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Taxonomic studies in the Brasiliorchis gracilis R.B.Singer et al. complex (Orchidaceae)

Grant number: 12/08976-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Samantha Koehler
Grantee:Maila Beyer
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas (ICAQF). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Diadema. Diadema , SP, Brazil


The genus Brasiliorchis is a monophyletic group with 14 species recently segregated of Maxillaria. Although morphologically easy to recognize, Brasiliorchis contains some of the most taxonomically difficult groups of Brazilian orchids, one of them being the Brasiliorchis gracilis complex. These are small-median size orchids found in high altitudes of the Serra do Mar and Serra da Mantiqueira mountain ranges. It comprises two species (B. gracilis e B. barbosae) and seven varieties. The complexity in differentiating and delimiting species in this group is due to the polymorphism, overlapping and subjectivity of morphological diagnostic characters. The currently deficient taxonomy of this group hinders the development of studies in other areas of biology as well the elaboration of conservation policies. It is also an obstacle to commercialization of species, which have great ornamental value. Since the last taxonomic revision considering the B. gracilis complex dates 50 years, we aim to contribute to the understanding of morphological patterns of variation within this group. In order to achieve that we will review protologues; analyse herbarium and cultivated specimens; and gather data on geographical distribution and phenology. The data will be used to prepare up-to-date morphological descriptions, distribution maps, and an identification key for the taxa to be recognized. (AU)

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