1328 Version of Record
64 (6) • December 2015: 1328–1329Middleton & Puglisi • Chirita hamosa
Chirita hamosaMicrochirita hamosa
1 Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569
2 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, Scotland, U.K.
Author for correspondence: David J. Middleton, David_ Middleton@npark s.gov.sg
htt p://dx.doi.org/10.12705/6 46.27
(2405) Chirita hamosa R. Br. , Cy r t and re ae: 117. Dec 1839, nom . cons.
Typus: Thailand, Tak, Umphang, Umphang [Doi Hua Mot]
Wildlife Sanctuary, 915 m, dry dipterocar p forest on degraded
limestone rocks and sandy soil, 17 Oct 2014, Middleton & al.
5762 (E; isotypi: BKF, SING), typ. cons. prop.
The name Chirita hamosa R. Br. (l.c.), and its homotypic syn-
onym and currently considered correct name, Microchirita hamosa
(R. Br.) Yin Z. Wang (in J. Syst. Evol. 49: 60. 2011), has long been
applied to a range of different species now treated in the genus Micro-
chirita (C.B. Clarke) Yin Z. Wang (l.c.: 59), but most consistently to
a species common in central, northern and easter n Thailand and also
found in Myanmar (Burma), northern Laos and northern Vietnam.
Microchirita hamosa is the ty pe of Microchirita but the ty pe mate ria l
is only in fruit and it is not possible to match it to flowering material
to determine the application of the name. It is, however, possible to
be sure that it is not the same taxon as the species most commonly
called Chirita / Microchirita hamosa.
Chirita hamosa R. Br. was described to accommodate Wallich’s
collec tion 788 from “Trogla in Ma r taban ia” in th e mo der n day Mon or
Ka yin Sta tes of Mya n ma r. Wall ich (Nu mer. Lis t: 788. 1829) had na med
this plant “Didymocarpus ? hamosa” but this was not a validly pub-
lished name. Apart from Wallich 788.C (K-W), which is a specimen of
1329Version of Record
64 (6) • December 2015: 1328–1329 Middleton & Puglisi • Chirita hamosa
Microchirita mollissima ( Rid l.) A. Web er & D.J. Midd le ton and doe s
not match the protologue, all other available duplicates of Wa llic h 788
are of specimens in fruit, lacking any flowers and lacking any descrip-
tion of possible flower colour. Brown’s original description lacks the
stigma character he noted in other species which suggests he also saw
no flowers. Clarke (in Hooker, Fl. Brit. India 4: 360. 1884) later placed
Chirita hamosa as the only species in Chirita sect. Microchirita and
expanded the species concept to include specimens from Burma,
northeastern India and southwestern India. He noted the corolla colour
to be “nearly white, mouth pale blue or somewhat rose”. The idea that
Chirita hamosa is a species that had white or “nearly white” f lower s
was then taken up by later authors such as Pellegrin (in Lecomte, Fl.
Indo-Chine 4: 527. 1930 – also allowing for the f lowers to be violet),
Barnet t (in Fl. Siam. 3: 224. 1962 – indirectly due to the citation of
a number of white-f lowered specimens), Wood (in Notes Roy. Bot.
Gard. Edinburgh 33: 191. 1974), Wang & al. (in Wu & Ra ve n, Fl. China
18: 345. 1998), Li & al. (Pl. Gesneriaceae China: 260. 2004) and Wei
& al. (Gesneriaceae S. China: 454. 2010). In his revision of Chirita,
Wood (l.c.: 123–205) included 18 species in Chirita sect. Microchirita
with a wide range of flower colours from predominantly yellow to
predominantly purple/blue to predominantly white. Only two species
were described as having white f lowers: the large-flowered Chirita
tubulosa Cr aib and the smal l-f lowere d Chirita hamosa. He noted that
Chirita hamosa, the type of the sectional name, is a very variable
species with a wide distr ibution.
Chirita sect. Microchirita has now been raised to generic rank
and Chirita as a wh ole ha s been re mo delled in to fi ve gen era by Weber
& al. (in Taxon 60: 767–790. 2011). Including those yet to be described,
there are around 30 species in Microchirita. Middleton & Triboun
(in Thai Forest Bull., Bot. 41: 13–22. 2013) discussed the variability
of the small white-flowered species and concluded that there were
several discrete entities that were relatively easy to distinguish from
each other, leading to the description of several new species. The
most common and widespread small white-f lowered species is one
with yellow lines ventrally inside a relatively straight corolla tube
(curved in most species of Microchirita), and a densely pubescent
ovary and fr uit (glabrous or only very sparsely pubescent in most
species). This has long been the plant most consistently identified as
Chirita hamosa, and now Microchirita hamosa, despite the fact that
the fruit of the type material, Wal li ch 78 8, is more or less glabrous.
Middleton & Triboun (l.c.) acknowledged that it was not the same
taxon as the type material of the species and routinely referred to
it as “the species currently called Microchirita hamosa”, but could
also not unequivocally identify an existing name for the taxon. The
problem ar ises from the fact that Brown’s original description (l.c.)
easily applies to the majority of species in Microchirita and that the
material of Walli ch 788, without flowers and sufficient label data,
could equally well belong to a number of different yellow-flowered
and white-f lowered species as recognised by Wood (l.c.: 123–205)
and by Middleton & Triboun (l.c.). The region where the type was
found has been very poorly collected in modern times and it is not
possible to ascertain the identity of Wallic h 788, nor whet he r it is ev en
a white-f lowered species.
A solution would be the conservation of Chirita hamosa with
a conserved type using material belonging to “the species currently
called Microchirita hamosa”. If this solution is not adopted the type
of the generic name will need to be listed in taxonomic works as
in suf f ic ie nt ly kn ow n and the com mon and wid es pre ad ta xon cu r rently
called Microchirita hamosa will require a new name.