Surprise Name Changes

Abelia x grandiflora/Linnaea x grandiflora on 5-20-17, #331-1.

Hello, folks! Sorry for my absence lately. I have been working to get the plant pages on the right updated and more added. Last week ended and this week began with two surprises. Saturday I was making the page for Abelia x grandiflora and found out the name had changed to Linnaea x grandiflora. What is a Linnaea? A new family name was also proposed, but for now remains the same. Then on Sunday I went to the next plant on the list to update, Aloe ciliaris, and found that name had also changed to Aloiampelos ciliaris. TWO IN A ROW! While the Abelia, Aloe, and Linnaea genera were all named by Carl von Linnaeus in 1753 (or at least he was the first to publish the names), the Aloiampelos genus was created in 2013. Yeah, I know I am somewhat behind but I only checked when I was working on these pages.

Aloe ciliaris wasn’t the only species of Aloe effected. The names of 18 species were changed.

Aloiampelos ciliaris (Syn. Aloe ciliaris) on 7-12-14, #231-13.

Aloe ciliaris is now Aloiampelos ciliaris. Another surprise was that I have been misspelling the species name ciliaris for five years. I have been spelling it cillaris. 18 Aloe species have been affected by name changes, that I know of so far. I found this useful information on Succulents and More. Then when I went to the Wikipedia, I found a link to this article published in PHYTOTAXA about the reclassification of the genus Aloe. Believe me, it is VERY COMPLEX and hard to understand. I learned a lot by reading the article but I am not sure what I read. It is like a whole new language. I was very fortunate to find a link to this article because not just anyone can read their articles. You have to subscribe and the subscription costs A LOT!!! I have never seen a subscription to anything that expensive! OH CRAP! That article was written in 2013!

Since I first started blogging in 2009, the family that Aloe has been in has changed at least 3 times: Aloaceae>Xanthorrhoeaceae>Asphodelaceae. I think now the family is Xanthorrhoeaceae and Asphodelaceae is the subfamily. OH, WAIT A MINUTE! That was in mid-2013! According to the APG IV System (2016), the family is Asphodelaceae, the subfamily is Asphodeloideae and may be placed in the tribe Aloeae. I also read, “in the past, it has been assigned to the family Aloaceae (now included in the Asphodeloidae) or to a broadly circumscribed family Liliaceae (the lily family)”. WHAT?!?! “OR”?!?! GEEZ! I had to correct circumscribed because I misspelled it circumcised.

The 2013 version of The Plant List included 558 accepted species (plus 23 infraspecific names), 560 synonyms, and 105 unresolved names in the Aloe genus. TODAY, the Plants of the World online website lists 576 accepted species in the Aloe genus… including 11 infraspecific names.

I know taxonomists have a tough job know what they are doing. At first, I thought they were crazy and just making a lot of confusion for everyone because they have the authority to do so. Apparently, way back when Carl von Linnaeus and other botanists, horticulturalists, collectors, etc. were naming plants, families, etc., they were just using their eyes and experience. As a result, some genera became quite large and really didn’t belong there. Now, they have phytogenetic analysis that allows for a better understanding of how they should be classified. It does cause a lot of confusion as plants are reclassified into other genera, and even families. Heck, they are creating new genera and renaming family names. Some new genera have only one or two species, but some of the old names have always been that way. They are proposing new ways to classify plants which are, I guess, better ways. For the most part, it does make better sense if you look at the big picture. We have better tools now to classify plants that weren’t available before. Before phytogenetic analysis was used, they did a lot of reclassifying because so many plants had many different scientific names. But even then, a lot of them were still misplaced. SO, even though I feel like having a few drinks of an alcoholic beverage when I read about name changes, I do kind of sort of understand with just water.

SO, as I go down my list of over 400 plants, I am sure I will find more changes. The Plant List is no longer being maintained, so I have switched mainly to using the Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) website and the new Plants of the World online. The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (also a part of Kew) is probably the most up to date list on the planet. I will still use Tropicos as the main source for information on authors names and where they were published because I can click on the abbreviation and get the full names and titles. The Wikipedia has also been an AWESOME resource for information. Without just a few sources, this blog probably wouldn’t even exist.

So, right here and right now, I publically want to thank all the contributors to The Plant List, Llifle, Missouri Botanical Gardens and Tropicos, Daiv Freeman for his CactusGuide and SucculentGuide, the founder of Wikipedia and making it the only advertising free source of information (we should all donate funds), The Royal Botanic Garden (including Kew Science, Plants of the World Online, World Checklist of Selected Plant Families), all the  taxonomists, botanists, horticulturalists, plant collectors, etc. that work very hard growing, collecting data, photograps, and all that they do to make reliable and useful information available. There are many more organizations whose data and information are used, not to mention the colleges and universities throughout the world. The many organizations that work in the preservation of our natural resources, like with the many rainforests throughout the world. We owe these people a lot and you can also donate funds.

Well, I better end this post and get back to work. I hope you have a great week! Stay happy, healthy, positive, cool or warm (depending on where you are). As always GET DIRTY when you have the chance!

2 comments on “Surprise Name Changes

  1. Looks like you have been busy busy Mr R.. And I have been absent myself. Enjoy all you are doing and wonderful that you are listing things for easy perusal 🙂 Take care Sue


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