Chirita umbrophila is a species endemic to Yunnan, China, and its exact systematic position remains a mystery since it was treated as a species with uncertain generic affiliation in the taxonomic revision of Chirita in 1985. In the present study, the phylogenetic relationships between C. umbrophila and its allied species were inferred using two nuclear ribosomal DNA regions (ETS and ITS) and three chloroplast regions (rpl16, rps16, and trnL-F). Additionally, the type locality of C. umbrophila was revisited and flowering specimens were collected and examined. Our phylogenetic analyses showed that Chirita umbrophila is imbedded in three accessions of Loxostigma kurzii with strong support. Morphological observations revealed that C. umbrophila can be characterized as perennial herbs with somewhat tufted leaves at the top of the aerial stem, large ventricose corollas with yellow-brown spotted interior surfaces, four anthers cohering in pairs, and two equal or subequal stigmas. Detailed morphological analyses suggested that C. umbrophila is indistinguishable from Loxostigma kurzii (≡Didymocarpus? kurzii). Therefore, both molecular phylogenetic results and morphological evidence support that Chirita umbrophila is conspecific with Loxostigma kurzii, and a taxonomic treatment is provided herein.
Reassessment of Chirita umbrophila (Gesneriaceae) Based on Molecular and Morphological Evidence
Publication: Systematic Botany
Genera: Chirita, Loxostigma