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Robinson a century on: The nomenclatural relevance of Roxburgh's Hortus Bengalensis

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Abstract:

In 1912, C.B. Robinson published an analysis of the Hortus Bengalensis. This work by William Roxburgh consists of a listing of the plant species growing in the East India Company Botanic Garden in Calcutta, and the new species Roxburgh was intending to publish in his Flora Indica. No descriptions are included in the Hortus Bengalensis, but as Robinson pointed out, a minority of names included are validated by citation of descriptions published elsewhere. The current paper reviews these names, particularly in terms of their application and typification. The identity of Laurus nitida Roxb. is clarified, and Cinnamomum nitidum (Roxb.) Hook. is shown to be the correct name for C. burmanni (Nees & T. Nees) Blume. A proposal to reject the name Laurus nitida Roxb., in order to maintain the accepted nomenclature of this important spice plant has been submitted. A number of cases are highlighted where later application of names first validated in the Hortus Bengalensis conflicts with their typification. These include Bambusa baccifera Roxb. (≡ Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz), Calamus latifolius Roxb., Arum gracile Roxb. and Morinda bracteata Roxb. Proposals to conserve Bambusa baccifera Roxb. and Calamus latifolius Roxb. with conserved types have been made in order to maintain the current application of these and other important bamboo and rattan names. Despite the work of Robinson, and subsequent analyses of Merrill and others, certain names validated by Roxburgh are still not always recognised as the correct ones, e.g. Holostemma annularium (Roxb.) K. Schum. for H. ada-kodien Schult., Bambusa spinosa Roxb. for B. blumeana Schult. f., Ficus racemifera Roxb. for F. nodosa Teijsm. & Binnend. A number of nomenclatural changes are required based on the current investigation: Typhonium harpung Srib., J. Murata, K. Iwats. & I.M. Turner, replaces T. gracile (Roxb.) Schott excluding its nomenclatural type; Aganosma heynei (Spreng.) I.M. Turner, comb. nov., replaces A. dichotoma K. Schum., Hibiscus tortuosus Roxb. (≡ Talipariti tortuosum (Roxb.) Fryxell) is a synonym of Talipariti tiliaceum (L.) Fryxell, Diospyros nigra (J.F. Gmel.) Perr. is the correct name for D. digyna Jacq., the Nicobar breadfruit is correctly Pandanus leram Jones ex R. Millar, Sesbania aculeata (Schreb.) Pers. is the correct name for Sesbania bispinosa (Jacq.) Spreng. ex Steud., Asclepias senecionifolia M.E. Jones is the correct name for A. rosea Kunth and Salvia cana Wall. ex Benth. is correct for what has been called S. lanata Roxb. or S. mukerjeei Bennet & Raizada. Lectotypes are designated for 46 names and neotypes are designated for two names. Epitypes are designated for three names in which the identity of the lectotype is demonstrably ambiguous.

Keywords: C.B. ROBINSON; HERBARIUM AMBOINENSE; HORTUS MALABARICUS; NOMENCLATURE; TYPIFICATION; WILLIAM ROXBURGH

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Associate, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K. and Research Associate, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569;, Email: turner187@btinternet.com

Publication date: February 20, 2013

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