Inflorescence - Peduncle

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Mon Dec 6 12:41:36 CST 2004

I don't see this as a very old "chestnut."  (for those not familiar with idiomatic English, "chestnut" is used to refer to matters that are no longer of interest or have already been settled).  In my quick reading of your discussion of Descriptive  Elements, I noticed that there was no reference to the problem of homology.  In fact. you use
two of my favorite examples of the problem of homology: leaves and berries.  Many plants have what appear to be simple leaves, but not all simple leaves are homologous structures.  And, every fruit that is called a berry (as you say in your paper "fruit is of the type berry") is not the same.

I see nothing in your model that answers the question posed: what is a peduncle?  If we have an inflorescence, is the peduncle part of the inflorescence or is it part of the shoot supporting the inflorescence?  Is there some biological reality that would allow me to refere to one shoot as a peduncle and another as a stem (or branch, twig,
etc.) and know that I am referring to two different structures?  Agreeing on terminology is not the same as agreeing on homology and proper comparisons of taxa require that the comparisons be based on perceived homologies.



"Paterson, Trevor" wrote:

> This issue is a very old chestnut:
> Unless people suscribe to a shared terminology (i.e. agree shared  definitions of  structures, states, measurement units etc.) they will never be able to share  and compare data meaningfully.
> We have a paper coming out in Taxon soon about this, and a rather more technical/computer modelling paper available online:
> Paterson, T., Kennedy, J.B., Pullan, M.R., Cannon, A., Armstrong, K., Watson, M.F., Raguenaud, C., McDonald, S.M., Russell, G.: A Universal Character Model and Ontology of Defined Terms for Taxonomic Description. Proc. Data Integration in the Life Sciences (DILS 2004) (ed. E. Rahm) in: Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics 2994 (2004) pp63-78
> Trevor Paterson PhD
> t.paterson at <mailto:t.paterson at>
> School of Computing
> Napier University
> Merchiston Campus
> EH10 5DT
> Scotland UK
> tel:          +44 (0)131 455-2752
> <> <>
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
> >Behalf Of Richard Jensen
> >Sent: 06 December 2004 16:06
> >Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Inflorescence - Peduncle
> >
> >
> >Curtis Clark wrote:My general tendency is to call everything
> >basal to the
> >pedicels and
> >
> >> terminal to the first foliage-leaf-bearing node the
> >peduncle, but it's
> >> worth noting that the stalk of a grass spikelet, tecnically
> >a peduncle,
> >> is usually called a pedicel.
> >
> >If the stalk of the individual spikelet is a pedicel, then
> >what is the stalk
> >of the entire inflorescence?  And, what about grasses that have
> >single-flowered spikelets, e.g., Zizania?  Is the stalk of the
> >spikelet then
> >a pedicle and the stalk of the inflorescence a peduncle?
> >
> >A grain of wisdom would come in handy about now.
> >
> >Dick
> >
> >Dick
> >--
> >Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
> >Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
> >Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at
> >Notre Dame, IN 46556    |
> >

Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at
Notre Dame, IN 46556    |

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