Cistus heterophyllus Desfontaines (1798: 411

Ferrer-Gallego, P. Pablo, Laguna, Emilio, Alonso, Ángeles & Crespo, Manuel B., 2021, Lectotype designation of Desfontaines’s name Cistus heterophyllus and its hybrid C. × clausonii (Cistaceae), Phytotaxa 491 (2), pp. 158-166: 160-162

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.491.2.5

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Cistus heterophyllus Desfontaines (1798: 411


Cistus heterophyllus Desfontaines (1798: 411   , t. 104) subsp. heterophyllus  

Type (lectotype, designated here):— [ ALGERIA]. In collibus incultis Algeriae, Desfontaines s.n., P (2-D code P00320360) ( Figure 2)   .

Desfontaines’s protologue (1798: 411–412, tab. 104) of Cistus heterophyllus   consists of a brief diagnosis “ CISTUS   exstipulatus; foliis ovato-lanceolatis, basi vaginantibus, margine revolutis; calycibus pedunculisque hirsutis, subunifloris” followed by a complete morphological description in Latin, a taxonomical comment “VARIETATEM possideo distinctam foliis rotundatis. Eadem planta saepe folia inferiora rotunda aut subrotunda, superiora lanceolata profert, unde nomine C. heterophylli dicta.Affinis C. incano Lin.”, and the geographical locality “HABITAT in collibus incultis Algeriae”. The protologue also includes an excellent illustration (Tab. 104), that is original material and could be selected as the lectotype of the name (see Figure 1).

René Louiche Desfontaines (1750–1833) was a French naturalist and professor of Botany at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, who travelled through Tunisia and Algeria by the end of the 18 th Century , and gathered a remarkable plant collection which was the basis for his Flora atlantica (2 volumes, 1798–1799). Parts of his personal herbarium are now preserved at BM, C, CGE, FI (acquired via Webb)   , LIV, MPU and P (incl. PC, P-DESF, P-JU and P-LA)   . As Stafleu & Cowan (1976: 627–628) mentioned, the Flora atlantica herbarium (1480 specimens) was left to P   herbarium, and is now kept separately as an historical herbarium. The labels of this type herbarium are the Desfontaines’s original manuscript slips for the Flora atlantica. Furthermore , a second series of 600 Flora atlantica sheets was given by Desfontaines to Lemonnier and was acquired by Delessert together with Lemonnier’s herbarium, and it is now preserved at G   .

We have found several relevant herbarium sheets preserved at P and G including Desfontaines’s original material of C. heterophyllus   . In the collection at P (herbarium Desfontaines), there is a sheet ( P 00320360) that bears four flowering and a sterile branchlet and a separate flower ( Figure 2). This sheet contains two labels, a label is annotated as: “Herbier de la Flore Atlantique donné au Muséum, par M. Desfontaines / Cistus heterophyllus   ”, and the second one is the original manuscript slips for the Flora atlantica, and includes all the information mentioned in the protologue ( Figure 3).

On the other hand, in the collection at G, concretely in the Candolle’s Prodromus   herbarium at G-DC, there is a sheet, with barcode G 00207588 (image available at that bears three well preserved fragments of this species, with leaves and flowers. This sheet contains four labels, one of these is handwritten by Desfontaines, and is annotated as: “ Cistus   / flores purpurei / Barbarie Desfont.”, and another label is handwritten by Candolle and is annotated as: “ Cistus heterophyllus Desf.   w.”. The term “Barbarie” corresponds to the Barbary Coast (also Barbary, Berbery or Berber Coast), and was used by Europeans from the 16 th century to the early 19 th century to refer to the coastal regions of North Africa inhabited by Berber people. Today this land is part of the modern nations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, though historically it mostly comprised the territories from central Algeria to Tunisia.

There is another herbarium sheet at G-DC that contains probable original material of this name (image available at This sheet bears several specimens of two different species, one of these belonging to C. heterophyllus   , with barcode G 00207567, and the other fragments (with barcodes G 00207568, G 00207586, G 00207565, G 00207566) are labelled as belonging (handwritten by Desfontaines and Candolle) to C. villosus Linnaeus (1764)   ; however this material can be identified as belonging to C. creticus Linnaeus (1762: 738)   . We have been unable to locate any further original material (e.g., at BM, C, CGE, FI, LIV or MPU).

In conclusion, among the candidate elements, the illustration included in the protologue and the specimens preserved at G-DC (see below) and P, we designate as lectotype of the name Cistus heterophyllus   the specimen preserved at P, with 2-D code P 00320360. This specimen is the most complete and informative original material available, and it matches well with the current usage and concept of C. heterophyllus subsp. heterophyllus   (see e.g., Battandier & Trabut 1888, Jahandiez & Maire 1932, Dansereau 1939, Martín Bolaños & Guinea 1949, Sauvage & Vindt 1952, Quézel & Santa 1963, Warburg 1968, Crespo & Mateo 1988, Crespo 1990, Raynaud 1999).


Museum National d' Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN) - Vascular Plants


University of Copenhagen


Bristol Museum


Cambridge University


Natural History Museum


World Museum Liverpool


Université Montpellier 2


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN) - Non-vascular Plants and Fungi


Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève


Botanische Staatssammlung München














Cistus heterophyllus Desfontaines (1798: 411

Ferrer-Gallego, P. Pablo, Laguna, Emilio, Alonso, Ángeles & Crespo, Manuel B. 2021

Cistus heterophyllus

Desfontaines, R. L. 1798: 411