Gardenia sootepensis Hutch. - RUBIACEAE

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Deciduous trees, bark smooth. Interpetiolar stipules present, sheathing, often covered with sticky yellow resin. Flowers solitary, large corolla funnel-shaped, white turning yellow, sweetly perfumed. Fruits berry-like, greenish, ridged splitting to expose seeds in orange pulp.
Habit : Deciduous tree up to 15 m. tall, 30 cm. in DBH.
Trunk & bark : Trunk smooth, greyish-light brown, dippled, lenticellate, outer bark green, inner bark light brown, sapwood white.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Branches terete, glabrous, strongly lenticellate. Twig buds covered with yellow excretion on the tip. This excretion is of different origin than stem exudates.
Exudates : Exudate absent.
Leaves : Simple leaves, opposite, crowded at the apex of branchlets, narrowly elliptic 4-6 x 12-15 cm. in length, apex acuminate or strongly acuminate, base acute, margin entire, blade papery to slightly leathery, partly hairy on both side.
Midrib flat above, prominent below, secondary vein obtuse, widely parallel, tertiary veins oblique, 10-14 pairs. Interpetiolar stipule connate into a tube, triangular, about 1 cm. long.
Inflorescences or flowers : Solitary flower, axillary, pedicel longer than 0.5 cm, tube up to 6 cm. long, and lobe up to 5 cm. long. Whitish cream then turning dark yellow, with intensive sweet smell.
Fruits : Fruit berry-like solitary, oblanceolate, 5 cm. long and about 3-4 cm. in diameter. Young fruit green with longitudinal ridges and many brown dots. Fruits splitting to expose seeds in orange pulp.
Seeds : Seeds numerous. .

Habitat and ecology :

In open dry Dipterocarp and Fagaceous forest, and degraded forests from 500 to 600 m. altitude.

Distribution :

Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. .

Remark/notes/uses :
Rarely cultivated but with great potential as ornamental plant.

Specimens studied :
BT 62, BT 786, Lao 582 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Puff C., K. Chayamarit and V. Chamchumroon. 2005. Rubiaceae of Thailand. A pictorial guide to indigenous and cultivated genera. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok.

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