This volume on leaf venation patterns is too modest in its title. Not only the Combretaceae are treated, but not less than eleven other families: Lecythidaceae, Barringtoniaceae, Foetidiaceae, Napoleonaceae, Rhizophoraceae, Anisophylleaceae, Lythraceae, Sonneratiaceae, Oliniaceae, Punicaceae, and Onagraceae. Thus, together with the earlier volumes on Myrtaceae and Melastomataceae plus Memecylaceae, the present book effectively completes the venadon survey of the order Myrtales in its widest possible circumscription. Lecythidaceae and Rhizophoraceae and their satellites do not fit well into the order. Altogether the leaves of 479 species are described and pictured, resulting in a wealth of welcome descriptive information. Criticisms voiced about the earlier volumes apply equally strongly to the present one: poor editing and very high numbers of printing errors (especially disturbing in a number of generic names), and more seriously lack of synthesis and discussion of what the diversity in venation patterns described actually means for the classification of the families and genera. For instance, questions like – does Strephonema stand apart in the Combretaceae? – is the much debated separation of the Anisophylleaceae from the Rhizophoraceae supported by divergent venation patterns? – etc., are hardly or not addressed. However, the grouping of species at the end of the book is most interesting. It shows wide ranges of variation in certain genera (e.g. Terminalia, which has species in 9 very different venation pattern groups) and very unexpected combinations of families within some of the venation groups. One consequently wonders about the systematic value of venation patterns and about the way venation patterns are classified by the author.
|Journal||Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants|
|Rights||Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License|
Baas, P. (1992). Reviews. Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants, 37(1), 72–72.