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A new change in Sans taxonomy.

Posted by roberto2 none (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 15:17

Last but not least. While browsing the new "Sansevieria Online.de" I realized that its author , Dr. Peter Mansfeld used to write : Sansevieria Petagna instead of the usual : Sansevieria Thunb. After a brief search, to my astonishment, I found out that the authorship of the Genus Sansevieria has been credited back to poor Vincenzo Petagna (the most unfortunate Italian botanist to whom Thunberg snatched the priority of the discovery). The article (written by three italian botanists from Petagna's town of Napoli...) was recently published on Taxon. I still have to see it. Well, I will keep this forum informed.......

A plea to restore Petagna's authorship for the genus Sansevieria, nom. cons. (Liliaceae)
Authors: Menale, Bruno1; De Luca, Paolo2; Del Guacchio, Emanuele3
Source: Taxon, Volume 62, Number 2, 20 April 2013 , pp. 387-390(4)


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RE: A new change in Sans taxonomy.

I have just received the article by Menale B., De Luca P. & Del Guacchio E. “A plea to restore Petagna's authorship for the genus Sansevieria, nom. cons. (Liliaceae)” - Taxon 62(2): 387-390 (2013) thanks to Dr.Nepi of the Botanical Library, University of Firenze. At a first sight it just repeat was it had been well known since at least two centuries. That is : Thunberg snatched the priority of the new genus to the Neapolitan botanist Vincenzo Petagna, and all theItalian botanists are still seeking justice. But, the ICBN( see the proposals by Marais of 1973 and 1976) ruled against Petagna, reasoning that “Sansevieria” was just a misspelling of “Sanseverinia”. As the former generic name had been in use since two centuries, the ICBN Commission decided it was to be maintained to avoid further confusion. Now the three Neapolitan authors are reconsidering this rule as , on their opinion, ICBN Article 14.8 gives reason to Petagna. Well, the Article actually writes : ” 14.8. The listed type and spelling of a conserved name (evident misspellings excepted) may only be changed by the procedure outlined in Art. 14.12.” . Our three brave authors think that “evident misspelling excepted” means that Thunberg’s Sansevieria, should be automatically corrected in Petagna’s Sanseverinia and “...consider this change to be inescapable, merely requiring editorial action...”. But, in a footnote, the Nomenclature Editor of the journal, writes that the phrase in parenthesis only refers to errors that incurred “... after the proposal process had been completed, such as spelling errors introduced in the preparation of the Appendices of the Code or through the adoption of a new rule... on spelling standardization”. And this is not the case. So, though the proposal will be submitted to the Commission, it has very few chances to be approved. It will be remembered as the latest taxonomic stumble in the history of this unfortunate genus.


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RE: A new change in Sans taxonomy.

Terrific reporting Roberto. After thinking about this a while, I have come to the conclusion that I am willing to accept almost any expert opinion published in a reputable manner. However, I think you will agree that taxonomy is changing very rapidly right now - perhaps as a result of genomic studies or publishing pressures placed on botanists. I advise friends to pick a guru for the genus in which they are interested. My Sansevieria guru is Prof Len Newton (Kenyatta Univ.) and I follow him through his articles in the ISS Journals and occasionally email. He says he is writing a Sanseveria update for Urs Uggli who is putting together a new version of "The Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants - Monocotyledons" - no release date. Len said at the last CSSA convention that he was going to move the genus back to the family Ruscaceae. So the taxonomy battles continue. Huh?


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