[Taxacom] Stewartia or Stuartia (Theaceae)?

Boggan, John BOGGANJ at si.edu
Wed May 30 13:12:11 CDT 2007

Perhaps this has come up previously, but I'm being vexed by the spelling
of a very well-known genus of Theaceae. Virtually all taxonomic
treatments of the family and genus spell the name as "Stewartia", which
is the original spelling (Linnaeus 1753); however it was apparently
named in honor of a person named Stuart, so there have been various
attempts over the years to declare it an orthographical error and
correct it to "Stuartia".  These attempts have been mostly rejected,
except in a very few references (primarily in the U.K.; Kew apparently
accepts "Stuartia" as the correct spelling). In fact the arguments in
favor of "Stuartia" seem fairly good, in which case I'm trying to figure
out why there seems to be a near-consensus among systematists (at least
outside the U.K.) to accept "Stewartia" as the correct spelling (the
main argument seems to be that Linnaeus originally spelled it that way,
and continued to use that spelling in all subsequent publications).  I
guess it all boils down to how broadly one interprets ICBN Art. 60.1,
whether one considers "Stewartia" to be a correctable orthographical
error, (and also whether one considers that such errors MUST be


For more information see the Wikipedia article (which is what set me off
on this) at: 


and be sure to check the article's discussion page at: 



John Boggan

Type Register Project

United States National Herbarium

Dept. of Botany, MRC 166

National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Institution

P.O. Box 37012

Washington, DC 20013-7012


Email: Bogganj at si.edu

Phone: (202) 633-0895

FAX: (202) 786-2563

Department website: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/botany

Type Register website: http://ravenel.si.edu/botany/types


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