Fairfield, Pett Level Road, Winchelsea Beach,
East Sussex TN36 4ND, U.K.
ABSTRACT. The names of plant taxa authored by H.N. Ridley from the orders of
primitive angiosperms are enumerated. A total of 157 taxa across 11 families (Annonaceae,
Aristolochiaceae, Chloranthaceae, Illiciaceae, Lauraceae, Magnoliaceae, Monimiaceae,
Nymphaeaceae, Piperaceae, Trimeniaceae and Winteraceae) and seven orders (Austrobaileyales,
Canellales, Chloranthales, Laurales, Magnoliales, Nymphaeales and Piperales) are listed with
synonyms and accepted names. The types are listed for those taxa that Ridley described.
Lectotypes are designated for 37 taxa. Melodorum breviflorum Ridl. (Annonaceae) is transferred
to Fissistigma, and two Ridley species in Piperaceae that are later homonyms are provided with
new names: Peperomia kerinciensis I.M.Turner for Peperomia villosa Ridl. (1917, nom. illegit.
Piperales, primitive angiosperms, Ridley
This paper continues an intermittent series on the plant taxa named by Henry Nicholas
Ridley (1855–1956). The three parts published to date (Turner & Chin 1998a, b; Turner
2000), dealt with the pteridophytes, gymnosperms and Zingiberales, respectively. The
focus shifts to the primitive angiosperms in the current paper.
Ridley described many plant species. Among the primitive angiosperm orders
there are numerous examples which are enumerated in this paper. Most of these taxa
were described in the course of Ridley’s many papers documenting the diversity of
South-East Asian plants often in relation to the research expeditions undertaken by
Ridley and others.
The three families best represented from among the primitive angiosperms are
Annonaceae, Lauraceae and Piperaceae. They are here ordered in terms of declining
attention from taxonomists since Ridley’s day. The Annonaceae are a diverse family in
tropical Asia represented by many genera. There has been and remains a considerable
activity in Annonaceae systematics. The Lauraceae are more poorly served despite
particularly neglected. Ridley’s account in his Flora of the Malay Peninsula is still the
only treatment available for the area, though it relies very heavily on the work of C. de
Candolle, particularly his paper describing many new species for the Malay Peninsula
(Candolle 1912). In a reversal of the general position, the Piperaceae of eastern Malesia
(New Guinea) have received more recent attention, largely thanks to Drs. W.L. Chew
and R.O. Gardner, than the far west of the region. One surprise from the enumeration
is that Ridley seems never to have named any members of the Myristicaceae, despite
the nutmegs being both diverse and common in the lowland forests of South-East Asia.
Warburg’s monographic work on the family (Warburg 1897) may be one reason for
this. Another possible explanation is that the Singapore Botanic Gardens did not have
professional tree climbers, so canopy trees were probably little collected by Ridley—
there was a vast number of novelties to be found in the lower layers of the forest.
An enumeration of Ridley’s primitive angiosperm taxa
The taxa Ridley described as new are listed against Arabic numbers, and purely
nomenclatural novelties are itemised with Roman numerals. Ridley’s combination
starts each entry and is given in bold. Synonyms, including basionym where relevant,
are given. Where possible a currently accepted name is included in bold small
capitals, either included in the list of synonyms if homotypic to Ridley’s taxon or
below, preceded by ‘=’, if heterotypic. In some cases the identity of Ridley’s taxon
is uncertain (e.g., sheets are determined but the information seems not to have been
published), in which instances a question mark is employed, or unknown in which case
no accepted name is listed. The place of publication of all names is given and reference
to important revisions and monographs are included.
For each of the taxa Ridley described, the types are listed including as many
syntypes as have been located, and the herbaria in which they are found. The author
has seen most of the specimens, but some records come from published sources,
information from correspondents or on-line databases. There are doubtless duplicates
in other herbaria and there remain a few instances where no type material has yet been
A note on typification
A high proportion of Ridley’s taxa requires lectotypification because he rarely
designated types from among the various specimens he cited when publishing new
taxa. Specimen citation by Ridley can frequently be careless—he often omitted
collection numbers, rarely noted collection dates, and generally failed to state in which
herbaria material was deposited. He was also inconsistent in annotating the specimens
he saw. Typification is therefore often problematic. Ridley’s career can be divided into
two main periods—the Singapore years (1888–1912) and the retirement to Kew (1913
onwards). This information is important in making decisions relating to typification of
Ridley taxa as it helps identify what is likely to be original material, but experience
Gard. Bull. Singapore 64(1) 2012