Unusual Plant Name

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by Junglekeeper, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,613
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    What is the explanation for the three-part name Codiaeum variegatum pictum? Is this short for Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum? The name appears to violate the convention of binomial nomenclature. I'm puzzled.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,665
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,613
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Hi, Ron. So the 3-parter is an outdated form of a named cultivar? Wouldn't have thought of it because of BOTH the missing quotes and the lack of capitalization.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,350
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    I'll have to disagree with Ron B on this one (one of those very rare occasions). The name is (according to the RHS Plant Finder) Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum (a number of cultivars of this variety listed here).

    Junglekeeper, yes, it does seem to violate the convention of binomial nomenclature, but it is key to remember that for the species (i.e., C. variegatum), the naming convention still applies. It is just that this entity is recognized as sufficiently distinct to be further subdivided (and hence the additional moniker), and yet not distinct enough to be its own species deserving of its own binomial.

    You can read more about binomial nomenclature on Wikipedia (as well as comments on trinomial nomenclature - but don't think it stops there: there are at least a few entities in UBC garden's collection that have pentanomials).
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,665
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Varietas or cultivar is a side issue, I'm still not picking up what is being discussed here. Is it that variegatum sounds like a cultivar name? There are other plants that have the same species name.
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Now, I am a little confused with the nomenclature.
    I learned things years ago that a named cultivar and
    a variety can be two different and separate entities.
    As an example: we usually list a Japanese Maple
    this way; Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium' whereby
    aconitifolium is a cultivar of Acer japonicum. The
    "Dancing Peacock" was written by Mr. Vertrees this
    way: Acer japonicum f.aconitifolium 'Maiku jaku'.
    Depending on who we believe the "f" stands for
    filicifolium and to some people it was a different
    cultivar from aconitifolium ( I happen to be one
    of them to feel they are different, the proof is in
    the size and shape of the leaves of filicifolium).
    Maiku jaku in recent years is now more likely
    spelled Mai kujaku and was a proposed hybrid
    of the two cultivars filicifolium x aconitifolium
    and was a hand selected seedling. In a purist
    sense, Mai kujaku is a variety of aconitifolium .
    It used to be felt that Autumn Moon was also a
    variety and was once written out this way: Acer
    shirasawanum aureum var.autumn moon
    . We
    normally cite an Acer palmatum this way: Acer
    palmatum 'Kiyohime'
    in which we assume that
    Kiyohime is a cultivar of Acer palmatum, not a
    variety of Acer palmatum but a cultivar instead.
    Resulting seedlings selected from Kiyohime will
    be a variety of Kiyohime instead unless those
    plants were found in the wild and not culturally
    selected forms of Kiyohime.

    In this case what proof do we have that Codiaeum
    variegatum ‘America’
    , Codiaeum variegatum
    ‘Imerpiale’
    and Codiaeum variegatum ‘Interruptum’
    were selected varietal forms but were not found in
    the wild and due to our taxonomic keys felt that the
    plants have to be placed as a variety of variegatum
    instead of a naturally occurring cultivar?

    I think we want to be too technical sometimes when
    it serves our own purpose or the purpose of someone
    else or another entity. We tend to lose sight of the
    practical end of things sometimes. For Taxonomists
    it makes sense to have their universal naming code
    but there will be some plants that are a cultivar rather
    than being a variety, so what do the Taxonomists
    conclude should be done with the named cultivars
    or are all of the named cultivars of Japanese Maples
    to be considered varieties of Acer palmatum instead?

    Jim
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,665
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Hi Jim

    In Acer japonicum f.aconitifolium the "f" stands for "forma".
     
  8. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    X-maryland now New Mexico
    My two cents would be:

    Genus: Codiaeum
    Species: variegatum
    Var: Pictum
    Cultivar: 'Aureo-maculatum'

    I agree that sometimes things are technical ... and too technical ... but doesn't it depend on the audience? In this case wouldn't just Croton may have been a good enough answer??? Well, I'm going to do terrible on these messages boards as I can't spell nor type in the first place ... but at least you cant hear how bad I butcher latin :P
     
  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I gave you guys plenty to knit pick in that
    post.

    I realize I do not have much of a leg to
    stand on here from a Botanical point of
    view as I know that Daniel is right. We
    now have seedlings however considered
    to be cultivars in which they are far from
    being that. They are just named seedling
    varieties of another parent and should be
    thought of as such. I see no real concern
    about the shortening of the names as if we
    want to be steadfast in the naming we should
    be applying the nomenclature right across
    the board including Japanese, Full Moon,
    Trident, Sieboldianum and Shirasawanum
    Maples. So far we have not done it, is my
    point. Why get excited about some plants
    when we are not being so critical of others?

    Jim
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,613
    Likes Received:
    442
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    I prefer to be as precise as possible. Yes, damn it - I'm a perfectionist! Consider it one of my foibles. ;-)

    Daniel, thanks for the links; I'll check it out. In retrospect I should have referred to RHS before asking. D'oh!
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,350
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Well, there is always the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants!

    Re: losing sight of the practical side of things: I don't disagree. Names are a device used to communicate. When scientists say "This is the scientific name of this plant", what they really mean is "This is the name that a community of scientists has agreed to use for this biological entity that we recognize as sufficiently distinct from others based on the available evidence and the written description of it - but that might change with new evidence."

    There are layers of precision that answer to the precision required. Common names are effective in communicating a fair number of plants, but mistakes can arise when a scientist uses them. Scientific names are more precise, but even then, there are layers of precision (and this wades into recognizing subspecies, varieties, forms). I could cite at least one instance of where the decision to be made about the proper scientific name for a population of plants will mean conservation status or not, and whether these plants will survive.

    Cultivar names are a beast unto themselves because there is no assigned "vanguard" to ensure the precision of the name or any formal process for the designation of a cultivar.

    Biology is "messy". Many species are not boxed-in entities that play by the rules that we set for their names. That's all part of the fun and challenge.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,665
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    >Cultivar names are a beast unto themselves because there is no assigned "vanguard" to ensure the precision of the name or any formal process for the designation of a cultivar<

    You're talking about a process more serious than that provided (or at least attempted) by the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) system?
     
  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,350
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    I'll clarify. For a scientific name to become part of the scientific vernacular, a scientific name must be published in a peer-reviewed journal (and the peer-review process, as well as journal editors, are therefore the vanguards). I can designate a name, but it may or may not be accepted. I would have to ensure it is sufficiently different from other similar taxa for that name to stand.

    For a cultivar name, no such process is required. I could open up a nursery tomorrow and start selling Hemerocallis 'Mosquin's Best'. I can designate the name and immediately market it as something new. Print catalogues, advertise on the net, whatever. There is no obligation on my part to ask anyone else if this entity I've named is sufficiently different. Sure, a free and global marketplace may one day say I'm selling something long-established under a new name (perhaps after someone sends it along to the ICRA), but by that time, the misinformation has spread.

    Lastly, lest I sound too optimistic about the process for scientific names: it has its flaws, too. However, the mistakes are often easier to correct than improper cultivar names, perhaps because a mistake is rarely amplified beyond the scientific realm (a new cultivar can be marketed quite heavily, whereas a new scientific name rarely has an equivalent public impact) or perhaps because the worst of scientific errors are filtered out by the review process.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,665
    Likes Received:
    547
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    While it's true that the publication of cultivar names is not limited, in practice, to professional science with its peer review process, these names are supposed to be published in a serious way, such as with an ICRA, and are studied and commented on by professionals, such as those at the RHS.
     
  15. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Black Ceek, B.C., Canada
    This thread by Dr. Harri Harmaja suggests these types of errors are not so easy to correct.
     
  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,350
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Yes, I agree, Ron. If the process that was supposed to be followed was followed, almost all of us would be a lot better off.

    And Chris - I did qualify my statement with "often"!
     
  17. fourd

    fourd Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    X-maryland now New Mexico
    I don't see where

    Originally posted by Chris Klapwijk: ..."these types of errors are not so easy to correct."

    AND

    Originally Posted by Daniel Mosquin: ..."However, the mistakes are often easier to correct"...

    are in any way in any concflict -- "often easier" does not imply that either is "easy".

    Anyway, I think Mr Mosquin and the others have made clear points summing up that classification is inherently more difficult at lower classification levels like subspecies, variety, cultivar, form, group, grex, series .... And I do realize that not all this was covered here specifically. I thank him and all for their insights -- I enjoyed reading this! One final thought, RHS controls the classifycation process because it is so difficult, no?
     
  18. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,424
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Sorry Daniel but consider this on borrowed
    time. If I could have figured out a way to
    leave the UBC forums and become one
    of the unregistered people I so much dislike
    responding to, I would have left this afternoon.

    To do what is right or perhaps what is just can be a
    definite after thought when people want to push
    forward their own personal ideas.

    Then again when we leave things solely up to our
    peers we can be in trouble as many times there are
    agendas and other ulterior motives involved, depending
    on who wants to accomplish what. Still, the peer review
    is far better than having someone go along and market
    their Japanese Maple under a new name when that plant
    may have been around years ago as another name but
    only less than a handful of people once knew or still
    know that. We, on the nursery end of things, have to
    share much of the blame for a lot of the misnaming of
    specialty plants. We've had some book authors mess
    the names up of Ornamental plants and trees also. We
    have had plants that have become patented in which the
    person that applied for the patent and received royalties
    was not the person that developed the plant at all.

    I think Daniel gave the best over view on the subject I've
    read to date. I know I wished others shared his views and
    his excellent, broad based understanding 25-30 years ago
    when some people I know or once knew were knocking
    heads with some of our peers in regards to cultivars and
    varieties. Personally, I think our recognized Plant Societies
    can have a much greater beneficial impact on the naming
    issues than we fully care to admit. The naming issues
    all becomes for naught if we cannot identify the plant upon
    sight. Look at all of the plants that Daniel and Ron B have
    identified for a host of people in these forums. To me,
    knowing what we are seeing is more important than the
    long standing discussion over what is a variety, what is a
    cultivar and whether it is okay or not to shorten the name.
    From a practical standpoint let's agree on what the plant is
    first upon visual inspection and work from there.

    Jim
     

Share This Page