Under Construction


Erin Tripp
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taxon links [up-->]Acanthopale [up-->]Louteridium [up-->]Sanchezia [up-->]Phaulopsis [up-->]Suessenguthia [up-->]Dyschoriste [up-->]Brillantaisia [up-->]Ruellia s. l. [up-->]Bravaisia [up-->]Hemigraphis + Strobilanthes + relatives [down<--]Acanthaceae Interpreting the tree
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This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

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You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.

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This tree is preliminary and is based on research in progress by Erin Tripp.  It only includes 21 of 48 genera placed in this lineage by Scotland & Vollesen (2000).  The remaining genera are:

Aechmanthera, Apassalus, Benoicanthus, Brunoniella, Clarkeasia, Echinacanthus, Epiclastopelma, Eranthemum, Eremomastax, Heteradelphia, Ionacanthus, Kosmosiphon, Leptosiphonium, Lychniothyrsus, Physacanthus, Pseudoruellia, Ruelliopsis, Satanocrater, Sautiera, Spirostigma, Stenosiphonium, Strobilanthes, Strobilanthopsis, Trichanthera, Trichosanchezia, Zygoruellia.

Containing group: Acanthaceae


The Ruellieae lineage consists of some 750+ species (ca. 50 genera) that are distributed throughout the tropics, New and Old World, and also extend into temperate latitudes.  It includes several diverse genera such as Ruellia, Strobilanthes, Sanchezia, Hygrophila, and Dyschoriste among others.  Pollination syndromes and floral morphologies are wildly diverse in the group.  The genus Ruellia alone is known to be pollinated by bees, hummingbirds, sunbirds, hawkmoths, butterflies, and bats.  Cleistogamy, or the production of closed (thus obligately self-fertilizing) flowers, is also widespread in Ruellieae.


Synapomorphies that distinguish Ruellieae from other Acanthaceae clades are poorly studied but may include left-contort corolla aestivation, seeds with mucilaginous hygroscopic trichomes, unequal stigma lobes, presence of a "filament curtain" (see Manktelow 2000), or combinations of the above characters. The filament curtain is a barrier formed by the fusion of four filaments that partition the corolla tube longitudinally. This structure deserves further study because of its potential taxonomic utility as well as ecological importance.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogenetic hypothesis above is based on preliminary data and only a fraction of the generic diversity is represented. To date, little is known about evolutionary relationships within Ruellieae. Additional research will improve our understanding of this species-rich and morphologically diverse lineage.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Eremomastax polysperma (Benth.) Dandy
Location Jardin Botanique de Lyon
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright © 2006 Gaļa du Rivau
Scientific Name Ruellia inflata
Location Bolivia
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright © 2002 John L. Clark
Scientific Name Blechum pyramidatum (Lam.) Urb.
Location Tabasco, Mexico
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Collector E. Tripp
Copyright ©
Scientific Name Bravaisia integerrima Standl.
Location La Selva, Costa Rica
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright ©
About This Page
Thanks to Carrie Kiel, Lucinda McDade, and Katja Schulz for their help in creating & maintaining this and subsequent pages.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Erin Tripp at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Tripp, Erin. 2007. Ruellieae. Version 10 April 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Ruellieae/52296/2007.04.10 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

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