Acronychia acronychioides (Rutaceae)

Acronychia acronychioides DSC_0608 (2)

This endemic shrub/tree species is commonly known as the White Aspen, which makes little sense as it is nothing close to being an aspen (which belongs to temperate trees of the genus Populus). But delve a little into the scientific naming of this species and we open a can of worms.

The species was first named by Ferdinand von Mueller as belonging to the genus Euodia in 1864. And Mueller gave it the specific epithet “acronychioides“, in allusion to how this species looks like a plant from the genus Acronychia.

One year later in 1865 he described another plant (which was of the same species) and this he called Acronychia melicopoides. I am not sure if Mueller was aware that the plant he was describing was from the same species but now he was certainly clearer that this specimen was a species of Acronychia. Still he felt it must look like something else, a species of Melicope, hence the specific epithet “melicopoides“.

Over a century later. taxonomist Thomas Gordon Hartley finally decided that the plant should be named Aconychia acronychioides, the Acronychia that looks like an Acronychia, putting an end once and for all (I hope) to the rather absurd naming history of the species.

Acronychia acronychioides DSC_0620 (7)

Acronychia acronychioides DSC_0620 (1)

Acronychia acronychioides IMG_6918 (1)


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Endemics, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Rutaceae (Citrus family) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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