Artificae Plantae: The taxonomy, ecology, and ethnobotany of the Simulacraceae

Nat Bletter, Kurt A. Reynertson, Julie Velasquez Runk

Abstract


The Simulacraceae has long been ignored by traditional botanists despite the fact that this family of artificial plants represents one of the most economically important and geographically diverse groups. In this study, conducted over approximately six years, we elucidate the first full description
and review of this fascinating taxon. The economics,
distribution, ecology, taxonomy, paleoethnobotany,
and phakochemistry of this widespread family are herein presented. We have recently made great strides in circumscribing this group, and collections indicate this cosmopolitan family has a varied ecology. This report delineates
approximately 80 species in seventeen genera (Calciumcarbonatia, Celadonica, Conglomeratium, Dentumadhesivium,
Ductusadhesivia, Granitus, Simulacra, Lignus, Metallicus, Papyroidia, Paraffinius, Photophyta, Plasticus, Polystyrin, Prophylactica, Silicus, and Textileria)
and two tribes (Xenoideae and Simuleae). Continued work is expanding these numbers rapidly. Despite being genomically challenged plants, an initial phylogeny is proposed.
In an early attempt to determine the ecological relations
of this family, a twenty-meter transect has been inventoried
from a Plasticus rain forest in Nyack, New York, yielding 49 new species and the first species-area curve for this family.

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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