Another proposed name change

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 13 Jun 2011 20:11:40 PDT
A number of years ago Julian Slade shared with us 
a proposal to split Scilla up. Many years later 
some of the changes have been accepted, but not 
all of them. This kind of thing makes keeping the 
wiki up to date very challenging. Then we had the 
proposal to combine a lot of genera into 
Ornithogalum (Albuca, Dipcadi, Galtonia, 
Neopatersonia, and Pseudogaltonia). That wasn't 
all accepted either. A new paper resurrected 
Albuca, Dipcadi, and Pseudogaltonia, but not 
Galtonia and Neopatersonia and took some of the 
former Ornithogalum species and moved them to Albuca.

Now Pam Slate has shared a new paper from 
the  Annals of Botany 107: 1–37, 2011 available 
online at
Molecular phylogenetics of subfamily 
Ornithogaloideae (Hyacinthaceae) based on nuclear 
and plastid DNA regions, including a new 
taxonomic arrangement by Mario Martínez Azorín, 
Manuel B. Crespo, Ana Juan and Michael F. Fay

This paper concludes: "On the basis of the 
phylogenetic analyses, 19 monophyletic genera are accepted within
Ornithogaloideae: Albuca, Avonsera, Battandiera, 
Cathissa, Coilonox, Dipcadi, Eliokarmos, Elsiea, Ethesia,
Galtonia, Honorius, Loncomelos, Melomphis, 
Neopatersonia, Nicipe, Ornithogalum, Pseudogaltonia,
Stellarioides and Trimelopter. Each of these has 
a particular syndrome of morphological characters. As a
result, 105 new combinations are made and two new 
names are proposed to accommodate the taxa studied in
the new arrangement."

Morphological characters are certainly easier for 
most of us, but it seems like some kind of middle 
ground between the lumpers and the splitters 
would be nice. All this constant changing of 
botanical names makes it harder to convince 
people that they should use them. It used to be 
that you could argue that using botanical names 
assured that you were all taking about the same 
thing. Now the common names last longer in many cases.

Mary Sue

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