A Taxonomic Study of Blepharis Edulis (Forssk.) Pers. Complex (Acanthaceae)

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Addis Ababa University


The species Blepharis edldis (Forssk.) Pel's. has for long been mistaken with B. linaria~folia Pers. and B. ciliaris (L) B. L. Burt or B. boranensis Vol/esen (ined.) and most of the collections identified indiscriminately. While revising the genus, attempt by Vol/esen to separate the species, though with considerable observed morphological variation o.fspecimens, wasfitlile and recommended an in./i"aspecific study based on morphology. This study, ther~fore, employs phenetic techniques on gross morphology, both mature and seedlings characters in conjunction with palynological evidence to disentangle B. edulis complex and related taxa. Cluster analysis segregatedfour groups, which were filrther verified by Principal Component Analysis, Discriminant Analysis and Non-Parametric Analysis. Importantly, vegetative and .floral characters discontinuously or pal"fially separated the accrued cluster groups. These results were fitrther supported by palynology. Subsequently, these taxa were described as B. boranensis Vol/esen (ined.), B. edulis val'. edulis Pers., B. edulis val'. glabra Malombe val'. nov. and B. edulis val'. isabellae Malombe val'. nov. The species B. boranensis, a part./i"om clear separation in the ordination space, it is mOJphological/y discrete from all the other affiliated groups. B. edulis val'. edulis is distinguished discontinuously from B. edlliis val'. isabel/ae and partially from B. edulis val'. glabra byfeatures of cotyledon colour, number and arrangement o.fleafmarginal spines. More so, the three varieties lack a wide geographical variation.