J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1962, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (3): -.

• Research Articles •    

On the Nomenclature of the Compound-leaved Polysticha

R. C. Ching   

Abstract: Since the publication in 1934 of my monograph on the compound-leaved Polysticha under the generic name Rumohra Raddi, there has been a general agreement among the fern students the world over that this group of compound-leaved dryopteroid ferns, some of which had been previously referred to Polystichum, others to Dryopteris of C. Chr. Index Filicum, is phyletically distinct from both genera, and many pteridologists actually followed me in nomenclature for this group of ferns until 1954. Since then, perhaps no group of ferns has ever suffered from such great vicissitudes in nomenclature within such a short span of time as the group of ferns now under review. In the Ferns of Malaya (1954) 484, R. E. Holttum pointed out, I think properly, that Rumohra Raddi, as represented by R. adiantiformis (Forst.) Ching of a wide geographic distribution but not known in Asia, is not congeneric with Rumohra aristata (Forst.) Ching and its allies chiefly occurring in the Sino-Himalayas, and he chosed Polystichopsis for the latter group of ferns, calling the genus Polystichopsis (C. Chr.) Holttum, with reference to Christensen in Verdoorn's Manual of Pteridology (1938) 543. While choosing the generic name for Rumohra aristata (Forst.) Ching and its allies, Holttum, however, overlooked the fact that Dryopteris Subgenus Polystichopsis (J. Sm.) C. Chr. is based upon Dryopteris pubescens (L.) O. Ktze. of the West Indies, which proves generically different from Rumohra aristata (Forst.) Ching, as has been pointed out by Tindale, but almost a direct synonym to Arachniodes Bi., for A. aspidioides BI., type of the genus, has heretofore been considered as identical with Rumohra aristata (Forst.) Ching. Evidently not knowing the existence of Arachniodes BI., C. V. Morton in American Fern Journal L (1960) 149 proposed a new genus Byrsopteris Morton to replace Polystichopsis Holttum. While properly pointing out that Holttum should not choose Polystichopsis as a genus for Rumohra aristata (Forst.) Ching and its allies, which are not congeneric with Dryopteris pubescens (L.) O. Ktze., the type of Dryopteris Subgenus Polystichopsis (J. Sm.) C. Chr., Morton likewise made a mistake by stating that Chris- tensen raised Dryopteris Subgenus Polystichopsis (J. Sm.) C. Chr. to generic rank in Ver- doorn's Manual of Pteridology (1938) 543, but in fact it seems to be more than evident that Christensen even not had the intention there to raise his Subgenus Polystichopsis to generic rank, as has been correctly pointed out by Tindale in Contr. New South Wales Nat. Herb. Flora Series Nos. 208–211 (1961) 57. And, therefore, Morton's statement, which runs “the proper authority for the genus is Polystichopsis (J. Sm.) C. Chr.” is entirely groundless and it also naturally follows that the new transfers made by him of names of the four American species to Polystichopsis (loc. cit. 155) are illegitimate, since his “Polystichopsis (J. Sm.) C. Chr.” is invalidated by Polystichopsis Holttum, thus leaving the American Dryopteris pubescens (L.) O. Ktze. and its allies yet without a proper generic name, if they are really distinct from Lastreopsis Ching, as Morton has thought it to be the case. In conclusion, I wish to thank Professor M. N. Karavaev of the Herbarium of Mosco University for very kindly sending me photographic prints of the isotype of Polypodium aristatum Forster, recently rediscovered by him among G. Forster's collections conserved there, and Dr. Marry D. Tindale of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, for a representative specimen for comparison of Arachniodes aristata (Forster) Tindale (basionym: Polypodium aristatum Forster), which was collected at Lake Barrine, north-eastern Queensland. It may be stated that without the assistance rendered by them both, it would have been well-nigh impossible for me to identify the plant from the mainland of Asia and Japan, which was previously but enonemously named as Forster's species by all authors in the floras of file regions concerned.

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