Rearrangement of the Herbarium collections
As part of a move to new premises in 2011, the Western Australian Herbarium rearranged its vascular plant collections. The revised arrangement is largely based on the phylogeny of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APGIII), a global collaborative effort to better understand the relationships of plant groups. The change to the APGIII system involved some family level changes. Some of these required the simple merging of one or more families (e.g. Epacridaceae into Ericaceae; Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae into Malvaceae; Papilionaceae, Mimosaceae and Caesalpiniaceae into Fabaceae), whilst others necessitated more complex changes to family circumscriptions.
The changes reflect the vastly improved modern knowledge of flowering plant relationships resulting from the APGIII project and other taxonomic work around the world. The previous arrangement of families at the Herbarium, based on the Engler and Prantl sequence of 1905, had been in use since the time of Charles Gardner, and was becoming increasingly out of step with this modern understanding.
Many herbaria around the world are adopting similar phylogenetic arrangements based on APGIII. Being based on a wide range of evidence and repeatable analysis methods, it is expected that this system will be relatively stable, although further changes are always possible as new evidence comes to light.
The tables below list the families that have been changed in the Herbarium (and hence in FloraBase and Max updates). Table 1 lists cases where an entire family has moved or been renamed. Table 2 lists cases where some genera have been moved to a new family and others retained, or where different genera have moved to different families. An introduction to the Linear Sequence number we use to arrange our collection is also available.
Written by Kevin Thiele and the Curation Team; 19 January 2010.