PhytoKeys 33: 51–59, doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.33.6094
Aristolochia quangbinhensis (Aristolochiaceae), a new species from Central Vietnam
Truong Van Do 1,2, Trong Duc Nghiem 3, Stefan Wanke 1, Christoph Neinhuis 1
1 Institut für Botanik, Technische Universität Dresden, Zellescher Weg 20b, D–01062 Dresden, Germany
2 Vietnam National Museum of Nature, Vietnam Academy of Science & Technology, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Hanoi, Vietnam
3 Department of Botany, Hanoi University of Pharmacy, 13–15 Le Thanh Tong, Hanoi, Vietnam

Corresponding author: Truong Van Do (

Academic editor: M. Jaramillo

received 13 August 2013 | accepted 13 January 2014 | Published 22 January 2014

(C) 2014 Truong Van Do. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

For reference, use of the paginated PDF or printed version of this article is recommended.

Citation: Do TV, Nghiem TD, Wanke S, Neinhuis C (2014) Aristolochia quangbinhensis (Aristolochiaceae), a new species from Central Vietnam. PhytoKeys 33: 51–59. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.33.6094


Aristolochia quangbinhensis T.V. Do, a new species from Central Vietnam, is described and illustrated. According to morphology, the species belongs to Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema. A detailed description, along with line drawings, photographs, ecology, distribution, conservation status as well as a comparison to morphologically similar species is provided.


Aristolochia, Aristolochia quangbinhensis, Aristolochiaceae, Isotrema, new species, Vietnam


Aristolochia comprises about 500 species and is the largest genus of Aristolochiaceae (Wagner et al. 2012). Recent phylogenetic studies of the genus based on morphological and molecular data suggested a subdivision of Aristolochia into three subgenera: Aristolochia, Isotrema and Pararistolochia (Wanke et al. 2006). Aristolochia subgenus Aristolochia occurs from the Mediterranean zone to subtropical and tropical areas of America, Africa and Asia, Aristolochia subgenus Pararistolochia is present in tropical Africa and Australasia, whereas Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema shows a disjunct Asian and Central- and North American distribution (Wanke et al. 2006, Ohi-Toma et al. 2006, González et al. 2013, Buchwalder et al. in press). Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema (hereafter shortened to Isotrema) comprises about 70 species, 50 of which occur in Asia (González et al. 2013). In Vietnam two subgenera occur, namely Aristolochia and Isotrema.

Isotrema is well known for its U- or horseshoe-shaped perianth, the utricle and the tube are not sharply delimited, a strongly folded or curved tube, a 3-lobed limb, sometimes with fused lobes, and a gynostemium consisting of three segments, each of them carrying two anthers on the outer surface. In contrast, subgenus Aristolochia can be recognized by its slightly curved or rectilinear tube, the utricle and the tube are sharply distinct, a one- to three-lobed perianth limb, a gynostemium with more than three lobes, each of them carrying a single anther on the outer surface. Based on these characters, the new species can be easily assigned to subgenus Isotrema.

In an illustrated Flora of Vietnam, Ho (2000) reported 11 species of Aristolochia, including four belonging to Isotrema. Hwang et al. (2003) listed 45 species of Aristolochia for the Flora of China, 33 of which are restricted to this country. In the latter study, 29 Chinese species belong to Isotrema, and only one of them (Aristolochia petelotii O.C. Schmidt) was mentioned to occur also in Vietnam, although the floras of southern China and northern Vietnam have many angiosperm species in common. Ban (2003) recorded 13 species and one variety for Vietnam, and listed the same species of Isotrema as those mentioned by Ho (2000), plus Aristolochia kwangsiensis W.Y. Chun & F.C. How ex C.F. Liang. In preparation of a taxonomic revision of Aristolochia for Vietnam, a new Aristolochia species belonging to Isotrema was found in Central Vietnam and is described here.


Based on morphological characters, a first overview of the genus Aristolochia from Vietnam and adjacent areas (southern China, Laos, Cambodia & Thailand) was prepared. All available specimens of Aristolochia housed in Vietnamese herbaria (CPNP, HN, HNU, IMM, VNM VNMN), relevant collections from institutions abroad (DR, HITBC, IBK, IBSC, K, KUN, L, MO, P, SING) and material from recent fieldwork were examined. All morphological characters were studied under dissecting microscopes, and are described using the terminology presented by Harris (2001) & Hwang et al. (2003).

Aristolochia quangbinhensis T. V. Do, sp. nov.

Figure 1, 2

This new species is morphologically similar to Aristolochia championii Merill & W.Y. Chun, Aristolochia vallisicola T.L. Yao, Aristolochia petelotii O.C. Schmidt and Aristolochia versicolor S.M. Hwang, but is distinguishable from these species by the following diagnostic characters: petiole 1.5–2.5(–3) cm long; lamina elliptic to oblong-elliptic; peduncle 1.5–2 cm long, covered with yellow-brown trichomes; perianth limb bell-shaped, 2–2.5(–3) cm wide, exclusively purplish-pink on both sides, no blotches or veins are visible; perianth margins recurved; flower tube mouth slightly darker than the remaining perianth limb; perianth tube pale yellow to whitish and the entire back of the perianth limb and tube covered with yellow-brown trichomes.


VIETNAM. Quang Binh province: Minh Hoa district, Hoa Luong community, 17°47'5.00"N, 105°52'20.05"E, elev. 380 m, 3 April 2013, T.V. Do 39 (holotype: VNMN; isotype: DR).


Perennial woody lianas. Roots numerous, fasciculate and cylindrical. Stems terete, densely yellow-brown villous when young, older stems with corky bark, glabrous. Petiole 1.5–2.5(–3) cm long, straight, densely covered with yellow-brown trichomes; lamina elliptic to oblong-elliptic, (6–)8–13(–14) cm long, 3–5(–6) cm wide, subcoriaceous, base subcordate to auriculate, with a shallow sinus 3–4 mm deep, (1–)1.5–2 mm wide, apex acute, adaxially glabrous, dark green, abaxially densely yellow-brown villous, basal veins 3, palmate, secondary veins 7–8 pairs, pinnate, venation densely reticulate and prominent on both sides. Flowers terminal, solitary, but accompanied by a lanceolate scale-like bracteole, (2–)3 mm long, (1.5–)2 mm wide, sessile, inserted near base of the peduncle, conspicuous, persistent. Peduncles 1.5–2 cm long, pendulous, purple, densely hirsute. Peduncles, bracts and perianth densely covered by yellow-brown pluricellular hairs. Perianth S-shaped, (3–)3.2–3.5 cm long, outside densely yellow-brown hirsute with obscure, parallel veins, inside smooth. Ovary oblong, (0.8–)1–1.2 cm long, 0.3–0.4 cm diam., yellowish-green, densely hirsute, 6-locular, ovules numerous, usually in one series. Utricle ovoid, (1.2–)1.5–1.8 cm long, 0.5–0.6(–0.8) cm diam., externally white, inner surface basally with a dark-purple patch and distally with a white patch; tube strongly curved at its base, parallel and in close contact with the utricle, narrower than the utricle, cylindrical, 0.9–1.0 cm long, 0.4–0.5 cm diam.; limb three-lobed, bell-shaped, 2–2.5(–3) cm diam., purplish-pink on both sides, without any blotches or veins visible, outer surface densely hirsute, inner surface smooth, the three unequal lobes valvate in preanthetic flowers, the lateral lobes broadly deltoid with acute apex, the lower (median) lobe semicircular, during anthesis bell-shaped and with the margins recurved; throat circular, dark-purple, densely papillose; annulus present, formed by an ellipsoid flange, dark-violet; gynostemium three-lobed, lobes with obtuse apices, smooth, (3–)4–5 mm high, 2–3 mm diam., white; stamens six in one serie of three pairs; anthers oblong, (2–)2.5–3 mm long, yellow, tetralocular, longitudinally dehiscent. Capsules not seen.

Figure 1.

Line drawing of Aristolochia quangbinhensis T.V. Do. A Flowering branch B–D Lateral (B) frontal (C) and dorsal (D) views of a flower at anthesis E–F Lateral (E) and frontal (F) views of a preanthetic flower G Gynostemium and ovary H Transverse section of ovary I Multicellular trichomes on the surface of the petiole. Drawing by N.V. Quyet from the holotype.

Figure 2.

Photographs of Aristolochia quangbinhensis T.V. Do. A Habit B–C Frontal (B) and lateral (C) views of a preanthetic flower D–E Leaf in adaxial (D) and abaxial (E) views F Flowering branch G–I Lateral (G–H) and dorsal (I) views of flowers at anthesis J Transverse section of the ovary K Inner surface of perianth L Gynostemium and ovary M Frontal view of an anthetic flower. Photographs taken on the holotype locality in Hoa Luong community, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province, Central Vietnam.

Vernacular name.

Phòng Kỷ Quảng Bình (in Vietnamese).


Aristolochia quangbinhensis is known from a single population found on the north-eastern slope of a mountain range bordering the buffer zone of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in the Hoa Luong community, Minh Hoa district, Quang Binh province (Fig. 3). It might also be present in Laos P.D.R., because of the proximity of the Khammouan province with Central Laos.

Figure 3.

Distribution (dot) of Aristolochia quangbinhensis T.V. Do in Central Vietnam.


Aristolochia quangbinhensis occurs in humid mountain sites, in the understory of disturbed lowland evergreen broad-leaved forest and mainly evergreen scrubs. Dominant plants at the type locality are Annonaceae (Desmos spp.), Apocynaceae (Marsdenia spp., Wrightia spp.), Fabaceae (Millettia spp.), Lauraceae (Machilus spp., Litsea spp.), Malvaceae (Sterculia spp.), Pandaceae (Microdesmis spp.), Phyllanthaceae (Antidesma spp., Aporosa spp., Glochidion spp.), and Rubiaceae (Randia spp.).


Flowering specimens have been collected in April and May but it is possible that blooming already begins in March.


The specific epithet refers to the type locality.

Conservation status.

In the past, large areas of primary, broad-leaved, evergreen forest covered the Hoa Luong community. Excessive logging, however, resulted in the loss of large extensions of primary forest. Although logging was prohibited in the 1990s, local farmers continued to impose strong pressure on the remaining forest patches converting it mostly into corn and soybean fields. As a result, the flora of the area should be regarded as threatened by extinction. Within the area, Aristolochia quangbinhensis is known from a single population; in fact, during the present study, only two healthy individuals were located growing about 50 m apart from each other. Therefore, the new species is assigned a preliminary status of vulnerable (VU D2) according to IUCN Red List criteria (IUCN 2013), indicating a population with a very restricted area of occupancy (typically less than 20 km2) or the number of locations (typically five or fewer) being both at hand for Aristolochia quangbinhensis. The lack of data currently does not allow a final risk evaluation, but the species might also be regarded as endangered (EN).


Aristolochia quangbinhensis is morphologically similar to Aristolochia vallisicola T.L. Yao (reported from Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia), Aristolochia championii Merr. et Chun (known from Guangdong, Guangxi, China), Aristolochia versicolor S.M. Hwang (reported from China and Thailand) and Aristolochia petelotii O.C. Schmidt (reported from Vietnam and China). However, the new species differs from the aforementioned species by several important vegetative and reproductive characters (summarized in Table 1). This new discovery, along with several new species recently described from Thailand (González and Poncy 1999, Phuphathanaphong 2006), Hainan Island, China (Han Xu et al. 2011), and Peninsular Malaysia (Yao 2012), provide evidence that the genus Aristolochia and in particular Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema is very diverse in South-East Asia. A detailed investigation of the different flower phenotypes and inflorescence between Asian, North and Central American Isotrema species is needed to reconstruct the evolution of floral forms between the biogeographic areas.

Table 1.

Comparison between Aristolochia quangbinhensis and its four morphologically closest relatives.

Characters Aristolochia quangbinhensis Aristolochia vallisicola Aristolochia championii Aristolochia versicolor Aristolochia petelotii
Petiole 1.5–2.5(–3) cm long, densely yellow-brown villous 2.5–7 cm long, puberulent 1–2.0 cm long, densely villous 1–2.0 cm long, sparsely pilose 2–4 cm long, densely yellow-brown villous
Lamina elliptic to oblong-elliptic, (6 –)8–13(–14) cm long, 3–5(–6) cm wide lanceolate, oblanceolate to broadly oblanceolate, 6.5–11 cm long, 1.7–3.9 cm wide elliptic- lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 15–30 cm long, 2–5 cm wide narrowly elliptic to lanceolate-elliptic, 7.5–33 cm long, 4–12 cm wide narrowly ovate to lanceolate ovateblade lamina, 12–20(–22) cm long, 5–11(–13) cm wide
Leaf base narrowly auriculate; 3–4 mm deep cordate; 2–3 mm deep rounded to shallowly cordate; 2 mm deep narrowly auriculate; 5–7 mm deep shallowly cordate, sinus 6–10 mm deep
Leaf apex acute acute acuminate acute to acuminate acuminate
Adaxial surface of the leaf glabrous glabrescent glabrous but villous along veins glabrous glabrous
Abaxial surface of the leaf densely yellow-brown villous puberulent densely brown villous sparsely villous along veins, glaucous pubescent
Inflorescences ramiflorous, flower solitary cauliflorous, flower solitary cauliflorous, cluster of 2–5 flowers ramiflorous, solitary or flower pair cauliflorous, cluster of 2–3 flowers
Peduncle 1.5–2 cm long; densely hirsute, unbranched 15.5–17 cm long; puberulent, branched 3–4 cm long; brown villous, unbranched 2–3 cm long; brown villous, unbranched 10–12 cm long, densely brown villous, unbranched
Perianth yellowish-white; (3–)3.2–3.5 cm long; without blotches purple; 6–6.5 cm long; with obscure veins greenish-yellow; 10–12 cm long; with purple veins and blotches yellow-green; 7–9 cm long; with purple veins yellow-purple, 8–10 cm long; with purple veins and blotches
Limb purplish-pink; bell-shaped; 2–3 cm wide; unequal 3-lobed, margin of lobes recurved, acute apex yellow; disc-shaped; 5.8–6.5 cm wide; equal 3-lobed, margin of lobes expanded, rounded apex yellow; funnel-shaped; 4–6 cm wide; unequal 3-lobed, lower one spreading spathulate-like, margin of lobes erect, rounded apex purple; disc-shaped; 4–6 cm wide; equal 3-lobed, margin of lobes expansive, rounded apex yellow; bell-shaped; 4–5 cm wide; unequal 3-lobed, margin of lobes rolled downwards, acute apex
Throat annulus present, throat dark-violet annulus present, throat coloration unknown annulus present, throat yellow annulus absent, throat coloration unknown annulus present, throat dark-purple
Distribution Central Vietnam Peninsular Malaysia Southern China Southern China, North Eastern Thailand Southern China, Northern Vietnam

We thank the Vietnam National Museum of Nature (VAST) and the curators of the following herbaria for permission to study specimens: CPNP, DR, HITBC, HN, HNU, IBK, IBSC, IMM, K, KUN, L, MO, P, SING, VNM, VNMN. The first author is supported by the Erasmus Mundus program to enroll the PhD at the TU Dresden. Field work and visits to Chinese herbaria were funded through a DAAD PPP China grant to SW. We also express our sincere thanks to Mr. Quyet, Hanoi for line drawings. We very much appreciate comments and corrections by Favio González (National University of Colombia, Bogotá), and an anonymous reviewer, as well as by the editorial board. Marie-Stéphanie Samain (INECOL, Mexico) is acknowledged for final proofreading.

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