Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 274, Issue 3–4, pp 243–253 | Cite as

A taxonomic and ecological analysis of two forest Chlorophytum taxa (Anthericaceae) on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

  • Charlotte S. BjoråEmail author
  • Andreas Hemp
  • Gry Hoell
  • Inger Nordal
Original Article


On Kilimanjaro, Tanzania two rather different forms of Chlorophytum comosum were observed. One form occurred on higher altitudes, the other on lower altitudes. Morphological, molecular and ecological studies conclude that the two forms both are entitled to species recognition. The high altitude form must still be referred to C. comosum s.l., while the low altitude form is a new species and it is described as C. rhizopendulum Bjorå & Hemp sp. nov. The two species inhabit mutually completely exclusive habitats on Kilimanjaro. Whereas C. comosum has a wide ecological potential, C. rhizopendulum has narrow ecological demands as a highly adapted specialist. The two species are easily distinguished morphologically. Molecular studies show that C. comosum is of polyphyletic origin, and the species complex needs revision.


Anthericaceae Chlorophytum comosum Chlorophytum rhizopendulum Kilimanjaro Morphology Phylogeny Species delimitation Spider plant 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support granted by the Norwegian Research Council (CSB, Project 151050) NUFU (IN, PRO39/02) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (AH). Thanks to Anne K. Brysting for comments on earlier drafts of the MS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte S. Bjorå
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Hemp
    • 2
  • Gry Hoell
    • 1
  • Inger Nordal
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Ecological Botanic GardenUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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