[Taxacom] conv. or convar.

Robert Mill R.Mill at rbge.ac.uk
Mon Feb 15 04:11:57 CST 2010

Convariety (convar.) has been defined by Spooner et al., Horticultural
Reviews 28 (2003): 1-60 as [page 4, in glossary]: 
"convariety (convar). A group of cultivars. These can be roughly
comparable to cultivar
groups, but convarieties, unlike cultivar groups, do not necessarily
contain named
varieties, and convarieties are members of traditional "Linnaean" ranks.
replaced this term with the term cultivar-group, and convarieties should
not be used
in modern cultivated plant taxonomy."

This paper and also Brandenburg & Schneider in Taxon 37: 141-147 (1988)
provide useful information. The paper by Brandenburg & Schneider has a
useful summary of the obsolete hierarchies of ranks in cultivated plant
nomenclature, of which convariety is just one. Both papers can be
downloaded from the web - the Taxon one only if you have JSTOR access or
are a member of IAPT (International Association for Plant Taxonomy).

The take-home messages are that (1) convariety was not equivalent to
cultivar but was a separate 'Linnaean' rank, above it but below species,
for a group of cultivars; and (2) the rank is no longer to be used
although references to it will be found in older literature (pre-1969
when the ICNCP rules were changed).

Best wishes, Robert

Dr Robert Mill
Gymnosperm Systematist
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Scotland, U.K.
Tel. + 44 (0) 131 248 2935 (direct)
Fax + 44 (0) 131 248 2901
-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sent: 13 February 2010 09:57
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] conv. or convar.

Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Capers, Robert
Verzonden: za 13-2-2010 3:59
An anthropology professor here at UConn is looking for information on
the meaning of the abbreviation "conv." as in Triticum turgidum L.
subsp. turgidum convar. durum (Desf.) MacKey. It apparently refers to
particular tetraploid land races of wheat. The appreviation "conv."
doesn't appear in the ICBN or Taxonomic Literature but is apparently a
variant of "convar." which also refers to land races of cultivated
plants, as in zucchini (Cucurbita pepo convar. giromontiina), cabbage
(Brassica oleracea L. convar. capitata (L.) Alef.) and an Italian
landrace of flint maize (Zea mays L. convar. mays). It's something like
a cultigen or a cultvar, only different. Does anyone know what "conv."
or "convar." means?

This is a little out of my area of interest, but I can make a few notes:
* "convar" and "conv." will both be abbreviations of the same term 
(just like "ssp." and "subsp." are abbreviations of "subspecies").
* the fact that it is not listed in the ICBN does not prove anything;
the ICBN does not limit the number of possible ranks in any way: 
see Art. 4.3.
* Apparently "convar." has been (and still is) in use as a rank above 
that of "var.", for certain cultivated plants. Thus, it is not
to "cultivar" which has belonged to the province of the ICNCP from the
first. (A "cultigen" is not a rank in any way, but rather a term 
indicating the presumed origin of a plant.)
* Using "convar." does not appear to be best practice; the 2004 ICNCP
the category "Group" for such a unit (in the 1995 version
see http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?406896
which indicates the preferred form should be either:
** Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum (Desf.) Husn. (if treated under the
** Triticum turgidum Durum Group (if treated under the ICNCP)
* However, it is a matter of taxonomic judgement, how to treat the
under what Code, at what rank, and with what name. It is not necessarily
to use "convar.".

Paul van Rijckevorsel

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