triplicate publication in Berberis
JOSEPH E. LAFERRIERE
josephl at AZTEC.ASU.EDU
Sun Feb 14 11:38:52 CST 1999
I am reminded of an old joke:
Sergeant: Sir, we are experiencing a serious shortage
of space in our files. We estimate we will completely
use up all available filing space within three months.
However, we have three entire cabinets filled with
records of old troop movements during World War I.
Request permission to dispose of them.
Colonel: Permission granted. But make sure you copy everything
in triplicate before you throw it out.
It has come to my attention in the last few weeks
that a paper I wrote in 1996 was published in three
different journals. Two of them published the paper
in direct violation of my express stated desire to the
contrary. Ordinarily, I would not bother Taxacom with
this, especially as this matter is embarassing in the
extreme, but because the error creates a nomenclatural
problem in a common, cosmopolitan plant group, I feel
I should make the error known as widely as possible
so that others will not be more confused than need be.
Details will be published soon in Edinburgh J. Bot.
Title is "Transfer of specific and infraspecific
[Old World] taxa from Mahonia to Berberis (Berberidaceae)."
It contains recombination statements for 73 names,
lumping the two genera together. My motivation in writing
this is that I have published at least 10 articles on this
group, and am of the school that the two genera should be
considered as one. Three times in the past, I have had occasion
to make passing reference to a taxon for which a
Mahonia name had been published but no Berberis name.
I was thus presented with the option of 1) Using
the Mahonia name, thus confusing the reader; 2) Creating
a Berberis name as a nomen nudum; or 3) sticking a
recombination statement in an unlikely place. Option #3
seemed preferable. Thus a species from Thailand
was renamed Berberis siamensis in a footnote to an article
on the ethnobotany of a small village in northern Mexico.
It seemed infinitely preferable to list all such recombinations
in one list. Hence I poured through Index Kewensis and
made a list.
New World names were published in Journal of the Arizona-
Nevada Academy of Science, with my Mexican colleague
Jorge Marroquin as first author. Old World taxa I decided
should go in an Old World journal. I was unfamiliar with Old World
journals so sent the manuscript to several, not as a
formal submission, but merely to ask whether this type
of thing was something they would consider. As soon as one
(Fragmenta Floristica et Geobotanica in Krakow, Poland)
replied affirmatively, I sent letters to all the others
asking the editors not to publish the manuscript. It
was not until recently that I learned that two of them
either did not receive my letters or ignored them.
Be that as it may, the article was published in:
Bot. Zhurn. [St. Petersburg, Russia] 82(9):95-99.
Publication date, according to
the kind help of K. Challis at Kew: November 1997
Fragm. Flor. Geobot, 42(2):349-354. 16 December 1997.
Acta Botanica Indica 25(2):243-46. Exact date of publication
unknown; it is cover-dated December 1997, but four herbarium
libraries in Europe all inform me the issue did not arrive
in Europe until December 1998, making it extremely likely
that the cover date is in error.
Thus the Russian version has priority.
Three more notes:
1) The Russian version has my name misspelled as
2) Orthography on one of my six nomina nova needs to be
corrected: Berberis gautamai should be Berberis gautamae.
[named after the Buddha, incidentally]
3) One of the other nomina nova differs in the Polish
version. Thus synonymy =
Berberis tsailunii Laferr., Bot Zhurn. 82:99. Nov 1997
=Berberis keikoae Laferr., Fragm. Flor Geobot. 42:352. Dec 1997
=Mahonia mairei Takeda, Notes Roy Bot Gard Edinb. 6:228. 1917.
Thus the plant is named for Tsai Lun, the Chinese inventor
of paper, rather than 24th-Century Japanese botanist
Please accept my humble apologies for any inconvenience.
Photocopies of all three articles are available for $1 plus
Please also note that two of the articles give my address
as Cuernavaca, Mexico. I have not been at that address since
August 1997. Mail sent to me there will NOT be forwarded.
Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
"Computito ergo sum ... I link therefore I am."
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