Aira arundinacea sensu Houtt.,

Wijnands, Dirk Onno, Heniger, Johannes, Veldkamp, Jan Frederik, Fumeaux, Nicolas & Callmander, Martin W., 2017, The botanical legacy of Martinus Houttuyn (1720 - 1798) in Geneva, Candollea 72 (1), pp. 155-198 : 168

publication ID 10.15553/c2017v721a11


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scientific name

Aira arundinacea sensu Houtt.,


4. Aira arundinacea sensu Houtt.,

Nat. Hist. II(13): Aanwyz. Plaat. [2], 229, tab. 91, fig. 1. 1782 [non A. arundinacea L. ].

= Panicum bisulcatum Thunb. in Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal. 7: 141. 1815.

Lectotypus (designated here by Veldkamp & Callmander): JAPAN: Thunberg s.n. ( UPS-THUNB n° 1817 image seen; isolecto-: G-PREL [ G00818157 ]!, UPS-THUNB n° 1818 image seen).

Notes. – Houttuyn’s text here is rather complicated and one may have trouble interpreting what exactly he was trying to convey. We have concluded that in Aanwyz. Plaat. he did not propose Aira arundinacea as a name for the “Japansch Rietgras”, but that plate 91 with an illustration of the latter had to be placed opposite (“tegenover”, Aanwyz. Plaat. [2]) or next to (“nevens”, Nat. Hist. II(13): 229. 1782) the citation of A. arundinacea (“aangehaald”, Aanwyz. Plaat. [1]).

Houttuyn discussed on pp. 229-230 three species under the heading Aira arundinacea . The first is the Linnaean one from the Near East, the “Levantsch”, now Eragrostis collina Trin. Linnaeus , cited by Houttuyn, gave the phrase name “ AIRA panicula oblonga secunda mutica imbricata, foliis planis”, suggesting that he had seen more than just Tournefort’s phrase name “Gramen orientale paniculatum, portulacea semine”, where these characters are not mentioned. However, there is no specimen present in the Linnaean herbarium and he could never have seen that of Tournefort. In the absence of further data, there was little that Houttuyn could have added.

The second “Rietgras”, “Indisch”, is mentioned in a sentence that is grammatically incorrect. It would seem that it should have begun with something like “Voor” [in place of]. The species clearly is Aira indica L., with a somewhat complicated nomenclatural history, which is beyond the present discussion. Houttuyn said he had transferred it to the “Trosachtig of Gekropte Panikgras”, i.e. Panicum conglomeratum L., “Trosachtig [panikgras]” found in Nat. Hist. II(13): 178. 1782. This is now known as Sacciolepis indica (L.) Chase. Instead, Houttuyn replaced the latter by a very beautiful “Japansch Rietgras”, which he said had much similarity in growth with the “Levantsch”, according to the diagnosis (“bepaling”). A description of his own Thunberg specimen in the Japan herbarium in G-PREL [G00818157] follows. No combination is proposed for it here.

In the Thunberg herbarium, there are two duplicates (UPS- THUNB n° 1817 and 1818) on which Thunberg based his Panicum bisulcatum and from which the lectotype has been selected.














Aira arundinacea sensu Houtt.,

Wijnands, Dirk Onno, Heniger, Johannes, Veldkamp, Jan Frederik, Fumeaux, Nicolas & Callmander, Martin W. 2017

Panicum bisulcatum

Thunb. 1815: 141

A. arundinacea

Houtt. 1782: 229