infraspecific validity

Tue Jan 9 06:16:00 CST 1996

Stephan Helfer asks if one has ever had a problem with varieties of homonyms.
The answer is yes. The case is Alsima gramineum, a species of the northern
temperate regions of Eurasia and North America.

In 1811, A.L.S. Lejeune proposed Alisma gramineum based on specimens gathered
in Belgium. Basically, the name was ignored. In 1826, C.C. Gmelin proposed A.
gramineum based on material gathered in the Alsace-Baden region of France.
This name was not ignored, and in time several closely related species,
subspecies and varieties were named. Today, there are two or three rather
dubious varieties maintained.

Clearly, the Gmelin name is illegimate (Art. 53.1) as it is a later name.
Also, the basionym of the occasionally recognized North American variant is
valid: Alisma plantago-aquatica var. angustissimum DC. (1815). However, when
Hendricks (Amer. Midl. Naturalists 58: 489. 1957) proposed A. gramineum var.
angustissimum he did so under A. gramineum C.C. Gmelin. Under Art. 55.2, this
rare situation is handled:

An infraspecific name, autonyms excepted (Art. 26.1), may be legitimate even
if its final epithet was originally placed under an illegitimate specific name.

You will note that the Code does not provide an example. Thus, in writing the
treatment of Alismataceae for the Intermountain Flora, the "mistake" was
simply corrected and the North American plant continues to be called Alisma
gramineum Lej. var. angustissimum (DC.) Hendricks.

How? How is the "mistake" corrected? By Art. 33.3!

Errors of bibliographic citation and incorrect forms of author citation (see
Art. 46) do not invalidate publication of a new combination or avowed

James L. Reveal (MARY)
jr19 at

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