Tabebuia aurea (Silva Manso) Benth. & Hook. f. ex S. Moore

December 29, 2009

You may be wondering why this species with white flowers (though with a touch of yellow) should have a Latin name that clearly refers to yellow, more precisely golden-yellow.

So did I, after a famous Brazilian specialist in Bignoniaceae determined my species, examining images of the plant I sent her. Here’s her answer, slightly edited:

“The problem with this species is that Gentry (the last specialist working with the family) synonimized a series of species of Tabebuia with glabrous leaves under Tabebuia aurea. However, several field biologists have come to realize that there is a lot of variation within T. aurea and that it probably contains several taxa in one. Unfortunately, this is the name that we have available at the moment for this species complex and will have to be used for all morphs of Tabebuia aurea until someone produces a revision of the group.”

The species is now in flower (and setting fruit).

See also a set of my images of Tabebuia aurea on CalPhotos (http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&where-taxon=Tabebuia+aurea&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&title_tag=Tabebuia+aurea).

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