Rudie Kuiter’s Short Paper 2 Taxonomic Status of the Mauve Leek-orchid Prasophyllum suttonii Rogers & Rees, 1912 (Orchidaceae) published in May 2017 documents how he used original source material to determine the identification of a species that was considered extinct. Prasophyllum suttonii belongs to the Prasophyllum odoratum/diversiflorum complex and is very similar to the later named Prasophyllum alpestre. It was considered to be extinct but Rudie’s view was not that it was extinct but that it had been “lost in taxonomy, and its status need to be restored”. His article documents how he used original material to help determine identification of the species he had photographed.
In his summary Rudie has some good advice about how to effectively use the material available –
- Use original descriptions and illustrations
- Original descriptions are preferred over type specimens
- later descriptions may be based upon second hand information which may or may not be accurate.
- Drawings have some value but depend
- upon the skill of the artist to show the crucial details
- upon whether they were drawings from fresh or preserved specimens
- A good photograph will be better than a drawing
- Type material is useful but may deteriorate over time