J Syst Evol ›› 1981, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (3): 323-329.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Acanthochlamydoideae—A new subfamily of Amaryllidaceae

Chen Sing-Chi   

  1. (Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica)
  • Published:1981-08-18

Abstract: Acanthochlamydoideae, a new subfamily of Amaryllidaceae, is proposed in the present paper, based upon the monotypic genus Acanthochlamys which was detected by the writer in 1979 and named Didymocolpus as a new genus but was preceded by P. C. Kao in 1980 under the former name. The genus is indeed of great morphological interest. It has semicylindric leaves with a deep furrow on the ventral and dorsal sides respectively. The lower part of the leaf is connate with, or adnate to, the lower midrib of a rather large and membranous vagina . Such a feature, as far as we know, is very rare in the monocotyledons. The flower resembles that of Amaryllidaceae in having inferior ovary, six stamens and corolla-like perianth with a rather long tube. But it is quite different in other characters, such as head-like cyme, leaf-like bracts and bisulcate leaves, which all are foreign to any taxon known in the Amaryllidaceae. On the other hand, it bears some resemblance particularly in habit and inflorescence to Campynemanthe of the Hypoxidaceae, and also to Borya and Bartlingia of the Liliaceae (in the tribe Johnsonieae), but differs in its long perianth-tube and curious leaf structure. It is highly probable that the resemblance between them is only superficial and not indicative of direct or close relationship. This is no doubt a very curious plant of which we still know incompletely, and for which an appropriate place in the monocotyledons has not yet been found. Considering its floral characters, however, it seems safe for the present to place it as a separate subfamily in the Amaryllidaceae and is juxtaposed with the Ixiolirioideae and Amaryllidoideae, the only two subfamilies of Amaryllidaceae according to H. Melchior (1964), and, of course, to either of them it is not directly related. Its true affinity remains problematic. The only species, Acanthochlamys bracteata, is found in Mar-er-kan (102°12'N, 31°47'E), Qian-ning (101°30'N, 30°33'E), Xiang-cheng (99°39'N, 28°54'E) and Dau cheng (100°10'N, 29°03'E) in western Sichuan of southwest China, in open bushland or grassland at an altitude between 2700—3500 meters. Its geographical distribution is mapped and its morphological details are illustrated to facilitate its identification.