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Family: RUBIACEAE 

 Squamellaria guppyana
 


Northern Solomon Islands by Derrick Rowe

  
Author:  Guillaume Chomicki 2016
Family:  Rubiaceae
Habitat:  Solomon Islands
Soil:  Epiphytic
Water:  Medium - Maximum
Sun:  Medium
Thickness:  15 Centimetres
Height:  80 Centimetres
Flower:  White
Reproduction:  Seeds
Pop names:  Ant Plant
Synonyms:  Hydnophytum guppyanum, Odoardo Beccari 1885


Northern Solomon Islands by Derrick Rowe

Wild plants from Tunurua mangrove swamp,
north of Arawa, Bougainville Island, Northern Solomon Islands.
Photo by Derrick Rowe.

   This member of the Rubiaceae family was given this name by Guillaume Chomicki in 2016. It is found in the Solomon Islands, growing as an epiphytic with some to lots of water water and some sun. The caudex can grow to fifteen centimetres in diameter, the entire plant to 80 centimetres in height. The flowers are white.

Key to the species of Squamellaria by Guillaume Chomicki and Susanne S. Renner.

1. Species not occurring in Fiji…………………………………………………………………………….2
2. Endemic to Vanuatu; inflorescence covered by triangular papery bracts (Figs 2L and 10A)......…S. vanuatuensis
2. Endemic to the Solomon Islands, inflorescence not covered by papery bracts…………………….3
3. Lamina 5–20 cm long; peduncle 3-branched, with 4 or more fertile branch ends,
    corolla tube slender, at least 3 times as long as broad, tuber round to ovate (Fig 2K) ……………S. guppyana
3. Lamina 2–4 cm long; peduncle 2-branched, with 2 or rarely 3 fertile branch ends;
    corolla tube scarcely longer than broad, tuber boat-shaped (Fig 2J)………………………… ……S. kajewskii
1. Species occurring in Fiji………………………………………………………………………….…….4
4. Tuber entrance holes of 0.5–5 cm, arranged irregularly and concentrated at the basal
    part of the tuber, leaves 2–12 cm long, flowers with thin corolla tubes (2–3 mm), inhabited
    by various ant species, but not Philidris nagasau………………………………………………..……5
5. Herbarium and living material of the following three species cannot be securely
   distinguished morphologically; endemic to the South East Fiji islands Viti Levu, Ovalau.……….…S. tenuiflora
5. Endemic to the North West Fiji islands Vanua Levu and Taveuni……………………………………6
6. Vanua Levu……………………………………………………………………………………………….S. wilkinsonii
6. Taveuni……………………………………………………………………………………………………S. jebbiana
4. Tuber entrance holes <3 mm, in circles around the tuber, leaves 3–8.5 cm, flowers
    with large (4–6 mm) or thin (2–3 mm) corolla tubes,
    always inhabited by the ant species Philidris nagasau………………….………….………………….7
7. Flower calyx 3 mm wide, corolla tubes 2.5–3.5 mm wide (Figs 3D and 4B, 4E and 4F);
    squamellae absent, carpels three with straight pyrenes (Fig 3J and 3M)……………………….……S. grayi
7. Flower calyx 5–7 mm wide, corolla tube 4–10 mm wide, squamellae present,
    carpels four with curved pyrenes…………………………………………………………………………8
8. Tuber lacking hairs but with dark brown protuberances (Figs 2D and 3E);
    leaves oblong (Figs 2F and 4F)…………………………… …………………………………………… S. huxleyana
8. Tuber with hairs (S. imberbis, S. wilsonii) and/or pale protuberances (S. major, S. thekii);
     leaves not oblong except in S. major……………………………………………………………………9
9. Leaves not succulent, lanceolate to rhomboid, 1–2 mm thick ……………………………………. … 10
10. Domatium globose, with hairs; species endemic to Vanua Levu (Fig 2E)……………………...…. S. imberbis
10. Domatium flattened, with pronounced bilateral symmetry (Fig 2B), with hairs,
     species endemic to Taveuni……………….………………………………………………………..……S. wilsonii
9. Leaves succulent, cordate to ovate-rhomboid or ovate to oblong-elliptic, 3–4 mm thick………...…  11
11. Leaves ovate to oblong-elliptic, 8–16 cm long, stems solitary
     around the domatium (Fig 2C)……….…………………………………………………………….....… S. major
11. Leaves cordate to ovate-rhomboid, 4–6 cm long, stems in clusters around the tuber ………......…S thekii