Botanical Code question

Torbjörn Tyler Torbjorn.Tyler at SYSBOT.LU.SE
Thu Feb 26 08:57:15 CST 2004

I would suspect that the latin word 'Typus' here, as commonly way back in 1919, did not nesesserely mean what we today mean with a type specimen. In classical Latin 'Typus' rather means a picture of something and in medeaveal Latin it was used in the meaning of 'a kind' or 'a form' of something. Thus, I would interpret the diagnoses here concerned as if the Cusick collection is the true original material and the Sucksdorf collection is only mentioned here since the author has realized that it differs (as described) from the main form of his new taxon. ("Typus (Suksdorf n. 6047! e monte Padds [=Mt. Adams], Washington) minor est, foliis trifidis floribusque majoribus condensatis." may then be translated as ''A form represented by Suksdorf n. 6047 from Mt. Adams is smaller [than the taxon described above] with crowded trifid leaves and major flowers'').

/ Torbjörn Tyler

At 06.39 +0100 on 2004-02-26, Mark Egger wrote:

> Hello,
> In my research on types within the genus Castilleja, I've come across
> a puzzling situation that I hope someone out there with more
> experience in the fine points of the I.C.B.N. may be able to clarify
> for me.
> The question involves the typification of Castilleja oregonensis
> Gand., traditionally treated as a synonym of C. rhexifolia Rydb. The
> protologue reference is Bull. Soc. Bot. France 66:119, 1919. The mode
> Gandoger employes to describe this taxon is very odd. It starts with
> the species name, followed immediately by a Latin diagnosis,
> distinguishing it ("Differet a"...) from C. oreopola Greenm.,
> presently treated as C. parviflora Bong. var. oreopola (Greenm.)
> Ownbey. The text of the diagnosis describes well the characters one
> might now use to distinguish C. rhexifolia from C. parviflora var.
> oreopola.
> Next comes the "Hab." description, which consists of a somewhat
> mangled Latinization of the collection label for a Cusick specimen
> from the Wallowa Mts. of NE Oregon, which is cited in parentheses at
> the end of the paragraph (Cusick 2443). This fairly well distributed
> collection (F, LY-GAN, NY, OSC-ORE, WS) appears in catalogs of
> several herbaria as the type collection for C. oregonensis, and it is
> listed as such, in synonymy under C. rhexifolia, in the Vascular
> Plants of the Pacific Northwest and in the Intermountain Flora.
> But now comes the complication. The final paragraph of the protologue
> reads in its entirety, "Typus (Suksdorf n. 6047! e monte Padds [=Mt.
> Adams], Washington) minor est, foliis trifidis floribusque majoribus
> condensatis."  There are THREE peculiar aspects to this, as I read it.
> 1. Gandoger seems to be distinguishing the "Typus" for this name from
> the Latin diagnosis he just wrote in the first paragraph of the
> protologue.
> 2. He uses a collection from Washington state to apparently typify
> the name "C. oregonensis", immediately after citing an apparent
> paratype that was collected in Oregon (of course, this fact, alone,
> is of no nomenclatural's just odd!).
> 3. The Suksdorf collection (LY-GAN, WS, WTU and probably other
> herbaria), apparently cited as the type, is of typical C. parviflora
> var. oreopola, the same species from which the first part of the
> Latin diagnosis attempts to separate the new taxon! In effect,
> Gandoger first distinguishes his new species from C. parviflora var.
> oreopola with a good description of and specimen citation for C.
> rhexifolia, then immediately indicates as type a collection of C.
> parviflora var. oreopola!
> After puzzling over this for some time, I wonder if the word "Typus"
> starting the final paragraph of the protologue, was SUPPOSED to
> follow the citation of the Cusick collection, which ends the
> immediately preceding paragraph? Of course, this is totally
> conjectural, but it would  explain several odd features of the
> protologue, especially by accounting for the strange manner in which
> the Suksdorf collection is distinguished from what came before (in
> other words, listing it as an atypical paratype of the new species.
> So, my question has two parts:
> 1. From the wording of the protologue, must one interpret it
> literally and treat the Suksdorf collection as the type? Or can one
> use the fact that the first and main part of the diagnosis much
> better describes the Cusick collection to justify a
> lectotypification(?), using that specimen? The St. Louis Code (9.17)
> says that a lectotype or neotype choice can be "superseded...if one
> can show is in serious conflict with the protologue....",
> but this option does not appear to be available in the case of an
> original holotype citation, at least I could not find such a
> statement for holotypes.
> 2. The answer for the first question should basically answer the
> second: should C. oregonensis be treated as a synonym of C.
> rhexifolia (based on the Cusick collection and listed in several
> regional floras as the type), or must it instead become a synonym of
> C. parviflora var. oreopola (the Suksdorf collection)?
> Whew, a lot of writing to explicate what is, in the end, a fairly
> trivial matter, but I love this stuff,  and I would greatly
> appreciate any clarifying comments from the nomenclatural gurus of
> the TAXACOM community!
> Thanks in advance,
> Mark Egger
> Research Associate, WTU


Torbjörn Tyler   /  Projekt Skånes Flora

Department of Ecology
Plant Ecology and Systematics
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e-mail: torbjorn.tyler at

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