, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 353–358 | Cite as

Viola lilliputana sp. nov. (Viola sect. Andinium, Violaceae), one of the world's smallest violets, from the Andes of Peru

  • Harvey E. BallardJr.Email author
  • Hugh H. Iltis


A new violet species of Viola Sect. Andinium, Viola lilliputana, is described from a single dry puna locality on an extensive intermontane plateau southeast of Cerro Palla Palla in the high Andes of Ayacucho Department in southern Peru. This diminutive rosulate violet is evidently among the smallest in the world and probably one of the smallest terrestrial dicots. It belongs to a distinctive species group with pinnatifid leaves that is endemic to central and southern Peru, including V. hillii, V. membranacea and V. weibelii. The new species is similar to V. weibelii in its large, strongly adnate stipules, elongate leaf lobes and dilated unappendaged style with ventral stigmatic orifice. It differs conspicuously from all other members of the pinnatifid-leaved group in its conduplicate leaf blades, straight, mostly nonoverlapping, oblong-lanceolate to broadly elliptical lobes with obtuse to rounded apices, and large basally fused pedicel bractlets. Despite many new collections of vascular plants from the high Andes of Peru and northern Bolivia in recent decades, this distinctive new species is still known only from its type locality, collected on the Iltis-Ugent expedition from November 1962 to January 1963.

Key Words

Andes new species Peru Sect. Andinium Viola 



The authors thank Tom Wendt and an anonymous reviewer for improving the quality of the manuscript prior to publication, and curatorial staff of the following herbaria for facilitating our investigations through loan administration or assistance during visits: B, BM, BR, F, G/G-DC, GH, HAL, HBG, K, LZ, M/BSM, MO, NY, P/P-HUMB/P-JUSS, PR, U, US, W, and Z. The first author thanks Ohio University undergraduates Jill Brown, David May and Anya Porter for research assistance that contributed to investigations on Central Andean Andinium violets. He also gratefully acknowledges financial support from Ohio University’s Baker Fund, OU's Honors Tutorial College, and Research Experiences for Undergraduates supplements to National Science Foundation grant DEB-9973958, "Testing Systematic and Evolutionary Hypotheses in a Primitive Neotropical Groups of Violets (Viola Sect. Leptidium)."

Literature cited

  1. Baehni, C. & R. Weibel. 1941. Revision des Violacées Péruviennes. Candollea 8: 190–221.Google Scholar
  2. Ballard H. E., K. J. Sytsma & R. R. Kowal. 1998. Shrinking the violets: Phylogenetic relationships of infrageneric groups in Viola (Violaceae) based on internal transcribed spacer DNA sequences. Systematic Botany 23: 439–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becker, W. 1906. Violae andinae. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie, Leipzig 37: 587–592.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1909. Viola membranacea. Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 7: 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ———. 1922. Viola novae Americae meridionalis. Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 18: 180–186.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1928. Viola hillii. Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Royal Gardens, Kew 1928: 134.Google Scholar
  7. Clausen, J. 1964. Cytotaxonomy and distributional ecology of western North American violets. Madroño 17: 173–197.Google Scholar
  8. Iltis, Hugh H. 1982. Discovery of No. 832: An essay in defense of the National Science Foundation. Desert Plants 3: 175–192 (reprinted in E. O. Wilson, ed. Biodiversity. 1988:98–105).Google Scholar
  9. Macbride, J. F. 1941. Violaceae, Flora of Peru. Publications of the Field Museum of Natural History, Botanical Series 13(4/1): 56–82.Google Scholar
  10. Marcussen, T., K. S. Jacobsen, J. Danihelka, H. E. Ballard, K. Blaxland, A. K. Brysting & B. Oxelman. 2011. Inferring species networks from gene trees in high-polyploid North American and Hawaiian violets (Viola, Violaceae). Systematic Biology, in press.Google Scholar
  11. Ugent, D. 1970. The potato: What is the botanical origin of this important crop plant, and how did it first become domesticated? Science 170: 1161–1166.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Plant BiologyOhio UniversityAthensU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations