Stylidium - Botanical History

Botanical History

Discovery and description of new Stylidium species has been occurring since the late 18th century, the first of which was discovered in Botany Bay in 1770 by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander during their travels in the Pacific with James Cook aboard the Endeavour. Seven species were collected by Banks and Solander, some of which were sketched by Sydney Parkinson on board the Endeavour and were later engraved in preparation for publication in Banks' Florilegium. Later, in the early 19th century, the French botanist Charles Fran├žois Antoine Morren wrote one of the first descriptions of the triggerplant anatomy, illustrated by many botanical artists including Ferdinand Bauer. Around the same time, British botanist Robert Brown described (or "authored") several Stylidium species, including S. adnatum and S. repens. More species began to be described as more botanists explored Australia more thoroughly.

In 1958, Rica Erickson wrote Triggerplants, describing habitat, distribution, and plant forms (ephemeral, creeping, leafy-stemmed, rosette, tufted, scale-leaved, and tropical). It was Erickson that began placing certain species into these morphologically-based groups, which may or may not resemble true taxonomic divergences. It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that research of the trigger physiology was begun in the lab of Dr. Findlay of Flinders University. Douglas Darnowski added to the growing library of knowledge on Stylidium when he published his book Triggerplants in 2002, describing an overview of habitat, plant morphology, carnivory, and research done to date. Following its publication, he co-founded the International Triggerplant Society.

As of 2002, only 221 Stylidium species were known. There are now over 300 species, many of which are awaiting formal description.

Read more about this topic:  Stylidium

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