Phyllanthus key for eFlora of India ...

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R. Vijayasankar

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Jun 17, 2010, 1:24:54 AM6/17/10
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Dear all,
 
Following Gurcharan ji's key to species of Solanum (40 species in India), I have tried to prepare a simple key to identify species of Phyllanthus (pl see attached pdf file) by using simple exomorphic characters. To start with i have included only species which are collected from my study area (Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu). I think it includes most of the species discussed earlier in this group. But, there are about 50 species of Phyllanthus in India. So, we need more pictures (Dinesh ji, where are you?!!) and information on other species too, to make it complete. I am working on description and other aspects of these taxa, in line with our (ambitious) 'eflora of India' programme.

With regards

R. Vijayasankar
Phyllanthus Key.pdf

Dinesh Valke

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Jun 17, 2010, 3:43:24 AM6/17/10
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Dear Vijayasankar ji and friends, ... very busy at office front currently; the work would return to normalcy by this month-end.
... 50 species of Phyllanthus in India ... oh !! that is huge collection we have.

Regards.



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tanay bose

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Jun 17, 2010, 8:39:43 AM6/17/10
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This will also help to identify the plants in future.
Tanay
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Rashida Atthar

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Jun 18, 2010, 5:43:24 AM6/18/10
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Thank you Dr. Vijayasankar ji for this simple and easy to understand effort. 

I was checking  the Kew herbarium for Glochidion and Caesaria  plant, to my surprise I got several herbarium specimens for Glochidion ellipticum  with type specimen name mentioned as Phyllantuhs diversifolius in one and in another as Phyllanthus malabaricus, why is this so ? would request you to enlighten us on this please. Thank you.

regards,
Rashida.  

R. Vijayasankar

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Jun 19, 2010, 2:09:47 AM6/19/10
to Rashida Atthar, tanay bose, Dinesh Valke, indiatreepix
Dear Rashida ji, its a difficult question to give a straight forward answer, so...let me try!
 
Its all part of taxonomy and nomenclature! It shows the different level of our understanding about taxa at different periods of time. It also illustrates the complexity of the group with diverse habit/morphology within this group.
 
The names mentioned by you were published during 1860s when the understanding about the genus was completely different. Due to some common feature, for e.g. 'phyllanthoid branching' several different species were treated under the genus Phyllanthus even they are morphologically very different. However recent molecular phylogenetic studies helped us to understand the possible relationship between different taxa and thus their improved taxonomic treatment. The taxon namely Phyllanthus malabaricus (for e.g.) was considered a species under Phyllanthus by Mueller who described the plant during 1865. But the latest revisioners (Webster, Govaerts etc.) realized that this plant has more affinity with and having similar morphological characters (also pollen morphology) to Glochidion and further realized that it is nothing but one of the several forms/variations of an existing species G. ellipticum described by Beddome, in this case. Hence the name Phyllanthus malabaricus has become a taxonomic synonym (based on different Type) to Glochidion ellipticum.
 
          Fact: 1. Genera like Phyllanthus, Glochidion, Flueggea, Berynia, Sauropus etc come under same tribe - Phyllantheae (these are closely related).
          Fact: 2. Several species, treated earlier under different genera (as much as 55 genera) are currently treated under the genus Phyllanthus http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/genus.pl?9303), an another development of taxonomic research!]
 
To put it in a simple way, in the present case, Mueller misidentified his collection and published as a new species under wrong genus! However, we should remember that one-and-a-half centuries ago, there was not much information technology, communication etc. and a botanist at one corner of world had less chance to know the happenings of taxonomic research development at the other corner. We are now in a far better environment, wherein we can access the information real time, across the globe!!!
 
Hope i have not confused you so much!
Also pl read:

 
With regards

R. Vijayasankar


Rashida Atthar

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Jun 19, 2010, 11:37:00 AM6/19/10
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Thank you so much Dr. Vijayasankar ji for the explanation and further links. You have made a very complicated subject simple to understand ! Atleast now I know why the mix- up, the confusion is due to Mueller !  I will read up more on the two facts mentioned by you. 

One of the journal articles has given the distinction of floral disc- present in Phyllanthus but totally  absent in Glochidion this should help us in identifying them. Will have to read in detail and perhaps will have more questions ! Thank you once again.

regards,
Rashida.   

J.M. Garg

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Jun 20, 2010, 2:13:05 PM6/20/10
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Thanks, Vijayasankar ji.
Great Efforts!!!

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Pankaj Oudhia

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Jun 21, 2010, 3:17:11 PM6/21/10
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Thanks for great contribution Vijaya ji. Here is link to my recent research contributions on Phyllanthus.

http://www.google.co.in/webhp?tab=mw#hl=en&q=+site%3Awww.pankajoudhia.com+phyllanthus&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=877c1cc453c68a9e

Large pdf files may take sometime to open. Hundreds of new links will be visible very soon through above mentioned link, as Google is bit slow in indexing the contributions.

regards

Pankaj Oudhia
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