Proteus in Australia. An overview of the current state of taxonomy of the Australian Proteaceae
George, A.S. (1998) Proteus in Australia. An overview of the current state of taxonomy of the Australian Proteaceae. Australian Systematic Botany, 11 (4). pp. 257-266.
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With the Proteaceae completed for the ‘Flora of Australia’, we now have a reasonably accurate picture of its alpha systematics. Currently the family world-wide contains some 1769 species in 80 genera. In Australia there are 1093 species (c. 61.7 % of the world total) in 46 genera (57.5 %); about 99% of the species are endemic. Where do we go now? For many small genera (e.g. Franklandia, Austromuellera) the alpha taxonomy is settled, but in some small and all larger genera further research at specific and infrageneric level is needed, especially into highly variable ‘species’ (e.g. Banksia marginata) and species-complexes (e.g. the Grevillea biternata group). Much field work is required for some groups, not only to explore under-collected areas (where new taxa will undoubtedly be found) but also to study variation and such aspects as root systems, response to fire, seedlings, flower and fruit development, predation, seed dispersal and dormancy. There will be some further refinement of generic delimitation. Phylogenetic relationships and infrageneric classifications require further elucidation; even well studied genera (e.g. Banksia) contain problematic taxa. This will involve new data from such fields as anatomy (including developmental anatomy), molecular studies, DNA analysis and gene sequencing. As data improve, so will understanding world-wide relationships. Despite the use of computer technology, intuition and interpretation will continue to generate different classifications and evolutionary models.
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