lamina glabrous, abaxial lamina sparsely hairy soon glabrous, lamina drying olive-green to dark olive-green adaxially, pale olive- or dull-green abaxially; midrib adaxially sulcate and glabrous, abaxially prominent and densely hairy when young soon sparsely hairy or glabrous; secondary veins brochidodromus, loop-forming branches joining superadjacent secondary at an obtuse angle, enclosed by faint secondary arches, (6 –) 8 – 11 (– 16) pairs, glabrous, ± prominent abaxially, tertiary veins obscure or weakly percurrent; petioles (6 –) 8 – 11 (– 18) mm long, densely hairy when young, glabrescent
    Pistillate inflorescences as staminate except primary axis (8 –) 25 – 55 (– 75) mm long, pendulous, with 2 – 3 first order branches Staminate inflorescences axillary in axils below the terminal node (2nd axil and below), sometimes fasciculate with up to 3 inflorescences in each axil, umbellate with ultimate branches terminating in a cyme or irregular cyme, primary axis (12 –) 20 – 35.8 mm long with 3 first order branches at the apex of the primary axis, branched to 3 orders, hairy or sparsely hairy; pedicels 1.5 – 2 mm long, sparsely hairy
    Pistillate flowers as staminate except calyx 0.5 mm long, carpel 2 – 3 mm long Staminate flowers pentamerous, calyx crateriform, 1.3 – 1.4 mm long, shallowly 5-lobed, glabrous; petals white, 2.4 – 2.7 mm long, glabrous; stamens with anthers basifixed at the apex of the filament, 0.6 – 0.7 mm long, filaments elliptic, 1.3 – 1.6 mm long, glabrous; pistillode cylindrical, 1.6 – 2.2 × 0.9 mm, glabrous
    Fruits oblong, truncate at both ends, glabrous; when dry putamen strongly curved, 19 – 24 × 14 – 16 mm and 5.8 – 6 mm thick, apex of drupe somewhat beaked, putamen with a single longitudinal ridge on the convex side and several indistinct small raised lines on either side, concave side seemingly not ridged but obscured by the dry pulviniform appendage covering the whole of the concave surface; when fresh 33.5 – 40.6 × 35 – 39.9 mm and 27 – 30.8 mm thick (dimensions include drupe and appendage), sarcocarp green, pulviniform appendage semi-spherical, fleshy, pink, covering the drupe
    Endemic to New Guinea, with most collections from Papua New Guinea and two collections from Indonesian New Guinea from the southern side of the central cordillera.
    Lowland rainforest, collected from areas close to streams and rivers; sea level – 820 m.
    Medusanthera megistocarpa has been collected from nine localities from a wide area in New Guinea, the EOO (18,7522 km2) is very large and, together with the number of collections, give an IUCN rating of LC using the geographical range criteria. The species may have a wide distribution but is not commonly collected throughout its range. However, some of the collections are very old, especially those from south-east Indonesian New Guinea and the Forbes collections from close to Port Moresby; the species has not been re-collected in these areas. Indonesian New Guinea, including the south-eastern area, is threatened by logging and especially oil palm plantations (Frazier 2006). Until more collections are made of this species a rating of Near Threatened (NT) is deemed appropriate.
    The species epithet refers to the fruit, which are very large for species of Medusanthera. "This species is distinctive because of the membranous to chartaceous obovate leaves with an acuminate apex with a relatively long acumen (1 – 2 cm long), the comparatively long inflorescence axis, and the very large fruit with a massive pink appendage when fresh. As in all species of Medusanthera there can be a large range in leaf size and Streimann & Katik NGF 34066 is a very large leaved specimen with the largest leaves recorded in the genus (up to 37 cm long). The large fruits were noted by Gray NGF 8146 as being “on long pedicels, pale pink, fleshy and favoured by cassowary""." There are two other species of Medusanthera in New Guinea: M. inaequalis and M. laxiflora; M. megistocarpa is unlikely to be confused with either of these with the combination of the leaf morphology and the relatively large fruits (see notes under those two species). In addition, M. megistocarpa differs from M. inaequalis in having inflorescences in the axils and along the branches, that are up to 7.5 cm long (M. inaequalis: terminal or sub-terminal and 9 – 17 cm long); and from M. laxiflora in the inflorescence axes which are comparatively long in each sex (e.g., M. megistocarpa: staminate inflorescences (12 –) 20 – 35.8 mm long vs. M. laxiflora: 9 – 18 mm long) which are seemingly more hairy on account of the 0.3 – 0.5 mm long hairs on the inflorescence axis (M. laxiflora: hairs 0.125 – 0.25 mm long), and the fruits with a green drupe when fresh (M. laxiflora: with a blackish drupe when fresh).


    Native to:

    New Guinea

    Other Data

    Medusanthera megistocarpa Utteridge appears in other Kew resources:


    First published in Kew Bull. 66: 70 (2011)


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