Aegiphila caymanensis - Moldenke 1930

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LAMIACEAE formerly in VERBENACEAE

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Spirit Vine

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ENDEMIC

This plant has an upright structure with a one rooting point. The leaves are pilose.
Moldenke noticed the difference between Aegiphila coriacea, a "Downy form" of Aegiphila from Hitchcock's january 1891 collected specimens from Grand Cayman.
Moldenke identified it to be a new species in 1930.

Moldenke's description

Although there are no annotation to the Type pressed specimen collected by Hitchcock in 1890 from Grand Cayman on his expedition to his Caribbean Islands for the Missouri Botanical Garden. These description relates to the Chicago Field Museum Type specimen #228141 seen here below.
I have seen in person the Type specimen and noted that two species were on the same sheet. The description above shows the physical differences of both species; The length of the male inflorescence stamen (longer), leaf shape (Oblong / lanceolate and acute at the apex) with (pilose) hair on both sides of the leaves for Aegiphila caymanensis.

Staminate flower (Male)

Pistillode Flower on a dioecious flower
This Lower Valley single known male specimen has blooms with exserted (Longer) stamens. The calyx is 5 mm wide with a corolla of 5 to 8 mm in length with generally 4 petals.

This plant was found to have produced sporadic female and Aphrodite inflorescence; pistillode flowers (Female and male organs), producing fruits on some. Under microscope; I found the leaves to have many variable in size pellucid glands slightly more yellow sap when scratched with short tomentose to pubescent hair on both sides. Cluster of hair in the axil.

Their fruits are also different in shape as well as in size.


Bark on trunk

Lower Valley

Chicago Field Museum Type #228141 for Aegiphila caymanensis
Aegiphila coriacea is seen here on the upper left and Aegiphila caymanensis is on the lower right.

Flowering time; Several times a year

Distribution; GC, Lower Valley single male known specimen

Habitat; Shady woodland

Status; Critically endangered, Red listed It was bulldozed down August 2015 since this web page was put up. No other specimen are known.

Notes; Dioecious with one rooting point shrub; Male inflorescence with exserted stamens. The leaves are thicker with short tomentose to pubescent hair on both sides, pellucid glands variable in size.

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