Sensu lato

Dipteryx dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Thu Oct 24 20:26:13 CDT 2002

At the risk of stating the obvious it seems to me that "sensu lato" (in the
wide sense) is used to refer more or less informally to a group, that is
without giving full authorship as in "Albizia Durazz emend. Hutch" (assuming
Hutchinson used a wider genus concept than Durazzini).

It thus is a term of convenience rather than anything else and considerable
latitude is allowed, one is supposed to use one's own taxonomic judgement as
to "how wide the net can be cast".

For example the fastest-growing tree in the world (as recognised by the
Guinness book) can be named:
- Albizia falcataria
- Paraserianthes falcataria
- Falcataria moluccana

When Paraserianthes is regarded as including Falcataria, as a subgenus, it
could be referred to as "Paraserianthes sensu lato" as opposed to when
Falcataria is excluded and it may be referred to as "Paraserianthes sensu

If Paraserianthes were to be included in Albizia one might refer to this as
"Albizia sensu lato", although probably not, since in such a view all the
other satelite genera would then also be included and one would refer to the
whole as "Albizia sensu latissimo". Besides "sensu lato" and "sensu
latissimo" (in the widest sense) one could also use "sensu latior" (in the
wider sense) to refer to a taxon of a size between the other two.

Since it is an informal way of referring to a taxon it seems this taxon need
not necessarily have been actually published in that circumscription. In a
sense it is comparable to informal names of clades such as "eudicots".

However, to make doubly sure, it would not be in order to refer to a
satelite genus B [i] as "genus A sensu lato". The phrase "genus A sensu
lato" would always refer to a taxon including the actual genus A ("A sensu
stricto"). It would be alright to say "genus B, which is sometimes included
in genus A sensu lato" or "genus B, which is sometimes regarded to belong to
genus A sensu lato".

Hope this helps?
Paul van Rijckevorsel
Utrecht, NL

> Dear All

> How wide can one cast the net of "sensu lato"? I mean:

> Consider two valid genera, A and B, which happen to be closely related. A
is an old and rather large genus, and B was erected for a couple of species
previously belonging to A more recently. Is it in order to refer: [i] to B;
[ii] to both A and B, as "genus A sensu lato"?

> Thanks for helping me out on this one.

> With greetings from a hot and dry day in Africa,


South African National Collection of Insects
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