ASU scientist revealed inaccuracy in the generic definition of ferns stored in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris

24 January 2020 Department of Information and Media Communications
Two species of ferns, described by ASU scientists as nomenclature novelties for the islands of Central America, were discovered in the National Museum of Natural History of Paris.

Aleksey V. Vaganov, Assistant Professor at the Department of Botany of the Faculty of Biology at Altai State University, Senior Researcher at Altai State University’s South Siberian Botanical Garden, underwent a scientific internship at world’s largest herbarium located in the Paris National Museum of Natural History.

During the internship program, led by a leading expert on pteridoflora of Africa and Madagascar, curator of the Ferns and Plungs collection, PhD Germinal Rouhan, the scientist made a taxonomic audit of representatives of the Pteridaceae fern family, found mainly in Central and Southeast Asia, as well as Central America. These are primarily representatives of the genera Coniogramma, Syngramma, Taenitis, Austrogramma, Actiniopteris, Onychium and Anopteris.

In addition, during the research work A.V. Vaganov revealed an inaccuracy in the generic definition of Anopteris fern stored in the Herbarium of Paris. The main place for its growth is the Caribbean Islands of Central America. However, according to Alexey Vaganov, in the herbarium vault it was assigned to the representatives of the genus Onychium. The scientist proved that this is an independent genus of fern.

“In the taxonomy of the genus Anopteris, confusion has been present for a long time. Thus, a representative of the Anopteris genus from the islands of Central America has long been mistakenly attributed to the composition of the Asian genus Onychium Kaulf., under the name Onychium strictum Kunze,”A.V. Vaganov explained. “After analyzing the herbarium material we examined on a number of external morphological characters and information on the ultrastructure of the spores, we came to the conclusion that this plant was distributed exclusively on the island of Haiti. Taking into account the presence of essential features for this taxon, we consider it as an independent species of fern, in connection with which a nomenclature combination was implemented for it – A. intermedia (Morton) A. Vaganov et Sсhmakov.”

Based on the results of the study of herbarium specimens and literature data at the National Museum of Natural History, the scientist of ASU found that there are 3 species in Anopteris. In this regard, nomenclature combinations were proposed for two of them – A. stricta (Kunze) A. Vaganov et Schmakov and A. intermedia (Morton) A. Vaganov et Schmakov. During the internship, the diagnoses of taxa, their geography and synonymy were also clarified.

In addition to the herbarium, the scientist of Altai State University managed to work in the oldest botanical library of the National Museum of Natural History, which has unique editions of special botanical literature and scientific periodicals. The information obtained will subsequently help supplement information on the Pteridaceae family, as well as the ecology and geography of the taxa under study.

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