In order to understand the taxonomy of the enigmatic Tradescantia cymbispatha — the source of the confusion between T. sect. Austrotradescantia and T. sect. Cymbispatha — we reexamined the protologues of T. geniculata Vell., T. mundula var. scabrida, T. cymbispatha, T. cymbispatha var. villosissima, T. cerinthoides, T. koernickeana, and T. umbraculifera. Our analysis revealed a great deal of confusion caused by the misinterpretation of Vellozo's plate for T. geniculata. We concluded that T. cymbispatha is the accepted name for Vellozo's T. geniculata; Clarke's descriptions were based on a miscellaneous assemblage of three different species of Tradescantia from two different sections; and T. cymbispatha var. villosissima does not represent a distinct variety, but is a synonym of T. cerinthoides. Due to this confusion, a new Tradescantia species from Bolivia has remained undescribed until now. A table of morphological characters that distinguish the sections is also provided.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4