L. maximowiczii syn with variety tigrinum

totototo@telus.net totototo@telus.net
Thu, 08 Oct 2009 11:22:19 PDT
On 7 Oct 2009, at 18:40, Jim McKenney wrote:

> ...nomenclature and systematics thoroughly confused. The
> lilies originally named Lilium leichtlinii (a lily with yellow flowers) and
> Lilium maximowiczii (a lily with orange flowers) have long been known to be
> conspecific.  That is to say, both are forms of the same species. 
> The first published name for members of this species is Lilium leichtlinii. That
> that is the name of the yellow-flowered form (a tiny minority of wild plants) is
> irrelevant. As the first published name for any member of the species, it
> becomes the specific epithet of all  members of  the species. 

Perhaps it's worth rephrasing Jim's remarks by saying that the type of a taxon 
is often not typical of the taxon. Thus the adjective "typical" has two 
disparate connotations, the strict botanical sense of the word referring to the 
type specimen, and the ordinary, looser everyday sense that refers to what's 
usual for the taxon.

In the eastern Asiatic flora in particular, many plants were first named from 
horticultural forms, as plant collectors were restricted in their travels to 
cities and the environs thereof. As is well known, gardeners tend to select 
aberrant forms, hence many type specimens are quite atypical of the species as 
a whole.

Interesting example: Kerria japonica, first named on the basis of the double-
flowered form acquired from a horticultural source. It was unassigned to any 
family because it is so double that the floral anatomy distinguishing families 
was obliterated. Only when a single flowered form was found growing wild was 
Kerria finally assigned to the Rosaceae.

As for Lilium leichtlinii, the horticultural group nomenclature might work best:

Lilium leichtlinii Leichtlinii Group (i.e. w. yellow flowers)

Lilium leichtlinii Maximowiczii Group (i.e. w. orange flowers)

Generally speaking, flower color is NOT considered to be a useful criterion for 
distinguishing formally defined botanical taxa, so even "Lilium leichtlinii 
var. maximowiczii" is a rather dubious use of botanical terminology. If, 
however, L. "maximowiczii" consistently differs from L. "leichtlinii" in 
anatomical details, then the use of the botanical "var." level would be 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island


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