Ferraria/Spelling rules

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 08:44:09 PST
Mary Sue,

I think the take home message about spelling scientific plant names is
that there are indeed rules, even if they may be convoluted or arcane
at times. At one time I thought that any male honorific specific
epithet whose root ends in "r" or a vowel carries only one "i" but
this is not strictly the case. Under Ferraria a ssp. "nortierii" (as
spelled on the wiki) reminded me of this; I believe this should be
"nortieri" as in Oxalis and Haemanthus.

Sometimes convention officially changes also, as "lanceifolius" to
"lancifolius" and so on. Sometimes a name is mistakenly spelled in its
original publication, as Anthurium ernesti, which is properly A.
ernestii. This is an example of an orthographic error.

The botanical code is only familiar to me in a general way but
spelling issues I think are almost always resolved by referring to the
rules and applying them; controversies or "going to committee" is
uncommon. I would think most of the latter are "global changes" rather
than specific cases for a particular plant.

One of the confusing aspects of Latinization is the conversion of
surnames. Your Babiana vanziliae may be an example. Others are
Euphorbia macvaughii, named after Rogers McVaugh, and one that has
always bothered me, Anthurium sanctifidense. The last example means
"Anthurium from a sanctified place" when in fact the author's
intention was to indicate that it hails from Santa Fe, Panama!

I look forward to reading your excursion into Tropaeolum tricolor(um),
another vexing case.

Dylan Hannon

On 10/12/2008, Mary Sue Ittner <> wrote:
> I've been working on the wiki Ferraria pages thinking to add a species we
>  saw in 2006 in Namaqualand.
>  I have the revision from 1979 so thought I could spend some time pouring
>  over it and figure things out. Of course it wasn't so simple since there
>  have been changes since 1979. The plants we saw that were considered in the
>  revision to be a subspecies of Ferraria uncinata were elevated in 2004 to
>  species level. This species, Ferraria macrochlamys , has pale yellow
>  flowers and distinctive leaves, which have strongly crisped or wavy margins.
>  Audrey Cain gave me permission to add  pictures of Ferraria schaeferi
>  clearly showing it to be much different from some plants I grow by that
>  name that I had decided were really F. crispa.
>  I've added some pictures of some very dark Ferraria crispa flowers we saw
>  in Tulbagh and at Lion's Head. One of the pictures if you look closely even
>  has a fly pollinating the flowers.
>  My next challenge was learning that in 2005 Goldblatt and Manning named a
>  new species, Ferraria variabilis,  that apparently was considered a
>  subspecies of F. divaricata. Both have a wide cup. The new species was
>  published in Bothalia 35: 73 (2005). If anyone has access to this I'd be
>  interested in understanding more about it. I found online the Corrections
>  and Additions to Cape Plants updated in May 2008.
>  I'm always thrilled when information like this is added free to the public.
>  I have the book so it is nice to see what has changed since it was
>  published in 2000. The additions state about F. divaricata, "revised
>  species circumscription and range." This species is described as having
>  flowers that are brown to maroon with lighter brown margins or golden brown
>  with darker margins and the range is northwest and southwest from
>  Hondeklipbaai to Langebaan.
>  F. variabilis flowers are described as dull yellow, yellow-green or brown,
>  with banded or speckled markings and darker margins. The range is wide for
>  this species:  S. Namibia to Clanwilliam, Caldedon to Little Karoo.  These
>  descriptions led me to conclude that pictures we took at Villiersdorp and
>  on our way to Middelpos had to be this species instead of F. divaricata as
>  we thought. I'm concluding the same about one of Cameron's pictures as
>  well.  I'm wondering if most of the plants we grow as F. divaricata are
>  really this species and would like to better understand how they are
>  different. Does anyone think the beautiful close-up picture I added from
>  Alan Horstmann and the plants we saw at the Karoo Desert National Botanical
>  Garden pictured on the wiki are F. variabilis instead of F. divaricata?
>  Finally I noted that Kew is spelling one of the species differently than it
>  is spelled in all my books, including the Iris book that was just published
>  and the revision where it was named. This species is spelled Ferraria
>  densipunctulata by Kew and Ferraria densepunctulata by every one else. I
>  emailed a question about the spelling and got this response:
>  "The "i" is correct. The code states that a connecting vowel should be
>  corrected to "i"
>  Cheers,
>  Rafaƫl Govaerts"
>  If you do a Google search you will find that almost all of the hits you
>  will get spell it as it was published. Some names are changed later to the
>  original spelling. Babiana vanzijliae was quoted in the Babiana revision as
>  the correct spelling since that was how it was first published even though
>  most of the books have been spelling it as Babiana vanzyliae.  If as a wiki
>  administrator I can be allowed a rant... it seems to me that if the purpose
>  of having a botanical name is so we will all know that we are talking about
>  the same plant, changing the spelling later so that the same plant is
>  spelled slightly differently just brings about confusion.
>  eg. Besides my earlier example there is always Tropaeolum tricolor  versus
>  Tropaeolum tricolorum
>  Sorry this has gotten so long, but for those of you who are still with me
>  and can help I'd appreciate help with the F. divaricata pictures and
>  understanding about the spelling rules. Thanks.
>  Mary Sue
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