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Systematics of


Systematics of the Cyclanthaceae, especially Sphaeradenia and Chorigyne

Roger Eriksson


[Sphaeradenia gigantea]In 1794, Ruiz & Pavón established Carludovica, the first of the genera now belonging to Cyclanthaceae to be described. Cyclanthus (Richard 1824), Evodianthus (Örsted 1857), Ludovia (Brongniart 1861), and Stelestylis (Drude 1881), as well as several species, followed during the 19th century. Most of these taxa were assigned either to Palmae (e. g. Ruiz & Pavón 1794, 1798), Araceae (e. g. Kunth 1815), or Pandanaceae (e. g. Klotzsch 1847), although some authors (e. g. Poiteau 1822, Richard 1824, Dumortier 1829, Lindley 1835, Brongniart 1861) proposed their placement in a family of their own. Not until the end of 19th century was this view generally accepted (e. g. Bentham & Hooker 1883; Drude 1881, 1889; Hooker 1879, 1892, 1899; Masters 1893; Duss 1897). Most species were referred to Carludovica, except for a short period when this name was considered unsuitable (Persoon 1807, Willdenow 1811). Accordingly, Carludovica became rather widely circumscribed, which led Gleason (1929) to subdivide this genus into six unnamed sections. Other treatments of the Cyclanthaceae were mainly floristically oriented during the first half of the 20th century, or descriptions of new species (e. g. Cufodontis 1933; Diels 1937; Standley 1936, 1937, 1940; Woodson & Schery 1943).

Not until the the contributions by Harling (1946, 1950, 1954a, 1954b, 1958, 1963, 1972, 1973) did the Cyclanthaceae get a thorough treatment. These works covered such diverse subjects as embryology, palynology, morphology, anatomy, phylogeny, phytogeography, and ecology, as well as extensive taxonomic parts. He described six new genera, viz. Asplundia, Dicranopygium, Pseudoludovia, Schultesiophytum, Sphaeradenia, and Thoracocarpus, to which many previously described species were transferred, together with numerous new species. Above all, his excellent monograph (Harling 1958), in which he recognized 178 species in 11 genera, has been a solid foundation for many recent studies of the family.

During the last decades, an increasing interest in the Cyclanthaceae has resulted in studies related to, e. g., morphology and anatomy (e. g. Surange 1949; Garcin 1958; Wilder 1976, 1977a, 1977b, 1979, 1981a, 1981b, 1981c, 1984, 1985a, 1985b, 1985c, 1985d, 1986a, 1986b, 1987, 1988, 1989a, 1989b, 1992; Wilder & Harris 1982; French & al. 1983; Tomlinson & Wilder 1984; French & Tomlinson 1986; Eriksson 1995, Harling & al. 1998), reproductive ecology (e. g. Beach 1982; Schremmer 1982; Gottsberger 1990, 1991; Eriksson 1994a), ethnobotany (e. g. Williams 1981, Ayala 1984, Hazlett 1986, Schultes & Raffauf 1990), taxonomy, phylogeny, and phytogeography (e. g. Schultes 1959; Wilder 1978; Grayum & Hammel 1982; Galeano & Bernal 1984; Hammel 1986a, 1986b; Hammel & Wilder 1989; Eriksson 1989, 1993, 1994b, 1995), or floristics (e. g. Croat 1978; Dodson & Gentry 1978; Fournet 1978; Howard 1979; Hammel 1986c; Harling & Eriksson 1998; Eriksson, in press). Since the publication of Harling`s monograph, two new genera, viz. Dianthoveus (Hammel & Wilder 1989) and Chorigyne (Eriksson 1989), and 38 new species have been described.

My studies in the Cyclanthaceae began as a taxonomic revision of the genus Sphaeradenia (Eriksson 1995), but soon expanded to include also generic delimitations (Eriksson 1989, 1993), phylogenetic analyses at generic level (1994b), and pollination biology (1994a).



Maintained by Roger Eriksson and last updated August 17, 2006.