Chloris barbata or Chloris inflata?

Bryan Simon Bryan.Simon at ENV.QLD.GOV.AU
Thu Jun 14 22:56:59 CDT 2001

Clarification is required on the correct application of the above names for
the annual Chloris that occurs as a weed in northern Australia.

A paper by Kartesz and Ghandi in Rhodora (94:135-140 (1992)) puts forward
the case that Chloris barbata is the correct name for what we have been
calling C. inflata in Australia.  They present a case that Linneus had
already renamed a Jamaican perennial grass (originally called Andropogon
barbatus by him) A. polydactylon, before using the name A. barbatus (again)
for an annual Indian grass (now a pantropical weed), even though he had
created a superfluous name.  When Swartz used the combination Chloris
barbata for the Indian grass, Kartesz and Gandhi say this should be treated
as a nom.nov. dating from 1795 applying to that Indian grass.

However Kartesz and Ghandi make no reference in their paper to an earlier
detailed paper on the same subject in Taxon (25:176-178 (1976)) by Fosberg,
in which he (Fosberg) explains that Andropogon barbatus 1771 is not a later
homonym of A. barbatus 1759, but that Linneus was providing an emended
description of the same species.  There seems little doubt it was the intent
of Linneus in the Mantissa to add to his earlier circumscriptions of species
(see pages xvii and xviii of Stearn's introductory notes in the Cramer
facsimile of 1961).  Although we know today there are two taxa involved,
Fosberg maintained that Linneus was adding further characteristics to what
he regarded as one very variable species.  Apart from the Jamaican species
being more robust and a perennial, the two species are not too unlike when
the illustrations in Anderson's 1974 revision of Chloris are compared.  When
Swartz "transferred" Andropogon barbatus to Chloris as Chloris barbata in an
observation under Chloris polydactyla, although he was thinking about and
describing the Indian annual, nomenclaturally the name belongs with the
Jamaican perennial which then should be known as Chloris barbata (L.) Sw.
The next legitimate name available for the annual weed is then apparently
Chloris inflata.

The crux of the problem regarding correct application of one of these names
to the annual Chloris appears to be the interpretation of what was the
intent of Linnaeus!  How do we really know whether Linneus was adding an
emended description to an earlier one or was he really describing a new
species and using ("recycling") a name he had already used for a different
species?  Does anyone know of any other examples of Linnaeus doing this??

Kartesz and Ghandi maintained that because Linneus did not mention A.
polydactylon in the Mantissa (= Supplement), he was referring to a different
species of Chloris in that publication for the Indian annual, whereas
Fosberg maintained that the nature of the Mantissa implies Linneus was
emending his earlier description, notwithstanding the fact that he had also
used the superfluous and illegitimate name A. polydactylon for the Jamaican

In summary if  Fosberg's position regarding the nomenclature of these
grasses is followed the annual pantropical grass should be called Chloris
inflata Link and the New World perennial species Chloris barbata (L.)Swartz
(not C. dandyana C.D. Adams or C. polystachya (L.) Swartz, both names
published in contemporary floras).  If however Kartesz and Ghandi are
correct the annual should be called C. barbata Swartz and the perennial C.
elata Desv.

Any comments??

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