Talk:Cupressus pigmaea

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assessment notes[edit]

Importance stems from narrow range california endemic with vulnerable status. further the species is notable for its role in pygmy forests, a substantial visitor attraction. further the species is important to prehistoric northern calif as a dominant tree species.Anlace 07:47, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Revised - MPF 11:07, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Name choice[edit]

Note: the time stamps on some of my posts do not correspond with when I posted them, as I added them for clarity of discussion, who said what, with comments split into various paragraphs for discussion. KP Botany 23:54, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Why is this listed as the species rather than the subspecies (or variety, I forget which) that it is listed under in the Jepson Manual? KP Botany 21:23, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Opinions are conflicting: see the "taxonomic status" section. Circeus 21:59, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
The question is about the article title, not the taxonomic or nomenclatural history of the plant. As the species is endemic to California, according to the article, and the Jepson Manual is the primary source for information on California's vascular plant taxa, it seems the article would be titled according to this primary source, if not, it should be discussed why the article is named as it is, ie, differently from the Jepson Manual. Do more sources call it by this name? Does some other source trump the JM for Wikipedia names of California endemics? KP Botany 22:25, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Bit of a tricky one. The difficulty of using any other name as the title is that it runs into the problem that page titles can't show italic different to normal text, so the title using the Jepson classification would appear as Cupressus goveniana subsp. pigmaea, which isn't very satisfactory. I am for this reason (among others) not at all happy with giving separate pages to infraspecific plant taxa; one species = one wiki page is much better. So if Jepson's treatment were to be followed, the page should be merged with Cupressus goveniana (as it was, before Anlace started this page). With the amount of detail we have on the taxon now, that isn't too satisfactory, either. I am therefore happy enough to list it as a species, given that several other authors do so, perhaps in this context most importantly Lanner's Conifers of California (1999). While Jepson is generally very good, it is also very out of date or out on a limb in a few cases; one that is obvious is its inclusion of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana in Cupressus, a treatment that is not followed by any other recent author that I know of. - MPF 11:00, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
i support MPF's reasoning entirely. beyond that the trend in researcher's usage is toward the name used in the article title (i spent hours researching the best name before deciding on the version presently used); furthermore it is the least confusing way to refer to the species without mixing it up with gowens. Anlace 16:01, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Why not Cupressus goveniana pigmaea, then? KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
No indication of rank, as required by ICBN! - MPF 23:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Anlace, WP:NOR precludes a conclusion based upon your personal original research into the matter. The article should state why this particular name was chosen, among so many to select from, as the title for the article on Wikipedia. It lengthily presents the various names in the lead paragraph, then goes into no details. Either this is important and needs expounded upon, or it needs demoted. "Anlace's personal decision" is not a basis for choosing the title--it has to come from some research done by these other authors, their reasons for choosing the names they chose. The question is also why choose something other than the Jepson Manual as a name for the title when this is the primary source manual for California's native vegetation. What does Lanner say, for example, as to why he uses something other than the Jepson name choice? Then give Lanner's credentials for saying so, if this is the primary reason for naming the article thus. KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Checked up; all Lanner states is that he follows Griffin & Critchfield, who in turn follow Wolf (as did nearly everyone back then) - MPF 23:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
So, not particularly usable, as the source to decide whether or not to use Jepson, then, as Wolf was also pre-Jepson. KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Equally, in terms of actually studying the genus, Wolf is far and away the most experienced; he alone has studied not only every taxon in the wild, but also virtually every individual population of every taxon, and also carried out lengthy common garden studies of the taxa cultivated together. His published description is also by far the most detailed (10 pages for C. pigmaea, compared to one page for Lanner, and even less for most of the others. D P Little has also collected most of the Cupressus taxa himself (herbarium citations in his Syst. Bot. paper); of others I don't know, except that Farjon's treatment is almost entirely herbarium-based. So on this basis, I'd say we have good justification for selecting Wolf as the most experienced cupressologist to follow, despite his work being over 50 years old. No-one else has examined the taxa in anything like such detail. - MPF 02:20, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
By the way, Jepson does not include Chamaecyparis lawsoniana in Cupressus anymore for the same reason it was changed by others, and includes this information on its on-line manual, which is routinely updated:
"Correspondence 1 indicates that Gadek et al. (Amer. J. Bot. 87: 1044--1057. 2000) present molecular evidence that Cupressus lawsoniana belongs in Chamaecyparis [as Chamaecyparis lawsoniana], and that Jim A. Bartel (The Jepson Manual [Ed. 1] author for Cupressaceae), citing this as well as unpublished genetic evidence by Adams, Little, and others, agrees with this conclusion."[1]
Yet the species' page still lists it as Cupressus lawsoniana with no more than a brief unreferenced note at the end; the correspondance linked above is exactly that; correspondance (much the same as this talk page is correspondance). - MPF 23:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
No, the link you provided is to the genus page, and if you click from next taxon to next taxon, it's not there. But it's not listed on the alphabetic page of species beginning with 'c' under 'Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, but just e-mail the Herbarium about this. I will. And the note is not the same as a note here, where anybody can edit, it's part of a taxonomic treatment of California plants and sending it to the Cupressaceae expert for the Jepson Manual is a form of peer-review for the treatment of the taxon, not an anonymous assortment of editors on the internet discussing it. KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, though I do get to "Cupressus lawsoniana" by clicking on 'next taxon' from C. goveniana or C. macnabiana. - MPF 02:20, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
But, again, if Jepson is "out on a limb", and this is something that others note, it should be included as information in the article on Chamaecyparis lawsoniana. KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
So, back to the question, why is the article titled as it is? "Trends"? Elaborate, quote and list the trends. Specifics, quotable, verifiable, whatever, that can go in the article and explain the choice for the title, why a difference from the Jepson, is what I am seeking, and what the reader should be given along with all these names. KP Botany 20:46, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
there is no need for ad hominem remarks KP. i didnt write the lengthy discussion on taxonomy in the intro and did not generate the heated debate on taxonomy. i never thought the name was a big issue since post-jepson research is heavily weighted on the present name. i have added the following sentence to the article to clarify this tempest in a teapot: "Bartel, Farjon and most current dictionary sources recognize the name Cupressus pigmaea as the preferred name." Anlace 21:38, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
What ad hominem remark? There isn't one--it's a discussion of the reasons you offered for your name choice, not of you. Let's stick to it, and try to focus on the matter at hand: making the article usable for readers. KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
And I'm not sure what "heated debate on taxonomy" you're discussing. The article doesn't really mention taxonomy. KP Bota]ny 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
"i never thought the name was a big issue since post-jepson research is heavily weighted on the present name." my quote of Anlace's comment above KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Bartel is pre-Jepson, not post-Jepson, and you don't list any dictionaries as references. So you offered that "post-jepson research is heavily weighted on the present name," but offered only a single reference, with no discussion about why "post-Jepson research is heavily weighted on the" name you chose. So, again, back to the issue at hand, why the name choice? KP Botany 21:56, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Bartel is long after the original Jepson (1910), though equally Bartel is the 1993 ed. Jepson as he is shown as the author of Cupressus.
PS please (when adding multiple paragraphs which may get further paras interpolated) sign each para separately - it isn't easy to work out who wrote what! Thanks, - MPF 23:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
So, it's used because they did it because everybody did because someone else did it? KP Botany 23:53, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
ive added some dictionary sources to the article, but more importantly ive noted little et al work of 2004 which seems one of the better genetic summaries of cupressidae [2] that supports the article name with fairly detailed characterization within its relatives. btw thanks Kp for the support on the California Coast Ranges issue Anlace 03:29, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Various replies: KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)


Then, the basis for the article name is Wolf's 50 year old treatment of C. pigmaea and you dismiss the Jepson Manual treatments, even though the author of these treatments is intimately familiar with Wolf's work, has done modern work on the species and references Wolf's work, because....? KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)


Yes, they need to change this, and they do make an effort to stay on top of new treatments. KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)


The article sources the 1993 Jepson Flora Project. This makes the discussion hard to follow, pointing out that Bartel is long after the original Jepson, .... I had assumed we were discussing the sources in the article. My bad. KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Bartel's article listed as a source in this article is 1991, which is pre-Jepson, but even if it is Jepson, it's not post-Jepson. And essentially, you're saying the article says that Bartel disagrees with himself and is now back to his 1991 position. Again, if so, this must be explained. He said one thing in 1991 according to the article, and now says something different from that in his Jepson Manual treatment, but the article says, "Bartel, Farjon and most current dictionary sources[1][2] recognize the name Cupressus pigmaea as the preferred taxonomic name," or in another words, he dismisses what he wrote in 1993, and favors his 1991. So, a source must be given that shows he dismisses his Jepson Manual work now. KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Prefered taxonomic name[edit]

"Cupressus goveniana pigmaea

n : rare small cypress native to northern California; sometimes considered the same species as gowen cypress (syn: pygmy cypress, Cupressus pigmaea, Cupressus goveniana

pigmaea)"[3]

"Cupressus pigmaea

n : rare small cypress native to northern California; sometimes considered the same species as gowen cypress (syn: pygmy cypress, Cupressus pigmaea, Cupressus goveniana

pigmaea)"[4]

The second one is the URL you posted as #2, the first is the URL for Cupressus goveniana pigmaea. I'm not following how you interpret this dictionary to mean that this "dictionary (source)[2] (recognizes) the name Cupressus pigmaea as the preferred taxonomic name." Please explain. KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I'll read the AJBot article, as I have it handy. KP Botany 03:42, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

your point on that one dictionary is well taken. several dictionaries use both terms. i have added a second dictionary that uses only the article name. i have also copy edited the text to make it less confrontational as to which authors said what and when. im not trying to trip the authors up in contradicting themselves, but this species has historically been somewhat of an enigma as far as where to place it. i think it's only become clearer in the last decade or so as genetic data has trickled in. i really think Little's treatment trumps everyone in the show here. read it and let me know your thoughts. regards and peace. Anlace 06:57, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Bartel, Farjon and current dictionary sources[1][2] recognize the name Cupressus pigmaea as a valid taxonomic name. quoting from article KP Botany 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Please look at the dictionary sources you are referencing. They give the exact same page, except for the title for the species Cupressus pigmaea and Cupressus goveniana pigmaea. Go to the links you provided, on each page you will see, under the entry various alternate names, including the one you did not choose for the article title. 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Bartel, as MPF pointed out, is the authority for the Jepson Manual section on Cupressaceae, so you must point out, if you say that "Bartel ... (recognizes) the name Cupressus pigmaea as a valid taxonomic name," that he does so in his 1991 article, but uses C. goveniana pigmaea in his Jepson Manual treatment of 1993. In fact since he calls it "C. subsp. goveniana pygmaea (sic) (Lemmon) Bartel" in the Jepson Manual it does not seem that he has chosen to "recognize the name Cupressus pigmaea as a valid taxonomic name," but rather the opposite, that he dismisses it with his Jepson Manual treatment "as a valid taxonomic name." KP Botany 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
So, the dictionaries are out, and Bartel is out, or he is contradictory, or he disputes your chose of title.KP Botany 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Little just uses the name twice, but refers to it from some rather older papers by a chemist, I think, who uses various unusual spellings in his papers, and Little doesn't list any newer sources referencing this name. KP Botany 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
However, what it boils down to right now is the article title is based upon its unexplained usage in a single recent paper in the American Journal of Botany, and ignores the various taxonomic treatments of the species' name? Or according to the references in the article, since Bartel himself, later contradicts the source you quote him on, and the dictionaries both list both without mentioning any preference for either. I think this needs a much better explanation, and one that reflects what is in the journals, the dictionaries don't explain anything and they're not sources of accuracy in taxonomy (at least these), if Bartel is used it must be pointed out that you're using his earlier treatment, and why, and if Little is the sole source it should be pointed out that he does not discuss his choice of name and references papers by an author seen to choose unusual spellings. KP Botany 18:46, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The dispute[edit]

This is improperly sourced, as the sources do not say what is claimed in the article, and it's not really a taxonomy section, but a nomenclature section, as nothing is really said about the taxonomical reasons for the dispute. The dictionary comment is flat wrong. The others I discuss below. KP Botany 20:49, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Bartel et al. 2003[edit]

Bartel et al. 2003[5] says, "C. pigmaea has been treated as synonymous with C. goveniana (Farjon 1998), but in this analysis it appears to be closely allied with C. sargentii .... This analysis gives some support for its recognition as a separate species (Wolf 1948; Munz 1968) or as a variety of C. sargentii."

I believe this shows most clearly what Bartel's position is on the matter of relegating this taxon to its own species, namely, there is "some support for its recognition as a separate species" (emphasis mine), or maybe a subspecies of a different taxon ("or as a variety of C. sargentii", emphasis added, rather than C. goveniana). This also shows that Farjon 2005 is a change from his former position of making C. pigmaea not only not a species, but not a subspecies, either, because he had it completely subsumed into C. goveniana. Again, more reasons not to jump to a name choice. KP Botany 23:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I want to make one other comment. There are other plants that are well known as subspecies, because Wikipedia styles can't support subspecies or varieties as title names, doesn't make it valid to change their names to something different for an article title. KP Botany 23:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

editing seems better than arguing[edit]

your edits, KP, seem rather on target. thanks for the positive contributions. hopefully you can help organize the morphology discussion better. have you studied the Little et al article in depth. it seems to me the key in clarifying that this really is a separate species and on that ground alone trumps all the predecessor debates about the name. let me know what you think of Little. regards Anlace 06:17, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I've re-jigged the taxonomy part a bit, put in the correct isbn for Farjon's monograph (sorry, my bad putting in the wrong isbn before), and taken out the bit about Farjon accepting pigmaea (he doesn't regard it as distinct at all, but he is a 'lumping' botanist). Of Little's work, it is good, but (as with the all the rest of the authors) it is still (and probably always will be) inevitably something of a matter of opinion, rather than hard fact, as to whether Mendocino Cypress is given specific, subspecific or varietal rank, or no rank at all. Virtually all the evidence seems to point to C. pigmaea and C. goveniana being each others' closest relatives, so the rank given to them probably does not affect monophyly, except for that one possibility that matK, rbcL, and trnL plastid sequences hint at a possible closer relationship to C. macrocarpa. As to which we use in wikipedia, it is likewise a matter of opinion, but treating it as a species on the page title is more practical, and all the taxonomic positions are discussed. MPF 11:53, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
There is also the matter of what C. in C. pigmaea (and allies) stands for, whether Cupressus or Callitropsis; Little's 2006 paper (Syst. Bot. 31: 461-480, another essential piece of reading) transfers all the New World Cupressus to Callitropsis, but the evidence is still not absolutely cut-and-dried as to whether the New World species are more closely related to Juniperus, or to the rest of the genus (Old World) Cupressus. I know some European botanists (France Cupressus Conservation Project, Germany) still maintain that the NW species (including C. nootkatensis, and also Vietnamese C. vietnamensis) are better retained in Cupressus. Research is continuing, so more refined results can be expected in the next few years. The possible scenarios are:
   |------------ OW Cupressus
---|
   |     |------ Juniperus
   |-----|
         |------ NW Cupressus = Callitropsis

or

   |------------ NW Cupressus = Callitropsis
---|
   |     |------ Juniperus
   |-----|
         |------ OW Cupressus

or

   |------------ Juniperus
---|
   |     |------ OW Cupressus
   |-----|
         |------ NW Cupressus (no need for Callitropsis to be split)

For the moment, I think it is probably best to stick with C. = Cupressus for now, but being prepared to move them all to Callitropsis titles if the relationships demonstrate it with further evidence. - MPF 11:53, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, Little's Systematic Botany paper includes discussion of the most extensive research on the topic. I just got a copy, so must read it in depth.
I think the taxonomy section still needs a lot of work. I would appreciate if, in the future, other editors would focus on the question and answering it in depth, when a question arises, such as why this name, rather than piling hostility on the asker0--sometimes a question can focus on an issue that needs elaborated upon for the reader. And it's a tough question for the major researchers in the species, so I don't see why I should assume it was easy for a group of Wikipedia editors to come up with a name for a species that hotly disputed and in the midst of a major taxonomic revision.
Readers need to know precisely why and how the article's name was chosen. When I speak at a seminar members of the audience ask me questions of this nature all the time--what were my most basic assumptions. It's part of the process of science, and should be part of the process of making Wikipedia science articles useful and accurate for its audience. Even a scientist should be able to grab quick basic information from Wikipedia articles at some point. This won't happen if a technical question is treated as if it were an assault rifle.
I'll read what papers I have, in depth, and propose a rewriting of the taxonomic/nomenclatural section based on the latest papers and others sources, if no one gets to it before me. I still dispute parts of this section--Wolf cannot have followed Sargent's writing 40 years later, and most of the papers I have read so far say that all later treatments tend to follow Wolf, not vice-versa.
Yes, until Little is better supported, we can't change it from Cupressus. KP Botany 19:03, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Another important ref[edit]

  • Bartel, J. A., Adams, R. P., James, S. A., Mumba, L. E., & Pandey, R. N. (2003). Variation among Cupressus species from the western hemisphere based on random amplified polymorphic DNAs. Biochem. Syst. and Ecol. 31: 693–702.

It places C. pigmaea as in a group including C. goveniana, C. abramsiana AND C. sargentii, and closest to C. sargentii. Also treats Nootka Cypress as Cupressus nootkatensis (but no Old World taxa in the study so it leaves open the Callitropsis question). Only just got it, so I've not read it fully, but it looks to be a ref of major importance. More tomorrow! - MPF 02:29, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

The title should be changed to pygmaea. See today edit.