Bot. Bull. Acad. Sin. (2001) 42: 153-157

Sivadasan et al. Lagenandra keralensis, a new species from India

Lagenandra keralensis (Araceae), a remarkable new species from India

M. Sivadasan*, V. Abdul Jaleel, and Bobby Thomas1

Department of Botany, University of Calicut, Calicut University P.O., 673 635, Kerala, India

(Received July 13, 1999; Accepted February 23, 2000)

Abstract. A new species, Lagenandra keralensis Sivadasan et Jaleel, is described, illustrated and relationships discussed. The discovery of the new species enhances the number of Indian species of the genus to six.

Keywords: Araceae; India; Kerala; Lagenandra keralensis; New species.


The genus Lagenandra Dalzell is represented by 15 species and is confined to the Indian Subcontinent with its distribution extending from Sri Lanka to tropical northeastern India with one species, L. gomezii (Schott) Bogner et Jacobsen, in Bangladesh. In India, the genus is represented by five species, L. meeboldii (Engl.) Fischer, L. nairii Ramam. et Rajan, L. ovata (L.) Thwaites, L. toxicaria Dalzell, L. undulata Sastry and one additional variety, L. toxicaria var. barnesii Fischer. Lagenandra undulata is the only species isolated from the others and confined to the northeastern India; the others are restricted to South India. Lagenandra gomezii was only once collected in 1828 from Sylhet, now in Bangladesh. Two species, L. undulata and L. gomezii, have a more northern distribution, while all others are found in South India and Sri Lanka, and therefore the genus Lagenandra has a disjunct distribution with a large gap between South India on one end and Assam and Bangladesh on the other. It is interesting to note that in the new species we report here, the female flowers are flat and clearly in a single whorl. Such a condition is very rare and hitherto seen only in the case of L. gomezii.

Dr. A.K. Pradeep, Curator of the Calicut University Herbarium, collected a small specimen of Lagenandra from the interior of Kerala, India, assuming that it was L. meeboldii (Engl.) Fischer. Our examination revealed it to be different. Later more fresh specimens were collected and they proved to be a hitherto undescribed species.

Lagenandra keralensis Sivadasan et Jaleel, sp. nov.TYPE: India, Kerala, Ernakulam Dist., Boothathankettu near Kothamangalam, ca. 750 m, 15 Jun 1997, Bobby Thomas RIA 85 (holotype: K, with inflorescence and infructescence; isotypes: M, with inflorescence and infructescence; CAL, with inflorescence). Figures 1 and 2

Habitu cum Lagenandra meeboldii (Engl.) Fischer plerumque congruens sed limbo intralevigato et limbo spathae erecto, contracto, distincte caudato, floribus femineis 6-8, uniseriatis ovoideis, lateraliter leviter compressis, alis substigmaticis parvis, in utrinque latis differt.

Rhizomatous creeping herbs; rhizome 3-5.5 cm long, 0.5-0.8 cm across, pale to dark brown in color; roots numerous, 2.7-13 cm long, 1-2 mm thick. Cataphylls 1.0- 2.6 cm long, 0.4-0.8 cm broad at base, tapering towards the tip, base white, light purplish spotted on the upper half, thin membranous. Leaves 3.5-14 cm long, lamina 2.7-7 cm long, 2-4 cm broad, ovate, acute-acuminate at apex, base auricled (orbicular), usually light purplish, rarely dull green. The entire leaf surface bears unicellular hairs, more prominent and closely arranged on the midvein as well as the primary and secondary laterals. Leaf margin closely undulate; primary laterals 3-8 pairs ascending widely-arched upwards to the tip. Secondary laterals at right angles to the primaries forming a reticulate venation. Petiole 2-7 cm long, 0.3-0.5 cm across at apex, basally sheathing, sheath transparent.

Inflorescence 4.5-9 cm long, peduncle 1.6-4.5 cm long, 0.1-0.15 cm diam., basal tube slightly broader than the limb, 0.5-0.8 cm long, 0.5-0.7 cm diam., light purplish to pink in color outside with small ridges extending up to half of limb, purplish within. Limb 1-1.6 cm long, 0.4-0.6 cm across, curved towards one side with a narrow oblique opening

*Corresponding author. Phone: 91-0494-400275; Fax: 0494-400269; E-mail:

1Formerly Junior Research Fellow, DST Research Project on Araceae.

Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica, Vol. 42, 2001

Figure 1. Lagenandra keralensis Sivadasan et Jaleel. A, Habit; B, A portion of petiole enlarged showing hairs; C, A portion of lower surface of leaf lamina enlarged showing closely undulate margin and hairs along the veins; D, Basal portion of petiole showing sheath; E, Cataphyll - abaxial view; F, Cataphyll - adaxial view; G, Inflorescence.

Sivadasan et al. Lagenandra keralensis, a new species from India

Figure 2. Lagenandra keralensis Sivadasan et Jaleel. A, Inflorescence with part of basal tube and limb of spadix; B, Spadix; C, Single pistillate flower - abaxial view; D, Pistillate flower - adaxial view; E, Pistillate flower - side view; F, L.S. of pistillate flower; G, C.S. of pistillate flower; H, Olfactory bodies; I, Single staminate flower; J, Young infructescence with prersistent basal portion of the tube of spathe; K, Mature infructescence; L, Single fruit; M, C.S. of fruit; N, Seed.

Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica, Vol. 42, 2001

0.7-1.2 cm long, 0.3 cm wide, and with a basal, thin, arch-like collar; the upper portion of the limb caudate. Inner flap of the opening with a few warty projections on its margin. Caudate tip tapering, erect or sub-erect, 1.5-4 cm long, light purple in colour. Spadix ca. 1 cm long, with pistillate portion at base to ca. 2 mm, followed by a sterile naked interstice of about 3-4 mm, a staminate portion of 2-2.2 mm long and a terminal sterile appendix of ca. 1 mm long. The pistillate portion comprises 6-8 female flowers in a single whorl; each flower sessile, short, flattened and conical or slightly laterally compressed, ca. 2 mm long and ca. 1.5 mm broad, white in colour, warty at apical portion a wing-like extension on either sides below the stigmatic portion. Stigma obcordate, with two obconic basal lobes recurved to the adaxial side of the flower. Ovary unilocular with 4-8 orthotropous ovules surrounded by numerous placental trichomes. Olfactory bodies 5-8, clavate, or stalked, thick, discoid, closely placed and situated just above the pistillate portion, each ca. 1 mm long, white in colour. Staminate portion 2-2.2 mm long and 1.5 mm across, cream coloured. Male flowers 80-100, spirally arranged, each with two tubular projections at apex through which pollen grains are liberated. Beyond the male zone, spadix is produced into a short fleshy sterile conical appendix, ca. 1 mm long and 0.5 mm diam. at base. Peduncle elongating during seed setting, and reaching to ca. 6 cm long. Infructescence with persistent basal tubular portion of the spathe, 1-1.3 cm long, 0.8-1 cm diam. Berries fleshy with irregular rough surface; dehiscing by longitudinal splits from base upwards with recurved lobes. Seeds 4-8, each ellipsoid, 6-8 mm long, 1-2 mm across with few longitudinal ridges.

Additional Specimens examined. India. 8 Jun l997, Pradeep RIA 82 (with infructescence, CALI); India, 21 Jun l997, Bobby Thomas RIA 91a (with inflorescence, CALI); India, RIA 91b (with inflorescence and infructescence, CALI); India, 21 Mar l999, Abdul Jaleel RIA 329 (with inflorescence, CALI).

Habitat. Shady stream banks, in undisturbed evergreen forest patches. Unlike other species of the genus, this species has a scattered distribution of individuals in contrast to the usual clumped distribution.

Distribution. So far known only from the type locality.

Etymology. The specific epithet is indicative of the name of the state of India, Kerala, from where the species was collected.

Relationships. In gross morphological features Lagenandra keralensis resembles L. meeboldii, but is smaller in size. The presence of a distinct collar at the throat of the basal tube of spathe distinguishes it from the latter. The inner surface of spathe of the latter has dense fimbriations. The presence of a collar at the throat of the tube of the spathe is also a characteristic feature of L. nairii. But there are many other characterss which distinguish L. keralensis from L. nairii. The spathe is not produced into an erect slender caudate tip as in the case of L. nairii. The number of pistillate flowers in L. nairii

is 12-15 arranged in 2-3 whorls, whereas in L. keralensis the number has been reduced to 6-8 which are longitudinally compressed and arranged in a single whorl. The inner surface of the limb of spathe of L. nairii has horizontal groups of murications, whereas in the new species the spathe limb is smooth.

Lagenandra gomezii is a peculiar species and for a long time considered as a species of the genus Cryptocoryne (Schott, 1860; Engler, 1920; De Wit, 1990), but Bogner and Jacobson (1989) showed, after re-examination of the type material, that it is a true Lagenandra. Unfortunately no infructescence of this species is known. Distinctive characters of the two genera were given by Mayo et al. (1997). In Cryptocoryne the female flowers are in a single whorl and connate; and the leaf ptyxis is convolute. But in the case of Lagenandra the female flowers are usually spirally arranged forming a globose mass except in the case of L. nairii and L. gomezii. In L. nairii they are in a pseudo-whorl whereas in L. gomezii they are in a single whorl. Until recently L. nairii and L. gomezii have been treated as the most advanced among the species of the genus Lagenandra. The characteristic features of L. keralensis show much more advanced characters in comparison with the former ones and it could be treated as the most highly advanced species and the connecting link between the genera Lagenandra and Cryptocoryne.

Acknowledgements. The authors thankfully acknowledge the Research Grant by the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India for revision of the family Araceae in India. Thanks are also due to Dr. V.J. Nair, Deputy Director, Botanical Survey of India (Southern Circle), Coimbatore for Latin diagnosis; and to Dr. Dan H. Nicolson, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., U.S.A. and Mr. Joseph Bogner, Munich, Germany for review of the manuscript and critical comments. Dr. A.K. Pradeep deserves special thanks for donating the specimen that lead to the documentation of the new species.

Literature Cited

Bogner, J. and N. Jacobsen. 1989. Die systematische Stellung von Lagenandra gomezii (Schott) Bogner et Jacobsen, comb. nov. Aqua-Planta 12(2): 43-50.

De Wit, H.C.D. 1978. Revisie van het genus Lagenandra Dalzell (Araceae). Meded. Landbouwhogeschool 78-13: 5-14.

De Wit, H.C.D. 1990. Aquarienflanzen, 2nd edn. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Engler, A. 1920. Araceae-Aroideae und Araceae-Pistioideae. In A. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich 73(IV-23F): 1-274.

Mayo, S.J, J. Bogner, and P.C. Boyce. 1997. The Genera of Araceae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, pp. 370.

Ramamurthy, K. and K. Rajan. 1984. A new species of Lagenandra Dalzell (Araceae) from Kerala State, India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 80(3): 613-615.

Sastry, A.R.K. 1964. Lagenandra undulata, a new species of Araceae. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 9(1-4): 294-296.

Schott, H.W. 1860. Prodromus Systematis Aroidearum. Typis Congregationis Mechitharistica, Wien, pp. 602.

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