Holotype fragment (botany)

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at UWOSH.EDU
Thu Jan 12 11:30:41 CST 2006

At 10:57 AM 1/12/2006, Richard Pyle wrote:
>In zoology, the name-bearing type specimen (Holotype, Lectotype, Neotype) is
>assumed to be the entire genetically coherent individual organism (or single
>clonal colony/culture), regardless of how many parts it has been divided
>into (e.g., skin, skeleton & preserved soft tissue), or how many museums it
>is scattered across.

Sure, that works with animals because of their unitary construction, closed
system of growth, and lack of asexual reproduction.  But plants have
modular construction, an open system of growth, and a great proclivity for
asexual reproduction.  It is often nearly impossible to determine what
constitutes a "genetically coherent individual" in plants.  In a field of a
rhizomatous grass, for instance, there might be one several hundreds or
millions of individuals; without genetic testing, who knows?  Remember the
"individual" fungus that made the news because it covered thousands of
acres?  Every Lombardy popular in the world is a clone of one original
mutant; are they all one "genetically coherent individual"?

The botanical approach to the definition of "specimen" accounts for these
biological facts.  It is why a uniform BioCode (i.e., botany has to do
things the zoology way) is a BAD idea.

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 uwosh.edu
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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