John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Mon Sep 16 06:44:52 CDT 2002

In response to the e-mail from Kristina Lemson <k.lemson at ECU.EDU.AU> (09/15/02 23:38 PM), the question to be resolved is what was the first name to be published with clear indication that it was at the rank of subfamily (or "suborder" if Art. 19.2 applies) and that applies to a taxon that includes Epacris.  That will be the correct name for the subfamily under the ICBN (http://www.bgbm.fu-berlin.de/iapt/nomenclature/code/saintlouis/0000st.luistitle.htm). Names at other infrafamiliar ranks (e.g. tribe) are irrelevant for purposes of priority (unlike the ICZN, the ICBN does not recognize "co-ordinate status" of ranks)..

If that name proves to be a very unfamiliar one, and the next available name were the more "suitable" subfamily Epacrioideae, then it would be perfectly possible to propose the rejection of the unfamiliar name under the provisions of Art. 56 -- but, having said that, I would not be too confident that the relevant Committee reviewing the proposal would necessarily feel this to be the degree of "disadvantageous nomenclatural change" that would prompt it to recommend acceptance of the proposal.

Note, however, that conservation of a name (Art. 14) can only be at the ranks of species, genus and family.

John McNeill

John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum;
    Honorary Associate ,Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Mailing address:  Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, Scotland, U.K.
Telephone:    +44-131-248-2912;  fax: +44-131-248-2901
Home office:  +44-162-088-0651;  fax: +44-162-088-0342
e-mail: jmcneill at rbge.org.uk (johnm at rom.on.ca is also read)

>>> Kristina Lemson <k.lemson at ECU.EDU.AU> 09/15/02 23:38 PM >>>
John macNeill wrote (among other things):

>One final caution:  although Kristina Lemson refers to a family
"previously recognized by Brown 1810", she does not > tell us the
particular group or groups of genera that have stimulated the question
-- Robert Brown is the author of >many family names, including the
important southern hemisphere Epacridaceae and Restionaceae

In fact, it is the treatment of the irstwhile family Epacridaceae that
is the case in point, with its coming inclusion at subfamilial level
within Ericaceae. This is not the first time this inclusion has been
proposed: Baillon (Hist. Plantes, 1892) included the "Epacreae" within
his Ericaceae. However a recent suggestion is that the name
'Styphelioideae' should be applied in the 'new' rank change and
description of subfamilies of Ericaceae. This is based on the argument
that "Styphelieae" (as well as another, Sprengelieae) appeared in Roemer
& Schultes 1819. Our discussion , which included taxonomists and
non-taxonomist practicing botanists, entered around several points, only
one of which I sent to Taxacom. Other interesting  exchanges occurred
over these questions:

- why should 'Styphelioideae' be used at all when most people working
with epacrids (ie Australian and NZ non-taxonomic folks) know
"Epacridaceae" but haven't cottoned on to its inclusion within
Ericaceae, and to change the name would both change a long tradition of
both formal and informal names and be utterly confusing. This flowed
into discussion of what "disadvantageous" means in Art. 56.1.... and

- why doesn't Baillon's subfamilial treatment have priority over the
current proposal?

best wishes and thanks for all replies so far


Dr. Kristina Lemson
School of Natural Sciences
Edith Cowan University
100 Joondalup Drive
Joondalup, Western Australia 6027

Ph +61 8 9400 5369
Fax +61 8 9400 5509

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