The Thomas Walter Herbarium is not the herbarium of Thomas Walter

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Evidence is strong that the specimens in the folio volume commonly known as the "Walter Herbarium," Natural History Museum, London, and often assumed to be the basis for the names in Thomas Walter's Flora Caroliniana (1788), are a collection gathered by John Fraser and, though seen and partially annotated by Walter, were in large part not employed by him in preparation of his book. In no case may a specimen be considered a holotype. A small number of specimens, of species from outside the area studied by Walter, may have been part of materials brought to him by Fraser, and may be interpreted as lectotypes. The great majority of specimens, though contemporary in time and often bearing Walter's handwriting, are irrelevant to typification of the Walter names of his Flora. This argument is based on identification by photograph and direct examination of many of the specimens, on determination of the handwriting of the labels as of Walter or of Fraser, and on comparison of the names of the book with the specimens of the folio.


Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, U.S.A.

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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