Syllabus of Plant Families - A. Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien Part 1/2:


Ed.: Walter Jaklitsch; Hans-Otto Baral; Robert Lücking; H. Thorsten Lumbsch; Wolfgang Frey

2016. 13. edition, X, 322 pages, 8 figures, 16 coloured plates, 17x25cm, 920 g
Language: English

ISBN 978-3-443-01089-8, bound, price: 119.00 €

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lichenized fungifungimorphologyfungal phylumdiversity


Synopsis top ↑

Part 1/2 of Engler’s Syllabus of Plant Families – Ascomycota provides a thorough treatise of the world-wide morphological and molecular diversity of the fungal phylum Ascomycota.
The Ascomycota (including lichenized forms) are the most diverse group of fungi, with a fascinating range of morphological and biological variation, distributed from the arctic tundra and subantarctic vegetation formations, to tropical rainforests and semi-deserts, to freshwater and marine ecosystems. The present volume is an updated synthesis of classical anatomical-morphological characters with modern molecular data, incorporating numerous new discoveries made during the last ten years, providing a comprehensive modern survey covering all families and genera of the Ascomycota including detailed family descriptions.
While the Fungi are not part of the Plant Kingdom, they are formally included within the classic Engler’s title “Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien / Syllabus of Plant Families”, which comprised families of blue-green algae, algae, fungi, lichens, ferns, gymnosperms and flowering plants.
Engler’s Syllabus of Plant Families has since its first publication in 1887 aimed to provide both the researcher, and particularly the student with a concise survey of the plant kingdom as a whole, presenting all higher systematic units right down to families and genera of plants and fungi. In 1954, more than 60 years ago, the 12th edition of the well-known „Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien“ (“Syllabus of Plant Families”), set a standard.
Now, the completely restructured and revised 13th edition of Engler’s Syllabus published in 5 parts and in English language for the first time also considers molecular data, which have only recently become available in order to provide an up-to-date evolutionary and systematic overview of the plant and fungal groups treated.
In our “molecular times” there is a vitally important and growing need to preserve the knowledge of the entire range of diversity and biology of organisms for coming generations, as there is a decline in “classical” morphological and taxonomical expertise, especially for less popular (showy) groups of organisms.
Accordingly, the 13th edition of Syllabus of Plant Families synthesizes both modern data and classical expertise, serving to educate future experts who will maintain our knowledge of the full range of Earth’s biodiversity.
Syllabus of Plant Families is a mandatory reference for students, experts and researchers from all fields of biological sciences, particularly botany.

Book Review: IMA Fungus vol. 7 no. 1 top ↑

Engler's Syllabus der Planzenfamilien is one of the classic botanical reference works, the first edition of which appeared in 1892 and the 12th in 1954. The first volumes of the 13th edition started to appear in 2009, and are in English unlike all earlier editions. If one can shake off the distaste of a major work on fungi appearing in such a series today, this volume on the Ascomycota has to be recognized as by far the most important overview of the phylum to have appeared this century, fleshing-out the latest “Outline of Ascomycota – 2009” (Lumbsch & Huhndorf 2010). This volume is essentially a systematic arrangement which includes descriptions of higher taxa now recognized down to and including that of family, with lists of accepted generic names (with selected synonyms) under each family name. Estimates of species numbers are given from genera upwards, explanatory notes are added where appropriate, and key references are cited. The descriptions at all ranks are much more detailed than the diagnostic ones in Kirk et al. (2008), and more conveniently placed in their systematic position rather than alphabetically, greatly facilitating comparisons.
The volume has been compiled at a time when, with the end of dual nomenclature in 2011, the process of incorporating generic names typified by asexually typified species into a single system is in progress and incomplete; this must be borne in mind when looking for particular genera. The authors have, however, endeavoured to cover the literature up to the end of 2014, with some works from 2015 weaseled in. As I know from personal experience in preparing editions of the “Outline” and the Dictionary of the Fungi, it is necessary to be practical and use a system termed here as a “pragmatic compromise, in this case between a conventional, morphologybased system and a phylogenetic system based on molecular data” (p. 8). In many cases, molecular data are lacking, and decisions on placements have still to be based on morphology. Molecular data do not, however, always result in neat pigeonholing, and phylogenetic trees can change as more taxa are included, but at least the Ascomycota backbone appears to be increasingly stable, with only one new class added in recent years (Archaeorhizomycetes). Specialists will have their own views on the detailed arrangements adopted, and it would be trite to be critical of particular decisions here. The key point is that here we have an updated overall system for the phylum, backed by descriptions, that can be commended for general use.
Three subphyla are accepted (Peziziomycotina, Saccharomycotina, and Taphrinomycotina), 17 classes, 97 orders, 406 families, and about 6 100 genera; together totaling about 57 000 species). The largest class is Lecanoromycetes (ca 14 900 species), followed by Sordariomycetes) ca 11500 species). The families themselves vary remarkably in size, the largest being Mycosphaerellaceae (ca 3 300 species) and Parmeliaceae (ca 2 760 species). Author citations are included for all ranks, but sadly without dates appended, a practice which has become almost a routine in major listings today; these would have been especially useful here as references to original places of publication of the names are often not included in the works cited. A few illustrations are included, some being fine colour macro-shots, and it would have made the work more appealing to field mycologists and plant pathologists in particular if more could have been provided. Fortunately, illustrations of examples for most families are provided by Cannon & Kirk (2007), whose text also has family descriptions; it serves as a valuable adjunct to this new work. Unlike earlier editions of the Syllabus, and understandably, no keys are included; this is the next mountain waiting to be scaled, to update the attempt made in 1995 (Hawksworth et al. 1995). Fortunately, there is a comprehensive index to taxa, occupying 31 pages at three columns of names per page, so that the placements of particular genera in the system can easily be ascertained.
The number of accepted orders has now more than doubled since the 1990s. This trend seems set to continue with two additional order names formally coined here (Thelocarpales and Vezdaeales) and several others introduced “ined.” (e.g. Rhizocarpales). The number may be expected to grow even further, not only as genera typified by asexual morphs are increasingly incorporated, but as positions of unassigned but accepted genera are clarified. For example, around 190 genera of Dothideomycetes still lack an order, and some 90 genera still appear “incertae sedis” under Helotiales. Some changes in taxonomy at the generic level are also presented; the suggested treatment for Teloschistaceae, which has 14 recently proposed genera placed in synonymy, is of particular note.
Bringing this work to completion has been an enormous achievement, and is a great credit to the dedication and meticulous work of the compilers, along with the many specialists they consulted on particular groups. All systematists dealing with ascomycetes will find this to be an exceptionally useful reference work, and really good value at such a relatively modest price; make sure you have one close to your desk.

IMA Fungus volume 7 No. 1

Book Review: Herzogia 29 (1), 2016 top ↑

In 2009, Wolfgang Frey started with the editorship of the 13th edition of Adolf Engler’s famous survey of the plant kingdom „Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien/Syllabus of Plant Families“, for the first time in English. Although fungi are no longer part of the Plant Kingdom, they are included traditionally and formally with the classic Engler’s title. The first volume of the new edition published was Part 3 “Bryophytes and seedless Vascular Plants” (ferns and fern allies), followed in 2012 by Part 1/1 “Blue-green Algae, Myxomycetes and Myxomycetelike organisms, Phytoparasitic protists, Heterotrophic Heterokontobionta and Fungi p.p.”, in 2015 by Part 2/1 “Eucaryotic Algae [Glaucobionta, Heterokontobionta p.p. (Cryptophyta, Dinophyta, Haptophyta, Heterokontophyta), Chlorarachniophyta, Euglenophyta, Chlorophyta, Streptophyta p.p. (except Rhodobionta)]” and Part 4 “Pinopsida (Gymnosperms), Magnoliopsida (Angiosperms) p.p., Subclass Magnoliidae [Amborellanae to Magnolianae, Lilianae p.p. (Acorales to Asparagales)]. Now, 2016, part 1/2 “Ascomycota” is published, the most diverse group of fungi, distributed from the arctic and subarctic vegetation formations to tropical rainforests and semi-deserts, to freshwater and marine ecosystems. This volume indicates that it is possible to bring the new edition soon to an end. Missing parts include Part 1/3 “Basidiomycota”, Part 2/2 “Rhodobionta” and Part 5 “Seed Plants, Spermatophytes, Angiosperms p.p., Rosidae”.
With part 1/2 Ascomycota (including lichenized forms, the former “Lichenes”) a thorough treatise of the world-wide morphological and molecular diversity of these fungi is presented. As highly diverse as this phylum is the number of authors: H. T. Lumbsch (Chicago) and R. Lücking (Berlin) are responsible for the introduction, characterization, and the systematic arrangement of the Ascomycota, as well as the lichenized Ascomycota [Pezizomycotina (Arthoniomycetes, Coniocybomycetes, Dothideomycetes p.p., Lecanoromycetes p.p., Lichinomycetres)], W. Jaklitsch (Vienna) for the non-lichenized Ascomycota p.p. [Taphrinomycotina, Saccharomycotina, Pezizomycotina p.p. (Dothideomycetes p.p., Eurotiomycetes, Laboulbeniomycetes, Leotiomycetes p.p., Sordariomycetes, Xylonomycetes)], and H.-O. Baral (Tübingen) for the non-lichenized Ascomycota p.p. [Pezizomycotina p.p. (Dothideomycetes p.p., Leotiomycetes p.p., Orbiliomycetes, Pezizomycetes)] and lichenized Ascomycota p.p. (Lecanoromycetes p.p.). W. Jaklitsch and W. Frey (Berlin) provide the Synopsis of classification of the Ascomycota.
Most obvious on a first look for non-fungal specialists: the systematics of the Ascomycota has changed dramatically when compared to former textbook classification a decade ago. The phylum now contains three subphyla, the Taphrinomycotina, the Saccharomycotina, and the Pezizomycotina with a total of 18 formally recognized classes.
Responsible are phylogenetic revisions based on DNA sequence data which have become available recently and which have revolutionized the systematic classification at higher level dramatically, leading to a new understanding of fungal evolution and species delimination.
The systematic arrangement followed, therefore reflects the current state of understanding of the Ascomycota and provides an updated synthesis of classical anatomical-morphological characters and modern molecular data.
The text consist of six chapters: 1 Introduction, 2 Ascomycota (including introduction, characterization and systematic arrangement), 3 Synopsis of classification of the Ascomycota, 4 Systematic arrangement of the Ascomycota, 5 Taxonomic novelties, 6 Appendix. It is completed by 17 coloured plates with 149 photos (habit, details) of almost high quality. They give a first impression of the various taxa treated. Chapter 2 presents an excellent summary of the characters of the taxa of the phylum (sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, ecology and distribution, evolution, importance and uses) and give valuable hints for a further reading (references).
The classes and all further taxa of Chapter 4 (main part) are arranged in alphabetical order. The total number of families is 406 (plus an additional 10 lineages at present not formally named), with approx. 6100 genera. Detailed descriptions for all families with estimates of species numbers at the family and genus level are given additionally (when possible).
Taxonomic novelties include the Thelocarpales Lücking & Lumbsch ord. nov. and Vezdaeales Lumbsch & Lücking ord. nov.
Volume 1/2 of the new ‘Engler’s Syllabus of Plant Families’ ‒ as the previous published volumes ‒ is a well done, well based and solid book. It represents an outstanding and modern, up-to-date synopsis of the Ascomycota and include an informative and well based summary on the different fungi lineages and the phylogenetic reconstruction that will serve as a prime reference for a long time. It is an important step towards a solid familiar and generic re-arrangement of the taxa for even less popular groups of organisms. This volume quickly will become an essential work in any library. It is an extremely handy source and a basic treatment for finding the most up-to-date classification, number of families, genera and further references, and most valuable for students, botanists, ecologists and researchers, interested in fungi (incl. lichens) diversity.

Harald Kürschner (Berlin)

Herzogia 29 (1), 2016

Table of Contents top ↑

Abbreviations IX
1 Introduction 1
2 Ascomycota 2
2.1 Introduction 2
2.2 Characterization and systematic arrangement 2
3 Synopsis of classification of the Ascomycota 14
4 Systematic arrangement of taxa 28
Ascomycota 28
4.1 Taphrinomycotina 28
Archaeorhizomycetes 28
Neolectomycetes 29
Pneumocystidomycetes 30
Schizosaccharomycetes 30
Taphrinomycetes 31
4.2 Saccharomycotina 32
Saccharomycetes 32
4.3 Pezizomycotina 41
Arthoniomycetes 41
Coniocybomycetes 46
Dothideomycetes 46
Eurotiomycetes 99
Chaetothyriomycetidae 99
Eurotiomycetidae 105
Mycocaliciomycetidae 111
Laboulbeniomycetes 114
Lecanoromycetes 117
Acarosporomycetidae 117
Candelariomycetidae 117
Lecanoromycetidae 118
Ostropomycetidae 138
Umbilicariomycetidae 150
Leotiomycetes 157
Lichinomycetes 205
Orbiliomycetes 206
Pezizomycetes 208
Sordariomycetes 224
Hypocreomycetidae 224
Sordariomycetidae 238
Xylariomycetidae 254
Xylonomycetes 280
Pezizomycotina, ordincsed 281
Pezizomycotina, famincsed 282
Pezizomycotina, genincsed 285
5 Taxonomic novelties 287
6 Appendix 288
Acknowledgements 290
Sources of Illustrations 290
Index to Taxa 291