maitake/matsutake

Lorelei Norvell lorelei at u.washington.edu
Sat Dec 3 16:50:06 EST 1994


Regarding the Armillaria/Armillariella nomenclatural differences:
Ted,  
	Thanks for your response to my hurried communication 
regarding the nomenclatural and taxonomic status of the genera 
Armillaria and Armillariella.  I found your reference to students of 
Krieger and Smith in LA quite interesting; could you tell me more 
about this group?
	My comments should in no way be considered a criticism of 
Rolf Singer or the body of his work, for he is justifiably regarded as 
one of the most significant agaric taxonomists of this century.  I was 
merely trying to point out that Armillariella is being currently being 
rejected by the majority of Armillaria taxonomists.  Watling,  Kile, 
and Bursall allude to  this in the 1991 USDA FS publicaton 
[Agriculture Handbook No. 691] Armillaria Root Disease -- when 
they write "Confusion has surrounded the nomenclature and 
taxonomy of the genus Armillaria (Fr:Fr) Staude for over a century.  
Until recently taxonomists have consistently disagreed on the exact 
description of the genus and its correct name accord to the 
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature....Based on the 
analyses of Watling, Kile & Gregory [1982, Transactions of the 
British Mycological Society], we consider the genus to be a natural 
grouping, and that Armillaria is the appropriate generic name.  This 
conclusion has been widely accepted since that publication (Antonin 
1986, Berube & Dessureault 1988) Guillaumin et al 1985, Intini 
1988, Marziano et al 1987, Rishbeth 1983, Roll-Hansen 1985, 
Romagnesi & Marxmuller 1983, Termorshuizen & Arnolds 1987)." 
	Given this and the fact that the researchers engaged in 
mating-studies and DNA analyses of the mellea complex refer to the 
objects of their study as Armillaria, it seems sensible to follow the 
lead of the nomenclatural experts and use Armillaria -- and not 
Armillariella -- for the mellea complex.
	Why did you indicate that Singer was being ignored for 
"political and historical difficulties?  Singer himself had no problem 
in distinguishing Armillariella from Armillaria, so we are not 
disagreeing with his taxonomic distinctions when we also place 
"mellea" and "magnivelare" into different genera.  We are in fact 
following both historical and nomenclatural precedents.  Were you 
aware of the controversy in this instance?
	As you know, scientific names can mislead, particularly 
when as taxonomy  is based on opinion.  As you indicate, it is 
possible that molecular data may help to clear up some of the 
problems which total reliance on morphological features -- so often 
subject to environmental influences -- may have caused.  I certainly 
have found molecular data helpful in untangling some of my 
taxonomic quandaries.
	Yet in the end, taxonomic divisions -- species between 
species or genus between genus -- must unfortunately remain a 
judgment call. 
	Thanks again for your response.
	Lorelei




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