Mycoheterotrophic Plants

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Thismia appendiculata Schlechter

Firstly described by Schlechter (1918) as Thismia appendiculata, but transferred to a new genus as Scaphiophora appendiculata by the same author (Schlechter 1921) due to the column on top of the mitre-like fusion of the inner tepals. This column is crowned by three cavities, which has motivated the name (skaphis (gr.) = little vessel). Taking the rather splitting generic notion of Schlechter (1921) into account, who discerned eight genera (Thismia, Sarcosiphon, Scaphiophora, Glaziocharis, Myostoma, Triurocodon, Triscyphus, Ophiomeris) based on the variable corolla ornamentations and the fusion of stamens, this segregation seems at least consistent. However, Jonker (1938) already reduced Schlechters genera Sarcosiphon, Myostoma and Ophiomeris to sections of Thismia, and the retaining of Scaphiophora, Triscyphus, Glaziocharis and even the resurrection of Geomitra appears rather arbitrary in this context. For example, the quite obvious distinction of connate inner tepals building a dome-like hood above the corolla tube in contrast to free tepals is not taken as a critical feature by Jonker (1938), neither the bilabiate flower of T. labiata, but free stigmata vs. connate stigmata separates Glaziocharis and Triscyphus from Thismia, Geomitra and Scaphiophora. Also, a threepartite appendage (occurs in Geomitra as well as in Glaziocharis) is not critical, but its fusion into a column-like structure is (Scaphiophora). Later compilers accepted the synonymy of most generic names (see page on Thismia) but retained Scaphiophora and Geomitra (Govaerts et al. 2007) or only Scaphiophora (Leake 1994), probably following Jonker (1938, 1948). On the other hand, Hatusima (1976), Stone (1980), Maas et al. (1986), Saunders (1996), Maas-van de Kamer (1998), Thiele and Jordan (2002), Yang et al. (2002) and Merckx (2008) either have explicitly synonymized the generic names or expressed their sympathy for this view. We also prefer the wider circumscription of Thismia, since even the fusion of inner tepals vs. free pending tepals is mediated by some species (e.g. Thismia caudata, T. singeri, T. taiwanensis) and all the various ornaments of the corolla tube are more or less intergrading to each other. In this sense we interpret the apical column of T. appendiculata as the connation of the appendages frequently present at the inner tepals of several Thismia spp. (e.g. T. caudata, T. rodwayi, T. clavarioides, T. abei, T. clavigera). Even the three cavities, which initially were eponymous (skaphis (gr.) = little vessel), although not elevated by a column, are present in T. mirabilis and T. fungiformis, too.
In contrast to Thismia appendiculata, the name of which has been coined and hence is available, the second species having such a mitre column described by Jonker (1938), Scaphiophora gigantea, has not formally transferred to the genus Thismia until 2014. We anticipated this in this list already for being consistent with our generic circumscription. Finally, Hrones (2014) formally synonymized Sarcosiphon gigantea Jonker with Thismia gigantea (Jonker) Hrones.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith