Taiwania 60(3):123‒128, 2015
Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh: A New Species (Loranthaceae) from the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Lal Ji Singh
Botanical Survey of India, ANRC, Port Blair-744102, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India.
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Manuscript received 11 July 2014; accepted 7 September 2015)
ABSTRACT: Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh (Loranthaceae) is described and illustrated here as a new species from the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands, India along with an inventory of host species. This is the second species of the genus known to be endemic
to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as previously only Scurrula parasitica L. was known from this region. Scurrula paramjitii is
distinguished from all other species of the genus by its morphology of vegetative and floral characters. However, it appears
apparently close to Scurrula parasitica L.
KEY WORDS: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, Loranthaceae, new species, Scurrula paramjitii
The earliest detailed description of Scurrula was
made by Linnaeus (1753) and subsequently by various
authors. Scurrula is the genus of hemiparasitic
flowering plants of the mistletoe family Loranthaceae
with the highest species diversity. It presents much
taxonomic difficulty at the species level and even in a
family Loranthaceae where such difficulty is common
due to uniformity in growth, habit, leaf morphology and
fruit structure (Barlow, 2002). Danser (1935) stated that
it is impossible to suppose all Scurrulae might be forms
of a single species. More recently, Singh (2013a) stated
that many Indian mistletoes species are distinct with the
morphological variations in vegetative and floral
characters. This genus presents a very interesting form
of diversity and unusual geographic distribution in
The genus Scurrula L. comprises ca. 23 species
distributed in South-east Asia (Rajsekaran, 2012),
which may be Afro-Asian in origin (Wilson and Calvin,
2006; Vidal-Russell and Nickrent, 2008). Of these, 11
species are found in India and only 2 species have been
recorded from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
including Scurrula paramjitii sp. nov.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
During floristic explorations in the forest areas
around the Andaman Islands, the author has collected
some interesting specimens of mistletoes. After critical
examination, consultation of herbarium specimens
deposited at CAL , PBL, BSD, DD and perusal of
literatures (Roxburgh, 1832; Hooker, 1890; Duthie,
1903; Parkinson, 1923; Ridley and Hutchinson, 1924;
Fischer, 1926; Danser, 1935, 1938; Barlow, 1966, 1974,
1984, 1991, 1997, 2002; Gamble, 1967; Wiens, 1987;
Polhill and Wiens, 1998; Wilson and Calvin, 2006;
Watson, 2011; Rajsekaran, 2012; Singh & Murugan
2014), the author concluded that the species could be
described as a novelty. A detailed description along
with illustrations, photographs and relevant notes are
provided for easy identification and further collection.
Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh, sp. nov. Fig. 1 & 2.
Type: INDIA: Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
Middle Andaman, Rangat, APWD Guest House,
12°30′26′′N, 092°54′32′′E, 105 m alt., 28 October 2012,
Lal Ji Singh 29539 (holotype: CAL!; isotype: PBL!).
Hemi-parasitic shrubs. Young parts with a dense
cream to purple indumentum of stellate hairs, becoming
sparse on old stems, leaf upper surfaces and flowers.
Leaves opposite; petiole 1.2–2.0 cm long; lamina
lanceolate or elliptic, 2–12 × 1.5–5.5 cm, base attenuate
or cuneate, apex broadly acuminate or acute; venation
obscure except for the mid- rib and 6–9 pairs of major
lateral veins visible adaxially. Inflorescence several at
leafless nodes, 2–10 flowered pseudo raceme; axis 0.3–
1.0 cm long, slender; pedicels 0.8–1.5 cm long slender;
bract deltoid, concave, errect, 3–4 mm long. Flowers
yellowish green, bisexual, zygomorphic, sympetalous,
4-merous, calyculus obsolete. Corolla in mature bud
1.6–2.8 cm long, yellowish green, internally reddish
violet, slender, straight or slightly curved, inflated,
narrowly clavate and acute at the apex; tube 0.9–1.8 cm
long, ventricose at base, deeply split at above the
middle, extending up to two-third the length; lobes 5–7
mm long, narrowly elliptic. Stamens 4, erect; anther c.
2–4 mm long, about as long as the free part of the
filament; filament subterete, mostly adnate to the
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Table 1. Comparison of morphological characters between Scurrula parasitica L. and Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh
Scurrula parasitica L.
Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh
Narrowly ovate or obovate, 3–7(–9) × 1.5–3.5(–
4.5) cm, cuneate or truncate at the base, acute,
obtuse or rounded at apex
Elliptic or lanceolate, 2–12×1.5–5.5cm, attenuate or cuneate
at the base, broadly acuminate or acute at apex
0.3–1.0 cm long
1.2–2.0 cm long
2–6 flowered raceme
2–10 flowered pseudo raceme
0.1–0.5 cm long
0.8 – 1.5cm long
Narrow, erect, 1–3 mm long
Concave, erect, 3–4 mm long
In mature bud 0.8–1.6 cm long, red, slender,
weakly clavate and acute at the apex
In mature bud 1.6–2.8cm long, yellowish green, internally
reddish violet, straight or slightly curved, inflated, weakly
clavate, obtuse to truncate at the apex
0.6–1.2cm long, split to the middle or lower
0.9–1.8 cm long, split to at above the middle
0.7–1.5 mm long
2–4 mm long
0.8–1.0cm long, including a stipe 0.4–0.8 cm
long, rounded at the apex, reddish yellow
1.2–1.6 cm long, including a thick stipe 0.8–1.2 cm long,
contracted at the apex, yellowish green
corolla. Ovary inferior, 2.5–3 mm long, unilocular;
placentation basal; style red, filiform, tetragonous;
stigma subglobose. Fruit 1.2–1.6 cm long including a
thick stipe 0.8-1.2cm long, contracted at the apex with
single seed in the widest part of the fruit, pubescent,
yellowish green; exocarp leathery; endocarp viscous.
Distribution: India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
Middle Andaman, Rangat, APWD Guest House, Sabari
Gram Panchayat, Urmilapur, South Andaman, Port
Blair, Shadipur. Endemic.
Paratypes: INDIA: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Middle
Andaman, Rangat, Sabari, 12°29′18′′N, 092°54′30′′E, 60 m alt., 27
October 2012, Lal Ji Singh 29540 (PBL), India, Andaman and
Nicobar Islands, Middle Andaman, Rangat, Urmilapur, 12°32′41′′N,
092°51′41′′E, 86 m alt., 31 October 2012, Lal Ji Singh 29551 (PBL),
India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, South Andaman, Port Blair,
Shadipur, 11°39′33′′N, 092°44′39′′E, 90 m alt., 22 November 2012,
Lal Ji Singh 29561(PBL).
Habitat and Ecology: Humid, open forest, along
road sides; altitude: 60–105 m.
Phenology: Mature flowers collected from the end
of September to November and mature and immature
fruits collected from November to January.
Etymology: This species is named in honour of
Dr. Paramjit Singh, a great scientist and Director,
Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata for his significant
contributions to Indian Flora.
Conservation status: The species has a restricted
distribution known from the Middle and South
Andaman Islands. Therefore, the species can be scored
using the IUCN Categories and Criteria (IUCN, 2001)
as vulnerable (VU).
Scurrula genus of the Loranthaceae family has
always been recognized as complex and different from
other loranths in terms of taxonomy. It shows the
highest number of species, the highest number of host
species, and the widest altitudinal distribution. At the
species level loranths have presented much taxonomic
difficulty (Barlow, 1997).The taxonomic difficulties in
Scurrula are probably due to recent rapid
diversification, as the genus has occupied new territory
towards the east and also, because of some of the
species have often been misinterpreted and transferred
to the sympatric and closely related genus Taxillus
(Barlow, 1991, 1997). In the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, except for few notable exceptions, there has
never been a comprehensive attempt to establish a
systematic documentation of mistletoes by taxonomists
(Singh, 2013a,b; Singh and Murugan, 2013; Singh and
Ranjan, 2013). However, islands are hotspots of
biodiversity with remarkable diversity of mistletoes. S.
paramjitii L. J. Singh is described and illustrated here
as a new species from the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, India, for the first time. It is found only in the
open and humid forests of Middle and South Andaman
Islands. The main center of distribution of S. paramjitii
L. J. Singh is in the Middle Andaman. However, one
specimen has been identified from the South Andaman.
This new species shows a disjunctive pattern of
distribution. This disjunctive distribution indicates that
it may also be found in other areas of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands. Marginal, fragmented, humid and
open forests along road sides are the most suitable
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands lays in the
proximity of various adjoining biogeographical regions
viz., Eastern coast of South Asia, Medagascar, Sri
Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia,
Myanmar, Sumatra and Java. The phytodiversity of
these islands is one of the unique and richest in the
country with remarkable degree of genetic variations.
As indicated in the diagnosis the new taxon is markedly
distinct from other known species by its eco-taxo and
morpho-logical characters. Scurrula paramjitii L. J.
Singh appears apparently close to the species of
Scurrula parasitica L. but it is highly distinct in respect
September 2015 Singh: Scurrula paramjitii: A New Species in India
Fig. 1. Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh. A: Habit. B: Inflorescence. C-D: Open flowers and indumentum. E: Petals and stamens,
dorsal view. F: Petals and stamens, ventral view. G: Petal with single stamen. H: Pistil. I: Ovary, in c.s. J: Fruits.
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Fig.2. Scurrula paramjitii L. J. Singh. A: Habit. B: Twig with inflorescences. C: Inflorescence. D-E: Flowers and indumentums.
F: Petals and stamens, dorsal view. G: Petals and stamens, ventral view. H: Petal with single stamen. I: Pistil. J-K: Fruits.
September 2015 Singh: Scurrula paramjitii: A New Species in India
to its morphology of vegetative and floral characters as
mention in Table 1.
Apart from the issue of taxonomic exploration in
India, only few attempts have been made to establish an
inventory of host species for mistletoes (Singh, 2013a,
b; Singh and Murugan, 2013,). However, several
attempts have been made to establish an inventory of
host species for mistletoes in various phytogeographical
regions of the world (Kuijit, 1964, 1969, 1981;
Hawksworth, 1983; Bernys and Graham, 1988; Dean et
al. 1994; Shaw, 1994; Downy, 1998; Norton and
Carpentor, 1998; Watson; 2011). According to
Howksworth (1983) the species parasitism may be
attributable to the presence of both mistletoe and host
species. It may be physiological interaction between
host and mistletoes (Hoffman et al., 1986). The species
of mistletoes exhibit a high degree of mimicry and
sometimes it is so close that they are almost impossible
to detect (Barlow and Weins, 1977). During the survey
of host inventory, the observations led the author to
conclude that the parasitization is diversified on host
plant species and there is great variation in host
preference with each mistletoe. Except in Scurrula,
several taxonomically close Indian mistletoes species
share many similar host genera for parasitization like
the genus Mangifera (Anacardiaceae) is the common
host among hemiparasitic mistletoes. While, Indian
species of Scurrula grow on trees with high host
specificity and sometimes show a visual resemblance to
their preferred host. Author found that S. paramjitii L. J.
Singh is growing only on Tetrameles nudiflora R. Br.
(Tetramelaceae) where it forms a network of epicortical
roots as haustorial system. The observations led the
author to conclude that the parasitization and selection
of host species is either an opportunistic phenomenon
or an availability of host through time and space.
A key to the species of Scurrula from the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands is given below to facilitate
A key to Scurrula species in the Andaman and
1a. Leaves narrowly ovate to obovate, cuneate to
truncate at the base, obtuse or rounded at apex;
inflorescence 2–6 flowered pseudoraceme; corolla in
mature bud 8–16 mm long ; fruits 8–10 mm
1b. Leaves elliptic or lanceolate, attenuate or cuneate at
the base, broadly acuminate or acute at apex;
inflorescence 2–10 flowered pseudoraceme; corolla in
mature bud 16–28 mm long; fruits 12–16 mm
The author is thankful to Dr. P. Singh, Director and Dr. D.
K. Singh, Scientist–F, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata for
their facilities, constant support and constructive suggestions.
Also thanks to the Ministry of Environment Forest and
Climate Change, New Delhi for providing necessary facilities
and various helps through the Director, Botanical Survey of
India, Kolkata. Author thanks the Editor- in-chief, members
of editorial committee, Taiwania and anonymous reviewers
for critical comments and suggestions that helped improved
the manuscript. The author is grateful to Prof. D. R. Misra,
Department of Botany, University of Allahabad and Prof. A.
K. Pandey, Department of Botany, University of Delhi for his
valuable suggestions. Thanks are also due to Prof. D. K.
Chauhan, Department of Botany, University of Allahabad for
encouragements. Author also thanks to Drs. Jagdeesh Ram,
Scientist-D, BSI, ANRC, R. B. Yadav, JMV, Ajitmal,
Auraiya and Brijesh Kumar, BSI, NRC for their various help.
Finally thanks to Dr. S. Prabhu and Smt. R. Ushalata, BSI,
ANRC for their technical support.
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