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Houlbert's types for fossil wood: lectotypification and taxonomic reappraisal of Abietoxylon, Ambaroxylon and Taxoxylon

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In 1910 Houlbert validly published five names for wood morphogenera: Abietoxylon , Ambaroxylon , Cupressoxylon, Juniperoxylon and Taxoxylon. The material on which these five names were based has never been reviewed and was considered as lost. We located the repository of Houlbert's material, and had the opportunity to study original slides. However slides are lacking for two of these five morphogenera (Cupressoxylon, Juniperoxylon). We were able to determine which slides were used for the original illustrations for the remaining three genera and to choose lectotypes. Only short descriptiones generico-specifica were given by Houlbert for these names, without any details of characteristic features. Taxonomic reappraisal of the material on which the names are based provided evidence that their systematic relationships are dubious since sample preservation is poor and Houlbert misinterpreted some crystallographic features as features of the wood structure. We therefore advise against the use of the names Abietoxylon, Ambaroxylon and Taxoxylon. From our observations and the original descriptions Houlbert's type samples for Abietoxylon, Cupressoxylon, Juniperoxylon and Taxoxylon very probably belong to a single morphogenus.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: UMR5125 (PEPS) of the CNRS, France; Université Lyon1 (Campus de la Doua, Darwin A) F69622 Villeurbanne cedex, France 2: Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, P/Bag 3, WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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