New Genus

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Previous Curator of Botany, Dr Sean Edwards, had a particular fancy for mosses. Collecting mosses in Nigeria in 1978, he came across a moss-like plant growing in the Kafundu Valley, at the top of a waterfall.  He collected a few pieces, packeted it and later identified it as Inversodicraea musciformis. It remained here, in the herbarium at the Manchester Museum.

Last year, Sean contacted us to say he had “the opportunity to correct the identification of a flowering plant in the Herbarium”.  He went on to say “It was labelled as Inversodicraea musciformis (Podostemaceae), because the species that it really is hadn’t been described or even discovered then — not until 2003.  The genus was correct, though Inversodicraea has now become Ledermanniella.

It is quite an interesting plant, and may get asked for, as people are starting to work on the family.

See: http://www.systbot.uzh.ch/static/podostemaceae/keys/ .
My interest in it was because it is a moss-like flowering plant.”

Sean asked for the specimen to be sent, to have it confirmed.  Earlier this year, he replied, “Well, good news re. the herbarium specimen.

It is indeed Ledermanniella onanai Cheek, only the second  find — well, the first of course but since it was not known or described in 1978, identification was not possible. Martin Cheek at Kew described it in 2003 from a second find in neighbouring Cameroon in 1998, and he confirms the identification and is very pleased. Also Rolf Rutishauer (Zurich) who published a revision of the family in 2004 which I used to identify it, confirms the identification.

It will remain in the Red Data Book as endangered (IUCN EN), with only the two sites known”.

And it’s a new genus for the herbarium as well!  Thanks, Sean!

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