A tale of two subspecies

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr. hballard at STUDENTS.WISC.EDU
Wed Dec 4 14:12:19 CST 1996

While typifying names of Violaceae for the Checklist of Vascular Plants of
Ecuador recently, Peter Jorgensen at MO and I discovered a potential
problem of a new species ascribed simply to some of its component elements,
namely two subspecies neither of which bears the species epithet.  In a
(loosely defined) monograph of the predominantly South American sect.
Leptidium, Wilhelm Becker cited the new species Viola lehmannii, simply
noting two purpurtedly distinctive elements, one his ssp. cuneata and the
other, his ssp. ovalifolia.  I have nearly all of the publications of
Becker and can as yet find no subsequent instance where he validly
publishes the name V. lehmannii itself.

We are concerned that he never cited or published V. lehmannii ssp.
lehmannii itself, in this short monograph or subsequently.  Does
publication of the two subspecies that he distinguished constitute some
sort of implicit publication of the name V. lehmannii?  (For what it's
worth, I have examined holotype/syntype material of both and consider them
unworthy of formal taxonomic recognition separately; whether this taxon is
sufficiently distinct from V. dombeyana to merit species status also awaits
further study that I hope to accomplish in the near future.)  I have the
feeling that the species name, at least, is not validly published given the
circumstances, but I don't know for sure, and I couldn't find much--at
least that leaped to my eye--in the Code to support or refute my "gut
feeling".  Any Code-thumpers out there who could actually cite
chapter-and-verse evidence for helping us reach a nomenclatural decision
regarding the name V. lehmannii?

Many thanks for your help,
Harvey Ballard

Harvey E. Ballard, Jr.
Postdoctoral Researcher, USDA-ARS, Potato Systematics Labs
1575 Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison WI 53706
(608) 262-0159
University of Wisconsin Herbarium
132 Birge, 430 Lincoln Drive
Madison WI 53706
(608) 262-2792

More information about the Taxacom mailing list