lorelei at u.washington.edu
Sat Dec 3 16:50:06 EST 1994
Regarding the Armillaria/Armillariella nomenclatural differences:
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
Yet in the end, taxonomic divisions -- species between
species or genus between genus -- must unfortunately remain a
Thanks again for your response.
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