Nymphaea vanildae C.T. Lima & Giul.

Lima, Carla Teixeira De & Guilietti, Ana Maria, 2013, Nymphaea vanildae (Nymphaeaceae): A new species from the Caatinga in Brazil, Phytotaxa 134 (1), pp. 42-48: 43-47

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.11646/phytotaxa.134.1.3

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scientific name

Nymphaea vanildae C.T. Lima & Giul.

sp. nov.

Nymphaea vanildae C.T. Lima & Giul.   , sp. nov. ( Figs. 1–4 View FIGURE 1 View FIGURE 2 View FIGURE 3 View FIGURE 4 ).

A new species characterised by nocturnal flowers, elliptic and delicate leaves, a clear distinction between the perianth

and androecium, linear carpellary appendages and four or more series of proliferate pseudanthia. Type: — BRAZIL. Pernambuco: Lagoa Grande, BR 122 road, about 50 km from Petrolina. 9º59´29"S, 40º16´7"W. Small lake on the right side of the road, 23 April 2011 (fl.), C. T. Lima & S. G. Lima 500 (holotype GoogleMaps  

HUEFS!, isotypes HUEFS!, K!, NY!, RB!).

Aquatic herbs, floating-fixed; stems tuberous, cylindrical; roots contractile, white. Petioles 30–150 × 0.3–0.5 cm, green to chestnut-brown, glabrous, median air canals four, surrounded by eight minor peripheral air canals; very brittle. Leaf blades membranaceous to subcoriaceous, elliptic, apices obtuse, adaxial surfaces green with red tonality and vinaceous spots, abaxial surfaces slightly chestnut-brown, 18.5–25.3 × 13.2–14.8 cm, basal lobes 8.4–8.9 cm long, margins entire, central veins slightly prominent, lateral veins not prominent. Peduncles 40–120 × 0.57–0.65 cm, chestnut-brown, very brittle, median air canals five, surrounded by ten minor peripheral air canals. Flowers closed 6.2–8.3 × 2.9–3.5 cm, ovoid, apices acute, bases truncate; sepals 3–4, 7.8–8.3 × 3.3–3.7 cm, lanceolate, apices acute, green with vinaceous spots, veins not evident; petals 18– 21, lower ones elliptic, 6.7–6.8 × 2.6–2.9 cm, changing upward to narrowly elliptic, 5.3–5.6 × 1.5–1.8 cm, white, apices acute, veins evident; stamens 98–100, external series 4.2–4.4 × 1.0– 1.1 cm, filaments white, terminal prolonged connectives 0.2–0.4 mm, white to cream, anthers 4–5 mm, cream to light-yellow; internal series 2.1–2.4 × 0.19–1.22 cm, filaments vinaceous, terminal prolonged connective absent, anthers 5–7 mm, cream to light-yellow; carpels 21–25, carpellary appendages 7.5–9.0 × 2.0– 2.8 mm, linear, flat, apices rounded, vinaceous with cream apices and bases. Fruits not seen. Proliferate pseudanthia includes a primary proliferate pseudanthium with 3–4 sepals green to chestnut-brown with red spots, with a short central stem, to the apex with a new proliferate pseudanthium of second, third, fourth, fifth and/or sixth order.

Phenology and Floral Biology:—Collected in flower between January and March, in the area where the type collection was made. In April a long drought affected the region and the lake completely dried up. Fruit were not seen. The second collection of the species was in June in an area close to where the type collection was made. The small lake was almost dry and the plants were dwarfed, due to the drought that continued at least up to the end of the year. Each of these small plants developed from a single proliferate pseudanthium that commenced vegetative growth.

Nymphaea vanildae   has protogynous flowers with two nights of anthesis. On the first night the flowers open around 8:00 pm and close at 11:00 pm. The flower emits a strong odour of acetone and the receptive stigmatic region appears bright and moist. The carpel appendages and the stamens are perpendicular to the surface of the water, and the anthers are closed. On the second night of anthesis the sepals and petals of the flowers open at 7:00 pm, but the anthers remain closed and the carpel appendages cover the stigmatic region, which appears dull and dry. At 8:00 pm the three series of the outer stamens are perpendicular to the water surface and the anthers begin to release pollen grains. Also there is a change in the position of the inner series of stamens and the anthers begin to release the pollen. Around midnight all the flowers are closed and they tumble over the water, starting the process of decomposition. This procedure is indicative of the absence of pollination, since in all species of Nymphaea subg. Hydrocallis (Planchon) Conard (1905: 200)   the flower closes after pollination and the peduncle bends and submerges the flower, after which the fruit will develop.

Habitat and distribution: — Nymphaea vanildae   is restricted to a small area in a temporary small lake near the São Francisco River, in Pernambuco State ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 ). The two other species of the genus common in the same region are Nymphaea lasiophylla Mart. & Zucc.   in Zuccarini (1832: 364) and N. pulchella De Candolle (1821: 51)   , the first occurring sympatrically with N. vanildae   .

Etymology: —The specific epithet was chosen to commemorate the late Maria Vanilda Morais Oliveira, technician in the Plant Taxonomy Laboratory of the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, who, for many years, supported teachers and students taking various botany courses. She was an enthusiastic amateur botanist and took a special interest in plants of medicinal use.

Additional specimens examined (paratypes):— Brazil. Pernambuco: Santa Maria da Boa Vista , BR 122   road, about 80 km from Petrolina. 8º47´17"S, 39º49´22"W, 12 June 2011 (st.), C. T GoogleMaps   . Lima & S. G   . Lima 506 ( HUEFS!, B!, K!, CEPEC!)   . Pernambuco: Santa Maria da Boa Vista , BR 428   road, Km 76. 25 June 1982 (st.), J   . Wiersema et al. 2296 ( IPA!)   .

Affinities and notes on critical characters: — Nymphaea vanildae   has flowers with nocturnal anthesis, the petals are not spirally arranged, the ovary is syncarpic and has a Neotropical distribution, therefore it is included in Nymphaea subg. Hydrocallis, sensu Wiersema (1987)   . The species can be characterized by the vegetative morphology, with elliptic, membranaceous to subcoriaceous leaves that have a green chestnutbrown coloration and vinaceous spots, and brittle petiole. Such characters differentiate this species from the two other water lilies occurring in this semiarid region.

The clear distinction between perianth and androecium and the presence of a proliferating pseudanthium associates N. vanildae   with N. lasiophylla   and N. lingulata Wiersema (1984: 214)   . Both species are widely distributed in the semiarid region ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 ). Nymphaea vanildae   presents 18–21 petals which distinguish it from N. lingulata   with 8–14 petals, but N. lasiophylla   presents 16–26 petals. Nymphaea vanildae   is distinguished from these species by the presence of a primary proliferating pseudanthium with four to six secondary proliferating pseudanthia, while N. lasiophylla   and N. lingulata   present only one or two secondary proliferating pseudanthia. Nymphaea vanildae   also has linear carpellary appendages, unlike other species of Nymphaea subg. Hydrocallis   , where the appendages are lingulate or clavate.

Due to the presence of proliferating pseudanthia with more than three series, N. vanildae   is similar to N. prolifera Wiersema   , a species described as occurring from northern Argentina to Central America ( Wiersema 1984). Both have similar coloration and numbers of sepals, in both the flowers and the pseudanthia. Analysis of the specimens Walter 136 (K), Pedersen 8094 (K), 7743 (K) and 8335 (K), all cited by Wiersema (1984), showed that N. prolifera   possesses flowers with strongly clavate carpellary appendages and 3 to 4 series of proliferating pseudanthia alternating spirally with series of leaves, as well as ovate leaves lacking spots on the lamina, whereas N. vanildae   has elliptic leaves, the lamina strongly spotted and with linear carpellary appendages.

The combination of the above-mentioned characters makes N. vanildae   a unique species from any other in the genus.

Note: — Wiersema et al. 2296 (IPA) was collected in SW Pernambuco and was identified as a natural hybrid between Nymphaea amazonum subsp. amazonum   and N. lasiophylla   . Wiersema (1987) stated that this conclusion was based on morphological and chemical evidence. Our analysis of Wiersema et al. 2296 shows it is conspecific with Nymphaea vanildae   . In our morphological analyses, few characters of Nymphaea vanildae   matched those of N. amazonum subsp. amazonum   . Furthermore, no populations of N. amazonum subsp. amazonum   and N. lasiophylla   occur sympatrically in the Caatinga. However, new studies on the reproductive biology and molecular analyses are in progress to identify whether Nymphaea vanildae   is be of hybrid origin, and if so, which parental species would be involved.

Conservation status: —This species is estimated to be Critically Endangered (CR B1 ab), with occurrence estimated to be less than 100 km 2 in an extremely fragmented area. The lakes in the semiarid region, particularly in the Caatinga, are a priority for conservation in Northeast Brazil, especially with the current level of ongoing anthropogenic disturbance.


University of Copenhagen


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics


Department of Botany, Swedish Museum of Natural History


Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève


Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana


Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Zentraleinrichtung der Freien Universitaet


Royal Botanic Gardens




University of the Witwatersrand


Empresa Pernambucana de Pesquisa Agropecuária, IPA














Nymphaea vanildae C.T. Lima & Giul.

Lima, Carla Teixeira De & Guilietti, Ana Maria 2013

Nymphaea subg. Hydrocallis (Planchon)

Conard 1905: 200

N. pulchella

De Candolle 1821: 51