Philoxerus R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 1810 sec. Bojan & al. (2003)
  • 1. Standl., N. Amer. Fl. 21(1). 1916


The genus name was lectotypified by Standley (1917) using an Australian species, P. conicus R.Br. [= Gomphrena conica (R.Br.) Spreng.]. Palmer (1998) accepts Gomphrena conica along with the other Australian species of Gomphrena and indicates that this is a rare species that grows in sandy soils close to coasts. Considering this, Philoxerus would have to be a synonym of Gomphrena. The problem is that Hooker (1880, Genera Plantarum) kept the genus name Philoxerus separate from Gomphrena, and rather than using morphological characters, applied a genus concept for Philoxerus to comprise Gomphrena species of coastal habitats in America, Africa and Australia. This practically is upheld in the genus concept of Blutaparon Raf. (Townsend 1993) with four coastal species although Townsend does not even cite the name Philoxerus. Mears (1982 a,b) argued that Philoxerus had been used for the American coastal species, so he actually looked for a name that would define a genus of coastal species based on the American coastal plants originally described by Linnaeus as Gomphrena vermicularis. What Mears overlooked is that G. conica also appears to be a coastal plant (Palmer 1998), so that Bentham's 1880 generic concept of a gomphrenoid genus of coastal plants under the name Philoxerus would actually have been correct with five and not four species. Strictly applying such a genus concept to formal nomenclature, Blutaparon is a synonym of Philoxerus. However, in the course of analyzing evolutionary relationships it will have to be seen if the adaptation to coastal habitats correlates with other characters that could provide synapomorphies for circumscribing and maintaining a genus Philoxerus, and if these synapomorphies are shared by P. conicus and the other coastal species.