Muhammed S. Shareef
(Manuscript received 12 March 2014; accepted 5 November 2014)
The lectotype of Syzygium myhendrae (Bedd. ex Brandis) Gamble is designated and its status is reviewed.
Lectotypification, Myrtaceae, Syzygium myhendrae, Western Ghats
Richard Henry Beddome collected a species of
identified it as Eugenia myhendrae. This name was
validly published by Brandis (1906) based on
Beddome’s collection 2902 without any collection date
(s.d). While describing the species E. myhendrae,
Brandis did not cite type material. The specific epithet
Mahendragiri hill (=Myhendra hill) of Travancore state
now a part of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu state of
India. On the herbarium sheet it is written as
‘Myhendra 4000’ perhaps meaning Mahendragiri
4000ft. The new species was described on the basis of
this only specimen. Beddome’s herbarium specimen
2902 is housed at British Museum and has been
scanned with barcode BM000615099 (BM!). After
critical observation and study of Beddome’s specimen
(BM 000615099 image!) in accordance to the Art. 9.12
of International code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi
and Plants (McNeill et al., 2012), the authors here by
designate it as lectotype (marked specimen).
It has been mentioned in TL. 1: 304 1976 that types
and specimens of Brandis is housed in HBG, BONN, A,
and K. Referred to this the authors contacted these
herbaria for specimen of S. myhendrae. Only BONN
herbarium was responded that they have no historical
herbarium. Nothing informed by others. In Kew
herbarium catalogue shows the specimen of Bourdillon
later. Bourdillon (1908), the first forest conservator of
erstwhile Travancore state had also collected the same
species from Peermede now a part of Kerala state
(K000821355 image!) and from Muthukuzhivayal now
a part of Tamil Nadu, India (TBGT 03024!).
Gamble (1915-1919) made some new combinations
while transferring some species of south Indian
While studying the Western Ghats endemic Syzygium
species, the senior author (SMS) could collect
specimens of Syzygium myhendrae from different parts
of evergreen forests of Agasthyamala of
Thiruvananthapuram and Pandimotta of Kollam
districts of Kerala. Though many plant explorations
were undertaken in the above said areas the species
could not be recollected from its type locality earlier
(Manickam et al., 2008). Sasidharan et al. (2002)
rediscovered this species after a lapse of more than 100
years from Shenduruny Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam
district and Periyar Tiger Reserve in Idukki district of
Kerala, India. This species was categorised as Rare
(Ahmedullah & Nayar, 1986), Indeterminate (Rao. et
al., 2003) and Endangered (IUCN, 2012). Gopalan &
Henry (2000) opined that it is possibly extinct because
they could not relocate it after repeated explorations in
the Agasthyamalai hills. The species was not mentioned
in the Flora of Agasthyamala (Mohanan & Sivadasan,
2002) and Flora of Thiruvananthapuram (Mohanan &
Henry, 1994) and so it constitutes new addition to the
flora of these places. The authors could observe many
populations and recognized that it is one of the
dominant and common species in these localities.
Major associates of this species are Dimocarpus longan,
Cinnamomum verum, Ficus hispida, Elaeocarpus
munronii, Schefflera sp., Litsea sp. and Glochidion
zeylanicum. Each tree produces thousands of fruits
every year and serves as major food resource to
Malabar Giant Squirrel. The species shows
morphological similarities with Syzygium rubicundum
but differs in many ways. The citation, description and
other details are given below along with photos to
facilitate easy identification.
Vol. 60, No.1
Madras 478. 1919 [1: 338. 1957 (Repr.)]; V. Chitra in
N.C. Nair & A.N. Henry (Eds), Fl. Tamilnadu Anal. 1:
157. 1983; Sasidh., Biod. Doc. Kerala pt. 6, Fl. Pl.: 178.
2004; T.S. Nayar & al., Fl. Pl. Kerala-Handb.: 451.
2006. Eugenia myhendrae Bedd. ex Brandis, Indian
Trees 325. 1906; Bourd., Forest Trees Travancore 189.
1908; Rama Rao, Fl. Pl. Travancore 171. 1914.
Lectotype (designated here) (Fig. 2): INDIA,
Travancore, Myhendra, 4000ft., s.d., R.H. Beddome,
2902, barcode No. BM000615099 (BM image!).
Trees, to 20 m high., to 1.2 m girth; bark smooth,
greyish-white, slightly fluted in older trees, blaze dark
brown; branchlets quadrangular, become terete when
mature. Young leaves crimson. Leaves opposite or
rarely sub opposite, coriaceous, 3.5–7.5 x 1.5–3 cm,
oblanceolate to obovate, cuneate at base, obtusely
acuminate at apex, tip of acumen obtuse, pale brown
beneath and dark brown on upper when dry; midrib
prominent beneath and channelled above, lateral nerves
many, slender, closely parallel, reticulated, gland-dotted,
more towards the midrib. Petioles to 5 mm long.
Inflorescence of terminal, corymbose cymes of
umbellules, to 7.5 cm long; peduncle, branches and
buds are pinkish when young; peduncle and branches
quadrangular; flowers sessile, c. 1.8 cm across. Calyx
tube turbinate, 3.7–4.5 mm long, lobes shortly or
bluntly 4-toothed or lobed. Petals 4, calyptrate,
orbicular to sub orbicular, white, 2–2.5 mm across, c.
17 gland dots per petal. Stamens 3–6 mm long. Style
filiform, shorter than stamens, to 5 mm long; stigma
simple, acute; ovary 2-locular, many ovuled. Fruits
globose, to 9 mm across, pink-purple, juicy, crowned
by persistent calyx limb. Seed 1, globose.
Habitat: Evergreen forests of 900–1800 m.
Flowering & Fruiting: September–February.
Distribution: The species is endemic to the Western
Ghats region of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Uses: The tree is highly attractive and can be
introduced as an ornamental. Fruits are edible, sweet,
acidic taste with a tinge of mango flavour.
Specimens examined: INDIA. Travancore: Myhendra
4000ft, s.d., Beddome 2902 (BM image!);
03024 (TBGT!); Peermede 3500ft, 5. 4. 1894,
Ponmudi, 28. 9. 2010, S. M. Shareef 69354. 3. 11. 2010,
29. 12. 2010, S. M. Shareef 70601 (TBGT); Chemunji,
26. 9. 2012, S. M. Shareef 72497 (TBGT); Athirumala,
7. 1. 2014, S. M. Shareef 76139. & 7. 1. 2014, S. M.
2013, S. M. Shareef 76104 (TBGT).
Authors are thankful to the Director, JNTBGRI for
constant encouragement and facilities provided. Our thanks
are also due to the Forest Department, Kerala for their help in
field studies. We also extend our gratitude to Trustees of the
British Museum for Beddome’s herbarium material.
Indian Region. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta. p.108.
Government Press, Trivandrum. p. 189.
and woody climbers, bamboos and palms indigenous or
commonly cultivated in the British Indian Empire.
Archibald Constable & co. Ltd. London. p. 325.
Vol. 1. Adlard & Sons Ltd., 21, Hart Street W.O., London.
Gopalan, R. and Henry, A.N. 2000. Endemic plants of India.
CAMP for the strict endemics of Agasthiyamalai hills,
southern Western Ghats. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal
Singh, Dehra Dun. pp. 398–400.
www.iucnredlist.org. downloaded on 10 January 2013.
of Tirunelveli Hills (Southern Western Ghats) Vol.1.
Polypetalae. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra
Algae, Fungi and Plants (Melbourne Code). Regnum
Vegetabile154. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany.
Mohanan, M. and Henry, A.N. 1994. Flora of
Thiruvananthapuram. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.
Agasthyamala. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra
Rao, C.K., Geetha, B.L. and Suresh, G. 2003. Red list of
threatened vascular plants species in India. ENVIS,
Botanical Survey of India, Howrah. p. 68.
Sasidharan, N., Sujanapal, P. and Augustine, J. 2002.
Reappearance of Syzygium myhendrae (Bedd. ex Brandis)
Gamble and Ellipanthus tomentosus Kurz in the southern
Western Ghats. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 26: 609-611.