Name Changes in Massonia

aaron floden
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 06:59:09 PST
I find it interesting that Nhu points out the name was something established by Baker over 100 years ago, but traditional taxonomists that started taking in a more inclusive approach lumped the two as nodes of variation, yet now molecular work has shown they are different molecular species. 

 Now what constitutes that? I think the percent of divergence (usually from a small sampling of both specimens and molecular markers) varies between phyla, families, genera, and maybe even subspecies. For fungi, it is typically about 3 percent, but within plants can vary a lot. Nonetheless, if molecular work does not show two nodes as monophyletic, but the morphology allows for separation, one can still call them separate species! Maybe the unpublished molecular work shows them in two distinct clades that diverged some time ago, or are these two Massonia not even part of the same clade? If they were two clades that diverged recently, but have a small amount of sequence divergence might they still be considered the same species but in the process of divergence? Its a lot of interpretation. 

 One thing I have noticed is that the older taxonomist who only had morphology to work with have since been shown correct in numerous molecular studies (Bentham and Hooker, JK Small, Baker, and others). 

 A problem with the molecular age is that I have found numerous sequences on Genbank that are definitely wrong! Just find the Coriaria that has a sequence identical to Maianthemum. I think a call from numerous molecular systematists to have the vouchers of the sequences added as digital images so they can be verified immediately should be made.


--- On Fri, 1/18/13, Nhu Nguyen <> wrote:

From: Nhu Nguyen <>
Subject: Re: [pbs] Name Changes in Massonia
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Date: Friday, January 18, 2013, 2:13 AM

May I add that the separation was not to create the new name Massonia
longipes, but to match up modern plants to what was described by Baker in
1897. So it really was just reconciling historical records, an important
part of taxonomy. Whether it is a good species remain to be seen as more
field and DNA studies are completed. I'm a student of the molecular age, so
I will wait for that data.


On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM, Alan Horstmann <>wrote:

> The publication of Wetshing refers. In it Massonia pustulata as we know it
> has been split into 2. Massonia pustulata and Massonia longipes. Most of
> this based on the color of the throat of the flower, the size of the
> anthers and the amount of pustules on the leaves and the size of the
> pustules.

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