Snapshot: Cyanea’s African Relatives

Africa. Where the Pleistocene Megafauna still lives. While it’s easy to focus on all the large animals, Africa holds a specific interest for the Hawaiian plant nerd in me. For research (Givnish, 2008) shows that some of the Hawaiian Lobeliads closest relatives may surprisingly be a clade of African montane lobeliads.

Luckily, long time Manoa Cliff supporters and occasional volunteers Jim and Cindy Waddington recently came back from a trip to the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia. They were able to find and take photos of the cousins to our Hawaiian Lobeliads.

Courtesy of Cindy Waddington

Courtesy of Cindy Waddington

Wow! These lobelias of the Ethiopian Highlands are impressive! This is probably Lobelia rhynchopetalum. It, like the Hawaiian endemic sect. Galeatella, is semelparous. If you think it is awe-inspiring vegetatively, wait till you see it in full infloresence:

Courtesy of Cindy Waddington

Courtesy of Cindy Waddington

Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the ground! Maui might have Lobelia gloria-montis, but this is pretty darn incredible. Let’s close with an awesome shot I found on wikipedia with an endangered Ethiopia Wolf (Canis simensis).

via Wikipedia Commons

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