Rhipsalis elliptica Lindberg in Martius, Fl. Bras 4: 293. 1890

See Calvente thesis 2010
5 RHIPSALIS ELLIPTICA G. Lindb. ex K. Schum. in Martius, Fl. Bras. 4(2): 293. 1890.
TYPE: BRAZIL. Sao Paulo: Santos, "prope Sororocaba in adscensu montis Espigao do Curupira ad arbores silvae primaevae", Mosen 3630 (lectotype in Barthlott and Taylor .1995: S!).
? Rhipsalis chloroptera F.A.C.Weber in Bois, Dict. Hort. 2: 1045. 1898.-TYPE: BRAZIL. Sao Paulo: Santos, before 1898, Weber s.n. (not found).
Rhipsalis elliptica var. helicoidea Loefgr., Arch. Jard. Bot. Rio de Janeiro 2:44. 1917.-TYPE: Loefgren, Arch. Jard. Bot. Rio de Janeiro 2: Tab. XVI. 1917 (lectotype, here designated).

Notes; The original description of R. elliptica in the Flora Brasiliensis by Schumann (1890) included a typo in the locality of the collection Mosen 3630 (cited), there designated as one of the syntypes of R. elliptica. The collection Mosen 3630 was erroneously published as "Sorocaba" (Sao Paulo, Brazil), instead of "sororocaba" (Santos, Brazil) as written in the specimen label.

When R. chloroptera was described, a collection from Santos (Weber s.n.) was selected as the type. Even though this collection could not be located, a detailed analysis of the original description of R. chloroptera allowed us to determine that R. chloroptera is very likely a synonym of R. elliptica. The fact that the type locality of R. chloroptera (Santos, Brazil) corresponds to the same type locality of R. elliptica supports our hypothesis.

R. elliptica var. helicoidea was originally described by Loefgren (1917) as being characterized by an helicoidal disposition of the branches. However, this morphological trait is quite variable and also commonly found in Rhipsalis elliptica. As a matter of fact, a single specimen of Rhipsalis elliptica can include branches with helicoidal and plane dispositions, making the recognition of both taxa inappropriate.
The original circumscription of R. elliptica was based on only a few specimens, all of which presented deep magenta fruits. A careful examination of a higher number of specimens of R. elliptica indicated that R. elliptica is much more widespread and morphologically variable than originally thought. In particular, the deep magenta fruits can be white when immature. Furthermore, several specimens that perfectly match the description of R. elliptica in terms of vegetative and floral traits, presented white fruits, indicating that fruit color is variable within this species. Variation in fruit color is not uncommon in Rhipsalis.

For example, R. teres and R. lindbergiana present specimens with either whitish, pinkish or magenta. Hence, we do not consider fruit color as being sufficient to diagnose species in Rhipsalis and adopt a broader circumscription of R. elliptica. The new circumscription of R. elliptica also includes specimens with white fruits, instead of treating those specimens as a separate taxon (R. oblonga) like previous treatments (Barthlott & Taylor 1995; Hunt et al 2006; see notes under R. oblonga for further information). Furthermore, the white fruited individuals differ from R. oblonga by the larger stem segments with crenate margins and small areoles, which are diagnostic characters of R. elliptica. Two subspecies are recognized here.

5.1. RHIPSALIS ELLIPTICA subsp. ELLIPTICA
Epiphyte in shaded habitat, 0.4-1.5 m long, branching apical or sub-apical. Stem segments flattened in longitudinal section, 0.3-2 mm diam, medium green, dark green or reddish, slightly succulent to succulent, dimorphic or monomorphic, midrib 2-3.5 mm diam (up to 6mm diam in primary segments), cylindric; primary stem segments 12.5-24 cm long; wings 2-3, 0.5-2 cm wide; secondary stem segments 7-16 cm long, base wide attenuate to attenuate, apex attenuate, wide attenuate, rounded or rarely truncate; wings 2, 0.5-4.5 cm wide, margin crenate or slightly crenate, plane to undulate, with 1-6 mm projections. Areoles between margin projections, 0.8-3 cm apart, first of segment 1-5 cm distant from segment base; when sterile 1 mm diam or less, glabrous; when fertile 1.2-2.5 mm diam, glabrous or with 1 acicular scale, rarely with scarce hairs at margin, 1-2 flowers/fruits. Flowers 11-14 mm diam; pericarpel 3-5 X 2.5-4.5 mm, cylindric, greenish or pinkish, glabrous; with 2-4 sepaloid tepals, 0.4-2 mm long and 5-7 petaloid tepals, 3-8 X 2-5 mm, wide elliptic, elliptic or oblong, patent to reflexed, yellowish or greenish, sometimes external with reddish apex, apex rounded, straight to slightly cucullate, margin straight or curved inwards. Style 4.5-5 mm long; stigma with 3-5 lobes, 1.5-2.7 mm long, ligulate, spreading. Ovules in 3-4 incomplete septa, funicle short to long (0.5-1 mm long). Stamens 60-100, 2-7 mm long, internal shorter, internal erect and external facing inwards, whitish. Nectary 0.5-0.8 mm long. Fruit 5.5-7.5 X 5-6 mm, globoid to elongate, deep magenta to white, glabrous. Figures 4: B, C, H; 6: B, C.

Notes; Rhipsalis elliptica subsp. elliptica is distinct from R. elliptica subsp. microflora by the larger flowers with longer petaloid tepals and stamens. All specimens with deep magenta fruits are circumcribed under this subspecies

Habitat and distribution: Occurs widespread in southern and southeastern portions of the Atlantic Forest (Brazil). Figure 5.

Rhipsalis elliptica Lindberg in Martius, Fl. Bras 4: 293. (1890).
Desc from Hunt 2006.
plant pendent, up to 2m, dark green or tinged magenta to purple; basal branches up to 35 cm, usually 3 winged; branch segments naked, mostly flattened, margins crenate, 8-14 (-18) x 3-6 (-8.5)cm, 2-2.5mm thick away from midrib, more or less elliptic; flowers 1-3 (-5) per areole, 1,2-2cm diam; inner tepals 5, pale to golden yellow; stigma 3-4, up to 3.5mm; fruit globose to elongate, up to 7 x6 mm, deep reddish pink

Desc from B&R 1923 .
  • Plant - growing in clumps, at first ascending, often hanging from trees.
  • Joints - flat and broad, oblong to elliptic, 3 to 20 cm. long, 2 to 7 cm. broad, the margin faintly to strongly crenate.
  • Flowers - generally 1, sometimes 2 or 3 at an areole, 12 mm. broad.
  • Petals - usually 5, yellowish, widely spreading, oblong, obtuse.
  • Filaments - numerous, nearly red, white; style white; stigma-lobes white, 5.
  • Ovary - not sunken in the branch.
  • Fruit - reddish, a little longer than broad, 6 to 7 mm. long.
  • Type locality : Near Sorocaba, south of Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Note from Bradleya 13: DISTRIBUTION Brazil (S & SE Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, San Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina): Atlantic  forest, montane cloud forest and seasonal forest by rivers, near sea level to c. 2000m altitude.

R. elliptica (copyright KAF, Kew 2006)

Copyright KAF

 

 

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