Systematics Section / ASPT
Webster, Grady .
Reports of the Götterdämmerung of the family Euphorbiaceae may be premature.
The fragmentation of the Euphorbiaceae into segregate families (up to ten) has been proposed by a number of workers during more than a century, but it can be argued that in circumscription the family-- as construed by the 19th century fathers (Baillon, Mueller, Bentham, and Pax)-- should not be regarded as a crumbled ruin behind a baroque facade. Evidence from pollen, seed, and floral structure suggests community of origin for the Euphorbiaceous taxa and does not support dismemberment, although a limited number of taxa (especially Pandaceae and Putranjivaceae) desearve excommunication. A more appropriate target for extreme make-over is presented by the five subfamiliees recognized by Webster in 1975 (and confirmed in 1994), as well as their suprageneric taxa. Of the five subfamilies, the Phyllanthoideae is paraphyletic by definition and only one subfamily (Euphorbioideae) is incontrovertibly monophyletic (though even here, the position of tribe Stomatocalyceae is equivocal). It will be challenging to construct a classification of the Euphorbiaceae that is both intelligible and consistent with the data molecular phylogenetics. The introduction of additional ranks (supertribes) can assist in the translation of clades into empirically operative taxa.
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1 - University of California, Davis Herbarium, University of California, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, California, 95616, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: Salon G - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
Time: 8:15 AM