The composite genus Blumea, a taxonomic revision
My first acquaintance with the genus Blumea was made in December of 1949. On one of my taxonomy field trips then, and many more subsequently, I encountered these weedy, yellow-flowered composites. Perhaps what most helped to attract my attention was their relative abundance and their characteristic pungent odour that was hard to miss. My attempts to identify these plants brought me down quite consistently to the genus Blumea; in most cases, I could proceed no farther than that with any degree of certainty. The specimens would either be quite close to species “x” or belong in the same general group as species “y”. On making inquiries then, I learned that the genus was extremely variable, not at all “wellbehaved”, and troublesome to key. My interest in these plants soon followed. This interest did not transpose itself into any serious work on the group until December of 1955. Meanwhile, bibliographic research had more and more convinced me of the need for a taxonomic revision of the group. As early as 1882, Hooker had recognised the inadequacy of the characters theretofore used and even those used by him to separate the species. His remarks following the generic diagnosis in the Flora of British India (Vol. 3: 260) will only serve to emphasize this point: “There is no more unsatisfactory genus than this; it is distinguished from Laggera only by the tailed anthercells, and this is not a very constant character, the anthers of some states of B. virens having no tails whilst forms of Laggera have them; Kurz, indeed, suggests (with much probability) that some Laggeras are sexual forms of Blumeas. The divisions of the genus here proposed are most unsatisfactory, and I fear that the specific diagnoses are not much better. The glabrous or pubescent receptacle is very difficult to see; the size of the heads is tolerably constant; the form and number of the involucral bracts are difficult to describe; the very minute achenes are tolerably uniform; the foliage is sportive to an extraordinary degree, as is the pubescence; gland hairs are common to most species, but the amount varies with the dryness of the locality. I have not been able to follow Clarke’s disposition of the species at all closely, but they want a careful study in situ and under cultivation”.
|Journal||Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants|
|Rights||Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License|
Randeria, A. J. (1960). The composite genus Blumea, a taxonomic revision. Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants, 10(1), 176–317.