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Nomenclatural notes on Leguminosites and several taxonomically relevant names (fossil Leguminosae)

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Bowerbank (1840) proposed Leguminosites for fossil seeds with uncertain affinities within Leguminosae Juss., but later workers demonstrated that his voucher specimens represent seeds of Magnolia L., Icacinicarya E. Reid & M. Chandler, genera of Sapindaceae Juss., and other non-legumes (e.g., Carpolithus Brongn.). Thus, Leguminosites, unless conserved, must be applied to non-legume entities under Art. 7.1 of the Vienna Code. Although more than 300 species of Leguminosites variously used for fossil legume leaves, fruits and seeds with uncertain affinities have been described by subsequent palaeobotanists, the legume identity of the majority of species names awaits confirmation by reinvestigation of the original materials and discovery of better preserved materials. Hence, conservation of Leguminosites may be premature for nomenclatural stability. It is suggested that the application of the fossil-generic name Leguminosites to isolated remains of more than one organ type should be avoided if the congeneric evidence for these organs is lacking. Therefore, isolated fossil legume leaves, fruits and seeds with uncertain affinities can be placed under at least three different fossil-generic names respectively in spite of the fact that they may, at least in part, apply to the same organism. It appears to be better to abandon Leguminosites and propose a new generic name for fossil legume seeds with uncertain affinities. Leguminocarpum Dotzler (1937) has priority over Leguminocarpon Göpp. ex Pálfalvy (1951) for fossil legume fruits with uncertain affinities. Leguminophyllum A. Escalup-Bassi (1971) and Parvileguminophyllum Herend. & Dilcher (1990), which may be synonymous, can be used for fossil legume leaves with uncertain affinities.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China;, Email:

Publication date: August 14, 2012


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