Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Morphological analysis and a resolution of the Ryparosa javanica species complex (Achariaceae) from Malesian and Australian tropical rainforests

Bruce L. Webber A B and Ian E. Woodrow A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Current address: School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ, UK. Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 19(6) 541-569
Submitted: 20 January 2006  Accepted: 5 September 2006   Published: 14 December 2006


A study of morphological variation in Ryparosa javanica (Blume) Kurz ex Koord. & Valeton sensu lato (Achariaceae; Flacourtiaceae pro parte) was undertaken after distinct differences were observed between Australian and Bornean populations. The confusing taxonomic history of R. javanica is first summarised. Phenetic techniques of agglomerative classification and ordination were used to analyse herbarium and field-collected specimens. Distinct groupings based on vegetative characters were supported by reproductive traits, plant architecture, ant–plant associations and geographical discontinuities. This work demonstrates that the current circumscription of R. javanica is a complex of at least nine species: R. javanica sensu stricto now confined to Sumatra, Java and Bali; three species that warrant reinstatement: R. amplifolia (K.Sch.) Mildbr. from New Guinea, R. kurzii King from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and R. wrayi King from southern Myanmar and Thailand, the Malay Peninsula and northern Sumatra; and five new species described as R. maculata B.L.Webber from eastern New Guinea, R. anterides B.L.Webber from eastern Borneo, R. milleri B.L.Webber from New Guinea, R. maycockii B.L.Webber from western Borneo and R. kurrangii B.L.Webber from northern Australia. A key to the species and commonly mistaken taxa is provided.


We acknowledge Bennett Walker and Ronnie Harrigan and the elders of the Kuku Yalangi people for passing on their local knowledge of Australian Ryparosa, Alan Curtis for his tireless assistance in the field, Sue Zmarzty for providing expert advice and access to K specimens, and an anonymous reviewer for providing detailed feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. Pauline Ladiges, Nicole Middleton, Bryan Mole, Sita Ariati, Julisasi Hadiah, Rismita Sari, Sunil Srivastava and Pieter Baas were a great help in providing either methodological advice or background information and Neville Walsh assisted with nomenclature recommendations and Latin translations. Niels Klazenga, Juergen Kellerman, Bernardo Foth and Anton Cozijnsen helped with translating the many early taxonomic papers, while Brendan Whyte was generous with his time and patience in helping find obscure locations throughout south-east Asia. BLW was a recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award PhD Scholarship. Field sampling was conducted under Scientific Purposes permits issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage (F1/000233/00/SAA, WISP01144103, WITK01149403) and with the full permission and support of private landholders when collected on freehold land.


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1 The observation of free stamens in staminate R. kostermansii flowers is not the first time this has been reported in the genus (see R. caesia, van Slooten 1919, 1925; R. hirsuta, Sleumer 1954a).

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