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Re: New Species Anthurium, sect. Belolonchium

  • Subject: Re: New Species Anthurium, sect. Belolonchium
  • From: "Tom Croat" <Thomas.Croat@mobot.org>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 21:02:05 -0600



            Pass this on to Dan Devor! . 


            Finding decent type specimen is actually one of the most difficult tasks of a botanist.  There are lots of new species floating around but you need more than a live plant which does not count for anything according to the rules.  It has to be herbarium material preserved in a recognized herbarium.  Moreover, I insist that the type be widely distributed, meaning a bare minimum of three specimens, one on each continent.  This is to avoid the risk of losing or damaging the specimens by sending them through the mail.  Too often specimens, particularly those of large plants, are collected in sets of one (useless in my opinion).  When I collect and suspect that something is new I try to make as many specimens as possible.  Naturally a good description is nice and commendable but legally there are no demands on the quality of the description, unlike the demand that a collection be preserved. I try to make excellent descriptions with lots of photos as well.  Aroids are confusing enough when you have excellent information so it all helps.






From: aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of ExoticRainforest
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 2:16 PM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] New Species Anthurium, sect. Belolonchium


Hi Daniel, I've been corresponding with Beth about this plant for some time and will attempt to give you an answer.  The type specimen needs to be a plant with known collection data (elevation, forest type, epiphyte or terrestrial) that has been fully described, ie, roots, stem, internodes, cataphylls, blades, veins, inflorescence, infructescence and details on the female and male flowers as well as pollen with detailed information on both the adaxial (upper) surface as well as the abaxial (lower) surface of the blade including the midrib, primary lateral veins and tertiary veins.  The people at the Quito Botanical Garden apparently did not collect field notes when they rescued their specimens which were in danger of being destroyed so that data does not now exist.  They have given Beth an approximate location where it was found and Beth is now working with Dr. Tom Croat to find it in the wild and do the necessary field work to satisfy the publication of a scientific description of a new species.  The senior botanist also grants the plant its name.  One complete leaf must be dried and properly preserved so information can be compared to other known species specimens.  A dried blade may dry a different color than known species or exhibit features not easily seen on a living specimen, thus the need for the comparison.  All that info plus the dried specimen and a living specimen known as the "type specimen" must be deposited in a recognized botanical garden collection.  Of course, Tom will do that work with Beth working as the junior co-author and the dried material and type specimen deposited in the Missouri Botanical Garden living collection of aroid species. 

Genetic analysis is not normally done to publish a scientific description.  The new problem in botany is far too many genetic botanists have little to zero idea what any species looks like in the wild state including natural variations, they only know how to determine a species by using genetic information which is virtually worthless to a field botanist such as Dr. Croat.  Field botany is regrettably a dieing breed of scientist!  If you are armed only with genetic data, how in the world do you know how to recognize a plant in the wild?  You can't easily do a genetic analysis in the middle of an Ecuadorian rain forest.

Hope that helps.

Steve Lucas

Daniel Devor wrote:

Hi Beth,  Perhaps you could explain to a total novice who has never field collected plants what you mean by collecting the "type specimen" and then showing us pictures of plants that are already collected, flowering and fruiting (maybe I mesread and this is a different plant)??  It seems the people at the Quito Botanical Gardens could, if they chose to, compile a complete description of the plant in question, including a proper genetic analysis if they deemed it appropriate.  Are you saying that all that is left to do is find the original field notes for collection local?


Sorry for the naive questions, but I'm just curious :o)


Thanks ,




----- Original Message -----

Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:19 AM

Subject: [Aroid-l] New Species Anthurium, sect. Belolonchium


Hi folks! As Steve said, I've found this big, ornate-leafed Anthurium, which Dr. Croat says is undescribed, and for which I am doing the fieldwork to collect the type specimen and take the environmental data. He mentioned y'all might like to see it! I took a number of descriptive photos of the specimens that are growing at the Quito Botanical Gardens, and for ease of viewing they live in their own gallery. Here's the address:


I hope to find specimens with mature seed; if not I will have to take cuttings in order to home-culture the plant. When I have viable seed for it, I'll post another message for collectors. As a private citizen, it is very difficult for me to ship live plant matter out of the country, but they have no problem with germplasm.

Steve: I am not normally in the coastal forests, but it looks like I'll get an opportunity to go later this month. I shall certainly keep an eye out for your species, and if I find it I will take wild photos, and the observations you wanted. I can also bug EcuaGenera on your behalf.



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