Plant Ecology and Evolution 151(3): 442-448, doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2018.1523
Ixora kalehensis, a new Rubiaceae species from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
expand article infoPetra De Block
‡ Meise Botanic Garden, Nieuwelaan 38, BE-1860 Meise, Belgium
Open Access
Abstract

Background – The rain forest genus Ixora currently comprises 37 species in Continental Africa. Within the framework of a treatment of the genus for the Flore d’Afrique centrale, a new species is described from D.R. Congo, despite its being known from only two specimens.

Methods – Standard methods of herbarium taxonomy are followed.

Key resultsIxora kalehensis De Block, a new species from the Central Forest District in D.R. Congo, is described and illustrated. Ixora kalehensis remains under-collected and relatively poorly known but can nevertheless easily be distinguished from other Ixora species. The most distinctive character is the colour of the dried leaves: blackish on the upper surface and vivid brown on the lower surface. Other important characters are the small-sized, compact and sessile inflorescences and the large tree habit. The species is only known from two specimens collected in the 1950s and its preliminary IUCN status is Endangered (EN B2ab(iii)). The lack of more recent herbarium material highlights that the collecting effort in D.R. Congo remains substandard. It is hoped that the formal description of Ixora kalehensis will draw attention of international and local collectors and will result in more material and greater knowledge of the species. The description of this species brings the number of Ixora species to thirteen for central Africa (D.R. Congo, Rwanda and Burundi) and to twelve for D.R. Congo. An identification key to the species of D.R. Congo is provided.

Keywords
Central Forest District, D.R. Congo, Ixora, Ixora kalehensis, preliminary IUCN assessment

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