An extraordinary jade vine collected by Museum of Natural History botanists in February 2015 from Mulanay, Quezon in Luzon has just become the newest species of Strongylodon in the Philippines.
The new species, Strongylodon juangonzalezii Hadsall, Alejado & Cajano obtained from the Buenavista Protected Landscape in Mulanay has been described in an article now available in PhytoKeys (http://phytokeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=10055).
In the article, the authors reported that the “new species is remarkable for its plagiotropic dense inflorescence made up of 27–31 flowers per cluster in a lateral branch. The flowers are lilac when young, then gradually turn blue when mature.”
The Museum’s botanists discovered the vine thriving on a large tree in a low-lying area adjacent to an old coconut plantation during a floral inventory. The inventory was a component activity of the “Biodiversity Studies of Selected Areas of Mulanay’s Protected Land and Seascapes” project funded by the local government of Mulanay.
S. juangonzalezii so far is suggested to be endemic to Luzon as “only two thriving lianas of this species are known from the protected landscape where it was collected.”
“Back in 1923, Elmer Drew Merill enumerated 10 species of Strongylodon from the Philippines, nine of which are endemics; but the entire genus was revised in 1991,” corresponding author Annalee S. Hadsall said in an interview. Hadsall is an assistant professor of botany and is currently a curator of the Museum of Natural History.
“But using the most comprehensive checklist of Philippine vascular plants today, we say that S. juangonzaleziiis the 8th endemic Strongylodon in the Philippines,” Hadsall added.
The botany team which also included Curator Prof. Ivy Amor F. Lambio, researcher Michelle DR. Alejado and technicians Mary Ann O. Cajano† and Ariel R. Larona named the new jade vine after the current director of the UPLB Museum of Natural History, Dr. Juan Carlos Tecson Gonzalez.
Image (A) inflorescence of Strongylodon juangonzalezii sp. nov. (B) inflorescence showing point of attachment and (C) opened pod of Strongylodon juangonzalezii to show seeds