definitive systematic monographs

Neil Snow Neil.Snow at ENV.QLD.GOV.AU
Tue Jun 16 15:20:51 CDT 1998


Increasingly I am impressed by "definitive" systematic monographs
written by previous generations, prior to the availability of

For this posting, let a "definitive" systematic monograph that meets the
following criteria:

1. Was published prior to 1970.
2. Was (by standards of its time) a monumental synthesis of extant and
new data (use your judgment).
3. Was of sufficient magnitude, clarity, and/or insight that any later
taxonomy on that group must inevitably cite it.
4. Is still of considerable value (again, use your judgment) due to some
combination of its overall scope, illustrations, keys, observations of
biological attributes, etc.
5. Was generally lacking in careless errors and oversights.
6. Was at least 200 pages in length.

My question to Taxacomers: What monograph (please, only one) do you
suggest meets these criteria?

Two requests:

1. Please respond directly to me (not the list)

2. Please do not respond unless you have a firm basis for making an
informed nomination.

If enough responses are received that show some real "winners" I'll list
them in a follow-up posting.  (I recognize that some recent works like
"The Ants" by Wilson and Hoelldobler are definitive by any standard, but
lets leave the 1970 cutoff in for now.)

I am particularly interested in hearing from those working on organisms
other than angiosperms.


Dr. Neil Snow
Senior Botanist
Queensland Herbarium - Conservation Strategy Branch
Brisbane Botanic Gardens - Mt. Coot-tha
Mt. Coot-tha Road
Toowong, QLD 4066
Tel: (07) 3896 9319  Fax: (07) 3896 9624
E-mail: Neil.Snow at

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