Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club/V7/Artificial Synopses

§ 64. Artificial Synopses.—Since the adoption of the natural system of classification, recourse has been had to “artificial keys,” to a greater or less extent, for the purpose of facilitating the determination of species.   There is a tendency to overlook the natural relationship of plants, growing out of the use of these keys, which can only be avoided by a careful study of the principles of classification in general and its application to botany in the morphological and structural relations of the members of the vegetable kingdom.

A wrong impression is often tacitly conveyed to students just commencing the study, namely, that the chief end of the “analysis of plants” is to determine botanical names, when this is really a matter of convenience of secondary importance; while the first object should be the determination of the structural characteristics of the plant in hand, which at once distinguish it from all others, and indicate its relation and position in the vegetable kingdom.   If the more modern plan of imparting botanical instruction were rigidly carried out, namely, requiring the student to write in accurate botanical language the diagnostic characters of every plant studied in the preliminary course of instruction (say 50 or 75 plants), the number of those whose early habits of study will remain a stumbling-block in the further pursuit of botanical knowledge would be vastly decreased, and the number of those who become intensely enthusiastic in the science, and capable of thorough and systematic post-graduate study would receive a corresponding increase.  To such, artificial keys are useful in economizing time, while the knowledge of structural relationship will not be concealed or overlooked in the abbreviated process.

A "manual" for beginners is useful in proportion as it is accurate and easy of application. Some of our botanical orders containing our most common plants are difficult for beginners chiefly for the reason that the generic and specific "synopses" of the text-books are founded on characters not readily determined, or are of themselves difficult of application, requiring a vast amount of searching to find the appropriate division. The following synopses may be found useful in the determination of species in a few of these difficult orders after the characters of the plants are carefully noted.   I have found it convenient in studying the Salicaceae to mark those species whose catkins appear before the leaves, with numbers wired to the plant; greater accuracy is thus insured and the variations in the same plant from year to year may be also studied with profit.

p. 87Edit
Artificial Synopsis of the Umbelliferae
A Umbels simple or irregularly compound B.
Umbels regularly compound D.
B Leaves with no true blade Cranzia.
Leaves simple C.
Leaves 2-3 ternately divided Erigenia.
C Leaves linear or lanceolate Eryngium.
Leaves orbicular or reniform Hydrocotyle.
Leaves palmately lobed or parted Sanicula.
D Flowers white or greenish E.
Flowers yellow or purple Q.
E With hollow petioles in place of leaves Tiedemannia.
Leaves finely dissected Discopluera.
Leaves pinnately divided or compound F.
Leaves ternately divided or compound I.
F Involucre several leaved G.
Involucre almost wanting H.
G Carpels bristly Daucus.
Carpels five-ribbed, otherwise smooth Sium.
H Leaves simply-pinnate Archemora.
Leaves 2-3 pinnate Conioselinum.
I Involucre almost wanting J.
Involucre more conspicuous N.
J Leaves trifoliate Cryptotaenia.
Leaves 1-3 ternate K.
Leaves ternately decompound Chaerophyllum.
K Involucels bristly Eulophus.
Involucels few leaved Aethusa.
Involucels many leaved L.
L Marginal flowers radiant Heracleum.
Flowers uniform M.
M Carpels with three slender ribs; calyx obsolete Angelica.
Carpels with three stout ribs; calyx teeth short Archangelica.
N Leaves 2-3 ternate O.
Leaves decompound Conium.
O Carpels bristly Osmorrhiza.
Carpels ribbed, not bristly P.
P Fruit elliptical; involucels linear Ligusticum.
Fruit subglobose; involucels many leaved Cicuta.
Q Leaves simple, entire Bupleurum.
Leaves pinnately divided or compound R.
Leaves ternately divided or compound S.
R Involucels bristly Polytaenia.
Involucels small or none Pastinica.
S Leaflets entire Zizia.
Leaflets incised Thaspium.

[The caraway (Carum carui) is thoroughly naturalized in Central New York, and is even becoming a troublesome weed in some places.   It is not in the Manual and so we suppose has here been omitted.  One meeting with it would be brought to "H" of the synopsis.—Eds]

p. 88Edit
Synopsis of the Northern Carices
The numbers refer to the species described in Gray's Manual
(edition and issue of 1868).
A Spike solitary B.
Spikes two or more E.
B Spike dioecious No. 1-2.
Spike androgynous C.
C Spike staminate at summit D.
Spike staminate at base Nos. 1, 2, 36, 138.
D Bracts and scales of fertile flowers leaf-like No. 7-9.
Bracts and scales never foliaceous No. 3-6.
E Stigmas 2 F.
Stigmas 3 I.
F Spikes dioecious Nos. 11, 33.
Spikes androgynous G.
Spikes monoecious H.
G Pistillate flowers below No. 13-28.
Pistillate flowers above No. 29.45.
Pistillate flowers variously situated No. 10-12.
H Staminate spike solitary No. 65.
Staminate spikes 1-3 No. 46-56.
I Staminate spike solitary J.
Staminate» spikes 2 or more W.
J Perigynia with merely a point without a beak K.
Perigynia with a distinct beak N.
K Perigynia smooth L.
Perigynia hairy M.
L Scales black, purple, or brown No. 46-64.
Scales brownish, tawny, or white No. 65-81.
Bracts green and foliaceous No. 84-91.
Bracts reduced to colored sheaths No. 92-3.
M Bracts narrow, foliaceous No. 82-3.
Bracts reduced to colored sheaths No. 92-3.
N Perigynia not at ail or only slightly inflated O.
Perigynia moderately or much inflated U.
O Perigynia smooth P.
Perigynia hairy S.
P Beak entire No. 102-3.
Beak two-toothed Q.
Q Perigynia only slightly inflated R.
Perigynia moderately inflated No. 120-7.
R Perigynia few nerved or nerveless No. 104-110.
Pengynia nerved, tawny-yellow at maturity No. 111-115.
S Bracts short, leaves all radical No. 94-101.
Bracts leafy, long T.
T Perigynia slightly inflated No. 102-3.
Perigynia moderately inflate No. 120-7.
U Perigynia conspicuously nerved V.
Perigynia few nerved No. 137-8.
V Perigynia moderately inflated No. 120-7
Perigynia much inflated No. 128-36.
W Perigynia not at all or only slightly inflated X.
Perigynia moderately inflated No. 120-7.
Perigynia much inflated No. 139-151.
X Perigynia with merely a short point Y.
Perigynia with a distinct beak No. 116-19.
Y Scales black, purple, or brown No. 46-64.
Scales brownish becoming white No. 71.
p. 89Edit
Synopsis of the Northern Species of Salix
A Catkins sessile appearing before the leaves B.
Catkins lateral with 4-5 leafy bracts at base I.
Catkins borne on the summit of lateral leafy shoots of the season J.
B Ovaries stalked C.
Ovaries sessile or nearly so H.
C Leaves entire or obscurely wavy toothed D.
Leaves serrate F.
D Leaves petioled E.
Leaves almost sessile; shrub 1°-1½° high S. tristis.
E Leaves taper-pointed; ovary densely woolly S. candida.
Leaves abrupt at apex; ovary silvery hairy S. humilis.
F Leaves smooth above G.
Leaves downy above; stigma sessile S. sericea.
G Leaves finely and evenly serrate S. petiolaris.
Leaves irregularly toothed, entire at base and apex S. discolor.
H Filaments united; leaves oblanceolate S. purpurea.
Filaments separate; leaves linear-lanceolate S. viminalis.
I Ovary smooth, lanceolate S. cordata.
Ovary silky hoary, almost linear S. livida var.  
occidentalis.
Ovary silky, ovoid conical S. chlorophylla.
J 3° or less high K.
Trees; 12°-80° high M.
K Stem upright S. myrtilloides.
Prostrate or spreading; alpine species L.
L Ovary smooth, sessile S. herbacea.
Ovary smooth, short-stalked S. Cutleri.
Ovary silvery silky S. argyrocarpa.
M Stamens 3-6 or more; ovary stalked, glabrous N.
Stamens 2; ovary nearly sessile, glabrous O.
Stamens 2; ovary stalked, downy S. longifolia.
N Pods taper-pointed; stamens 5 S. lucida.
Pods short ovate; stamens 3-6 S. nigra.
O Leaves smooth, glaucous beneath S. fragilis.
Leaves silky beneath S. alba.
Lucien M. Underwood.