Generic Concepts And Taxonomic Research In The Aloaceae

Although 29 genus names are available for taxa included in the Aloaceae, only seven are widely recognized (Table 2.1).

The taxonomic study of a group of plants, such as the Aloaceae, must necessarily include an analysis of the botanical way of thinking at the time of publication of its constituent generic names and their subsequent histories. Such an investigation gives insight into the circumstances prevalent when the names were proposed, as well as their current relevance. The chronology of genus name proliferation and the history of the genus concept in the Aloaceae are summarized in Table 2.3. The chronology (Table 2.3) is compared to the historical phases of plant classification and to the major periods of systematic biology. Although the latter phases and periods cannot be sharply delimited (Turner, 1967), it is clear that early nineteenth century attempts by some European botanists to reflect natural affinities amongst plants in general resulted in the publication of 17 of the 29 genus names available for alooid taxa. However, the circumscription of only three of these genera, namely Aloe, Gasteria and Haworthia are generally accepted.

Table 2.3 Chronology of genus name proliferation in the Aloaceae.

Major periods of Historical phases of Anno Domini Reference systematic biology plant classification

(Alston and (Lawrence, 1951) Turner, 1963; Merxmüller, 1972)

Artificial systems 1753 — Linnaeus (1753) Aloe

| based on numerical

| classifications

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