nomenclatural questions

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Sat Jul 26 11:28:19 CDT 1997

Susan Farmer wrote:

>  Farwell publishes T.grandiflorum forma orbiculare in 1918.  Louis-Marie
>  *reports* T.grandiflorum VAR orbiculare in 1940 (with the Farwell
>  citation).
>  Is this considered an orthographic variant or a Comb. Nov.?
>  If a comb. nov., how is it then cited?
>  Is the case any different if the reported variety is listed as a synonym?

As Farwell was a botanist and as the epithet is "grandiflorum", I take
it that the organism in question falls under the ICBN and not under
either of the other two Codes; indeed living in Ontario, I would
hazard a guess that "T." might stand for Trillium, T, grandiflorum,
being our provincial emblem.

The case depends almost entirely on whether Louis-Marie accepts the
"var. orbiculare" or not.  (Art. 34.1 - "A name is not validly
published (a) when it is not accepted by the author in the original
publication ... [in this case Louis-Marie's publication] ... (c) when
it is merely cited as a synonym ...").  It also depends on whether
Louis-Marie met all the requirements for valid publication of a new
combination under, e.g., Art. 33.

If all the requirements of a new combination are met, then, although
attributing the "var. orbiculare" to Farwell rather than to himself is
a rather extreme "incorrect form of author citation" (Art. 33.3), it
is customary to treat this as valid publication of the combination,
_T. grandiflorum_ var. _orbiculare_.   It would, of course, be cited
as ... var. _orbiculare_ (Farwell) Louis-Marie.

If Louis-Marie's publication does NOT meet all the requirements for
valid publication of a new combination, then he is simply committing
the error of citing "var." where he should have cited "forma".

>   Does the ruling change depending on *when* the "incorrect" type
>        was published.

I don't understand what you mean by "incorrect type"; I thought it was
only an incorrect attribution of rank.  The main date implications are
those involved in the requirements for valid publication of a new
combination, most notably that, before 1 January 1953, indication of
the basionym and "a full and direct reference ... to its author and
place of publication" (Art. 33.2) are not required.

>   Is platipetala for platypetala considered an orthographic variant?

Assuming the epithets apply to the same type, then yes - see Art. 61.2

John McNeill

  John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum,
  100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
  Tel. and fax # 416-586-5744  e-mail: johnm at

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