Should we ditch infageneric ranks?

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at UWOSH.EDU
Tue Sep 27 07:50:12 CDT 2005

At 08:08 PM 9/26/2005, Kevin Thiele wrote:
>A colleague and I are preparing a paper to merge two Australian proteaceous
>genera (Dryandra, 93 spp and Banksia, 80 spp). Morphological and molecular
>results provide strong evidence that the latter is paraphyletic with respect
>to the former.
>Both genera have a rich infrageneric taxonomy (subgenera, sections, series,
>subseries), mostly produced in the last 25 years.
>We are considering two options:
>1. Maintain and update the infrageneric taxonomy. To do this, we would need
>to do stat. novs for over half the subgeneric taxa (e.g. from series to
>section, from subgenus to section, from section to series). The result would
>be an equally rich infrageneric classification, but with many rank changes.

I would favor this approach myself, but enjoin you to "do your homework"
thoroughly.  In my experience, infrageneric ranks are a huge "black box"
due to their exclusion from Kew Index, uncertainties about ranks in early
works, etc.  I would be willing to bet that half or more of the
infrageneric names currently in use in large genera do not have priority or
are otherwise not the correct name to use.

There is certainly nothing wrong with taking an informal approach,
particularly as a pro tempore approach until you can really nail down the
infrageneric nomenclature.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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