New species of Marsdenia from Myanmar discovered

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New species of Marsdenia discovered from Myanmar
Tropical Botanical Garden, Xishuangbanna. Credit: Colin W/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Marsdenia burmanica, a new species in Southeast Asia, was recently named jointly by the Wuhan Botanical Garden and the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The study has been published in Taiwania.

Marsdenia R. Brown was established in 1810. It contains about 100 species, mainly distributed in Asia, America and tropical Africa. The phylogenetic relationship and taxonomic classification of this genus are very complicated. In recent years, more than 20 new species of Marsdenia have been described and published.

On the other hand, Liede-Schumann et al. (2022) suggested to reduce Marsdenia s.str. to a small clade of Asian species, based on a densely sampled molecular phylogeny of the pantropical, predominantly forest-dwelling tribe Marsdenieae (Apocynaceae), including almost a quarter of the ca. 740 species.

M. burmanica is similar to M. hainanensis, M. sinensis, and M. tenii, but differs from them by campanulate flowers, fusiform gynostegium exserted from the corolla tube, 2-cleft stigma head, purple corolla and a corona of 2 oval protrusions at the base of the corona.

At present, it is known that M. burmanica is distributed in Hongga Mountain, Putao County, Kachin State, Myanmar, and grows on the sunny hillside with an elevation of about 950 m. However, due to the lack of more detailed and comprehensive natural distribution investigation of this species, researchers tentatively determined the protection level of M. burmanica as data deficient according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List standard.

M. Burmanica is the 24th new species published by the Horticultural and Conservation Center of the Wuhan Botanical Garden in the past 10 years, and it is also the second consecutive year that the center has published a new species of Apocynaceae vine.

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