Cystacanthus vitellinus

Fwd: Phlogacanthus of NE India : 8 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (8)
Thanks for reminding about this issue once again. I have been looking at it, and the issue appears to be complex to me.
Firstly, I agree that Polunin & Stainton wrongly identified (probably) Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus, as P. pubinervius.
Secondly, there seem to be two different plants in Manipur, locally considered to be different. I am atatching pictures of them as Phlogacanthus-A and Phlogacanthus-B.
These two look different to me because
1. the inside of the  flower in Phlogacanthus-B appears to be much more hairy, compared to Phlogacanthus-A.
2. The flower shapes look different to me, although can't be too sure about that
3. See where the sepals are in the fully open flowers. Look at the bottom flowers in Phlogacanthus-B-2 for example, in comparison to Phlogcanthus-A-1 and A-3.
Description of P. thyrsiflorus in Flora of Brit. India says that bracts are about as long as sepals, not longer. In the description of P. thyrsiformis in some papers, the bracts are mentioned to be much longer than sepals. Makes me wonder if these two are different plants. To me, my Phlogacanthus-A appears to agree with the herbarium image of Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus at Kew:
but not my Phlogacanthus-B.
To compound the confusion, some papers seems to consider  P. thyrsiformis and P. thyrsiflorus as two different plant. I attach one such paper, where P. thyrsiformis is described as the plant with brick-red flowers, which agrees with my Phlogacanthus-B.
I will be happy to have this issue resolved. This discussion which already happened at efloraofindia doesn't throw any light on this.
Thanks, ...
I have a few points to say in this regard:
1. Pictures like A & B has been posted from Uttarakhand & Himachal from where only Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis (all threads herein) has been reported.
2. You can see the list of species found in India as per latest literature at Phlogacanthus. Only P. thyrsiformis (Roxb. ex Hardw.) Mabb. (
Karthikeyan et al. (2009)) is found. Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus should thus be a syn.
May be experts like ... (who is working on Phlogacanthus), ...  can give more inputs in the matter.

I may agree that P. thyrsiformis and P. thyrsiflorus might be the same species, although clear mention of that I could not find,
The main problem is that the plant A and B are treated differently by people in Manipur. A (orange one) is supposed to have medicinal qualities, and is very regularly used in home remedies, B (the red one) is not used for this purpose. This all indicates that they might be different species. Opinion of experts on this genus might help.
Here is response from JRI Wood who works on Acanthaceae, including Strobilanthes, and has published on Phlogacanthus too:
Thanks for your enquiry.
Phlogacanthus thyrsiflorus and P. thyrsiformis are the same species. The correct name is Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis.
I think Phlogacanthus A (the orange-flowered one) is P. thysiformis and Phlogacanthus B is P. vitellinus (P. asperulus in Flora of British India). It is difficult to be completely sure but I will have a look at the specimens when I am at Kew on Friday next week. You are right about the distinctive character of P. pubinervius. I will see if I can find a Polunin specimen to check this too.
Thanks, ... This is a very good feedback.

Did you get any more feedback in the matter pl. ?

Here is his last response:
 .... Phlogacanthus (and Acanthaceae) are not very easy to identify without specimens (not so easy with specimens!). Here I have access only to old 19th century specimens and it is not easy to match up photos with specimens. I can do north and north eastern Indian Strobilanthes fairly well from photos but other genera can be difficult!

I will get back to you if I have further thoughts.


The Plant List Ver.1.1  Tropicos  IPNI  GBIF  Flora of China  FOC illustration Flowers of India  Wikimedia Commons  etaxonomy