American Journal of Botany, 63(4): 399-405 (Apr 1976)
Evolution in the Genus Ruellia (Acanthaceae): A Discussion Based on Floral Flavonoids
Miriam Bloom

A clear dichotomy exists in the genus Ruellia, separating the blue from the red flowered species. Flavonoids differ in a qualitative rather than a quantitative way. Apigenin 7-glucuronide and malvidin 3,5-diglucoside are common to all the blue flowered species, whereas chalcononaringenin 2'-glucoside (isosalipurposide) and pelargonidin 3,5-diglucoside are shared by the red flowered ones.

The blue flowered species are linked with the red via apigenin 7-glucuronide and 3,5-diglucosylation of their respective anthocyanins. Both groups are involved in flavonoid race formation. All examined species (and some populations within species) differ in flavonoid content. The patterns of variability displayed provide a basis upon which an evolutionary scheme is constructed. Genetic drift is hypothesized as the effector of race formation in the blue flowered group.