Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Plants

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WikiProject Plants (Rated Project-class)
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Archives for WP:PLANTS (Archive index) edit

Metrosideros excelsa → Pohutukawa[edit]

I have started a WP:Requested Move at Talk:Metrosideros_excelsa that may be of interest to editors here. Stuartyeates (talk)

Archive this/ Plantdrew (talk) 23:11, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Yet more over-fine geographical categorization[edit]

We managed to get some agreement that "Flora of ..." categories would be as high level as possible, and that they shouldn't be added for every US state or every country in which a plant occurs. So now we have editors adding very finely split up "Natural history of ..." categories, as per this edit. Sigh... Trying to maintain some sensible system of categorization increasingly seems to me a futile exercise. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:53, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

This is, imho, a losing battle. We discussed this some time ago, and since then I have followed the consensus that we reached, and I have tried to revise existing pages accordingly. But such revisions often got angry reversals from people who wanted it the other way. You can create whatever guidelines you want, but the challenge is how to enforce this.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 03:12, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Regretfully I agree with you. I spent time both on sorting out categories and on documenting this project's consensus but now think that it is a lost cause. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:20, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

I believe the word is "triage." Pick the battles you can win, and which will make a difference.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 18:26, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

Or, since the offending editors rarely respond to questions, concerns, and challenges to their extensive and rapid category creations, bring them to WP:ANI. Other editors have been banned from editing or creating categories in the past; perhaps that's the only solution here. Rkitko (talk) 00:09, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

I would support banning people only as a last resort, to be used only if someone has malicious intentJoseph Laferriere (talk) 03:11, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Disruption suffices for a partial ban, in my opinion. Look2See1 (talk · contribs) has a long history of this sort of disruptive editing contrary to well-established guidance and against the consensus of his/her fellow editors, e.g., User_talk:Look2See1/Archive_1#Fauna_by_state_categories, User_talk:Look2See1/Archive_1#Categorizing pages & wiki-info guide links, User_talk:Look2See1/Archive_2#Category:Invasive_plant_species_in_the_United_States, User_talk:Look2See1/Archive_2#Wildflowers_of_the_Great_Smoky_Mountains, and so on. While apparently cooperative, s/he is unable or unwilling to change his/her behavior. The examples I cite are from 2010 but have continued until the present. I think it is time to thank Look2See1 for his/her effort, but request that s/he no longer add "Flora of …" categories to articles. --Walter Siegmund (talk) 04:43, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
I have two further comments. First, I was doing that sort of thing myself for a while, thinking that this was the proper way to use the categories. Then some good people here on this list explained my erroneous impression, whereupon I not only changed what I had been doing but also tried to clean up existing websites where others had done this. So people need to have it explained to them. Second, the fact that numerous people are doing this illustrates that there is a need for this sort of thing. People want a list of the plants native to a certain region. As I recall, it was Peter who suggested pages listing all the plants in a certain region. This might work in theory but is a bit impractical. One page listing all the 5000 species in California and another page listing the 4000 species in Oregon then another listing the 1000 species on the Isle of Man, and so on around the planet.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:38, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
If you review the links I provided to Look2See1's talk page, you will see many attempts to explain how to add categories constructively. Those of us who have tried for more than four years have failed. But, perhaps you will succeed, Joseph Laferriere. A list article may be used to list species found in a specific region. Moreover, lists may be subdivided by family, non-native species can be identified with an asterisk, are easily illustrated and don't clutter individual species articles with "Flora of …" categories. They may help readers find external biogeographical resources.[1][2][3] Best wishes, Walter Siegmund (talk) 16:47, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
I understand this. What I am saying is that it would take a prohibitive amount of work to set this up.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 19:05, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

@Rkitko: User:NotWith is another editor who has completely ignored all attempts to discuss categorization, and continues to create useless categories. Admins complain as well as non-admins (see User talk:NotWith). Yet nothing is done about either of these two editors. Do you really think that taking them to ANI would achieve anything? I'm afraid I don't. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:36, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Peter - Editors at ANI are fickle. A compelling and concise case must be made as to why the category edits are disruptive and that every other attempt has been made to discuss, reason, and come to consensus with the editors in question. The issue at hand, I think, would be thought of as marginal at best and some contributors at ANI would just dismiss it as a non-issue since we could just nominate all these categories for deletion. I haven't had the time recently to write a complaint for ANI but it might be worth it. At best, the editors are convinced that their edits are against consensus and they rededicate themselves to other categories or work that's in line with what's expected from flora categories. At worst, either nothing is done or they are topic banned. It's not the most satisfying process but unless someone brings it up where an uninvolved admin can help, the status quo is the only expected outcome. Rkitko (talk) 00:01, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

While reserving judgment on the individual cases above, I'm afraid I tend to feel that the current category scheme is something of an attractive nuisance. The guidelines for whether a plant should be in a more or a less exclusive geographical category are inherently rather fuzzy, and it's much easier for someone to see a "Flora of X" category on an article and conclude that other plants growing in "X" should have the same category than for them to actually read the category documentation and realize what we're trying to do with the category scheme. Since the software doesn't allow for union and intersection operations on categories (there are third-party tools that do this, I think), I feel the list approach is probably preferable for small geographic subunits (states, provinces) which typically have widely overlapping floras. Setting up a series of lists does represent a very large initial investment of time and energy, but once completed, they do have some important advantages. They should be fairly stable over time (whereas categories only attach to articles that have already been created), and it's possible to explicitly cite the source that places a particular taxon in a particular location. That last is also lacking in categories (although in theory the article they're attached too should include a well-sourced range). Choess (talk) 01:48, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

"Well-sourced range" information does not exist for many geographic regions.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 03:19, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
If we don't have a source to say that "Taxon X occurs in Y", we shouldn't be placing it in either "Category:Flora of Y" or "List of Flora of Y". Choess (talk) 03:29, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Choess That is certainly good in theory, but fraught with practical difficulties. Range information is notoriously subject to problems and ambiguities. Names change, specimens are either misidentified or filed under synonyms, and many publications give wide generalizations. The phrase "Native to Europe" may mean "found in every nation from Portugal to the Urals" or it might mean "endemic to Spitsbergen." Indeed, half the time when I see the word "endemic" on a Wikipage, it is misused (e.g. "This species is endemic to Italy and also native to Lithuania.").Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:16, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

I stumbled on this rather detailed discussion looking for some kind of basic, general style guidelines about how geographical plant categories should be assigned. Is there an authoritative point of reference on this issue? In my experience, the frustrations voiced above may have to do with the fact that things which seem to be obvious to botanists are not at all obvious to the rest of us (e.g. that overspecialization is unhelpful, that "endemic" means that it is not present anywhere else, that "Malaysia" is already included in "Melesia" which is included in "Indomalesia", etc., etc.). Creating a page to educate non-specialists about these concerns (or making it easier to find if it already exists) would I think be very helpful. Dowcet (talk) 09:00, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

The burning bush[edit]

Dear WikiProject!
By the article Rubus ulmifolius subsp. sanctus this plant is the Moses's burning bush from the Bible. However, I heard a bush, which is in the Sinai peninsula, the berries of this bush are phosphorescent in the desert heat. Which is this phosphorescent bush? Doncsecztalk 18:57, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Are you sure it was the berries that glow? Back in 1913 it was thought that there are no bioluminescent flowering plants (see this and the following page). Another plant called burning bush that grows in that area and emits volatile oils in hot weather is Dictamnus; the air above it can catch fire in special circumstances. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:39, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
The footnotes of my Bible (from 1998) refers to the berries (but the name of this bush not mentioned). Doncsecztalk 19:55, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
Identifying plants from pre-scientific literature, whether the Bible or classical Greek and Roman sources, is fraught with difficulty. Choices made by early translators are usually highly disputed. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:03, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
I concur. The ancients did not leave herbarium specimens, so it is impossible to determine what plants they were discussing. Indeed, some of them were probably fictitious, made up to fit the stories. Look at the animals that the ancients mentioned: dragons, centaurs, unicorns, griffins, 3-headed dogs, etc.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:46, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
The article does not say that it is Moses's burning bush. It says that a particular specimen is revered as such. That is a different, and potentially verifiable, claim. Lavateraguy (talk) 12:14, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Very good. Important distinction.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 21:34, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
The article also claims that the longevity and location of the particular specimen known as the 'burning bush' has resulted in the species' scientific name, though the sources used are not botanical ones and only refer to "Rubus sanctus"; would it be better to try and clarify that information or just remove it, seeing as the sources seem a bit deficient? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:16, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
It's quitting time now, but tomorrow I can investigate and see if I can come up with some better sources.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 00:05, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Schreber's description of Rubus sanctus where he might perhaps have explained the reason for the name does not seem to be online. Perhaps someone has access to Icones et Descriptiones Plantarum Minus Cognitarum from 1766 in a library? (The Tropicos listing is here; IPNI has a typo in the name which I have reported to them.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:33, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

I always assumed that by "burning bush" they meant "a bush that is burning," i.e., on fire.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 17:57, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Citation error messages[edit]

The error checking in the various cite/citation templates has been dramatically tightened recently. The result is that many articles, including plant articles, now have the references section sprinkled with red error messages. Some problems I've noticed where I've managed to work out the cause of the "error" include the following. (In every case the second example used to be ok.) I've noted them here in case it may be helpful to others.

  • Open-ended dates, such as the APweb's recommended citation as "Stevens (2001 onwards)", are not accepted. Along with other plant editors I've been using such dates for APweb, the online Flora of North America, the online Flora of China, etc. where the precise date of the version consulted isn't easily determined (if it can be at all). It's still not clear to me how best to fix such "errors".
  • Additional information in dates isn't allowed. So something like "(1896, reprinted 1980)" will generate an error message. Such "dates" are not uncommon when old botanical works are cited. You have to use something like |date=1980 |origyear=first published 1896:
{{cite book |last=Smith |title=Ancient work |date=1980 |origyear=first published 1896}}Smith (1980) [first published 1896]. Ancient work. 
{{cite book |last=Smith |title=Ancient work |date=1896, reprinted 1980}}Smith (1896, reprinted 1980). Ancient work.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Web citations can no longer use |contribution= or |chapter= or similar parameters. Basically you have to use |title= for the contribution/web page and |work= for the web site:
{{cite web |title=''Hyacinthus orientalis'' |work=The Plant List |url=}}"Hyacinthus orientalis". The Plant List. 
{{cite web |contribution=''Hyacinthus orientalis'' |title=The Plant List |contribution-url=}}"The Plant List".  |chapter= ignored (help)
Citations of online databases like WCSP, TPL, Tropicos, APNI, etc. often seem to be falling foul of this "error".
  • Conference citations can't have |title= without |conference=:
{{cite conference |first1=Adrienne S. |last1=Markey |first2=Byron B. |last2=Lamont |year=1996 |title=Why do some banksias have green nectar? |conference=International Symposium on the Biology of Proteaceae}}Markey, Adrienne S.; Lamont, Byron B. (1996). "Why do some banksias have green nectar?". International Symposium on the Biology of Proteaceae. 
{{cite conference |first1=Adrienne S. |last1=Markey |first2=Byron B. |last2=Lamont |year=1996 |title=Why do some banksias have green nectar? |booktitle=Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Biology of Proteaceae}}Markey, Adrienne S.; Lamont, Byron B. (1996). "Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Biology of Proteaceae".  |chapter= ignored (help)
A significant number of the FA Banksia articles seem to generate this "error" message. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:45, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
damn.....sigh...time to go check....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:40, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
It don't like wikilinks in titles neither guv'nor....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:43, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
The reason that happened Cas, was because in this {{Cite book … template they have made the url= parameter link URL value strictly only to provide the link for the title= parameter (and work= ?) value text and the chapter-url=/section-url=/contribution–url= parameter link URL strictly only to provide the link for the chapter=/section=/contribution= parameter value text. Thus the url= parameter link URL value is no longer allowed to default to link to that chapter=/section=/contribution= parameter text if the chapter-url=/section-url=/contribution–url= parameter is absent. Therefore it links the URL only with the title= parameter value text which previously did not have the link URL associated with it and so conflicts with the hitherto perfectly fine wikilink. Same troubles have been made with many plant articles i have extensively edited and really carefully cited sources in. In the {{Cite web … template they have completely sunk the chapter=/section=/contribution= parameter. Superficial, simplistic, touristic, takes, lacking enough understanding of citations, have no place in citation template editing. No wonder, non-superficial, many scholars, scientists and biological–informatics professional computer coders don’t bother with engaging to any depth with WP any more. --Macropneuma 00:30, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Cas, Fixed that one of your articles’ examples (—was due to flow on effects of changes in {{Cite book template coding, in this case particularly the strict treatment of parameters url= vs. contribution-url=). --Macropneuma 01:13, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
sigh - I scanned through the articles today - I didn't see many of those red parameters. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 07:44, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
@Casliber: one issue I think Macropneuma is talking about doesn't show up as a red "error" message. If a chapter/section/contribution parameter and a title parameter are present, there's no red message but the |url= link now attaches to the title. So in the following example it's now the title that gets linked, whereas before it was the chapter (to check on changes use {{cite compare|mode=XXX in place of {{cite XXX):
Cite book compare
{{ cite book | chapter=Chapter | last=Smith | title=Title | date=2014 | url= }}
Old Smith (2014). "Chapter". Title.
Live Smith (2014). "Chapter". Title. 
This isn't, I suppose, too serious, because the correct link is still there, but it's annoying if, as Macropneuma says, you've carefully crafted citations to link the chapter/contribution/section in a way that used to work. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:16, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
It's very annoying, tending to reduce the elegance of the citations and likely to cause a reader not to bother to look at them, I think. For those that I've looked at, converting url= to chapter-url= has been hard to automate. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:07, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
WHY DEY DO DIS?! This is going to break a lot of things. :/ -- OBSIDIANSOUL 03:17, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Why is a question you'd have to ask those concerned at Help talk:Citation Style 1, which seems to be the main forum at present. Personally I think there is a laudable desire to ensure good quality citations by error-checking them, but that it has been implemented without sufficient attention to the messy reality of real citations and without acceptance of the need to retain consistency of behaviour.
The number of pages with broken citations can be seen at Category:CS1_errors; for example about 50,000 for date formats when I looked. Some can be fixed by a bot (and there are/will be bots running), but others depend on knowing the intention and when the citation was created so can only be fixed by an editor. Some, such as date formats no longer accepted, may require converting the citation from a template to plain text, which seems a step backwards to me. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:16, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
I noticed the date errors earlier when I was writing new articles, but didn't know |url= was also affected. I've checked my reference-heavy articles and so far, nothing has broken visibly (with red warnings). Aside of course, from the |url= fields now linking solely to the title for books rather than chapter/article when specified. I can live with that, I guess. Still it's a bit unnecessarily arcane imo.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:26, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Are you saying they made these changes retroactively, creating errors in pages that had no errors under the old system? Usually when an outfit changes rules like that, they include a grandfather clause exempting things already in existence. (or is the term "grandfathering" an Americanism? It stems from some US states attempting to deny certain people the right to vote by passing laws saying "If your grandfather could not vote, you cannot vote." This was an attempt by states to circumvent Federal civil rights legislation. It did not work; the courts voided all these grandfather laws.)Joseph Laferriere (talk) 13:07, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Templates are expanded each time a page needs refreshing, so when you look at any page, new or old, the text produced by templates in the wikisource will be as per the latest version of the template, not the version of the template that was in existence when it was added to the page. So, yes, all the recent changes are retroactive. Some citations which worked previously now produce errors. For example, there's a red error message in the last reference at the previous version of Banksia brownii (a featured article) which wasn't there before the recent template changes – it would never have got through an FA review! (I've corrected the "error" in the latest version.)
I actually find the transfer of the link from the chapter/contribution to the title more annoying since this happens silently and so is hard to locate and correct. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:36, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

In one case for the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, I've just removed the year entirely since the title was given as "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website Version 7 May 2006" and I thought it a misrepresentation to also have 2001 after another editor removed the "onwards" to get rid of the error message. The date as it appears on the main page is not always transcribed to wikipedia, but I thought it a good idea to have that, so that there is a record of when the page was accessed. What do others think about removing the year from "Stevens, P. F. (2001)" if the version date is used? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:47, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Example: {{Cite web | url= | last1= Stevens | first1= Peter F. | orig-year= 2001 onwards | date= Sep 2013 | title= Angiosperm Phylogeny Website – Austrobaileyaceae | version= Version 13, 28 Sep 2013 with updates | accessdate= 7 Dec 2014 }} —--Macropneuma 21:02, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Refer to the now current version 13 described you can see by scrolling to the bottom of the versions descriptions here. It’s simply that they haven’t yet updated the example of how to cite APweb, from version 12 to the current version 13. --Macropneuma 21:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Oh. A pity we can't fix that for them. So to reword: Do people think it is better to have at Fabaceae, a citation
  • "Stevens, P. F. "Fabaceae". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 7 May 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2008." or to have
  • "Stevens, P. F. (2001). "Fabaceae". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 7 May 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2008.", i.e. with an incorrect date, such as is happening when "onwards" is removed en masse from many pages (putting aside the matter of updating the accessdate and version number while making this correction)?
Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:18, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Simply removing "onwards", leaving "2001", gives a completely wrong date, so this is the worst 'correction'.
Citing a particular version of a continuously updated website also seems problematic to me unless you archive the version so that the url points to that version. Otherwise the url points to the latest version which may or may not be the version stated in the citation, which is surely misleading.
Personally I prefer Stevens' own version "2001 onwards", so currently I convert the template to plain text. If you want to use the template, then perhaps just remove the date altogether? The accessdate parameter gives the really important information. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:54, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes I notice many pages I have worked on now littered in red ink. I will need to rethink the way I cite many standard authorities. Stevens is an obvious example. Many sites including Stevens suggest 'how to cite us', some even mentioning WP, but often that does not work in the current CS era. One just has to experiment till the red ink goes away. I tend to use the date on the version that I used when I cited it. Of course all this CS problem would go away if the citation templates were updated to include such examples. adding ref=harv, and ref={{harvid}} would be a big help too. Many of the examples here are still not offered in the citation dialogue box and have to be added after inserting. I generally get around the chapter issue by placing the book in ==Bibliography== with ref=harv, and citing it as {{sfn|author|year|loc=[url chapter title]}} etc. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 17:45, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't know what's going on, but someone has just gone through List of sequenced plastomes‎ and replaced cite templates by vcite templates. Lavateraguy (talk) 19:17, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Kaffir lime rename proposal[edit]

I've done some minor work on this article today. While there is good, even solid, evidence the origin of the name of this lime cultivar has nothing to do with Kaffir (ethnic slur), I propose we rename it to Makrut lime, which seems the next most common name. Makrut lime currently redirects to this article. HalfGig talk 22:43, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

The article says it is actually Citrus hystrix, so it could be moved there, without resorting to second most common name due the racist name in many areas.-- (talk) 23:39, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Help needed at Brachychiton rupestris[edit]

Melburnian and I are buffing this article up for GA/FA status - but would like some help in describing the floral anatomy in lay terms. I am still getting my head around flower parts! We haven't added much detail yet and the original paper (a monograph on Brachychiton by Gordon Guymer) is where the source material is. We have the paper and can email. Wondered what was easier - someone botanical to read and add or us to try and someone else correct. All input greatly appreciated. cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:53, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Flora of Mesoamerica[edit]

May I suggest the need for a "Flora of Mesoamerica" category? I have run across hundreds of species and genera with ranges that straddle the border between Mexico and Guatemala, yet under the rules as understand them, such genera need to get kicked up to the "Flora of North America" category. A Mesoamerican category encompassing Mexico and Central America would be very useful. Incidentally, I poked around the category listings. The "Flora of Central America" category is listed as a subcategory of the "Flora of North America" category, yet the definition of the term "Central America" says that it is "a portion of South America that includes ..." Which is it? North America or South America? I was taught in school that Central America is part of North America, although I learned many years later that Panama was historically South American. It was for centuries part of Nueva Grenada/Colombia until it became independent in 1905. The other parts of Central America were part of Nueva España/México in colonial times. But I digress. I certainly think we could gain by having a "Flora of Mesoamerica" category.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 16:04, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

I find the usage of "North America" in discussing plant distributions in Wikipedia confusing/confused. I expect "North America" to refer to the North American continent, "South America" to the South American continent, not a unit determined by a political boundary. So "Central America" (Guatemala to Panama) is, for me, clearly part of North America. The TDWG geographical codes for botanical recording, used by WCSP, etc., refer to "Northern America" (from 70 Subarctic America to 79 Mexico inclusive) and "Southern America" (80 Central America to 85 Southern South America inclusive). A problem is that databases like WCSP use the abbreviation "N. America" which (presumably) means the TDWG's "Northern America" not the continent of North America, or the politically defined "North America" which is where the gringos live. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. The "Category:Flora of Central America" page does say "South America" not "Southern America." People on both continents use "Latin America" to mean everything from Mexico to Argentina. Indeed, there are hundreds of species with ranges going from southern Mexico into Colombia and beyond. None of the political boundaries in the region is an ecological boundary. Same is true of the US/Mexican border. The term "Neotropics" is very useful in formal botanical writings, but this is a term unknown to many laypeople.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 17:54, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think we need more categories. We have plenty. If the distribution of a species could accurately be described by inclusion in the regional Category:Flora of Central America (i.e. the range extends to nearly all country subcategories in that region), then place it there. If it also happens to extend into one or two other nearby countries outside of Central America, then use those individual country categories in addition to the regional one. (Note that Category:Flora of Mexico is also subdivided into regions.) This way, ideally, flora articles will never have more than a handful of distribution categories. Since you're dealing with Central American flora that happen to also exist in Mexico, you could just use two: Category:Flora of Central America and Category:Flora of Mexico (or one or two regional Mexican categories if it's just southern Mexico). Rkitko (talk) 22:53, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
No. I think it's relevant to point out that even the guys who designed the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions didn't manage to justify maintaining that as a separate region and eliminated it (I'm temtped to say "with extreme prejudice") in the second edition. It was just way too much trouble for everyone involved, and I think if people who design systems specifically for plants find that term too much trouble, that's a damn good reason to stay away from it! Circéus (talk) 02:45, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
We discussed some time ago at great length the issue of putting a page in more than one geographic category. Consensus was that this should done with specific pages but not with generic pages. A genus with two populations, one in Chiapas, the other in Guatemala, must go the the Flora of North America category, according to what I was told.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 03:33, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Although I agree with Circéus, in practice what any of us think is irrelevant, since NotWith runs around adding categories completely uninterested in what any other editors think. (Currently he or she seems to be working on animal articles, but doubtless will be back to plants.) Peter coxhead (talk) 10:07, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I approve of the defeatist attitude implicit in this last comment. If an editor is making unhelpful edits, then they should be encouraged (later, forced, if necessary) to stop. The fact that the edits are to categories shouldn't mean that we treat them any differently to edits to the prose content of articles. I think the members of the project could agree a strict (perhaps even over-strict initially) set of rules for the categorisation of plant distributions, based on existing good practice among phytogeographers. Any editor who undermines that system could then be made aware of the consensus view, and if they still can't abide by that, then they can be subjected to sanctions. There is evidently a need for good geographical categorisation of plant articles, and the actions of one or a few maverick editors shouldn't be able to change that. I suggest we find a wording that we can all agree on, and stick to that. It almost doesn't matter what the rules are that we come up with, as long as we agree on something. The system could always be amended at a later date. To get the ball rolling, I will suggest the following:
Where the subject of an article is present in four or more subunits of a phytogeographical entity, it should be classified only in the parent unit, and not in any of the daughter units. Thus, a plant growing in Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands would be categorised only in Category:Flora of Europe; a plant growing in four of more states of Mexico, as well as parts of the south-western United States would be categorised in Category:Flora of Mexico, Category:Flora of Arizona and Category:Flora of California only. A plant found in France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria would appear in all five national categories, because they comprise three subunits of Europe and two subunits of Africa.
I think having a hard-and-fast limit (e.g. up to 3 subunits, as in my proposed text) is a good idea at this point, rather then woollier wording such as "a significant number of subunits", because it removes the scope for alternative interpretations. --Stemonitis (talk) 10:32, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable. Are you proposing that this same criterion be applied equally to generic and specific pages?Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:43, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure; I'm undecided on the value of classifying higher ranks geographically. I can see some cases where that would make sense – perhaps only narrow endemics such as Grubbiaceae – but I'm not sure I would want it applied to all families, many of which have very broad distributions. Perhaps it would still work, though. Any taxon at any rank present in four or more top-level phytogeographical entities (biomes? ecozones? continents?) would be left uncategorised, unless the distribution is broad enough to warrant inclusion in Category:Cosmopolitan species. That last category might not be a good idea, and it's hardly used at the moment. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:31, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Additional information about Hydnocarpus wightiana[edit]

Hi; Last spring, I was searching about Hydnocarpus wightiana and found some additional info about the plant (some alternative names, and uses against both a sort of beetle and a skin infection). I typed them on Talk:Hydnocarpus wightiana. As I don’t know much about botanic nor about the English Wikipedia standards, I didn’t add anything on the article though. Are these new pieces of content relevant and how would we add them on the article if so? Thanks! Nclm (talk) 18:19, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Should be "wrightianus," not "-a." Masculine generic name requires a masculine specific epithet. Otherwise, I do not see much problem.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 19:55, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Unless this is one of the cases where "botanical tradition" differs from what would seem to make sense. It is often argued that trees with genus names ending with -us are to be treated as feminine (Quercus petraea, Fagus sylvatica, etc.). This seems like a silly rule to me, but it is certainly a widely held botanical tradition. The IUCN, for instance, uses feminine endings for all the Hydnocarpus species it includes, and there are plenty of other sources that do the same. I couldn't say whether -us or -a is the best suffix to use in our article; it could be either. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:25, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. The relevant adjectival epithets for accepted names in the genus given in the Plant List here are all masculine -us, but many of the synonyms listed have -a. In terms of the ICN it seems to rest on whether "Hydnocarpus" can be regarded as a classical name for a tree. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:25, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, The Plant List has a mixture of -a and -us, but the small sample of accepted names only include -us. I'd have to check the code to be sure, but I think that compounds of -carpus are masculine. I'd have to check a classical Latin dictionary to be sure, but I think that the feminine nature of Populus, Fagus etc comes from classical Latin. Lavateraguy (talk) 08:51, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
It does seem that, whatever the code says, H. wightiana is much more frequently referred to as "wightiana" than "wightianus". It doesn't follow that the same would be true for all the other species ("odoratus" might be more common than "odorata", for instance). Might this be an instance where we overrule WP:NC in order to promote consistency between/within articles, and treat the genus as masculine in line with the more purely nomenclatural sources? We can't very well treat it as variably masculine and feminine in a list of species. --Stemonitis (talk) 09:11, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Re-reading the relevant part of the Code, -carpus genera are explicitly given as an example of genera that are masculine regardless of the author's original intention. In this case, Gaertner erected it as a feminine genus (containing "Hydnocarpus venenata"), but that choice of gender is to be overturned. I can see why there was confusion in the field, and it does appear that the ICN and WP:NC are in conflict. The correct name under the code is masculine, while the most frequent name in otherwise reliable sources is feminine. --Stemonitis (talk) 09:24, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
However, there are many other cases where the most frequently used name is wrong in apparently reliable sources. As an example, Rhodochiton atrosanguineum and Rhodochiton atrosanguineus are about equally common in Google ngrams for this century, horticultural sources mostly use the neuter, and the neuter was used both in WCSP and on the RHS website until I pointed out the error earlier this year and it was corrected (actually, Stemonitis, it was you who first reminded me that -ων is a masculine ending in Greek). When reliable sources are clearly wrong, frequency of use should not matter to us. Note also that WCSP (and hence TPL) only give accepted names in the masculine. So we should use the masculine. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:33, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
The only WCSP (via TPL) accepted Hydnocarpus I see is wightianus (which does help with the original question). However, TPL's Hydnocarpus list is machine generated garbage and is not necessarily reliable. Any genus on TPL that is a mix of "unresolved" names sourced to WCSP and "accepted" names sourced to Tropicos hasn't been checked by humans, and this pattern (unresolved WCSP/accepted Tropicos) should be a big red flag for reliability.
TPL often defaults to "accepted" for Tropicos records as long as Tropicos doesn't have an explicit source for synonymy (obscure and poorly sourced names on Tropicos that are almost certainly synonyms may end up as "accepted" on TPL). In the case of Hydnocarpus, the accepted Tropicos names do seem to be legit. On Tropicos, they're sourced to Flora of China, and the TPL algorithm interprets FoC as a "good" source (the TPL algorithm has something stronger than "accept by default" in this case); of course, TPL also interprets Flora of North America as a "good" source, which led to a problem with Berberis and Mahonia listings when FNA and FoC disagreed. Plantdrew (talk) 17:32, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I guess that youall want to move the article (redirect from orthographic variant?) Lavateraguy (talk) 18:10, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I had forgotten about the "female tree" rule when I made my previous remarks. I think Linnaeus had been overindulging in good Swedish Yultide wassail when he came up with that one. Two points: 1) The so-called "authoritative sources" such as TPL and WCSPF and Tropicos are riddled with thousands of errors on this sort of thing. The computers have not read the ICN and they understand the various computer languages but generally not Latin. 2) We refer to these as "scientific names," which implies that we are using the names that scientists would use. Every botanist on the planet recognizes the ICN as the arbiter on what the rules are concerning the spelling and acceptance of these names. Spelling "Hydnocarpus" as "Hidnokarrpuss" would be equivalent to saying that 2 + 2 = 37. It is wrong regardless of how many publications have used the misspelling. Now we here on Wikipedia can record variations of spelling and mistakes that have found their way into print, we should not to be afraid to point out which of the options is regarded by scientists as correct and which ones are considered errors.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 19:36, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I looked up a few tree genus names in -us in Lewis and Short and they are feminine, so it seems that it's not Linnaeus in particular that is to blame. How this is to be reconciled with the widespread statement that 2nd declension nouns are masculine (-us) or neuter (-um) so far escapes me, but the Greek second declension has masculine (-os), feminine (-os) and neuter (-on) nouns. (The Wikipedia article on Latin declension says "The second declension is a large group of nouns consisting of mostly masculine nouns like equus, equī ("horse") and puer, puerī ("boy") and neuter nouns like castellum, castellī ("fort"). There are several small groups of feminine exceptions, including names of gemstones, plants, trees, and some towns and cities.") Lavateraguy (talk) 22:59, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
The feminine tree rule is a modern invention, unknown to the ancients. Pliny the Elder would have said "Quercus albus" instead of "Quercus alba." Botanical Latin is not Classical Latin, but Latin altered to fit more recent concepts, in this case 18th Centuries concepts of gender. Whether or not Linnaeus invented the idea I'm not sure, but he adopted it and others followed his lead.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 23:48, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
The existence of Classical, Medieval and Botanical Latin confuses things (Vulgar Latin abandoned most of the case endings, so it's not relevant), as works on Latin Grammar tend to not be specific as to which version they apply to. However I find a Grammar of Classical Latin which states that trees in -us are feminine. Can you offer a reliable source to the contrary? Lavateraguy (talk) 00:15, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm responding to a request for comment from a Latinist's perspective. I'm not really a linguistic expert; my specialty is names and things relating to them. But that's pretty much what this is about, and it helps that I actually know a lot of tree names, and was able to look them up in one of my Latin dictionaries (I'm using Cassell's right now). But I also have a little perspective from a purely linguistic standpoint. Just because a particular declension is usually associated with masculine or feminine nouns doesn't mean that there's a rule. Most first declension nouns are feminine, but there are some important and notable exceptions (I always remember nauta, pirata, agricola, Agrippa, and Poplicola). Most second declension nouns are masculine or neuter (don't forget those neuters!), but there are feminine ones. Tellus is the only non-tree I can remember, Venus being third declension (and another example of a general rule with exceptions; all third declension nouns ending in -us are neuter except for Venus, which is necessarily feminine).
This gives us an important clue, however. The gender of a word isn't determined by its declension, but by the thing it refers to. It's true that there's often a correspondence, but the actual gender of a particular thing trumps the general rule when it comes to declensions. Earth, for example, is feminine whether you refer to it as terra or tellus. Rivers are nearly always masculine (and personified by river gods), but there are a few exceptions (Styx, Lethe, Tyche, and Neda being the ones I recall). Streams are feminine, however. And every tree I can think of of that the Romans would have known perfectly well is feminine, except for maple, which for some reason is neuter. Some of them, by the way, are fourth declension nouns, which means that they look like second declension nouns in the nominative, but the genitive also ends in -us. Quercus is an example of that. Most fourth declension nouns are feminine. A few trees can be either second or fourth declension, but they're always feminine.
Here's a list I've been making as I typed my response:
  • 1st declension feminine: acacia, armeniaca, betula, castanea, olea or oliva, palma, picea, rosa, tilia
  • 2nd declension feminine: aesculus, alnus, amygdalus, arbutus, buxus, cedrus, cerasus, citrus, corylus, fagus, fraxinus, juniperus, laurus, malus, morus, ornus, persicus, pirus, platanus, pomus, populus, prinus, prunus, sambucus, sorbus or sorvus, taxus, ulmus
  • 2nd declension neuter: cinnamomum or cinnamum, viburnum
  • 3rd declension neuter: acer, siler
  • 3rd declension feminine: abies, ilex, juglans, larix, salix
  • 4th declension feminine: quercus
  • 1st or 3rd declension feminine: myrica or myrice
  • 2nd or 4th declension feminine: cornus, cupressus, ficus, myrtus, pinus
Notes: Cassell's makes citrus masculine; Bantam's says it's feminine.
So the answer seems to be that in Latin, no matter what the era, trees are nearly always feminine; one type came up neuter, and none masculine. There could be some more neuter trees, or even some masculine ones, that I didn't think of. But feminine seems to be the rule. P Aculeius (talk) 02:58, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
See wikt:Category:Latin feminine nouns in the second declension and wikt:Category:la:Trees.
Wavelength (talk) 03:14, 20 December 2014 (UTC) and 03:16, 20 December 2014 (UTC) and 03:43, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
See wikt:robur ("a kind of hard oak", neuter) and "siler" ("willow", neuter, synonym of "salix" [feminine]).
Wavelength (talk) 03:45, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Perfectly right about siler, which Cassell's describes as the brook-willow. Seems to belong to the same class as acer. But robur simply means "hard wood," with a note saying that it applies particularly to oak. I suspect that the species name quercus robur is modern. If you take it as an adjective, which I think may be the case, it's feminine because quercus is feminine, irrespective of whether it would be neuter as a stand-alone noun. There's a related adjective, roboreus -a -um which shows that, whatever gender of the thing from which the adjective is derived, it has to agree with the noun it describes. P Aculeius (talk) 04:32, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Whatever the history is here, the point remains that scientific names have grammatical gender. This is a linguistic phenomenon common to most European languages, and does not have to be logical (In French, the moon is feminine and the sun is masculine, while in German exactly the opposite is true). So if you see a list of the species in a given genus, some of the epithets having masculine endings and others having feminine, that is a clue that something is wrong.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:52, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
That's perfectly true. But bear in mind that botanists aren't all fluent in Latin and Greek, and may not be aware that nearly all trees are feminine, even if their names are second declension nouns (or look like them). Grammatical gender seems to be one reason why so many taxonomic names are changed from time to time. Adjectives don't have a natural gender, but take their endings based on the gender of the noun or pronoun described; in the case of first and second declension adjectives, they take first declension endings if feminine, second if masculine or neuter. Irrespective of the declension used by the genus, the species has to belong to the same gender. And trees, with very few exceptions, are feminine, even though the majority belong to the second declension; so the adjectives used as species names have to be feminine, too. In the case of first and second declension adjectives, that means taking first declension endings. P Aculeius (talk) 14:00, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Looks like I forgot an important exception. Plants with species names in the genitive (i.e. "of Smith, of Linnaeus, of Larson") will have genitive forms appropriate to the person whose name is being used. A way to remember this is to think of genitives as adjectives describing the person referred to. Looks like "Smith" is treated as an i-stem noun, so smithii rather than smithi, no matter what kind of tree Smithius discovered. This only applies to genitives; if the name's not in the genitive, it still has to agree with the genus, so ficus forsythia rather than forsythius, but ficus forsythii if it's not the Forsyth fig, but Forsyth's fig. P Aculeius (talk) 14:17, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Triple posting here... some of the confusion seems to come from sources on botanical names written by authors who don't have a background in Latin. In Plant Systematics by Michael George Simpson, the author speaks of names that have masculine endings but are treated as feminine in Latin. But the endings aren't masculine at all, and the names aren't "treated as" feminine. The ending doesn't determine the gender, and second declension nouns other than obvious neuters may be either masculine or feminine (and apparently a few are also neuter). I found this helpful explanation of feminine second declension nouns at
"The following nouns of the second declension are feminine:
1) Most cities, countries, and islands: Corinthus, Aegyptus, Rhodus, etc.
2) Most trees and plants: fagus, beech, ficus, fig tree, etc.
3) The following: alvus, belly carbasus, linen; humus, ground; and a few others.
And the following are neuter: virus, poison; pelagus, sea; vulgus, crowd, rabble. (These have no plural, except pelagus)."
Of course, novel coinages can't be expected to follow normal rules; if somebody makes up a generic name for a type of tree, they could treat it as masculine or neuter on a whim (or out of ignorance). And then later botanists could try to correct that (or hypercorrect it, if the original name was meant to be feminine, and they're trying to treat it as masculine because it "looks" masculine). Hence some of the confusion. Perhaps the best way to deal with the situation is to know that most plants are feminine, irrespective of their declension, because the declension doesn't determine the gender of a noun. P Aculeius (talk) 14:52, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
Very certainly not all botanists have studied Latin. I saw one author state in the protologue that he was naming a species after his wife, yet he used the masculine "-ii" ending. That is how these mistakes originate, and very often the errors get copied by secondary sources. But the names are still covered by the ICN whether the botanists are fluent in Latin or not. Subsequent botanists who do know Latin will find these errors and correct them. Indeed, the ICN has provisions for correcting the errors. The question before us at Wikipedia is whether we follow the misuse of the grammatical endings or follow the provisions of the ICN.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 17:13, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
The simple answer is that there's no easy answer! On the one hand, Wikipedia is supposed to be accessible to everyone, so common usage is entitled to some deference. But that would mean listing plants under their common names (even when there's considerable variation), which isn't how plant articles are usually titled. At the same time, Wikipedia articles can be as detailed and comprehensive as the authors can make them, which is part of what makes Wikipedia so useful; while coverage in some areas is lacking or dubious, countless matters that wouldn't be covered in depth by most encyclopedias are very well covered. While most authors I know strive for accuracy, it's hard to tell what that means when a widely-recognized authority appears to have endorsed a mistake. Does the ICN create truth or have the power to make new exceptions to Latin grammar? Of course not. It's there to help standardize taxonomy. But that's still important, as most writers feel obliged to follow its recommendations, even if they don't make sense.
My suggestion would be to use the correct grammar first, whatever the current ICN designation is, and list alternative forms (synonyms, common names) in the lead paragraph. If there's a conflict between good grammar and current ICN usage, place a footnote after the ICN designation and explain the difference. Since most Wikipedia articles use Arabic numerals for sources, I usually use either the {{efn}} or the {{efn-lr}} template for footnotes. The first format gives you "[note 1]", and the second uses small Roman numerals. Place the explanatory note after a pipe in the template, and place a notes or footnotes section before the citations or references, with {{notelist}} or {{notelist-lr}} in it. I'd write something like, "Because the genus Blahnus is grammatically feminine, the synonym Blahnus blasia is technically correct. However, the current ICN designation is Blahnus blasius." Or something along those lines. P Aculeius (talk) 18:51, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
My WWW search (not necessarily a Google search) for "International Code of Nomenclature" Latin errors mistakes found some web pages which might be useful for this discussion. I started to select some for mention here, but then I decided to leave that for other editors.
Wavelength (talk) 20:01, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
This looks important: from the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Chapter VII, Orthography and Gender of Names:
Ex. 3. Compound generic names in which the termination of the last word is altered: Stenocarpus R. Br., Dipterocarpus C. F. Gaertn., and all other compounds ending in the Greek masculine -carpos (or -carpus), e.g. Hymenocarpos Savi, are masculine; those in -carpa or -carpaea, however, are feminine, e.g. Callicarpa L. and Polycarpaea Lam.; and those in -carpon, -carpum, or -carpium are neuter, e.g. Polycarpon L., Ormocarpum P. Beauv., and Pisocarpium Link.
I believe this answers the question on this specific issue. Greek -carpos (Latinized -carpus) is masculine. So if it ends in -carpus, rather than -carpa/carpaea or carpon/carpium, it's masculine, and the species name should be too, unless it falls under the genitive exception or another exception I ran into, apposition (where the species name doesn't describe the type of thing, but is itself a specific thing; the example cited was Panthera leo, where leo (masculine) is a specific thing, not "just" a description of a particular panthera (feminine). P Aculeius (talk) 22:53, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
The question was asked "Does the ICN create truth or have the power to make new exceptions to Latin grammar?" What do you mean "exceptions?" The rules in the ICN concerning gender agreement is explaining Latin grammar, i.e. Botanical Latin Grammar, not making exceptions to it. Adjectives must have the same gender as nouns, in Latin just as in French, Spanish, or German. If I say "una rosa rojo" in Spanish, I have made a grammatical error. It should be "una rosa roja." It is exactly the same thing in Latin. The ICN needs to present rules on determining what gender the nouns are.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 23:20, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure where this is going. All I was saying is that the ICN can't simply declare that feminine nouns must be treated as masculine because they look masculine. Or rather, it could declare it all it wants, but that wouldn't make it alright for anybody to do it, even if people chose to accept the ICN's authority and ignore the rules of grammar. But that's not what's happening here, because the question is whether a genus ending in -carpus is masculine or feminine. We've established that the names of most plants are feminine in Latin (the examples I used were trees, but the rule seems to pertain to plants in general), even if they belong to the second declension (as most do). The fact that they end in -us is irrelevant. However, -carpus is from Greek, and the form tells us the gender; if the same plant were feminine, it would end in -carpa, and if it were neuter it would end in -carpum.
Superficially this resembles the usual pattern of Latin nouns of the first and second declension, and indeed it would be the case with adjectives, which have no natural gender. But you cannot determine the gender of a first or second declension noun merely from its ending, because there are important exceptions (such as plants, countries, names for earth). The Greek element -carpus, however, is diagnostic, and tells us that the plant is masculine, and requires a masculine adjective, if the species name is to be based on an adjective. So, notwithstanding the fact that most trees are feminine in Latin, Hydnocarpus is masculine.
There are three ways the name could be formed: feminine Hydnocarpa wightiana; masculine Hydnocarpus wightianus; or with a genetive ending, Hydnocarpus wightii, in which the species name doesn't depend on the gender of the genus. Note that Robert Wight shows all three forms in the abbreviated list of plants named after him (as well as one instance of neuter wightianum). Since the genus isn't likely to change just for consistency with a species name, that leaves the latter two options. According to the rules of botanical nomenclature, one of those has to be the correct form of the name, even if the ICN currently recognizes a form that's gramatically incorrect. And that's where you'd put the explanatory note in the lead paragraph. I'd suggest moving the article to Hydnocarpus wightianus and then explaining that wightiana is commonly used despite the fact that Hydnocarpus is masculine, and that the confusion probably arose because most other trees ending in -us are feminine. P Aculeius (talk) 01:41, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
To summarise
  • In spite of the school boy Latin belief that 2nd declension nouns ending in -us as masculine, nearly all plant genera which are adopted from Latin plant names are feminine.
  • Plant genera which are compound words in which the last element is a masculine noun ending in -us are masculine; however due to hypercorrection based on the previous point they have often been erroneously treated as feminine.
  • Botanical Latin does not differ from Classical Latin here.
Euonymus (masc.) looks like an exception, but it turns out to be a compound (borrowed from the Greek - see wikt:Euonymus.
My thanks to the Latinists for their assistance. Lavateraguy (talk) 09:57, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
I've moved the article. Someone who knows the categories can add the appropriate one. Lavateraguy (talk) 16:08, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I'm another Latinist referred from Wikipedia:WikiProject Latin. The topic of declensions and genders of Latin plant names has been exhausted, but I'll add another fact and some speculation: the Latin word for "tree", arbor, is third-declension feminine. A close association between this word and tree names could be a reason why so many of them are feminine. (In some cases adjectives modifying nouns of a particular gender in Latin or Greek can be adopted on their own as a noun, retaining the gender of the noun they formerly modified, but I don't know of any tree names that are adjectives.) At the very least, association with this noun might help reinforce feminine gender for nouns of a declension that is usually masculine. — Eru·tuon 05:00, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't think it's so much the word arbor as it is the fact that trees and plants were (usually) considered feminine by the Latins (and perhaps other peoples of Italy). Or, put another way, the word arbor is feminine for the same reason that most names of trees are, but it's not the reason itself. As for adjectives, I believe that what we were talking about wasn't the use of adjectives for tree names by the Romans, but the use of adjectives to differentiate species in botanical names. For example, the Romans may not have had separate words for the red blah and the white blah, but we refer to them as Blahnus rubra and Blahnus alba. In this case, rubra and alba are adjectives describing a type of tree belonging to the genus Blahnus. So while Blahnus rubra would be considered a compound noun, the compound consists of a noun and an adjective. The same would be true for Fuller's blah, Blahnus nattae, in which the species name describes a particular tree, but not for the Wally blah, Blahnus wallius, in which the species name is a noun, and doesn't have to agree with the gender of the generic name. I believe this is referred to as "apposition." P Aculeius (talk) 23:19, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I should clarify: my mention of adjectives was not a misunderstanding of the original question (why the adjective wightiana is feminine rather than masculine), but rather a speculation that the names of trees (pirus, quercus) might be feminine because they were originally adjectives modifying arbor, as, for example, Ancient Greek ὀξεῖα "acute (accent)" is a nominalized adjective, feminine because it derives by abbreviation from the adjective-noun phrase ὀξεῖα προσῳδία, in which it modifies a feminine noun. (I can't think of any Latin examples at the moment.) However, as I said, I don't know that pirus, quercus, or any of the other tree names were once adjectives, so it's just empty speculation. — Eru·tuon 02:13, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Merging Sterculiaceae and Sterculioideae?[edit]

These articles should be merged I suspect....but with the subfamily the target/consensus name....? I will add a merge template on them and folks can discuss there.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:48, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

No. The old Sterculiaceae is not coterminous with the modern Sterculioideae - see the green (Sterculiaceae) and cyan (Byttneriaceae) here for an overview of how the relevant taxa have been divided in the past. What are more or less equivalent are Sterculioideae and Sterculieae. Lavateraguy (talk) 23:12, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

WikiCup 2015[edit]

Hi there; this is just a quick note to let you all know that the 2015 WikiCup will begin on January 1st. The WikiCup is an annual competition to encourage high-quality contributions to Wikipedia by adding a little friendly competition to editing. At the time of writing, more than fifty users have signed up to take part in the competition; interested parties, no matter their level of experience or their editing interests, are warmly invited to sign up. Questions are welcome on the WikiCup talk page. Thanks! Miyagawa (talk) 21:51, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Kew Glossary[edit]

Does anyone know what happened to the Kew online Glossary? At first I thought it was just a temporary technical glitch, but it seems to have become a permanent deletion from their website, resulting in numerous deadlinks on WP. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 18:39, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it seems to have gone. I suspect Kew is keen on selling the paper copy. (Having paid for it myself, I'm less bothered about its disappearance online!) Peter coxhead (talk) 14:10, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
It looks as if the internet archive captured a fair bit of it: Rkitko (talk) 17:05, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I am happy to pay for it but that is not much help in directing our readers' attention to it for further information. Fortunately there are a number of other sources, many of which I have listed in the two glossary pages on this project. All the same taking it down seems to run contrary to the current emphasis on open sourcing in science, of which we are a part. Or - who owns knowledge? --Michael Goodyear (talk) 17:22, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Monotypic taxa[edit]

This topic has come up again. I discovered it when I wrote a page on a 'missing' higher taxon, that was monotypic, and was told it was a policy to merge these with the lower taxon as per WP:MONOTYPICFLORA, which had not been mentioned last time I discussed this.

This policy (strictly speaking, a guideline) was written by Hesperian on March 24 2010, and judging by the talk page, was not discussed or debated. I think it is a useful guidance in principle but should not be and is not a blanket proscription of having separate pages. There are arguments for the latter where the issue to be discussed are different. For instance if like me, one's major interests are in taxonomy and phylogeny the minutiae of the construction and reconstruction of higher taxa are not really appropriate on a genus page, whether monotypic or not. I propose the guideline be revisited to clarify this. If there is support for allowing this, I will draft a revision, since I see many instances where the issue could arise. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 15:34, 7 January 2015 (UTC).

Some discussion ocurred here: Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (flora)/Archive 1#Monotypic genera. I support the concept that we shouldn't have two articles one of which only says: "Foo is a RANK of plants containing a single SUBRANK Bar". In many cases of monotypy, that's really all that can possibly be said about one of the ranks.
However, if there are previous circumscriptions of a (presently monotypic) higher rank that were not monotypic it seems rather strange to me to shove discussion of those circumscriptions into an article on a lower rank. "Duplicate" articles on monotypic taxa can be useful if there really is something worthwhile to discuss about the taxonomic history of the "redundant" rank. For a similar situation, see the entries in Category:Historically recognized angiosperm families. People are likely to search for information on some of these families, it wouldn't be very helpful to somebody looking up Flacourtiaceae to just get redirect to Salicaceae. Plantdrew (talk) 17:48, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
<slightly defensive tone> In 2010 I was a prolific editor of plant articles and heavily involved in community discussions here and at the naming conventions page. I was intimately acquainted with the views of this community on plant article naming, and thus well-qualified to write down a record of them. My edits to the policy page went unchallenged at the time and for the next four years. So I resent, a little bit, what appears to be an implication that I acted too boldly then.</slightly defensive tone>
Moving on: Mgoodyear is absolutely right in saying it is "a useful guidance in principle but should not be and is not a blanket proscription". That's all it ever was. I myself have written articles on monotypic higher taxa where "the minutiae of the construction and reconstruction of higher taxa" was of interest, thus breaking 'my own' guidelines. Hesperian 00:05, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Nothing to be defensive about here. You did a huge amount of work on this, and I would have done the same. Put forward an idea and if if nobody shoots it down, craft a guidance. All I was saying was that nobody started a discussion of the pros and cons at the time, which I have now tried to do here. My view would be that there is no point in a page that merely says, Somethingiae is a taxon that contains one genus - see Somethingus. In that case they can be merged. On the other hand if there is a complicated historical literature on the construction and reconstruction of higher taxa, that discussion is out of place in a genus page, and deserves separate handling. I hope I have made the distinction a little clearer. That's the way policies and laws evolve - draft something - see how it works, and if necessary revise it. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 17:49, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
As others have noted, there may be good reasons to have exceptions to the general policy. It needs to be shown in each case, though, that there is scope for two or more articles. My concern is that most of the sections at WP:WikiProject_Plants/Template, other than Taxonomy, would be duplicated across the articles if they were to be made complete.
The discussion between myself and Mgoodyear began over Agapanthus and Agapanthoideae. Now Agapanthus can readily be expanded into a complete article (it's probably already better than "Start" which is its current rating). What would be left to put into Agapanthoideae? Why is it useful to have a separate article on this subfamily? In this case the relevant taxonomy can be discussed at the genus level and with a different focus at the family level (Amaryllidaceae). I really don't see the point of two articles, one of which will end up as a stub or at best a single section article. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:04, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree that duplicating the template would be pointless, at most a 'lead' type statement is all that is needed, with a 'main' type redirection. It is mainly the literature around the nature of the higher taxon itself that is relevant. Maybe Agapanthus was not a good example, I just put it there for now as a place holder while I systematically review all the higher taxon pages within that family, as part of a revision of the Amaryllidaceae page. In doing so I always check both higher and lower taxon pages. I will return to it soon. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 17:29, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

I think this question has now been up for long enough that we can turn talk into policy or there is no point in having this page. So I will draft a change for discussion before implementing.

The current wording is:
When a taxon contains only a single member, both taxon and member are usually treated in a single article. In such cases, the article title is chosen from among the "principal ranks" specified by the Code of Nomenclature.
To which I propose we add:
Where there is sufficient material available specifically addressing the higher taxon, such as the history of its construction and reconstruction, and relationship to other taxa, a separate page is justifiable. Unnecessary duplication between the higher taxon page and its monotypic lower taxon page should be avoided.
--Michael Goodyear (talk) 18:13, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Well, I think it's a bit more complicated than that; in particular I think it depends on the rank of the taxon and how many ranks are monotypic. Thus I find it hard to see that a monotypic genus and its sole species would justify two articles, whereas a family that once included many genera and is now reduced to a single genus seems a more obvious case for two articles. I'd like it to be clear that the default remains a single article, and that the case for two has to be made. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:14, 27 January 2015 (UTC)


Could a knowledgeable person please have a look at the recent change to Parnassia where the APG classification differs from that used by a USDA site and Flora of Missouri? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:43, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for catching that. I reverted the change the IP editor made. The USDA PLANTS site is notoriously outdated and whatever relationship Parnassia ends up having, it will not be in the Saxifragaceae. The APG website notes that currently it's not clear whether Parnassia and Lepuropetalum are sister to the remaining Celastraceae, but if they are, it's likely that Parnassiaceae will be resurrected. For now, though, it appears that they remain in Celastraceae. Rkitko (talk) 22:57, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

Study Request[edit]

Hello Wikipedians of WikiProject Plants!

We’d like to invite you to participate in a study that aims to explore how WikiProject members coordinate activities of distributed group members to complete project goals. We are specifically seeking to talk to people who have been active in at least one WikiProject in their time in Wikipedia. Compensation will be provided to each participant in the form of a $10 Amazon gift card.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the coordination practices of Wikipedians active within WikiProjects, and to explore the potential for tool-mediated coordination to improve those practices. Interviews will be semi-structured, and should last between 45-60 minutes. If you decide to participate, we will schedule an appointment for the online chat session. During the appointment you will be asked some basic questions about your experience interacting in WikiProjects, how that process has worked for you in the past and what ideas you might have to improve the future.

You must be over 18 years old, speak English, and you must currently be or have been at one time an active member of a WikiProject. The interview can be conducted over an audio chatting channel such as Skype or Google Hangouts, or via an instant messaging client. If you have questions about the research or are interested in participating, please contact Michael Gilbert at (206) 354-3741 or by email at

We cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information sent by email.

Thank you! PanicSA (talk) 03:00, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

The relevant research page can be found at meta:Research:Means_and_methods_of_coordination_in_WikiProjects Md gilbert (talk) 00:11, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

WikiProject X is live![edit]

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Hello everyone!

You may have received a message from me earlier asking you to comment on my WikiProject X proposal. The good news is that WikiProject X is now live! In our first phase, we are focusing on research. At this time, we are looking for people to share their experiences with WikiProjects: good, bad, or neutral. We are also looking for WikiProjects that may be interested in trying out new tools and layouts that will make participating easier and projects easier to maintain. If you or your WikiProject are interested, check us out! Note that this is an opt-in program; no WikiProject will be required to change anything against its wishes. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!

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Harej (talk) 16:56, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Saussurea lappa[edit]

Saussurea lappa could use a looking over by a plant-interested editor. MicroPaLeo (talk) 08:58, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

It appears to be a copyvio (unless it has been legitimately copied, but even then the source should have been cited). The 2nd paragraph and the first half of the 3rd paragraph is found elsewhere with an apparent date of March 2000, and the list of constituents in the 3rd paragraph occurs in a forum posting (otherwise in Cyrillic script) from 2011. Lavateraguy (talk) 17:25, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I have been categorizing Pakistani villages. I was in too much pain to even read it. I might make a taxonomic box and write asentence or two when I recover, but what is done with the copyrighted text?.MicroPaLeo (talk) 18:08, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
Just delete it. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:01, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
The text or the article? (I was of adding the db-copyvio rapid deletion template.) Lavateraguy (talk) 21:56, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

It's a synonym of Saussurea costus, according to The Plant List.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 22:44, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

The Plant List has a homonymous Sassurea lappa. According to TPL "Saussurea lappa (Decne.) Sch.Bip. is a synonym of Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipsch." However, "Saussurea lappa (Decne.) C.B.Clarke is a synonym of Aucklandia lappa DC." If I search Google for "Saussurea lappa", I get many hits for a plant used in South Asian medicine. I haven't yet found confirmation, but I strongly suspect that C.B.Clarke's (1876 publication) of Saussurea lappa is the widely cited medicinal plant, and Sch.Bip.'s (1846 publication) is perhaps a different entity (probably synonymous with S. costus). Plantdrew (talk) 04:52, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
They're all the same, IMO, just a question of which combination to follow. IPNI lists Saussurea lappa (Decne.) C.B.Clarke and Saussurea lappa (Decne.) Sch.Bip. as isonyms. GRIN also identifies Saussurea lappa (Decne.) C. B. Clarke as a junior synonym of Aucklandia costus Falc., which in turn it lists as a homotypic synonym of Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipsch.
I do not know whether we should use Saussurea or Aucklandia however, or whether to use lappa or costus at that. Both Flora of China (genus status explained in link) and Tropicos seem to favor a separate (monospecific) genus Aucklandia (albeit confusingly so, since the former recognizes Aucklandia lappa, the latter Aucklandia costus, but not both), while others like CITES Appendix, the University of Melbourne's Sorting Saussurea names, and the aforementioned TPL and GRIN prefer Saussurea costus. They do undoubtedly refer to the same medicinal plant though. As searching for S. costus (or both names together) gives you the same results of the plant known as "costus" widely used in ancient traditional medicine (not only in S. Asia, but including Europe, the Middle East, and China) and being imported from India/the Himalayas. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 07:50, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Most written about plants we don't have[edit]

I've generated a list of plant binomial names which appear most commonly in books but don't have entries in Wikipedia.

  1. Nicotiana glutinosa (Solanaceae, Solanales) -- tobacco. Nicotiana
  2. Scirpus lacustris (synonym) = Schoenoplectus lacustris (Cyperaceae, Poales) - Scirpus
  3. Larrea divaricata (Zygophyllaceae, Zygophyllales) - Larrea
  4. Begonia semperflorens (synonym) = Begonia cucullata - clubed begonia (Begoniaceae, Cucurbitales) - Begonia
  5. Nicotiana plumbaginifolia - Tex-Mex tobacco (Solanaceae, Solanales) - Nicotiana
  6. Pelargonium zonale - Horseshoe geranium (Geraniaceae, Geraniales) - Pelargonium
  7. Cola nitida - Großer Kolabaum (Malvaceae, Malvales) - Cola (plant)
  8. Sterculia urens (Malvaceae, Malvales) - Sterculia – please see below

Data sources are Google ngram's English corpus and the Catalogue of Life.

Pengo 23:03, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Um... Google's ngrams need interpreting with care. My impression, for example, is that most references to Pelargonium zonale are not to the species but to Pelargonium Zonal Group a.k.a. Pelargonium × hortorum. I'm not sure that we need a separate article in addition to the pretty full account at Pelargonium#Zonal_Pelargoniums (Pelargonium × hortorum). The true Pelargonium zonale could certainly have an article, but not because of Google ngrams. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:38, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Probably but N. glutinosa and C. nitida were useful to call attention to. MicroPaLeo (talk) 10:47, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh, don't misunderstand me: all were well worth calling attention to. We need to make sure that readers can find likely common search terms. It's just that sometimes it's hard to see quite how to do it best. Given that most readers who search for "Pelargonium zonale" should probably end up at the section I referred to, an article on the true species, even a stub, with a hatnote directing to the cultivar group would be a step forward. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:18, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, please don't take the results as gospel, it's just to help find species that have been missed. It's heavily skewed towards organisms used in research more than anything else. However note that the search was not fuzzy at all and required the correct capitalization (e.g. "Pelargonium zonale" had to be written like that). The search includes all books since 1950, so it includes obsolete uses when there have been changes to the taxonomy. (Perhaps why Pelargonium zonale mentions have fallen since the 70s?). A quick search on google books will give you an idea how the species name has been used though. From a quick scan, it looks to me like most mentions are referring Pelargonium zonale as if it is the actual species they mean though. It seems to have been popular as a model organism? Whatever the case, something to help people work out what it means (and what it meant) would be good. —Pengo 12:21, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I was looking to add language links to the new article, but pl:Pelargonium zonale on Polish Wiki redirects to a page explicitly about Pelargonium × hortorum, and I'm not sure about the other languages, but it looks like a mix (no pun intended). Might be worth trying to separate out the two concepts on Wikidata (Q3898877) too? —Pengo 22:00, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for putting this list together Pengo. There are some other commonly written about plants without articles that don't show up on the above list because they exist as redirects on Wikipedia. I've been putting these in Category:Plants redirects with possibilities. Some of the most notable are Panax ginseng, Corchorus olitorius, Corchorus capsularis, Helleborus orientalis (done), and Zizania palustris. Plantdrew (talk) 17:06, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Very nice! Yes, I've only listed actual red links. I was considering automating a check for redirects, but then I'd also want to check for a monotypic genus, and I thought I'd just share the simple list as is before attempting to do something more complicated. —Pengo 21:10, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
If you could do an automatic check for binomials redirecting to genera, it would be wonderful. I think we've got a pretty good portion of the plant species redirecting to monotypic genera already placed in Category:Redirects to monotypic taxa. And any that aren't yet in that category should be, so as long as you can exclude the current members of the categories ("to monotypic" and "with possibilities") it would be very useful to have a list of binomials redirecting to genera. I suppose some fossil species redirecting to genera would turn up as well, but I don't think there would be too many of these. I'd be quite happy to work on categorizing the uncategorized monotypic redirects if I had a list of them. Plantdrew (talk) 22:10, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Sterculia urens[edit]

An article has been created under this name, but according to The Plant List, based on Tropicos, it's a synonym of Firmiana simplex on which there was already an article. Is there any reason why the newly created article can't be replaced by a redirect? Peter coxhead (talk) 10:56, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

It doesn't look like the same species to me. F. simplex has the common name "Chinese parasol tree" whereas S urens is native to India and does not have that common name, see this page. In creating the article, I was only responding to the request above. I am happy to leave someone else to make taxonomic decisions. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:16, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
What often happens is that two species names are created by botanists in different countries with, naturally, different distributions and common names, but it then turns out that they are the same species. I'm inclined to accept Tropicos/TPL, but it would be good to find other sources if available. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:26, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
When I studied this some years ago I concluded that Sterculia urens was an accepted species, based on a Laos checklist. Flora of Pakistan (EFloras) says Sterculia urens sensu Qureshi & Saeed = Firmiana simplex (Linn.) W.F. Wight, which implies that the name has been misapplied to Firmiana simplex, rather than representing the same species. TPL is inconsistent - it also recognises Kavalama urens for which Sterculia urens is the basionym - based on Tropicos, but Tropicos is silent on the status of Kavalama urens.
The Flora of Pakistan would seem to qualify as a reliable source that Sterculia urens and Firmiana simplex are different species. Lavateraguy (talk) 15:40, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Kinda disturbing that they're in different genera. What we need is a monograph of the Sterculiaceae...oh, wait, that family doesn't exist any more. I'd say make sure that the opinions (for and against) are documented in both articles. Guettarda (talk) 16:23, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Firmiana is a segregate of Sterculia, which has been intermittently recognised, so the fact that they're in different genera is neither here nor there. Sterculia platanifolia is the common synonym of Firmiana simplex in Sterculia, but there are others (see, for example, Flora of China). The only opinion we've seen for them being synonyms is Tropicos, and that looks like a mistranscription (losing the sensu) from Flora of Pakistan. Lavateraguy (talk) 16:54, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I get that. But the point is that I would feel a lot more comfortable if the issue was between Firmiana simplex and Firmiana urens rather than F. simplex and S. urens. The fact that no one is calling it F. urens suggests that either no one has done anything on the species recently, or that it's passively accepted as a synonym. Guettarda (talk) 17:08, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Firmiana simplex comes from it being originally described as Hibiscus simplex (a rather drastic error by Linnaeus). It was then redescribed as Sterculia platanifolia by his son, and renamed Firmiana platanifolia when segregated. The name Firmiana simplex was introduced when it was realized that Hibiscus simplex and Sterculia platanifolia represented the same species, and the former had priority. The fact that no-one is calling it F. urens is equally compatible with it not being a synonym, but a different plant that no-one thinks is a Firmiana. What it looks like to me is that neither Sterculia urens nor Firmiana simplex is native to the Peshewar area, and the authors of a flora of that area misidentified cultivated or naturalised plants of Firmiana simplex as Sterculia urens, said misidentification subsequently being reported in Flora of Pakistan. But one can't be certain without reference to the source documents.
IIRC, the key characters separating Firmiana and Sterculia are fruit characters - Flora of China says Fruit leathery, rarely woody, dehiscent when mature (Sterculia) vs Fruit membranous, dehiscent before maturity and foliaceous (Firmiana). What I recall is that Firmiana has the seeds attached to the sutures, but Sterculia has then attached to the carpel walls. Good photographs of Sterculia urens fruits don't seem to be available, but they are described as being orange to red when mature - this doesn't match the green ageing brown of the fruits of Firmiana simplex.
That one local flora misapplied the name Sterculia urens doesn't strike me as WP:NOTABLE Lavateraguy (talk) 17:55, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Can I just say, Lavateraguy, those first three sentencesare a great description of naming and renaming, misidentification and priority. I'd love if more articles would complement their lists of synonyms with prose similar to this in their taxonomy sections. —Pengo 01:44, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
A monograph of Sterculioideae would do the trick, but that doesn't exist either - there's Guymer's monograph on Brachychiton and monographs on several genera by Kostermanns. Lavateraguy (talk) 16:54, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
You're a Malv guy, aren't you? Get to work writing that monograph! ;) Guettarda (talk) 17:09, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I haven't yet managed to complete The World Checklist of Malvaceae, never mind anything else. (And the top thing on my plate is to rework my writings on Malva (including Lavatera)). Lavateraguy (talk) 17:55, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ok, here's my take on where we are:

  • The descriptions of Fermiana simplex in the Flora of China and the Flora of Pakistan appear to be of the same species, given the different level of detail in the two sources.
  • The description of Sterculia urens in the source used for the article, namely India Biodiversity Portal does not appear to be of the same species as F. simplex in the Flora of China and the Flora of Pakistan. For example the fruit is described as "aggregate of 4-6 follicles, red, densely pubescent, mixed with stinging hairs" (hence presumably the specific epithet urens) whereas F. simplex is said to have "Follicle membranous ... abaxially puberulent or nearly glabrous".

So it does seem that the Tropicos and hence TPL identification of the two species as synonymous is, as Lavateraguy noted, based on a misreading of the Flora of Pakistan, which does not say that the two species are synonymous but that Qureshi & Saeed misidentified F. simplex as S. urens. Hence we should have two articles. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Most written about plant species, now with possibilities[edit]

Ok I've stuck with plants because the people in this WikiProject have been so responsive. I have attempted to detect "redirects with possibilities". It's not a proper audit of the category just yet (Sorry, Plantdrew). I was just hoping it might grow the list a bit. It hasn't. Only 4 of the first 1000 missing links were ones the script found to be "with possibilities" (that is, with the same article for both the genus and species while not being monotypic). Of those four, 2 were false positives, and none of them were simply species redirecting to their genus (the main thing I expected to find).

Cananga odorata (ylang-ylang) is the first reasonable find in the "possibility" camp. Wikipedia makes it look like it's monophyletic, but it shares a genus with Cananga brandisiana (Pierre) I. M. Turner, or at least it does according to Catalogue of Life and NCBI classifications. Several other taxonomy lists don't mention this sister species[4]. Seems like something worth looking into and discussing though, and perhaps mentioning in the article if it's worthwhile.

Aethusa cynapium (Fool's parsley) is similarly monotypic according to Wikipedia and several other authorities[5], but according to the catalogue Aethusa has 18 species. Sicana and Aeginetia also may or may not be monotypic.

Some lists are padded with synonyms. I think that you've found one of them - several of the names there are synonyms of well known plants in other genera. Euro+Med only recognises 1 species, but there could be others outside its scope. ThePlantList only recognises the one species, and has a similar list of names classified as synonyms. Lavateraguy (talk) 21:09, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

The script got some slightly helpful false positives: Aegle marmelos and Euryale ferox both belong to monotypic plant genera, but my script flagged them as having "possibilities". Why did it think Aegle and Euryale contained more than one species? Because they definitely do. There are several Aegle moths and a few Euryale echinoderms. I forgot to force the searches to be in the plant kingdom. The false positive is helpful though, as it points out that Aegle (genus) and Euryale (genus) should be changed into disambig pages. I might search for conflicting kingdom issues more explicitly next time (or another time).

I still have some bugs to sort out with how the script handles redirects and synonyms and kingdoms and finds the genus from a species, and it probably has some false negatives (missing items)... but for now here's an updated and extended list of top 20 most written about plant binomial names that we don't have articles/redirects for:

  1. Aegle marmelos, Aegle - bengal quince (Rutaceae, Sapindales) Aegle (genus) (fixed)
  2. Dolichos biflorus (synonym) = Macrotyloma uniflorum, Macrotyloma - horse gram (Fabaceae, Fabales)
  3. Pseudotsuga taxifolia (synonym) = Douglas fir (not found) – see below for comments
  4. Scirpus lacustris (synonym) = Schoenoplectus lacustris, Schoenoplectus (Cyperaceae, Poales)
  5. Larrea divaricata, Larrea (Zygophyllaceae, Zygophyllales)
  6. Hordeum spontaneum, Hordeum (Poaceae, Poales)
  7. Begonia semperflorens (synonym) = Begonia cucullata, Begonia - clubed begonia (Begoniaceae, Cucurbitales)
  8. Cananga odorata, Cananga - cananga (Annonaceae, Magnoliales) -- monotypic? or shares genus with Cananga brandisiana ?
  9. Digitaria decumbens (synonym) = [[ ]] (not found)
    == Digitaria eriantha subsp. pentzii (fide TPL)
  10. Phaseolus multiflorus (synonym) = Phaseolus coccineus, Phaseolus - runner bean (Fabaceae, Fabales)
  11. Pisum arvense (synonym) = [[ ]] (not found)
    == Pisum sativum (fodder/green manure varieties) Lavateraguy (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
  12. Pteris aquilina (synonym) = [[ ]] (not found)
    == Pteridium aquilinum Lavateraguy (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
  13. Fontinalis antipyretica, Fontinalis - antifever fontinalis moss (Fontinalaceae, Isobryales)
  14. Rhus vernicifera (synonym) = Toxicodendron vernicifluum, Toxicodendron (Anacardiaceae, Sapindales)
  15. Spartina townsendii, Spartina (Poaceae, Poales)
    == Spartina × townsendii, which redirects to the tetraploid Spartina anglica Lavateraguy (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
  16. Chrysanthemum maximum (provisionally_accepted_name).
    == Leucanthemum maximum Lavateraguy (talk) 22:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
  17. Lolium rigidum, Lolium (Poaceae, Poales)
  18. Stipa comata, Stipa (Poaceae, Poales)
  19. Haplopappus gracilis (synonym) = Xanthisma gracile (provisionally_accepted_name).
  20. Brachiaria mutica, Brachiaria (Poaceae, Poales)

more: The top 1000

edit: note, each of these 20 binomial names are found in at least 702 books or volumes (published between 1950 and 2008), and as far as scientific names in books go, they are all in the top 0.2% most common.

Pengo 05:02, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Funny, I have ylang ylang growing in my garden.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 05:26, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, Ian Turner is active since the 1990s, last I checked at the National University of Singapore. So this Cananga species isn't an old's possible that our article is older than the species description. (We've been around a long time now!) There are plenty of cases where one author, who's probably the only one who has really looked at variation in the field recognizes a species as distinct, while everyone else, working mostly from herbarium material, does not. That doesn't mean the lone dissenter is right, but systematics is a conservative field, and tropical plant systematics heavily weighted towards people working in large herbaria and away from people who are field biologists working out of smaller, local herbaria, located in the tropics. Guettarda (talk) 05:55, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Fantastic work. I'm about to head to bed and will have minimal internet access for the next few days, but I'll see what I can do with these when I'm back on-line. Plantdrew (talk) 06:33, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Cananga looks a bit messy. IPNI has 16 species names for the genus, (at least) one of which applies to Canaga Aubl. nom. rej.. TPL has 5 names, 4 accepted, and Aublet's unresolved. But of the 4 accepted names, one looks very like an orthographic variant, and elsewhere brandisiana and latifolia are treated as synonyms. It looks to me as if the differences of opinion are over whether odorata and brandisiana are congeneric, rather than over whether they are distinct.

Turner's article is present in Lavateraguy (talk) 14:01, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

PS: Neotropical species in Cananga probably related to Cananga Aubl. and are now placed in Guatteria. Lavateraguy (talk) 14:07, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

I propose working on an article on Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum in my sandbox rather than Hordeum spontaneum. Any comments as to which would be the better name to use? Or should I just call it "Wild barley"? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:37, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Hordeum spontaneum is what WCSP uses, with H. v. subsp. spontaneum as a synonym. Definitely not the English name, please!
P.S. nice work on Sterculia urens. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:11, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Pseudotsuga taxifolia[edit]

This is a synonym of Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii, which is discussed at Douglas fir, an article about the species as a whole. There isn't currently a list of synonyms at this article. It's a little difficult to provide in the taxobox, since P. menziesii itself has only one synonym according to WCSP, whereas P. m. var. menziesii has a very long list as does P. m. var. glauca. I wonder if it would be better to split the article into two (although I guess there will then be another interminable argument about whether to use the scientific or English names). Any views? Peter coxhead (talk) 18:32, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

This is a mess, as the Rocky Mountain subspecies has its own article. Using common names always creates more problems than it is worth. I know gymnosperms well, but I am not a plant taxonomist. I could write a good article or contribute to one, but only after the discussion about taxonomy and names, which I could not participate in. Major tree, though, shame. MicroPaLeo (talk) 19:03, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it's a mess, and yes, using common names almost always creates more problems than it solves. Maybe the answer is to have three articles: a brief one on the species, and one each on the vars? Peter coxhead (talk) 19:05, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Each variety merits its own article, the species article would be a good place to wax taxonomic on the naming and lumping and splitting, as most of the synonyms were applied to the species or incorrectly to one of the varieties due to priorities. MicroPaLeo (talk) 19:50, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Category:Orchids of Austria and other European flora categories at CfD[edit]

This CfD -- Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2015 January 26#Category:Orchids of Austria -- proposes upmerging the "Orchids of COUNTRY" categories to Category:Orchids of Europe and may be of interest to some editors here. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 23:52, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

International Bulb Society[edit]

And speaking of disappearing resource entities (see Kew Glossary above), whatever happened to the International Bulb Society, a long established resource. With all the links to their various resources including scientific publications, it has left a large gap in Wikipedia. According to the Internet Archive they vanished from cyberspace around December 22 2014. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 17:59, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it's very irritating and, as you say, has left many dead URLs. I certainly never thought it necessary to archive their webpages. Sigh... Peter coxhead (talk) 18:02, 27 January 2015 (UTC)