Nothopanax / Metapanax delavayi

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by scross1, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. scross1

    scross1 Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Hamilton, New Jersey Zone 7a
    I am trying to figure out the nomenclature of Nothopanax.

    A plant in my collection that came with the label of Nothpanax delavayi has 5 fingered leaves. In all of the literature that I can find, along with pictures in "The Jade Garden", show andd describe Nothopanax delavayi with distinct three fingered leaves.

    Doing a search for Metapanax delavayi, most of the images match my current plant.

    Although, there are clearing two distinct plants, I am confused since I thought Metapanax delavayi had been reclassified as Nothopanax delavayi.

    Can anyone please clarify this issue for me?


    Scott C.
    Hamilton, NJ
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    Vancouver, Canada
    According to the article Metapanax, a new genus of Araliaceae from China and Vietnam, by Jun Wen and David G. Frodin, in Brittonia 53(1), 2001, pp 116- 121, there is considerable confusion regarding the name Nothopanax. The authors relate that all legitimate species of Nothopanax Miq. are now referable to Polyscias J.R. Forst. & G. Forst., and the two temperate Chinese species previously referred to under Nothopanax are now (after considerable to-ing and fro-ing over the last 120 years), correctly, species of Metapanax Frodin ex J. Wen & Frodin.

    Again, according to the authors, molecular evidence is conclusive that the two species, Metapanax davidii and M. delavayi form a monophyletic group (the two species represent all the living decendents of a particular lineage or "clade). The genus is evidently closest to Eleutherococcus. It's worth noting that all Nothopanax species are tropical and exhibit pinnately compound leaves, while those of the more temperate Metapanax (and Eleutherococcus) produce simple to palmately compound leaves: M. davidii with primarily simple and three-lobed, occasionally compound, three-foliate leaves, the usually unstalked leaflets more than 2.5 cm wide, and M. delavayi with simple to five-foliate leaves, the usually stalked leaflets generally less than 2.5 cm wide.

    What is confused, however, is the present state of naming in gardens. UBC Botanical Garden has both species of Metapanax, and despite what appears in the Jade Garden (Wharton, Justice and Hine, Timber Press, 2005), the specimen illustrated there has only simple and two- and three-lobed leaves, so must be M. davidii. Your Metapanax is surely M. delavayi if it has palmately compound leaves with more than three leaflets.

    I have to admit to being quite confused about this, and it's only with a close reading of the article mentioned above (sorry, not freely available on-line) that I'm no longer confused. It looks like bit of re-labelling is in order at the Botanical Garden.

Share This Page