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The genus Borzicactus Riccobono is recognised as distinct from Cleistocactus Lemaire. Recent explorations in northern Peru have revealed more information about the Borzicactus taxa in this region. The author relates habitat observations to the published literature and recognises seven species and one subspecies. The new combination Borzicactus longiserpens (Leuenberger) G. Charles is published for Cleistocactus longiserpens Leuenberger. Two new taxa are published in the context of the other Borzicactus in the region: Borzicactus hutchisonii G. Charles spec. nov. and Borzicactus longiserpens (Leuenberger) G. Charles subsp. erectus G. Charles subsp. nov. Additionally, Loxanthocereus crassiserpens (Rauh & Backeberg) Backeberg is considered to be a natural hybrid between Borzicactus longiserpens and B. icosagonus. All recognised taxa are illustrated with photos and their distributions are mapped.
Observations made in a garden in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, in June 2009 of Atlantic lizards (Gallotia atlantica atlantica) on the inflorescences of Aeonium lancerottense (Crassulaceae) are reported. These reptiles may be acting as pollinators of this endemic plant.
Sansevieria ascendens L.E. Newton and S. powysii L.E. Newton are two of several prominently caulescent plants that had been confused with S. arborescens. Sansevieria ascendens is closer to the recently described S. dumetescens, but differs in having thicker leaves and in its inflorescence branches curving upwards. Sansevieria powysii has very thick leaves, and the inflorescence is a large panicle like that of S. dumetescens.
Chortolirion angolense has, in the past, been studied largely from herbarium sheets and limited fieldwork. In recent times it has become obvious that an extensive field-based study was required to account for the different forms/species seen in spring, summer or autumn. These forms/species characterize different Chortolirion populations and they also have distinctive autecologies, as well as showing morphological differences (Craib et al., 2004; Fritz, 2005). Of 16 accessions, genome size (nuclear DNA content) was measured using the fluorescent dye propidium iodide. The common spring-flowering form, C. angolense (Baker) A. Berger from Angola and South Africa, with a nuclear DNA content of 27.2 pg (1 picogram = 10-12 gram), was clearly different from the very rare summer-flowering form, newly described here as C. latifolium Zonn. & Fritz spec. nov., from the Free State, with 30.6 pg. The rare autumn-flowering form C. tenuifolium (Engler) A. Berger, had the same amount of nuclear DNA (27.2 pg) as the spring-flowering form. Morphological dissimilarity was in this case not accompanied with a divergence in genome size. When all these factors were taken into account, it became clear that Chortolirion is best circumscribed as a genus with at least three species.
The only recorded exotic species to become naturalized in South Africa is Aloe camperi Schweinf. It is well known that Aloe arborescens Mill. can become naturalized in Mediterranean areas outside of southern Africa. Here we report on a South African aloe, Aloe spectabilis Reynolds that has become naturalized in the country outside of its natural distribution range.
Cephalophyllum curtophyllum stands out in the genus, and also in the group Mesembryanthema, by developing compact to creeping growth forms in direct reaction to changes in water supply during the seasons. The variation of flower colour patterns as re-examined here can be related to geographical factors and shows an agreement with neighbouring populations of different species, giving reason to suggest that the pollinators may play a role in the selection processes, yet no further correlation between flowers and other features can be found. The limitation of the species is confirmed, and the present corrected state of the taxonomy of the species is presented.
The Ditepalae, an informal taxonomic grouping recognized in the genus Agave L., currently consists of 12 species, most of which geographically straddle the border between the southern USA and Mexico. All of these species were used as sources of food, fibre and beverage, with some likely being transported to new habitats by migrating indigenous peoples. Of the 12 species of Ditepalae, Agave palmeri Engelm., appears to be of central biocultural importance as it has the widest distribution range. The taxonomy and affinities of this native of Arizona and New Mexico in the USA and Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico, are discussed; an amplified description and illustrations of its vegetative and reproductive morphological characters are included. The other members of the Ditepalae are discussed and a key is provided to all members of the group.
As part of a recent international collaboration to electronically disseminate information on Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae), a genus with over 500 accepted species, a comprehensive database of epithets used in the genus was compiled. Aloe is a truly flagship African, Madagascan and Arabian plant genus, but has been studied mostly by non-native botanists. A total of 915 names of species, subspecies and varieties, published over a period of 255 years was analysed to determine trends in the selection of epithets and rate of description of new taxa. The 876 epithets used in these names were classified into categories, and the naming of taxa in Aloe was analysed taking into account the prevalent historical and geographical context. Names derived from plant morphology are the most commonly used in the naming of aloes, but in recent years naming after people or geography are the preferred options. Interestingly, the decades preceding WWI (1901 to 1910) and WWII (1931 to 1940), and the past eight years (2001 to 2008), have been the ones during which the largest number of new taxa were described. A list of epithets with their dates of application, meaning and derivation is given in an appendix.
A new species of leptoaloe, Aloe nicholsii Gideon F.Sm. & N.R.Crouch is described from the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The species shows affinities with Aloe kraussii Baker, but can be readily distinguished from it on reproductive characters: the flowers are smaller, pruinose, green below and a distinct metallic salmon-pink colour above. The flowers of A. kraussii are lemon-yellow or yellow, with green tips. Our species further differs from the unkeeled-leaf form of Aloe cooperi Baker in having much shorter flowers presented in a denser, capitate raceme, and the flower colour is not orange.
Epitypes in the form of colour plates are proposed for Stapelia hirsuta L. and Stapelia variegata L. (Orbea variegata (L.) Haw.) in order to provide the basis for future clarification of the identities of their many cultivars.
Gilbert Westacott Reynolds (1895–1967) was the doyen of Aloe students from 1930 to 1966. The first bibliography of his work is provided. It lists a total of 122 publications on the genus, of which 8 are books, the major ones being The Aloes of South Africa (1950, with three later editions) and The Aloes of Tropical Africa and Madagascar (1966). He published 73 papers in the Journal of South African Botany in which species were revised and new ones described. He named 83 new species and 19 new varieties: these 102 names account for c.11% of new epithets published in Aloe since 1753, making him the most prolific publisher of such names of all time. It is emphasized that Reynolds aimed to illustrate his publications with high quality photos and a previously unpublished proof plate is included as an example of his work. He published a series of travelogues from which brief extracts with commentaries are included. Notes are also provided on some of his major collaborators for his studies in tropical Africa and on his commemorations and awards.
We provide a short discussion of how the use of molecular data and sophisticated analytical methods has expanded our knowledge about the phylogenetic relationships among flowering plants and how this affects the familial and suprafamilial classification of succulents. A tree diagram illustrates the current hypothesis on their interrelationships and a table lists all 83 families that include succulent representatives (c.12,500 species from c.690 genera), together with information on taxonomic diversity (i.e. number of estimated species and genera) and architectural types of succulence. Furthermore, we briefly discuss some important recent modifications to the family classification of flowering plants and provide arguments for the proposed changes as far as succulents are concerned. In particular, we focus on the controversially discussed family classification of the monocotyle-donous order Asparagales and provide arguments for a revised classification that considers the distinct variation patterns in this clade.