Ardisia theifolia King & Gamble.
by Dr. Avelinah Julius

This slender shrub reaching 1.5 m tall is another member subgenus Bladhia. It is a montane species which grows at 1480−1800 m above sea level.

Ardisia theifolia is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia and is known so far from Perak and Pahang.

A recent visit to Cameron Highlands, Pahang, showed that there is a healthy population there and it is rather common at several localities, but most plants were growing along forest trails which are exposed to tourist disturbance. However, in contrast a search at Fraser’s Hill, where it has been collected in 1937 was unsuccessful. This may imply that its population density is low. Therefore, this species is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ in Peninsular Malaysia under IUCN conservation status criteria.

This species resembles A. subverticillata Julius & Utteridge by having a compound-racemose inflorescences and in being a relatively large shrub (to 1.5 m tall), but it differs in its leaves being small (4.5−9 ×1.4−3.2 cm vs. 10–33 × 3.7–12.4 cm) and alternately arranged.

Ardisia theifolia is covered in simple, short, brown, round-capitate hairs on young vegetative parts and inflorescences. The 3.5−8 cm long inflorescences are axillary in the axils of normal or bract-like leaves. The bract-like leaves are linear-oblanceolate and 3−6 mm long. The flowers are 2−4(−6) per inflorescence branch. The pedicels are 8−10 mm long. The calyx lobes are about 1 mm long, triangular and ciliate along the margin and the apex is acute or rounded. The corolla lobes measure 2.5–4 × 1–1.2 mm, are white or pink with pink gland-dots, imbricate, ovate and glabrous. The stamens are five with short filaments and the anthers are ovate-lanceolate (ca. 1 mm long). The ovary is subglobose and about 1 mm long. The 2 mm long style is slender filiform and the stigma is short. The fruits are globose to subglobose, measuring 6–10 × 6–8 mm and are dark purple when ripe but dry black.

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