Arunachal Whytockia
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Arunachal Whytockia
P Native Photo: Momang Taram
Common name: Arunachal Whytockia
Botanical name: Whytockia arunachalensis    Family: Gesneriaceae (Gloxinia family)

Arunachal Whytockia is a newly discovered (2022) perennial herb with stems 20-60 cm tall, 0.5-1 cm thick. Flowers are plain white, short tubular funnel-shaped, 1.8-2.3 cm long, face 1.2-1.4 cm wide, tube 0.8-1.5 cm long. Flowers are 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed, lobes about 0.2 x 0.2 cm, round, lower lip 3-lobed, lobes 0.2-0.6 x 0.2-0.4 cm, ovate to round. It can be distinguished from all other species in the genus (particularly the white- flowered W. sasakii and W. tsiangiana) by its relatively large habit and large leaves (the largest in the genus; up to 18 x 10 cm vs. W. sasakii 10.5 x 4.5 cm; W. tsiangiana 13 x 4.5 cm), by the dense and about 1 mm long stem indumentum (vs. W. sasakii becoming hairless; W. tsiangiana finely velvet-hairy), the dense about 1 mm, thin, and erect leaf indumentum (vs. sparsely finely velvet-hairy in both species), and sepal-cup with uniform 1.5 mm long indumentum (vs. asymmetric sepal-cup indumentum in both species). From W. sasakii and W. tsiangiana, the new species can be further distinguished by the finely velvet-hairy outer side of the flower (vs. hairless in both species), the presence of two rows of pinkish glandular hairs on the flower tube floor in Whytockia arunachalensis (vs. two rows of yellow glandular hairs in both species), glandular unicellular hairs around the tube opening (vs. limited to lateral patches in both species).

Identification credit: Momang Taram Photographed in Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh.

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