Am I missing something?

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by Sundrop, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Recently I decided to have a closer look at the E-Flora BC. On the plant identification index page http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/identification.html there is the following information:
    "A Few Common Plant Families

    Recognition characters are provided below for a few plant famiilies found in BC. These are excerpted from Vascular Plant Families (by James Payne Smith Jr., 1977).

    . . .
    Fabaceae (Pea Family)

    Herbs, shrubs, vines, and trees with alternate, stipulate, compound leaves. Flowers are actinomorphic or zygomorphic, 5-merous, unicarpellate; fruit ia a legume or loment.
    " (emphasizing in bold by me)

    I could believe that information if I didn't have an Eastern Redbud tree growing on my property. To my best knowledge the leaves are far from being compound.

    I understand that the information on the E-Flora page is very introductory, but "basic" and "misleading" are two different things. Omission of the little word "usually" makes a big difference here.

    Or may be I am missing something?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    2 possible variables, one of which may pertain:

    1. They are only describing the pea family plants (both native and naturalized) present in BC

    2. The apparently simple leaves of redbuds are actually fused compound leaves or not actually leaves at all, as in the case of the undivided phyllodes of acacias
     
  3. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    I believe that the E-Flora explictly lists and refers only to 'native' or 'naturalized' plants in B.C.(I'll add the suggestion that 'naturalized' is merely the first stage of becoming 'native'...), and Cercis isn't on this list. So I'm supposing that unless there is a member of the Fabaceae in B.C. that is native or naturalized, by the standards of the index, the description would be correct.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    What may run counter to that concept is that the quoted description includes trees and shrubs in the family, off the top of my head can't think of what would be wild in BC that was a pea family tree (or even a shrub) except maybe woody weeds like black locust.
     
  5. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your responses.

    In such a case they make it explicit, for example:

    "Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory Family)

    [In BC,] trailing vines, often with milky latex, 5-merous flowers with a tubular, plaited corolla, 5 eipietalous stamens and a bicarpellate gynoecium.
    . . .
    Violaceae (Violet Family)

    Herbs [in BC] with 5-merous, zygomorphic (having petals of two or more different shapes and sizes) corolla, 3 carpellate gynoecium, spurred flower, spurred anthers and an explosive capsule.
    "

    Sorry, but this explanation seems to me a little too far-fetched.

    It makes me believe even more now that there is simply a mistake (omission) in the description of the Pea family there.
     
  6. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Just having a quick look at the E-Flora Atlas, and notice that the Fabaceae section is about a page long, with only a few trees/shrubs listed, all apparently naturalized: Cytisus scoparius, Robinia hispida (naturalized in one mine tailings site), Robinia psuedoacacia, and Caragana arborescens.

    It appears to me, at least, that the original notion that the index is referring only to 'naturalized' or 'native' fabs, is borne out in the listings--all of which are species with compound leaves....It could be an oversight which just happens to line up with the current listings, but I'd suggest that it's more likely and in accord with old Ockham that this is intentional, rather than coincidental, and should a population without compound leaves naturalize somewhere, the key would change.

    Perhaps someone with more direct knowledge of the Atlas and it's working will chime in...
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I went to the original source material for those family summaries, i.e.,

    and the source material had the correct information.
     

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