Prostanthera conniana T.C.Wilson APNI*
Description: Open, erect, woody shrub to 3.5 m tall. Branchlets quadrangular with ridges connecting to base of petiole, yellowish green when young, greenish red when mature, sparsely hairy and moderately covered with sessile glands; hairs only on opposite sides of the branchlet.
Leaves with petiole 1.5–3.5 mm long; lamina narrow-ovate to narrow-oblong, 16–24 mm long, 3.5–6.5 mm wide, partially folded lengthwise along the mid-vein towards the adaxial surface, discolorous; base shortly attenuate; margin flat to partially incurved and entire; apex rounded to obtuse; moderately glandular on both surfaces.
Inflorescence of crowded groups with one pair of leaves basally, 4–8 flowered; calyx green sometimes with a maroon tinge; corolla 11–16 mm long, white or sometimes with pale-mauve tinge on distal parts of lobes and bright yellow irregular-shaped marking on throat, outer surface sparsely hairy, inner glabrous; stamens white, flushed with a rose colour.
Fruiting calyx similar to flowering calyx; tube 2.3–3.4 mm long. Mericarps c. 1.9 mm long, 0.8–1.3 mm wide, papillose, distally extended 0.6–0.8 mm beyond base of style.
Flowering: November and December.
Distribution and occurrence: Known only from four sites over an area of 5 km2 within the Shoalhaven Gorge of Bungonia State Conservation Area, New South Wales, This area is within the South Eastern Highlands Biogeographic Region according to the national Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia system (IBRA7).
Steep slopes, toe/out-wash slopes, and riparian areas in skeletal soils and scree derived from late Ordovician Tallong sedimentary beds (shale, chert, arenite), at elevations of between 130 and 350 m. Vegetation consists of low, open scrub dominated by Acacia binervia or open mixed eucalyptus woodland with Backhousia myrtifolia, Plectranthus sp., Callistemon sp., Calytrix tetragona, Teucrium corymbosum, Bulbine glauca, Cassinia sp., Prostanthera lasianthos, Euchiton japonicus, and emergent Casuarina cunninghamiana and Eucalyptus tereticornis.
NSW subdivisions: ST
The combination of crowded flowers and hairy inflorescences of P. conniana is unusual in Prostanthera; however, this species might easily be confused with P. cruciflora, P. ovalifolia and P. prunelloides on account of having dense clusters of flowers or having narrow-ovate leaves.The specific epithet ‘conniana’ honours Dr Barry J Conn and Helen M Conn. Since Barry’s studies of Prostanthera for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Adelaide, 1979–1982), he has described many species and has accrued an extensive knowledge of this genus. The name commemorates his ongoing contribution to this field, and also acknowledges the support of his wife Helen, who has always been a significant component of his successful career.
Text by Louisa Murray (January 2016)
Taxon concept: Trevor C.Wilson, Lesley Elkan, Murray J. Henwood, Louisa Murray, Matt A.M. Renner, and Catherine Wardrop (2015) Prostanthera conniana (LamiaceaeWestringieae), a new species from the Southern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia. Telopea 18 : 519-526.
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