Capparis irenae Fici,

Fici, Silvio, 2021, A new species of Capparis L. (Capparaceae) from Sumatra (Indonesia), Adansonia (3) 43 (7), pp. 61-66: 62-64

publication ID 10.5252/adansonia2021v43a7


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scientific name

Capparis irenae Fici

sp. nov.

Capparis irenae Fici  , sp. nov.

( Fig. 1View FIG)

A C. diffusa Ridl.  ramunculis glabris, petiolis atque foliis longioribus, inflorescentia racemosa cum cataphyllis basalibus, petalis longioribus extus pubescentibus, staminibus longioribus praecipue differt.

TYPUS. — Indonesia. Sumatra, Tigapulu [Tigapuluh] Mts, Riau Province, 5 km W of Talanglakat on Rengat-Jambi Road, Bukit Karampal area, G. Lolongan Kayu ridge , 7.XII.1988, Burley et al. 1946 (holo-, L1851428!). 

EPONYMIA. — Filia mea dilecta  haec species dicata est.

PHENOLOGY. — Flowering in December (based on available material).

DISTRIBUTION AND ECOLOGY. — The new species is only known from the type locality in the Tigapuluh Mts of central Sumatra ( Fig. 2View FIG), at 0°46’S, 102°32’E, where it was observed and collected in forest communities with Drepananthus biovulatus (Boerl.) Survesw. & R.M.K. Saunders  ( Annonaceae  ), Aphanamixis polystachya (Wall.) R.Parker  ( Meliaceae  ), Antidesma neurocarpum Miq.  ( Phyllanthaceae  ), Haemocharis integerrima Koord. & Valeton  ( Theaceae  ), Dillenia beccariana Martelli  ( Dilleniaceae  ), Celtis  sp. ( Ulmaceae  ), Lithocarpus  sp. ( Fagaceae  ), Pinanga  sp. ( Arecaceae  ), etc.; 300-550 m a.s.l.

CONSERVATION STATUS. — Following the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria ( IUCN 2012), the new species is Data Deficient (DD) lacking information to make an assessment of its risks based on the population status. The area where the new species has been collected is close to the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, including lowland and highland forests and refuge of several endangered mammal and bird species; this area, established as a national park in 1995, has been under relevant threat due to illegal logging and palm oil plantations.


Climber up to 3 m long.Stem c. 1 cm diameter; twigs glabrous.


Stipular thorns recurved c. 1 mm long, with blackish tip.


Petioles sulcate, 5-7 mm long, glabrous. Leaf blades elliptical or narrowly ovate, wider below or at the middle, (2.3-) 2.5- 2.8 (-3.4) times as long as wide, (9-) 10.2-12.4 × (3-) 3.3-4.5 (-4.8) cm; base rounded or blunt; apex acute, acuminate with tip 5-10 mm long; surfaces glabrous; veins c. 5-8 on each side of the midrib, thin, decurrent along the margin.


Flowers in axillary, few-flowered racemes with slender, glabrous axis c. 4.5-5.5 cm long, and few cataphylls at the base; pedicels 2.1-2.2 cm long, glabrous; bracts at the base of the flowers subulate, c. 0.3 mm long. Sepals green, acute, 3-3.8 × 1.5-2 mm, glabrous, ciliate at margins, inner pair with cartilaginous margin. Petals white, linear-oblong, c. 7 × (2.5-) 3-4 mm, pubescent at margins and outside, glabrous inside, the upper pair pale purple at margins near the apex. Stamens c. 14-16; filaments white, 2-2.5 cm long; anthers basifixed, bluish, c. 0.75 mm long. Gynophore c. 1.5 cm long, glabrous; ovary ovoid or subglobose, c. 1 × 0.75 mm, glabrous, with pointed stigma.




Capparis irenae  , sp. nov. belongs to C. sect. Monostichocalyx, which includes about 18 species in Indonesia ( Jacobs 1960, 1965; Fici 2012). The new species is a climber, mainly distinguished from related taxa by its glabrous twigs, short stipular thorns, leaf blades elliptical or narrowly ovate, flowers arranged in axillary racemes with cataphylls at the base, sepals small and glabrous, ciliate at margins, petals pubescent outside and ovary glabrous, small, with pointed stigma. C. irenae  , sp. nov. shows affinities with C. diffusa Ridl.  , a shrub or climber recorded from Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and northern Sumatra, which however differs ( Appendix 1) in the twigs puberulous when young, petioles 2-4 mm long, leaves up to 8.5 cm long, flowers in terminal or lateral sessile umbels, petals hairy inside, c. 4-6 mm long, and stamens with filaments c. 1.25 cm long ( Jacobs 1960, 1965).

C. irenae  , sp. nov. is also related with other species characterized by innovations with cataphylls (small subulate bract-like scales) at the base, included by Jacobs (1965) in the Cataphyllosa-Group. Among these C. fusifera Dunn  , a species from India (southern part of the Deccan Peninsula), differs in the twigs densely brown-puberulous, inflorescence a small axillary axis 0.5-1 cm long, pedicels 6-16 mm long, stamens c. 56 and ovary spindle-shaped c. 1.5 × 1 mm, whereas C. pubiflora DC.  , widespread in south-eastern Asia, Philippines and Indonesia, can be easily distinguished by the young twigs densely covered with balance-hairs, sepals 4-7 mm long, stamens 20-30 (-50), gynophore densely tomentose and ovary densely tomentose, 2.5 mm long ( Jacobs 1965) ( Appendix 1).

The type material of the new species belongs to rich collections carried out by Burley et al. on November-December 1988 in the Tigapuluh Mts. , Riau Province of central Sumatra ( Burley 1988). Herbarium collections constitute a fundamental source of data in such poorly explored areas, for which floristic knowledge is so far scanty or lacking.