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Pteridological Section/AFS

Janssen, Thomas [2], Lehnert, Marcus [1].

How to deal with bulky ferns ? – Towards a standardized method for tree fern collections.

Cyatheaceae, Dicksoniaceae, and several smaller families represent a highly diversified pantropical group of ferns with a tree-like habit. Although they are a dominant component in many tropical plant communities, many species have a very restricted distribution and are possibly highly threatened. Taxonomic understanding of these ferns, a prerequisite to a successful establishment of conservation strategies, is hampered by the available material being of disparate quality and in most cases fragmentary. To this date no consensus on how to collect tree ferns has been achieved among specialists, aggravating the situation of field botanists that lack information on which key characters need to be preserved. We argue that only essential parts of the plant should be collected, considering rather one plant than a single frond as a specimen. Field notes on ecological conditions should be taken with precision. Notes concerning morphology should be taken of characters that are not preserved in the dried collections, most important those of the trunk, stem apex, and general habit. We provide an overview over the quality of the currently available material and suggest a simple field procedure, giving advice on the composition of herbarium sheets, morphological and ecological notes, photographical documentation, and additional collections improving the value of the specimen. Among the latter figures a new imprinting technique to conserve characters of the stem surface and leaf scars without damaging the plant, an important step towards collecting in compliance with conservation efforts. The authors invite discussions with the aim to establish a commonly supported standardized method that is easy to adopt even by untrained field botanists.

1 - University of Goettingen, Department of Systematic Botany, Albrecht von Haller Institute for Plant Sciences, Untere Karspuele 2, Goettingen, D-37073, Germany
2 - Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Systématique et Evolution, USM 0602 Taxonomie et Collections, 16, rue Buffon, Paris, 75005, France

tree ferns
collection methods
specimen composition.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 32-70
Location: Special Event Center (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:218

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