Oxalis names etc etc

Robin Attrill robin@rpattrill.freeserve.co.uk
Tue, 25 Nov 2003 15:56:36 PST
Mary Sue, Andrew, Andrew et al,

re Oxalis tomentosa, the plant illustrated at http://makeashorterlink.com/?D525124A6 , whilst clearly tomentose and rather attractive, is not this taxon - the plant illustrated on the wiki fits the description and is, beyond any reasonable doubt, this species.

re Oxalis gracilis/karooica, the plants under this name, at least in the UK, whilst showing some variation, generally resemble the plant illustrated as gracilis in Du Plessis and Duncan, Bulbous Plants of Southern Africa plate 4, fig 7, although the leaves are a little larger and the flowers paler, probably due to inadequate light levels.  They are very distinct from O. pardalis and O massoniana which have a very different mode of growth. O. karooica (or a related spelling thereof) may well be published somewhere, possibly in a thesis, but I have not been able to locate it. In addition there are other very similar species to gracilis, eg O. reclinata, to consider. For the time being I believe applying names with confidence to this complex is rather difficult to say the least.

re O caprina, the only one in Michael Vassars collection list that I have seen assigned this name is MV6051. 

re names for the MV numbers, thanks Mary Sue for the list. I have others, received in the past from Diana Chapman, and have some assignments of my own. I will annotate the list with these, identifying the sources of the names added, before posting on the wiki.

Overall the only generalisation that can be made with naming Oxalis is that it is fraught with problems. The literature issues are only part of the problem, as intraspecific variation and variation in appearance due to variable cultivation conditions mean that some existing keys do not function well. In this situation maintaining links with the origins of cultivated plants is very important - certainly if plants are received with MV numbers it is helpful to maintain them on subsequent labelling.



More information about the pbs mailing list