Bob Lauri

My botanical interests include floristics, plant systematics, and phylogenetics. Plant groups of interest are Orchidaceae, and Arecaceae. My current dissertation study is the Systematic Study of Piperia Rydberg (Orchidaceae). The main reason for choosing this group is that there is a large amount of variation even within individual taxa that makes identification of individuals difficult. I am also interested in variation evident across biogeographical boundaries.. The focus of my study is to collect comparative data for the group Piperia that will (1) test the hypothesis that Piperia is a section within Platanthera, (2) characterize variation within the group and produce a comprehensive classification using molecular and morphological data, and (3) produce a revisionary monograph of the group. After all previous studies of Piperia, complete descriptions of all taxa within the group are not complete, and morphometric data are missing for a number of morphological variants such as P. cooperi, P. lancifolia, P. leptopetala, P. longispica, and P. maritima. It is clear that a more thorough sampling of wild populations and morphological variants is necessary. Recent collections of Piperia and Platanthera include populations in southern and northern California, Washington, and Idaho. Additional collections from Alaska, Baja California, Nevada, and Oregon will be accomplished in the future.

The genus Piperia has a confusing taxonomic and nomenclatural history. The group has at one time been placed within the wide-ranging genus Habenaria Willd. (Ames, 1910; Correll, 1950), and within another northern temperate genus Platanthera (Schlecter, 1927; Dressler, 1974). Nine species of Piperia were separated from Platanthera based on a few morphological traits (Rydberg, 1901). The nine species range from northern Baja California to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and the intermountain western states. There are a few populations that also exist in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Alberta, and Quebec. The main center of diversity of Piperia is in California with nine species and two subspecies currently recognized (Ackerman, 1977; Morgan and Ackerman, 1990; Morgan and Glicenstein, 1993; and Hickman, 1996). The traits of this group include rounded to oval tubers, short to inconspicuous caudicles, and basal leaves that wither at anthesis. These character traits differ from Platanthera which has elongate tubers, short to long conspicuous caudicles, and cauline or basal leaves that persist through anthesis. A biosystematic study of Piperia was performed by Ackerman (1977) that included morphological study, chromosome counts, chromatographs of leaf and flower material, and hybridization studies. Most recently, a treatment of the tribe Orchideae has placed Piperia as a subsection within the genus Platanthera (Bateman et al., 2003), using ITS markers.


Ackerman, J.D. 1977. Biosystematics of the genus Piperia Rydb. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 75: 245-270.
Ames, O. 1910. The Genus Habenaria in North America. Orchidaceae Fasc. 4. p. 288.
Bateman R.M., P.M. Hollingsworth, J. Preston., Y-b Luo, A.M. Pridgeon, M.W. Chase. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution of the Orchidinae and selected Habenariinae (Orchidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 142: 1-40.
Cameron K.M., M.W. Chase, W.M. Whitten, P.J. Kores, D.C. Jarrell, V.A. Albert, T. Yukawa, H.G. Hills, D.H., D.H. Goldman. 1999. A phylogenetic analysis of the Orchidaceae: evidence from rbcL nucleotide sequences. American Journal of Botany. 86: 208-244.
Correll, D.S. 1950. Native Orchids of North America, North of Mexico. Chronica Botanica Company, Waltham, Mass. P. 399.
Dressler, R.L. 1974. Classification of the orchid family. Proceedings of the Seventh World Orchid Conference. Medellin, Columbia. 259-278.
Hickman J.C. (editor). 1996. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. p. 1400.
Morgan, R and J.D. Ackerman. 1990. Two new Piperias (Orchidaceae) from western North America. Lindleyana 5(4): 205-211.
Morgan, R. and L. Glicenstein. 1993. Additional California taxa in Piperia (Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 8 (2): 89-95.
Schlecter, R. 1927. Die Orchideen. P. Parey, Berlin. P. 959.

Link to some orchid photographs.