Note 15: Another old but new species for the Zimbabwe Checklist by Bart Wursten

Thunbergia schimbensis is confirmed as occurring in Zimbabwe

Not so long ago, when we searched SRGH for a species we had found in Mozambique, we discovered that this plant also had been recorded from Zimbabwe, although it had not been included in any checklist (see note 9).

History, as it often does, now seems to repeat itself.

With the gratefully acknowledged help of KEW experts Iain Darbyshire and Kaj Vollesen, we recently managed to identify a number of species of Acanthaceae we have found and photographed over the years. One of these was a pretty, white-flowered Thunbergia from Catapu in Mozambique, which was identified as T. schimbensis S. Moore.

Searching for information on this plant, We found it in the recently published first part on Acanthaceae of the Flora of Tropical East Africa. To our surprise we saw that Zimbabwe was included in the distribution of this species. This brought to mind a number of species that had been included in the Red Data List of Zimbabwean Plants (Mapaura & Timberlake in Sabonet Report 14, 2002). The species were listed as Data Deficient without any further comments and, at the time we had not been able to locate any specimens at SRGH or find any other information about these species. T. schimbensis turned out to be one of them.

We have now, at last, located a specimen at the National Herbarium of Belgium (BR) of a plant, collected in January 1970 by S. Mavi in the Marange Communal Lands. It has been positively identified as T. schimbensis by Kaj Vollesen. This specimen appears to be a duplicate of a specimen at SRGH, which we are still trying to find. It is apparently the only known record of this species from Zimbabwe so it should by considered very rare with us. It can, however, be added to the Checklist of Zimbabwean Plants.

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Note 15: Another old but new species for the Zimbabwe Checklist., retrieved 20 June 2024

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