[Taxacom] Botanical nomenclature question: Ficinia/Melancranis macowanii

Boggan, John BOGGANJ at si.edu
Thu Sep 20 12:44:29 CDT 2007

Here's one for the nomenclatural nitpickers:


For the purposes of typification of a Cyperaceae specimen from South
Africa I'm trying to determine whether Kuntze's publication of the name
Melancranis macowanii in 1898 should be considered a new name, i.e.,
Melancranis macowanii Kuntze, or a combination based on a C.B. Clarke
name, i.e., Melancranis macowanii (C.B. Clarke) Kuntze.


Two names are not in contention:


Ficinia macowanii ["Macowani"] C.B. Clarke, nom. nud. published in
Durand & Schinz, Consp. Fl. Afr. 5: 640 (1894).


Ficinia macowanii ["MacOwani"] C.B. Clarke, validly published in
Thiselton-Dyer, Fl. Capensis 7: 246 (July 1898).


In September 1898, Kuntze published the name "Melancranis Macowanii OK"
(Revis. Gen. Pl. 3(3): 335). Kuntze cited in synonymy "Ficinia MacOwani
Clarke n.n. in Dur. & Schinz fl. Afr. V: 640" (i.e., the 1894 nom.
nud.).  Kuntze cited a locality ("Capland: Swellendam") and provided a
full Latin description of the plant (prefaced by "Hierzu folgende
Diagnose von Mr. Clarke").  He did not cite Clarke's 1898 publication of
the name.


It appears to me that Kuntze was publishing a valid name for something
he knew only as a nomen nudum.  My interpretation is that Kuntze's name
should be regarded as the name of a new species with its own type rather
than a combination based on Clarke's name, because Kuntze provided a
description (which he did not do in making other new combinations) and
explicitly cited Clarke's 1894 nom. nud. in synonymy but not Clarke's
1898 valid publication of the same name.


Another way to look at it: can Kuntze's name be considered a combination
based on Ficinia macowanii Clarke 1898, if he was unaware of the
publication of that name (which is quite possible, as the names were
published only 2 months apart)? 


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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