Asparagus litoralis Steven (Asparagaceae) was described by Ch. Steven based on a male specimen of a plant that the researcher collected on the Black Sea coast near the town of Sudak (Crimea). At present this species is included in the IUCN Red List with the DD (Data Deficient) category. It was first included in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (RDBU, second edition) in 1996, but in the third edition of RDBU (2009) it was excluded from the list of protected species due to its uncertain taxonomic status. To address the issue of the taxonomic status of this species, the history of discovery and taxonomic studies of A. litoralis is investigated, and available literature, field and herbarium data on that taxon are analyzed and summarized. The article contains the results of comparative analysis of A. litoralis and morphologically similar species: A. officinalis L. and A. maritimus (L.) Mill. (= A. scaber Brign.). As a result, it is confirmed that A. litoralis is most probably a young littoral race of the A. officinalis species aggregate that was formed within the coastal zone of the Crimea, while morphological similarity of our taxon with A. maritimus is caused by similar ecological conditions in habitats of both species. Based on studies of herbarium specimens and digital images of specimens from several herbaria (H, KW, KWHA, LE, MSUD, MW, YALT, etc.), a preliminary distribution map of A. litoralis is presented. It shows that representatives of this endemic group of plants rarely occur in the coastal strip along the southern coast of Crimea from Sevastopol to the Kerch Peninsula. The data obtained for these taxa provide reasons for considering this littoral race as a subspecies of A. officinalis s. l. and to propose a new nomenclatural combination: A. officinalis L. subsp. litoralis (Steven) Shiyan, comb. nov. Examination of original material revealed that there are two herbarium specimens that were simultaneously considered to be the type of A. litoralis. Therefore, the lectotype of this taxon name is designated here: the specimen H1316770 from Steven's memorial collection at the Herbarium of the University of Helsinki (Finland).
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