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

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Fiji.


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

    Typus: Fiji, Vanua Levu, Thakaundrove, Savu Savu Bay region, Vatunivuamonde Mt [16°45′S 179°15′E], 0 – 400 m, 26 Dec. 1940 – 10 Jan. 1941 (fr.), Degener & Ordonez 14006 (holotypus K; isotypi A, BISH, MO n.v., NY-2 sheets, UC n.v., US).
    Tree 3 – 7 m high
    Indumentum of simple appressed hairs, translucent, colourless, 0.05 – 0.1 mm long (only present on very young parts)
    Branches flexuose (‘zig-zag’) when young, 3 – 5 mm in diameter, hairy when very young soon glabrous, drying pale yellow-grey
    Leaves coriaceous, elliptic, oblong or ovate, (7.6 –) 10 – 13.5 (– 15.2 ) × 6 – 8 (– 10) cm, apex obtuse, base rounded to obtuse cuneate; ad- and abaxial lamina glabrous, lamina drying olive-green adaxially, pale olive-green abaxially; midrib adaxially prominent and glabrous, abaxially  ±  sulcate, glabrous; secondary veins brochidodromus, not enclosed by secondary arches, 8 – 14 pairs, glabrous, ± prominent ad- and abaxially; tertiary veins inconspicuous; petioles 17 – 30 (– 46) mm long, glabrous
    Pistillate inflorescences from 4 axils or more below the terminal node or on the leafless branches, umbellate with ultimate branches terminating in a cyme or irregular cyme, primary axis 6.5 – 23 mm long, with 2 – 4 first order branches at the apex of the primary axis, branched to 2 – 3 orders, densely hairy at the apex becoming sparsely hairy then glabrous; pedicels 0 – 0.75 mm long, hairy Staminate inflorescences and flowers not seen
    Pistillate flowers pentamerous; calyx gamosepalous, ± crateriform, 0.6 mm long with 5 small broadly triangular lobes, glabrous; petals pale green, narrowly oblong, 4.2 – 4.3 mm long; staminodes with vestigial anthers basifixed along their length, 0.28 – 0.32 mm long; filaments narrowly oblong, 3.2 – 3.6 mm long, glabrous except for short translucent club-shaped hairs 0.2 mm long below the vestigial anthers; ovary ellipsoid to narrowly ellipsoid, 2.7 – 3 × 0.8 – 1.4 mm, glabrous
    Fruits oblong to obovate, truncate at the base, apex obtuse, glabrous; when dry putamen flat, 13 – 15.6 × 5.1 – 8.5 mm and 3.8 – 6.2 mm thick, apex of drupe not at all beaked, putamen with a single longitudinal ridge on the convex side and with 1 (– 2) longitudinal ridges either side of the central ridge especially at the edge of the drupe, pulviniform appendage ± covering the whole of the concave surface; fresh fruits “dark green” (from Degener & Ordonez 14006).
    Endemic to the Fijian islands, collected from Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Map 2.
    Recorded from “dense forest” (e.g., Smith 8495); (0 –) 250 – 1100 m.
    Near Threatened (NT). Using the geographic range estimate of EOO is inappropriate for this species because of the areas of unsuitable habitat (sea) between the collections. Estimating the maximum AOO (11,000 km2) of potential suitable habitat from satellite imagery of vegetation in the Fijian archipelago, suggests a threat rating is not appropriate. However, the species is known from a low number of locations (3) and only from historical collections, with three of those collections from Suva (the Fijian capital) and from areas that are now urbanised. The most recent from 1953 is from the central ranges of Viti Levu which are still covered with some forest, but a collection programme for this species, as well as Medusanthera vitiensis (see below), is needed to see if the species is present in other localities.
    This species is named for Richard Alden Howard (1917 – 2003), the Director of the Arnold Arboretum from 1954 – 1978 (see Rodriguez 2003), who established a solid foundation for our contemporary understanding of the Icacinaceae with his MA and PhD research, especially the series of papers he published with I. W. Bailey (see Warnemont & Wood 2004). Howard (1943b: 140) noted that species limits in Medusanthera vitiensis needed to be re-assessed, and better field notes and collections, especially of fruiting material were needed. Howard (1943b) initially determined Degener & Ordonez 14006 as M. vitiensis but noted that “this collection differed from the others in the coriaceous ovate-oblong leaves”. Collection notes on Tothill 70 noted that the species was “apparently distinct from M. vitiensis as the leaves are much larger than in that species”, suggesting that the two species can be readily distinguished in the field. This species is distinguished by the coriaceous, elliptic, oblong or ovate leaves with the secondary veins raised below, the small fruits, and the short inflorescence (with the primary axis up to 23 mm long). The other species of Medusanthera in Fiji is M. vitiensis Seem. M. howardii Utteridge differs from M. vitiensis in the larger coriaceous leaves (M. howardii: lamina 6 – 10 cm wide; M. vitiensis: lamina chartaceous, 2.7 – 6 cm wide), longer petioles (M. howardii: 17 – 46 mm long; M. vitiensis: 8.8 – 19 mm long), and the smaller oblong to obovate fruits (M. howardii: 13 – 15.6 mm long; M. vitiensis narrowly triangular, 22 – 30 mm long). In addition, M. vitiensis, shows sexual dimorphism in the leaf size between plants with staminate flowers and pistillate flowers, but, to date, only female collections of M. howardii have been made, and it is not possible to infer whether this species is sexually dimorphic. The other species of Medusanthera with coriacous leaves are M. malayana from Peninsular Malaysia and M. inaequalis from New Guinea. M. malayana is easily distinguished from M. howardii by the narrowly oblong leaves and the racemose inflorescence (leaves elliptic to ovate, and inflorescence umbellate in M. howardii); M. inaequalis differs from M. howardii by the inflorescence axis 9 – 17 cm long and the obovate leaves (M. howardii: inflorescence axis to 2.3 mm long, and leaves elliptic to ovate).



    Other Data

    Medusanthera howardii Utteridge appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Oct 31, 2005 Degener, O. [14006], Fiji K000271384 holotype


    First published in Kew Bull. 66: 57 (2011)


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