The aim of this project was to unlock this critical taxonomic information on this predominantly Australian family in relevant overseas institutions. The project ran over a six week period in July and August this year and involved visits to overseas institutions in Kew, London, Leiden, Paris, Bogor Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The main achievements of this fellowship travel include:
- A bank of information on overseas pittospora taxa held in relevant overseas institutions, for future research in this field. This includes digital images of types of names and other informative specimens, relevant taxonomic literature/protologues and synonymies including translations, ecological data (habit, habitat, substrates, etc.) and spreadsheets of collections with the collectors and the final taxon determinations.
- Considerable progress towards the resolution of the taxonomy of large numbers of confused/lumped/ignored taxa in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands including recognition of at least three species that are new to science or previously unrecognised, and several previously forgotten taxa in the region that now require re-instatement at species level.
- Confirmation that the Pittosporaceae are characterised by narrow endemics both here and overseas, with very few wide ranging species between or even within regions.
- Confirmation of the known taxa in New Caledonia (about 30 species) for combined molecular and morphological phylogenetic analyses in the near future.
- The opportunity to collaborate on other regional floras (Flora of Siam and Flora of Madagascar) which in turn will enhance our knowledge of taxa in these areas, and perhaps most importantly:
- The re-establishment of an international, largely volunteer, collaborative Pittosporum study group, to revise this family across its range, the first attempt at a comprehensive revision of the family since Pritzel in 1930.
This Churchill Fellowship contributed to an article published in The Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 70(2) on 14 Dec 2018 titled "Pittosporum ridleyi (Pittosporaceae), a new name for the ‘rusty-leaved’ pittosporum in Malaysia".