Holotype fragment (botany)

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Thu Jan 12 21:32:21 CST 2006

From: "SEAN EDWARDS" <sean.r.edwards at BTINTERNET.COM>
> Presumably this is all a matter of size and representativeness? A bit of a
tree selected for a herbarium sheet is different from a moss packet
containing maybe a thousand whole plants.

Yes, I suppose that the practical criterion on whether something is a
specimen is this: if the fragment is stuck on a herbarium sheet and labeled,
can you send it out on loan without being afraid that the recipient will
burst out laughing (or swearing)?
* * *

From: "Richard Jensen" <rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU>
> Could a mammalian name be based solely on the left hind foot of the
animal?  Could an insect name be based on just the thorax?  Could a tapeworm
name be based on a single segment?

Actually, botany can do worse. In the case of fossil material a bit of
fossil wood may get a name (/Araucarioxylon/), a fossil cone may get a name
(/Araucariostrobus/), a bit of fossil pollen may get a name
(/Araucariopollenites/), etc. Theoretically these could be parts of the same
* * *

From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG>
> 2) Is there any biological or practical reason why botanical types and
> zoological types should be defined differently? Or, is the difference
simply one of tradition?

There is a practical reason for botanical usage. It is desirable to have
different parts of the plant (leafs, flowers, fruits, etc) in the original
material. These may not be present at the same time on the same plant, thus
presenting problems in gathering these. When the plant is a tree, it is
quite doable to gather these from a single individual at different times: a
matter of documenting the place, nailing a numbered plaque to the tree, and
returning later. However, it was disallowed to have such collections as a
single specimen (and thus as a single type) because the same method applied
to more ephemeral plants runs a substantial risk of 'mixed specimens' (IIRC
there was a collector of succulent plants who really made a mess of this).

So yes, there was a practical reason for this.


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