by Wilbert Hetterscheid
The British botanist N.E. Brown described the genus Pseudodracontium in 1882, with two species P. anomalum and P. lacourii. Species were added later by several authors and in 1995 the genus was taxonomically revised by Russian aroidologist Michail ("Misha") Serebryanyi. He recognised 7 species and provided a key and descriptions.
I was lucky to cooperate with Misha and since we have become close friends. Much new material has been found in Asia since 1995 and recently Misha and I started investigating this material in detail. The results will be a number of expanded descriptions of species, a new key and possibly the description of one new species.
The list below is based on the 1995 publication with one potential new species added, which has not been published yet. It originates from West Thailand (Kanchanaburi prov.).
Although not quite a spectacular "genus", Pseudodracontium holds a suite of quite unique characters, especially exhibited in the naughty bits. They are shown in the pictures hidden behind the highlighted names in the key below. Pollen of Pseudodracontium has been studied separately (Ham et al. 1998) as well as floral odour composition (Kite & Hetterscheid, 1997).
Pseudodracontium species are found in Thailand (except the northern provinces), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (except the north).
I have written "genus" within quotation marks because this genus has seen its last days of independance. Already in 1992, at the Moscow Aroid Conference I voiced my opinion that Pseudodracontium is probably nested in Amorphophallus in a phylogenetic sense and hence would have to be sunk. Misha was never convinced and I doubt that he is 100% today. Molecular work on Amorphophallus and Pseudodracontium (Grob et al., 2002, 2004) however also indicates the true position of Pseudodracontium as part of Amorphophallus. When this taxonomic decision has been made, we will have to sink these IAS webpages as well..................and we will organise a fitting "in memoriam".
Brown, N.E., 1882. Four new genera of Aroideae. Journ. Bot. n.s. 11: 193 - 197.
Grob, G.B.J., B. Gravendeel & M.C.M. Eurlings, 2004. Potential phylogenetic utility of the nuclear FLORICAULA/LEAFY second intron: comparison with three chloroplast DNA regions in Amorphophallus (Araceae). Mol. Phyl. Evol. 30: 13 - 23.
Grob, G.B.J., B. Gravendeel, M.C.M. Eurlings & W.L.A. Hetterscheid, 2002. Phylogeny of the Tribe Thomsonieae (Araceae) based on chloroplast matK and trnL intron sequences. Syst. Bot. 27(3): 453 - 467.
Ham, R.W.J.M. van der, W.L.A. Hetterscheid, B.J. van Heuven, 1998. Notes on the genus Amorphophallus (Araceae) - 8. Pollen morphology of Amorphophallus and Pseudodracontium. Rev. Paleobot. & Palyn. 103: 95 - 142.
Kite, G.C. & W.L.A. Hetterscheid, 1997. Inflorescence odours of Amorphophallus and Pseudodracontium (Araceae). Phytochemistry 46(1): 71 - 75.
Serebryanyi, M.M., 1995. A taxonomic revision of Pseudodracontium (Araceae - Aroideae - Thomsonieae). Blumea 40: 217 - 235.
Species of Pseudodracontium
Pseudodracontium fallax Serebr.
Pseudodracontium harmandii Engl.
Pseudodracontium kuznetsovii Serebr.
Pseudodracontium lacourii (Linden & Andre) N.E. Br.
Pseudodracontium lanceolatum Serebr.
Pseudodracontium latifolium Serebr.
Pseudodracontium macrophyllum Gagn. ex Serebr.
Pseudodracontium sp. (nov?)
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