Vatica kanthanensis Saw, 2014

Pei Chih, Tan Joanne, R., KIEW, L. G., SAW & A. R., UMMUL-NAZRAH, 2014, Three New Species from Gunung Kanthan, a Limestone Tower Karst in Perak, Malaysia, Phytotaxa 177 (3), pp. 146-154 : 151-154

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.177.3.2

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scientific name

Vatica kanthanensis Saw


3. Vatica kanthanensis Saw View in CoL sp. nov., Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 & 6 View FIGURE 6

Type: ― MALAYSIA. Perak: Kuala Kangsar District, Chemor , Gunung Kanthan. 04°46.02’N, 101°07.39’E, 19 December 2013, Imin K GoogleMaps ., Kueh H. L . & Tan J. P. C. FRI 81354 (holotype KEP!, isotypes K!, L!, SING!) GoogleMaps .

Medium-sized tree, 15–20 m tall, with clear bole 6–10 m high, largest trees 30–35 cm diameter., without buttresses. Bark smooth with horizontal rings, greyish white with lichen patches; underbark green, inner bark pale beige; sapwood pale, hard, exuding creamy white resin when cut. Twigs robust, 0.4–0.5 cm diameter, densely covered with caducous rufous stellate hairs and slightly flattened when young, older twigs terete. Stipules elliptic, membranous, densely covered with caducous stellate hairs on both surfaces, 17–25 × 5–8 mm, caducous. Leaves spirally arranged, drooping slightly, thickly coriaceous, glossy green on both surfaces when fresh, densely covered with rufous stellate hairs when young and glabrescent upon maturity; petiole 15–20 mm long, 2–4 mm thick, swollen, cracking when dried, densely covered with caducous rufous stellate hairs, drying black to dark brown; blade elliptic, (10–)15–29 × (3.5–) 5–9.5 cm, base obtuse, margin entire, apex acute to acuminate, acumen 1.0– 1.4 cm long; midrib very stout and prominent below, raised above; secondary veins 15–17 pairs, prominent below, distinctly raised above, faintly looping at the leaf margins; intermediate veins 2–6; tertiary veins scalariform-reticulate, conspicuous on both surfaces. Flower unknown. Infructescence axillary, near apex of leafy shoot, branching to 2 or rarely 3 orders, densely covered with caducous rufous stellate hairs; primary axis up to 14 cm long, 2–3 mm thick at base, first and second order branches 2.5–5 cm long, ca. 1 mm thick at base with 1–7 fruits along axis, nodes ca. 6–10 mm apart. Fruits with pedicel 6–8 mm long, ca. 1 mm thick at base widening to ca. 2 mm at apex, covered with caducous rufous stellate hairs; calyx at maturity reddish brown when fresh, lobes 5, two much larger than the rest, connate at the base below the nut and not forming a cup, glabrescent, larger lobes obovate, apex rounded, with 5 longitudinal prominent primary veins on the adaxial surface, 6–7.5 × 1.5–2.2 cm, shorter lobes lanceolate with acute apex, 2.0–2.8 × 0.5–0.6 cm; nut ovoid, 5–7 mm long, 6–7 mm diameter, densely covered with rufous stellate hairs, hidden in, but free from, the calyx lobes.

Distribution and habitat:― Currently known only from the type locality, endemic to Gunung Kanthan, Perak, Malaysia. It is the dominant emergent tree on the ridge and summit area of ‘Area C’ on the limestone hill, where it overtops the undergrowth and vegetation. It becomes more common in gullies where there is build up of soil.

Comparison:― The species is similar to Vatica odorata (Griff.) Symington but is different in the following: its leaf blade is much larger (10–)15–29 × (3.5–) 5–9.5 cm (vs. 8–16 × 2.7–5.5 cm) and the fruit is not adnate to calyx cup (in V. odorata the calyx forms a cup at the base that is partially adnate to the nut).

Conservation status:― Critically Endangered CR B2 ab (iii, iv), D1. Currently known only from the type locality, we saw less than 50 adult trees with no seedlings or saplings around the ridge and summit where the mature trees are found .

Additional specimens examined:― MALAYSIA. Perak: Kinta, Chemor , Gunung Kanthan. 04°46.02’N, 101°07.39’E, 26 February 2014, Saw L. G GoogleMaps . et al. FRI 48442 ( KEP); 26 February 2014, Tan J. P. C . et al. FRI 81788 ( KEP) GoogleMaps .

Notes:― In the revision of Symington’s Foresters’ Manual of Dipterocarps, Ashton & Appanah (2004) listed 23 Vatica species for Peninsular Malaysia. Since then six species have been added to the flora of Peninsular Malaysia either as new species or new records ( El-Taguri & Latiff 2010, 2013). This new species belongs to section Sunaptea, species having a fruiting calyx with unequal lobes. The species falls within the group of Vatica which has free calyx lobes that do not fuse into a cup that is adnate to the nut. Vegetatively, the species has rather large leaves with a blade to 29 cm long, much larger than any species within this group. It can, however, be confused with Vatica odorata , see the diagnosis above for the differences.


Royal Botanic Gardens


University of Helsinki


Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Leiden University branch


University of the Witwatersrand


Museum National d' Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN) - Vascular Plants


University of Copenhagen


Food Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries


Forest Research Institute Malaysia


Singapore Botanic Gardens


Museo Nacional de Costa Rica


Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève

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