Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Manglietia cf. yuyuanensis

In a hiking trip in late June 2010, an atypical Manglietia species was found in a montane valley. We quickly recognized that it was not Manglietia fordiana, the only Manglietia species recorded in Hong Kong, as it has much smaller flowers than M. fordiana. It was thought to be another "taxon" no matter what taxonomic difference it refers to.

Magnoliaceae is indeed very well documented in China as they have very high ornamental and cultural value in the country. In the book "Magnolias of China", several small-flowered Manglietia were identified but the species matches only one of them, Manglietia yuyuanensis, which also has a geographic range close to Hong Kong. However, different taxonomists have different opinions on whether Manglietia yuyuanensis should be included in Manglietia fordiana. However, besides the morphological difference, we also noticed there is a difference of their flowering time which makes natural inter-breeding very unlikely to happen. Possibility of natural inter-breeding is conventionally an important criteria in taxonomy so this supports that they are at least of subspecies or variety level difference rather than a simple inclusion.

Yesterday we managed to make another trip to the valley to search for fruits but none was found. However, it is still exciting as more individuals were found. Many of them were adult tree but sapling or seedling were absent, suggesting that its regeneration is poor.

1 comment:

Exodus said...