[Taxacom] Ulva latissima Linne
algologia at telia.com
Fri Dec 15 11:24:18 CST 2006
Linne's contribution to algology was not as profound as to botany and
several of his algal descriptions remain difficult to interpret in a
modern context - let apart the identification of his algal types. One
of them is Ulva latissima, originally described from the town of
Marstrand on the Swedish west coast.
At that time, Linne did not use binomials and the new species was
described in his 'Iter Vaestgoeta Resa 1746' ('it. W:goth.') as:
'ULVA oblonga plana und[ul]ata membranacea viridis.
Fucus longissimo latissimo, tenuique folio. Bauh. prodr. 154.'.
The text that follows can be translated to: '[She] grew right much on
the bottom of the sea, laying there full of mud, looking as dark
waves, so that she could not be well identified, before she was
washed carefully. She was abundant on the sea bottom, and she did
bends and twists, in and under of which numerous sea animals, such as
Asteriae, Medusae, Gamari, found comfortably shelter. This [species]
has not in the past been recorded in the registers of Flora
This account appears just after Linne's description of another marine
alga from Marstrand, namely of:
'Fucus caule tereti brevissimo, folio maximo oblongo indiviso (Flor. 1010).'
The text that follows here reads: '[He] covered entirely the sea
bottom at the jetty of Marstrand; [he] looked like a thin layer of
leather, oval to elongate, usually two ells long and 1 ell broad,
forming waves. At the base, [he] was narrow or had a short petiole;
[his] root adhered to stones with finger-like organs.'.
In 1753, Linne formally described both, the former as Ulva latissima
and the latter as Fucus saccharinus (Laminaria saccharina), citing
his 'It. w:goth.' (as only reference in the protologue of U.
latissima). In Fl.Sv.2nd.ed. (1755, pp. 432, 433), the two taxa
remain clearly delineated and the reference to 'It. w:goth.' is
maintained. The confusion occurred later and the exact reason cannot
be known, but comparing Linne's later accounts of Ulva latissima, it
can be noted that in Syst.Nat.12th ed. (1767, p. 719) Linne excludes
the reference to 'It.w:goth' adding a sentence that relates Ulva
latissima to Musae (i.e. Alaria). In a commentary in Mant.alt. (1771,
p. 508), Ulva latissima is 'grouped' with Fucus esculentus (Alaria
esculenata), the two said to be distinguished from Fucus saccharinus
which lacks a midrib. This last observation indicates clearly that
'Ulva latissima' was now accepted as an Alaria species - which is
certainly erroneous because Alaria does not grow in Marstrand or
elsewhere on the Swedish west coast. Hudson (Fl.angl. 1778, p. 567)
reacted to Linne's new concept creating Ulva fusca to encompass the
'new alga' citing U. latissima as a potential synonym. Turner (Fuci.
1811, p. 69-72), who studied the Linne herbarium reported that Ulva
latissima was a bullate form of Fucus saccharinus - an opinion
accepted by Lyngbye (Tent.Hydr.Dan.1819, p. 22) and Wahlenberg
(Fl.Lapp.1812, p. 494), but certainly not the majority who continued
to treate U. latissima as a species of Ulva (e.g. De Candolle in
Lamarck & De Candolle Fl.Fr.ed.2.1805; Agardh Syn.1817, Sp.Alg.1823;
Harvey Phyc.Brit. 1848, tab.171; Areschoug Phyc.Scand.Mar.1850;
Thuret in Mém.soc.imp.sci.nat. Cherbourg 2. 1854; Hauck Die
Meeresalg.1884, p. 437; Newton Br.Seaw.1931, p. 78.; Levring
Algenfl.norw.Westk.1937, p.18.; Kylin Chlor.schwed.Westk.1949, p. 17).
While Turner's observation might be correct, there are reasons to
question the authenticity of the 'type'. There is no Laminaria
element in the protologue (or later accounts) of Ulva latissima -
Linne himself having later associated this species with Alaria and
not Laminaria. Accepting (or not) the hypothesis that a confusion of
the Marstrand collections occurred after 1755 - and this would not be
the only case with Linne's herbarium types (cf. Fucus spiralis L.,
Fucus furcellatus L., and Fucus rubens L.) - Ulva latissima has to be
in agreement with the protologue (i.e. a Marstrand, green,
membraneous-oblongate alga...). The only allien element in the
protologue of Ulva latissima is the reference to Fucus longissimo
latissimo tenuique folio. Bauhin prodr.154. This is probably the
(only) reason that Linne later associated U. latissima with Alaria,
but, since this genus does not grow on the Swedish coast, the Bauhin
element must be excluded as an error - later corrected by Linne who
cited this reference under the protologue of F. esculentus L.
with best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
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