After reading Monday’s post on type specimens in The OSU herbarium, I wanted to see some of these type specimens, and so, I set up an appointment with Mesfin Tadesse, curator of vascular plants in the herbarium. Mesfin led me straight to the cabinet that houses all type specimens, each in its own red folder. He pulled out the following type specimens, some of which were collected in Ohio.
I was curious to find out more about these specimens and hence I looked up the labels and the notes left with the specimens. While the labels were provided by the plant collectors, the notes, on the nature of the type, were supplied, at a later time, either by curators or by students who were working towards a Ph.D. degree in plant systematics at the time.
The Red Maple variety viride was collected at Buckeye Lake, Licking county, in 1917, by Freda Detmers, an American botanist. She knew that the species of Acer are quite variable and she described and named this new variety based on “a young tree, about 9.5 m. tall with smooth light gray bark” that she found on Cranberry Island in Buckeye Lake. You can see a photograph of the tree posted with the type specimen. She published her description in the Ohio Journal of Science 19: 235-236.
The variety subinermis of the Devil’s Walkingstick Aralia spinosa was described by Harold Moldenke, another American botanist / txaonomist. He collected this particualr specimen as an escape from cultivation along a fence, North Appalachian Experimental Watershed, near Coshocton, Coshocton Co., Ohio, on July 25, 1942. It was originally deposited in the herbarium of the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed which was transferred to the OSU herbarium at a later time. He gave the original description in Latin which was the norm until very recently: Haec forma a forma typica speciei recedit petiolis rhachidibusque costisque foliolorum inermibus; caulibus ramisque subinermibus vel paullo armatis (in case you are not fluent in Latin, check the translation at the bottom of this post).
Of course I was intrigued by my name’s sake California Angelica Angelica callii, a plant collected at an elevation of 4,600 feet near Sequoia National Park on 18 October 1965 (almost to the date and 10 years before I was born). The plant was so named in honor of Tracey and Viola Call, the collectors of the type specimens deposited both in the University of California Herbarium (UC: holotype) and in The Ohio State University Herbarium (OS: isotype).
Exact location where the isotype specimen for Angelica callii was found in 1965
The map shows the exact location of where this isotype specimen of Angelica callii was found.
Did you know that the tree houseleek is a succulent, subtropical plant? The holotype held at the OSU herbarium was collected in the Canary Islands in 1984.
The description and the wonderful drawing of the variety of maidenhair fern Adiantum pedatum var. laciniatum was published in the 10th volume of the Ohio Naturalist in 1910. Lewis Sylvester Hopkins – you guessed right – another American botanist, described this variety as follows: “For several years while collecting in the woods of Wayne County, Ohio, I have noted here and there occasional plants of Adiantum pedatum L. whose fronds [another term for a fern’s leaf consisting of multiple leaflets] differ very materially from those of the normal type. The difference consists mainly in the normal pinnules [any of the smaller leaflets into which each leaflet of a compound leaf is subdivided] being replaced by linear branching pinnules which are partly fertile and partly sterile at their tips. This transposition may occur either at the end or in the middle of the pinna, more often the latter.
One of these plants was transplanted to the yard of the McFadden homestead in Wooster where it has been under observation for a period of four years. It seems to thrive in its new home and each year has continued to produce fronds of the type described.
The form is probably a sport [slang for a genetic mutant or variant] but as such it seems to deserve a name as it is likely to occur elsewhere. Therefore, I propose the name: Adiantum pedatum L. var. laciniatum Hopkins var. nov.”
Last but not least the oppositeleaf spotflower Acmella oppsitifolia var. repens as described by Robert K Jansen in his article “The Systematics of Acmella (Asteraceae-Heliantheae)” in Systematic Botany Monographs, Vol. 8 in 1985. I will leave the description for you to figure out: “Outer and inner series of phyllaries lanceolate, apex acuminate. Ray and disc achenes sparsely to densely ciliate with short (30-50 µm) straight-tipped hairs; pappus absent. Chromosome number n = 26.
Phenology. Flowering commonly from April to November, except in Florida where the flowering season extends throughout the year.
distribution map of Acmella oppsitifolia var repens
Distribution. In moist, weedy habitats, especially along roadsides and stream banks on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States (i.e., Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina) and along the Mississippi River from southern Mississippi to southern Louisiana; sea level to 200 m.
This variety has also spread west and south into western Arkansas and eastern Texas; one disjunct population is known from northern Mexico.”
The neotype specimen in The OSU herbarium was collected in Texas.
Here are some definitions that may make it easier for you to appreciate the terminology taxonomists use when describing type specimens:
Protologue = Everything associated with a name at its valid publication, i.e. description or diagnosis, illustrations, references, synonymy, geographical data, citation of specimens, discussion, and comments.
Holotype = The one specimen or illustration used by the author or designated by the author as the nomenclatural type.
Paratype = A specimen cited in the protologue that is neither the holotype nor an isotype, nor one of the syntypes if two or more specimens were simultaneously designated as types.
Neotype = A specimen or illustration selected to serve as nomenclatural type if no original material is extant or as long as it is missing.
Isotype = A duplicate specimen of the holotype.
References: Glossary of terms used and defined in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
The University and Jepsen Herbaria specimen portal, University of California, Berkeley (map of Angelica callii)
Original descriptions of these type specimens have been published in the following journals:
Acer rubrum: Detmers F (1918). Two new varieties of Acer rubrum L. The Ohio Journal of Science 19: 235-236.
Acmella oppsitifolia: Jansen RK (1985). The Systematics of Acmella (Asteraceae-Heliantheae). Systematic Botany Monographs, Vol. 8: 1-115.
Adiantum pedatum: Hopkins LS (1910). New varieties of common ferns. The Ohio Naturalist 10: 179-180.
Aeonium davidbramwellii: Liu, H.-Y. (1989). Systematics of Aeonium (Crassulaceae). National Museum of Natural Science (Taiwan) Special Publication 3: 88-89, Fig.29
Angelica callii: (1977). Madrono 24:80.
Aralia spinose: Moldenke HN (1944). A Contribution to Our Knowledge of the Wild and Cultivated Flora of Ohio: I. Castanea, Vol. 9, No. 1/3 (Jan. – Mar., 1944), pp. 1-80
About the Author: Angelika Nelson is the outreach and multi-media coordinator at the Museum of Biological Diversity, on a mission in the OSU herbarium. Mesfin Tadesse edited the text.
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Here is the translation of the Latin description of Aralia spinosa var. subinermis by Harold Moldenke: This form differs from the typical form of the species in having its petioles, rachis, and the midribs of the leaflets unarmed and the trunk and branches practically unarmed or with only comparatively few thorns – just what you thought, right?