A second species of Phlegmariurus

[From https://www.facebook.com/nzferns/]

New Zealand now has a second species of Phlegmariurus: Phlegmariurus billardierei. And it is an endemic - the only species of Lycopodiaceae that is found only in Aotearoa.

The spore-producing cones are the key to distinguishing the two Phlegmariurus species in New Zealand. In Phlegmariurus billardierei, the leaves immediately above the cones are appressed to the stems. In Phlegmariurus varius, the cones grade into spreading leaves.
In (A) is Phlegmariurus billardierei, with the spore-producing leaves of the cones at left, and appressed sterile leaves at right.

In (B) is Phlegmariurus varius, which always has at least some spreading spore-producing leaves (note the white discs - these are the sporangia). This means the cones seems less distinct than they are in P. billardierei.

Both species are widespread in New Zealand, and commonly grow together. Don't rely on overall form or habitat to tell them apart!

The name billardierei dates back to 1841, but it hasn't been in use for 35 years or more. We've newly moved it into Phlegmariurus.

For more details, you should be able to freely download a pdf from this link:
https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/Q94TKDDGCFMWYK35SAG8/full?target=10.1080/0028825X.2019.1668438
(Email me if that doesn't work, and I'll send you the pdf.)

All of the plants below are Phlegmariurus varius. Even with the segregation of P. billardierei, P. varius continues to live up to its name.
Phlegmariurus varius can be a big, pendulous epiphyte, a gracile epiphyte, or a stout, upright terrestrial plant (especially in alpine areas).

Posted by leonperrie leonperrie, October 05, 2019 04:19

Comments

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Congratulations!

Posted by choess about 1 year ago (Flag)
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Thank you @choess !

Posted by leonperrie about 1 year ago (Flag)
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Uh-oh...does this mean we're going to need a taxon swap splitting P. varius s.l. into P. varius s.s. and P. billardieri?

Posted by choess about 1 year ago (Flag)
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I'm not sure how that (taxon swap splitting) works.

The only way to re-identify them is by checking each observation. I was going to do that for all new observations, and perhaps, someday, work back through the backlog.

What do you recommend?

Posted by leonperrie about 1 year ago (Flag)
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Oh, that's true in this case, because they're sympatric.

Technically, when we change the circumscription of a species here, we're supposed to set up a taxon swap. In this case, the input taxon would be the current Phlegmariurus varius; we'd create a second Phlegmariurus varius as one of the output taxa (P. varius s.s.) and add P. billardierei as a second output taxon. If atlases are set up for the latter two taxa, when you commit the taxon swap, it will automatically reassign observations in parts of the range where only one of the two output taxa exists. I think that observations in places where both occur get bumped up to the nearest common level (genus).

Since the range of P. billardierei lies entirely within that of P. varius, it would be pretty pointless, so I guess continued manual ID is the best approach. The only advantage of a taxon swap is that if there are people who can't be reached to change their ID, it would bump them up to genus-level and clear the way. But we could do that later once the re-identification of the backlog is further along.

Let's leave it for now, and I'll just fix the synonymy.

Posted by choess about 1 year ago (Flag)
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Oh, I see, the synonymy's not done yet. Well, let me know when you're done chasing types and I'll fix the names. ;)

Posted by choess about 1 year ago (Flag)

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