Albizia falcata (L.) Backer,

Jarvis, Charlie, 2007, Chapter 7: Linnaean Plant Names and their Types (part A), Order out of Chaos. Linnaean Plant Types and their Types, London: Linnaean Society of London in association with the Natural History Museum, pp. 252-342: 261-262

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Albizia falcata (L.) Backer


Adenanthera falcata Linnaeus  , Herbarium Amboinense: 14. 1754.

["Habitat in India."] Sp. Pl., ed. 2, 1: 550 (1762). RCN: 3025.

Lectotype (Merrill, Interpret. Rumph. Herb. Amb.: 33, 248. 1917): [icon] "Clypearia alba’” in Rumphius, Herb. Amboin. 3: 176, t. 111. 1743.

Current name: Albizia falcata (L.) Backer  ( Fabaceae  : Mimosoideae  ).

Note: Linnaeus originally based this name on two Rumphius plates (Herb. Amb. 3: t. 111; t. 112. 1743). In 1759 (Syst. Nat., ed. 10, 2: 1020), Linnaeus cited only t. 112, and then in 1762 (Sp. Pl., ed. 2, 1: 550) Ad. falcata  did not appear, but Ad. falcataria L.  (which has essentially the same diagnosis as Ad. falcata  in 1759, though with Rumphius’ t. 111 now the only synonym) was described. In 1767, Linnaeus reverted from “falcataria” to “falcata” with t. 112 again reinstated, as in the 1759 account.

Complications have arisen because of disagreements over the typification of the name, and over the identity of the two illustrations. Merrill (Interpret. Rumph. Herb. Amb.: 33, 248. 1917) treated t. 111 as the type, and Ad. falcataria  as a homotypic synonym (of Albizia falcata (L.) Backer  ). However, Fosberg (in Reinwardtia 7: 88-90. 1965) instead regarded t. 112 (which he identified as a species of Pithecellobium) as the type of Ad. falcata  , and therefore took up Al. falcataria (L.) Fosberg  instead, typified by t. 111. Kostermans (in Ceylon J. Sci., Biol. Sci. 13: 256-257. 1979) followed Fosberg, and made the combination P. falcatum (L.) Kosterm.  for Ad. falcata  (with t. 112 as type). However, Nielsen (in Nielsen & al., Opera Bot. 76: 53. 1985), while accepting t. 112 as type, has argued that the identity of the plate is uncertain and that Ad. falcata  (and P. falcatum  ) should be treated as nomina dubia. He accepted Archidendron clypearia (Jack) Nielsen  as the current name (and described A. falcatum Nielsen  to preclude any future transfer of Ad. falcata  ).

Despite some confusion on Merrill’s part over Linnaeus’ 1759 treatment of the two plates (noted by Kostermans), t. 111 was original material for Ad. falcata  and Merrill was therefore entitled to choose it as the type. Indeed, his decision to treat Ad. falcata  and Ad. falcataria  as homotypic seems not unreasonable bearing in mind that Linnaeus seems to have treated the latter as a substitute name for the former in 1762, then reverted once more to Ad. falcata  in 1767. Later authors have not justified the rejection of Merrill’s typification, which results in Al falcata  being the correct name. Albizia falcataria  (syn. Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielsen  ; Falcataria moluccana (Miquel) Barneby & Grimes), however, appears to be in wider current use.














Albizia falcata (L.) Backer

Jarvis, Charlie 2007

Adenanthera falcata

Linnaeus 1754: 14