Holotype fragment (botany)

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Thu Jan 12 08:33:48 CST 2006

Hi Thomas,

All of the problems you describe also exist within the animal world, at
least fundamentally (although I know of no individual coral colonies that
cover thousands of acres, the analogy still holds).  However, I gather from
what you write below that the differences have to do with the relative
*frequency* of asexual reproduction; and evidentally the frequency of cases
where defining an "individual" involves non-trivial ambiguity.  As such, I
tend to agree with you that the reasons for the differences in practice are
founded on more than just traditional practice.

But, as per Paul Kirk's comment, the "real" definition of a name-bearing
type is actually the same for both botany and zoology:

"The holotype is what the publishing author says it is - plain and simple."


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
> Behalf Of Thomas G. Lammers
> Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 7:31 AM
> Subject: Re: Holotype fragment (botany)
> 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.
> Webpages:
> http://www.uwosh.edu/departments/biology/Lammers.htm
> http://www.uwosh.edu/departments/biology/herbarium/herbarium.html
> http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Resort/7156/lammers.html
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> "Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
>                                                                --
> Anonymous

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