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Aspidistra tillichiana (Asparagaceae), a new species from Northern Vietnam

Last modified on 16/6/2015 at 3:41:00 PM. Total 982 views.

In a recent summary, Tillich (2014) keyed 43 species of Aspidistra Ker Gawler (1822: 628) for Vietnam. Two of them, i.e. A. bicolor Tillich (2005: 317) and A. subrotata Wan & Huang (1987: 223), originally described from Guangxi (China), were found in Tam Dao NP, Vinh Phuc Prov. During a study trip in northern Vietnam, an additional new species of Aspidistra was discovered in Tam Dao National Park. The species which has features relating it to A. crassifila Y.Liu & C.-I Peng in Lin et al. (2013: 43) is described here.

Aspidistra tillichiana O.Colin sp. nov.

Type: VIETNAM. Plants originally collected in Vinh Phuc Prov., Tam Dao National Park, on the trail 6 kms from the entrance of the park, elevation ca. 1100 m, in primary broad leaved evergreen forest, 26 October 26 2013. The plant flowered for the first time in the greenhouse of the author in Villemomble (Seine Saint-Denis, France) by the end of October 2014, O. Colin CCSV 13.22h (holotype M!, including a flower preserved in liquid collection).

Rhizome creeping, plagiotropic, 10 mm diameter, densely nodal, roots numerous. Leaves paired, each pair spaced 2 cm from the next one, petiolate. Petiole stiff, more or less erect, 4-5,5 cm long, 2-2,5 mm diameter, adaxially sulcate, prominently inflated (up to 6 mm) at base along about 1cm. Leave blade arching, narrowly oblong, 28-36 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, attenuate at base, narrowly acuminate at apex, mid green, with an impressed midvein and inconspicuous secondary veins above, strongly raised midvein and visible secondary veins below. Flower solitary, arising from the rhizome, pedunculate. Peduncle arching, purple, terete, 2 cm long, with 1 sterile bract at middle of peduncle, 2 bracts at base of perigone. Bracts whitish, streaked with purple, triangular ovate, concave. Flowers horizontal to slightly orientated upward. Perigone tube widely campanulate, 9 mm long, 11 mm in diameter, yellow green, densely streaked/ dotted purple abaxially, purple adaxially except a yellow line running from stamens base down to base of pistil. Lobes 6, subequal, triangular ovate, straight, erect or slightly spreading, fleshy, obtuse at apex, adaxial surface irregularly verruculose, 8 mm long, 6 mm wide at base, base with denticulate, more or less erect, purplish appendages of 1 mm length. Stamens 6, inserted above middle of perigone tube, straight, protruding horizontally to slightly descending, approaching the style just below stigma, filaments 3 mm long, yellow, blotched purple at their base, visible from above in the space between stigma and perigone wall, anthers facing base of perigone, pale yellow, elliptic, connective extended 1 mm beyond anther tip. Pistil mushroom shaped, 9 mm long, style cylindrical, constricted at middle, ca. 4 mm long, ca. 1 mm across, yellow, streaked purple, stigma conical with lateral surface slightly concave, ca. 4 mm high, 5-6 mm across, lateral surface whitish with 6 irregular, oblong purple markings. Fruit unknown.

FIGURE 1. Aspidistra tillichiana:
(A) PN Tam Dao, general view; (B) PN Tam Dao, view of the forest from the track at 1100 m elevation;
(C) Plant in situ; (D) Rhizome and petioles; (E) Base of flowering plant; (F) Flower, sagittal section; (G) Flower detail showing stamens
position; (H) Flower from above; (I) Flower with part of tube removed; (J) Segment of perigone with stamen.


The species name is dedicated to Hans-Jürgen Tillich, who described 50 new taxa of Aspidistra in the past 10 years, mainly from Indochina and particularly from Vietnam. He also published several keys of the genus.


Endemic of Northern Vietnam; Vinh Phuc Prov., Tam Dao National Park.


Primary broad-leaved evergreen forest growing on boulders on steep slopes, 1100 m a.s.l. The plant was found at the base of a trunk, among its main roots, just on the side of a trail.

Taxonomic relationships:

The new species is similar to A. crassifila from Guangxi with horizontally protruding thick filaments and perigone lobes with basal appendages, but differs by 6 erect lobes (vs. 8-12 horizontally spreading), perigone outside and lobes yellow-green (vs. blackish purple), and stigma conical, 6 mm across (vs. hemispherical, 12-15 mm across).


Ker-Gawler, J.B. (1822) Aspidistra lurida. Botanical Register 8: pl. 628.

Lin, C.-R., Liu, Y., Nong, D.-X., Kono, Y. & Peng, C.-I. (2013) Aspidistra crassifila (Asparagaceae), a new species from Guangxi, China. Botanical Studies 54: 43.


Tillich, H.-J. (2005) A key for Aspidistra (Ruscaceae), including fifteen new species from Vietnam. Feddes Repertorium 116: 313–338.


Tillich, H.-J. (2014) The genus Aspidistra Ker-Gawl. (Asparagaceae) in Vietnam. Taiwania 59: 1–8.

Wan, Y. & Huang, C.C. (1987) New species of Aspidistra from Guangxi. Guihaia 7: 217–224.

Oliver Collin
6, allée de Verdun, 93340 Le Raincy, France

(Phytotaxa 212 (3): 243-245)

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