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Chiritopsis jingxiensis, a New Species of Gesneriaceae from a Karst
Cave in Guangxi, China
Wei-bin Xu and Yan Liu*
Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuangzu Autonomous Region, and the Chinese Academy
of Sciences, Yanshan, Guilin, Guangxi 541006, People’s Republic of China.
*Author for correspondence: email@example.com
Enshi Vocational and Technical College, Enshi, Hubei 445000, People’s Republic of China
ABSTRACT .Chiritopsis W. T. Wang (Gesneriaceae) is
endemic to China, where the genus consists of 10
species and three varieties. In the course of our
floristic investigation of karst caves in Guangxi in
2005, the new species C. jingxiensis Yan Liu, W. B.
Xu & H. S. Gao was discovered in a karst cave from
the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China,
and the new taxon is described and illustrated here.
This new species is similar to C. mollifolia D. Fang &
W. T. Wang in its leaf shape, corolla, and staminodes,
but it can be distinguished by its smaller leaves, the
lax, 1-branched cymes with one to three flowers, and
the capsule that is twice as long as the calyx.
Key words: China, Chiritopsis, Gesneriaceae,
Guangxi, IUCN Red List.
Chiritopsis W. T. Wang (Gesneriaceae) is an
endemic genus of 10 species and three varieties
found exclusively in China. The genus consists of the
one species, C. xiuningensis X. L. Liu & X. H. Guo,
distributed in Anhui Province; three species and one
variety in Guangdong Province; and six species and
two varieties in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The karst region of Guangxi–Guangdong may be the
center of distribution and diversification of Chiritop-
In the course of floristic investigation of karst caves
in 2005, we discovered a rare plant in Jingxi County,
southwestern Guangxi, China, identified as belonging
to the genus of Chiritopsis. After consulting local and
national floras and relevant literature (Wang, 1981,
1982, 1986, 1990, 1992; Liu & Guo, 1989; Fang et
al., 1993; Wang et al., 1998; Li & Wang, 2004; Liu et
al., 2006; Wen et al., 2008) as well as herbarium
specimens, we determined the plant to represent a
new species, which is described here.
Chiritopsis jingxiensis Yan Liu, W. B. Xu & H. S.
Gao, sp. nov. TYPE: China. Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region: Jingxi Co., on moist
limestone rock face in karst cave, 17 Aug.
2005, Yan Liu, Wei-bin Xu & Hai-shan Gao
L1260 (holotype, IBK; isotype, PE). Figure 1.
Haec species Chiritopsi mollifoliae D. Fang & W. T. Wang
affinis, sed ab ea lamina foliari minore (1–2 30.5–1 vs. 2–
4.8 32–4.5 cm) basi attenuata vel cuneata (vs. rotundata vel
cordata), cymis semel ramosis (vs. bis terve ramosis),
stigmate 2-lobulato (vs. integro) atque capsula calyce 1-plo
longiore (vs. subaequilonga) differt.
Herbs perennial, stemless; rhizome 5–15 33–
4 mm diam. Leaves 7 to 17, basal, carnose, papery
when dry; petiole flattened, 6–20 31–2 mm, villous;
blades obovate or elliptic to suborbicular, 1–2 30.5–
1 cm, villous, base attenuate to cuneate, margin
subentire, apex obtuse to subrounded; lateral veins
2 or 3, inconspicuous. Cymes lax, 2 to 5 per rosette,
axillary, 1-branched, each 1- to 3-flowered; peduncle
3–6 cm, pubescent; bracts 2, opposite, linear-lance-
olate, 1–2 30.3–0.5 mm, margin entire, pubescent;
pedicel 5–15 mm, pubescent. Calyx 5-lobed, dissect-
ed to near base, segments narrowly linear-lanceolate,
3–3.5 30.5–1 mm, apex acute, externally pubescent,
internally sparsely puberulent, margins entire; corolla
purplish, 10–13 mm, externally pubescent, internally
sparsely puberulent; corolla tube ca. 9 34 mm; limb
distinctly 2-lipped, white; adaxial lip ca. 2 mm, 2-
parted to base, lobes 2.5–3 mm wide; abaxial lip 3–
4 mm, 3-parted to near middle, lobes rounded-ovate,
3–3.5 mm wide; stamens 2, adnate to 2.5–3 mm above
corolla base; filaments lanceolate-subulate, 3–4 mm,
6geniculate near middle, glabrous; staminodes 2, ca.
1.5 mm, glabrous, linear, apex capitate, adnate to
1.5–2 mm above corolla base. Disc annular, ca.
0.7 mm in height, glabrous; pistil ca. 8 mm, ovary
narrowly ovoid, 2–3 3ca. 1 mm, puberulent; style 5–
6 mm, puberulent; stigma obtrapeziform, ca. 0.5 mm,
2-lobed. Capsule ellipsoidal, 6–8 31.5–2 mm, twice
as long as calyx.
doi: 10.3417/2008014 NOVON 19: 559–561. PUBLISHED ON 10 DECEMBER 2009.
Distribution and ecology. Chiritopsis jingxiensis is
known only from one population on moist limestone
rock face in a karst cave in Jingxi County, southwestern
Guangxi, China, at ca. 900 m.
IUCN Red List category. The new species has an
estimated population size of fewer than 250 mature
individuals and is known only fromone site. We therefore
assess Chiritopsis jingxiensis as Critically Endangered
(CR) according to IUCN Red List criteria (IUCN, 2001).
Phenology. Chiritopsis jingxiensis has been col-
lected in flower from July to September and in fruit
from August to October.
Figure 1. Chiritopsis jingxiensis Yan Liu, W. B. Xu & H. S. Gao. —A. Habit. —B. Corolla opened with stamens and
staminodes. —C. Stamens. —D. Calyx and pistil. —E. Fruit. Drawn by S. Q. He from the holotype Yan Liu et al. L1260 (IBK).
Etymology. The specific epithet commemorates
Jingxi County, the type locality for the new species.
Relationships. Chiritopsis jingxiensis is similar to
C. mollifolia D. Fang & W. T. Wang in its leaf shape,
corolla, and staminodes, but it can be distinguished by
its smaller leaves (1–2 30.5–1 cm vs. 2–4.8 32–
4.5 cm), attenuate to cuneate leaf base (vs. rounded to
cordate), cymes two to five, 1-branched, with one to
three flowers (vs. cymes four to 10, 2- or 3-branched,
with seven to 20 flowers), 2-lobed stigma (vs. not
divided), and capsules that are twice as long as the
calyx (vs. not exceeding calyx). Table 1 summarizes
the morphological differences between C. jingxiensis
and two similar species.
Paratypes. CHINA. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region: Jingxi Co., 17 Aug. 2005, Yan Liu, Wei-bin Xu &
Hai-shan Gao L1261 (MO), 19 Sep. 2006, Yan Liu & Wei-bin
Xu L1380 (IBK).
Acknowledgments. We thank Fa-nan Wei (IBK)
and Ching-I Peng (HAST) for their help in preparing
the paper; we also thank Shun-qing He (IBK) for the
handsome drawing. This study was supported by the
Western Program for Fostering Personal Ability,
Chinese Academy of Sciences (2007), to Yan Liu
(IBK) and the Fundamental Research Fund of
Guangxi Institute of Botany (GZY 09004) to Wei-bin
Fang, D., D. H. Qin & L. Zeng. 1993. New plants of
Gesneriaceae from Guangxi of China. Acta Phytotax. Sin.
IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, Version
3.1. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, United
Li, Z. Y. & Y. Z. Wang. 2004. Plants of Gesneriaceae in
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Liu, X. L. & X. H. Guo. 1989. A new species of Chiritopsis
from Anhui. Bull. Bot. Res., Harbin 9(3): 51–54.
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lingchuanensis Yan Liu & Y. G. Wei, a new species of
Gesneriaceae from Guangxi, China. Acta Phytotax. Sin.
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———. 1982. Notulae de Gesneriaceis Sinensibus, IV. Bull.
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———. 1986. Notulae de Gesneriaceis Sinensibus, VII.
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Table 1. Morphological comparison of Chiritopsis jingxiensis,C. mollifolia, and C. xiuningensis.
C. jingxiensis C. mollifolia C. xiuningensis
Leaf blade (cm) 1–2 30.5–1 2–4.8 32–4.5 2–9 31–6
Leaf base attenuate to cuneate rounded to cordate widely cuneate, shallowly
cordate to subrounded
Cymes 2 to 5, single-branched,
with 1 to 3 flowers
cymes 4 to 10, 2- or 3-branched,
with 7 to 20 flowers
cymes 1 to 7, 1- or 2-branched,
with 2 to 10 flowers
Corolla limb distinctly 2-lipped, with the
adaxial lip ca. 2 mm, the
abaxial lip ca. 3–4 mm
distinctly 2-lipped, with the adaxial
lip ca. 2.2 mm, the abaxial lip
ca. 3 mm
obscurely 2-lipped, with the
adaxial lip ca. 3 mm, the
abaxial lip ca. 2 mm
Staminodes apex capitate apex capitate apex not capitate
Disc annular annular 2-lobed
Stigma 2-lobed not divided 2-lobed
Capsules twice as long as calyx not exceeding calyx not exceeding calyx
Volume 19, Number 4 Xu et al. 561
2009 Chiritopsis jingxiensis (Gesneriaceae)