Three New Species of Solanum from Kenya: Using Herbarium Specimens to Document Environmental Change

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Abstract:

Herbarium specimens are an underutilized information resource on historic vegetation patterns. We record habitat loss and present evidence that visits to specimen collecting localities can document environmental change. The taxonomic study of Solanum in Africa continues to be plagued by confusion and ignorance. Despite the almost universal occurrence of Solanum in the flora of Kenya, there continues to be a significant gap in floristic knowledge of this important genus. As a result of studies of herbarium collections and visits to collection localities across Kenya, we have identified three new species and compiled a list of native species of spiny Solanum. We describe Solanum polhillii from the Acacia-Commiphora savanna, Solanum phoxocarpum from the Kenyan highlands, and Solanum malindiense from the coastal vegetation.

Keywords: HABITAT LOSS; HERBARIUM SPECIMENS; KENYA; SOLANACEAE; SOLANUM; TAXONOMY

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1600/036364410X539943

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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