White Spruce

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by Michael F, Jul 27, 2023.

  1. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Kew Plants of the World Online [POWO] have recently decided that White Spruce - universally known as Picea glauca for the last century - should actually be called Picea laxa. The reasoning behind this is a change in the view of an early publication, Münchhausen's 1770 Der Hausvater. In this (vol. 5 p. 225), White Spruce is described as P.[inus] Abies laxa. In the past, this has universally been considered as meaning Pinus abies var. laxa, with the name laxa thus published at varietal rank, not species. Kew have now concluded that Münchhausen's intention was to say Pinus [subgenus Abies] laxa, with laxa being at species rank, not variety. This therefore then takes precedence over Moench's Pinus glauca, published in 1785 as the earliest valid name at species rank. Until this, Münchhausen's name was not thought valid at species rank until Erhardt raised it from variety to species in 1788, 3 years later than Moench.

    [to be continued...]
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Members of the team there have been coming up with a quantity of similar determinations for various taxa; in addition to associated details that I wonder about myself experts I know personally have remarked on the problematic nature of what they are doing with particular subjects or subject areas - as in conifers - when I have asked. So, it appears that instead of establishing a resource that is the last word - perhaps a pipe dream when the advancement of scientific knowledge is the arena - POWO is just another place where individual interpretations are being aired. Like when a taxonomic monograph or paper is published.
     
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  3. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    Not that my opinion matters, but I'd support a proposal for conserving P. glauca.
     
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  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    This was what I was coming on to say (had to stop mid-post before, being side-tracked by home duties!): the obvious solution is to make Picea glauca a nom. cons. While modesty is good, I'd think Daniel's opinion is important here, as a senior botanist in the species' main country of distribution. Would you be able to co-ordinate a nom. cons. proposal with other Canadian botanical and forestry authorities? I'd suspect other interested parties are currently in blissful ignorance of this potential name change for a species of major economic importance in Canada.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    I'll ask around.
     
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  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Anyone know if there's been any progress on this?
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    When I asked in August, I got this reply:

     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Not good news . . .
     
  9. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    As a nomenclaturist and taxonomist, I have been asked to compile a standard checklist of woody plants in the Pruhonice Park (Czechia). Most of names are listed according to List of Names ..., missing ones according to POWO, exceptionally other sources. I have had to deal with the laxa / glauca problem. A detailed examination of the works of Muenchhausen in fifth vol. of Hausvater clearly shows that the epithet "laxa" was not published at the rank of species. Species are numbered, other ranks below species (sometimes explicitly as Varietäten) are preceded by letters (a, b, c ...). And the name Picea abies laxa is not numbered. Moreover, the paper following the Verzeichniss in the same volume, a Muenchhausen's checklist of Linnaean names of woody plants, including those in the preceding article, according to the layout, also gives 'laxa' as an infraspecific name. Before this conflict is duly discussed and decided, I recommend to retain Picea glauca, a name dominating dendrological and floristic literature for more than a century. If glauca is relegated to synonymy, the conservation is to be considered.
    Jan
     
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  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Many thanks! Can you send this information to POWO too, please?
     
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  11. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    As I understand the system in POWO, they do not accept individual corrections because they transfer whole datasets, and one should look up which original dataset it was and try to send a correction to that.
    JK
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I don't know, but it is still worth a try - I have been told they will consider representations. There is definitely no harm in asking!
     
  13. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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  14. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    There is a bad news. I was contacted by Rafael Govaerts who is responsible for plant names in Kew databases. The discussion yielded a rather unsatisfactory result: Picea laxa was published at the rank of species validly in Muenchh. 1770. Why I was wrong ? I overlooked that the letter "b" before the name was a misprint, correctly (according to the little reference at the bottom of the previous page) it ought to have been "6", i.e. a numbered species entry. However, there is another cardinal question, the taxonomic interpretation of the name P. laxa. The short description does not point to anything specific for P. glauca. At present, I do not have access to the works of Farjon, and it would be fine if someone could check whether or not the name P. laxa was typified. If there is a type (lecto, neo or epi), then the conservation procedure would be advisable. If not, let us continue to use P. glauca (because of the taxonomic obscurity of P. laxa).
    JK
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! If you can get a conservation proposal in time for the next ICN conference (see post #7) that would be excellent - waiting till 2030 would not be good.
     
  16. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    Well, the conservation proposal is something I can prepare but not without a substantial aid from someone with a good knowledge of dendroliterature (there must be an exhaustive account of books, papers and databases showing how P. glauca totally dominates the nomenclature of this taxon). Is there a volunteer ?
    Jan
     
  17. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    Just a note on the timing of the proposal: Nomenclatural committee evaluates proposals when they are submitted, and the final inclusion among nomina conservanda on an IBC usually is an almost automatic thing. Usually - there was the case of which part of Acacia should remain Acacia that made an exception.
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I could dig out some, but getting a huge number would be difficult!
     
  19. Jan Kirschner

    Jan Kirschner New Member

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    OK, I will draft a preliminary text. Should I upload it here ?
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Fine by me!
     

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