Agapetes is a semi-climbing shrub genus native to the Himalayas, grown as an ornamental for its attractive pendulous benches of red tubular flowers blooming over a long period. It is in the genus of Vaccinioideae, a subfamily of Ericaceae.
During China-Myanmar joint field expedition from November to December 2017 to survey plant diversity in northern Myanmar, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) collected many specimens of Agapetes from Putao, Kachin State.
After consulting literature, examining specimen images, specimens in herbaria, and collections in the field, the researchers confirmed that the species is new to science. They named it as Agapetes reflexiloba and got the new species published in Phytotaxa.
Agapetes reflexiloba is morphologically similar to A. nutans, A. linearifolia, and A. angustifolia in having linear to lanceolate narrow leaves and corymbose-racemose inflorescences. It is, however, readily distinguished from its three relatives by corolla lobes conspicuous reflexed in anthesis, corolla light brownish yellow to brownish yellow, and with 5 deep purple red zig-zag stripes.
Agapetes reflexiloba is so far known only from the type locality of Putao, Kachin state in north Myanmar, where it is an epiphytic shrub that grows on the trees in montane broadleaved forests, at an elevation of about 1,100 m. It flowers in December.
TAN Yunhong Principal Investigator
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China