Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Plants

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WikiProject Plants (Rated Project-class)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Plants, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of plants and botany on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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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)

Recent changes to article template[edit]

User:FloraWilde recently made some significant changes to the Project's Article Template, including re-ordering and renaming the "Distribution and habitat" section. Such changes need discussion and consensus here first, so I reverted them wholesale and then added back changes some I thought useful and uncontroversial. Please revert these too if you don't agree. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:28, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

:Talk page discussion of possible revisions is here. FloraWilde (talk) 20:48, 19 July 2014 (UTC) (I think it's better to discuss it here; this page is more often visited and it's where we've usually discussed changes to the project's subpages. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:30, 19 July 2014 (UTC))

  • Plant ID or description starts with distribution/habitat/range - It grows at location A, at elevation B, in soil type C, among vegetation type D, and consists in about E of the ground cover.
  • Next comes what the plant looks like overall, the growth pattern - It is an annual/perennial Tree/bush/shrub/herb growing from central/branching stems and reaches a height F and is shaped like G.
  • Next comes a description of leaves, stems, roots.
  • Then comes a description of inflorescence and fruit.
  • Other information, such as uses, ecological interaction, technical taxonomical information, etc., then follows.
  • I suggest these revisions.

FloraWilde (talk) 20:48, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Several points.
  • I think that Wikipedia readers want to know first of all what a plant looks like, i.e. to have a description of it.
  • In the description, after some overall statements about the growth habit, most sources I use tend to start from the bottom upwards which is also roughly growth order, i.e. roots, stems, leaves, inflorescence (for flowering plants), fruit/seeds/etc.
  • For taxa with no subdivisions, it's possible, I guess, to move the Distribution and habitat section to the top, but for families, genera, and species with significant infraspecific taxa, it doesn't really work, because you have to say something about the distribution of these subtaxa, which means you need the material in the usual Taxonomy section to be first, since it's there that we list the subdivisions.
I have to say that when I first encountered WP:WikiProject Plants/Template, I had some doubts about the order of the sections, but the more articles I work on (especially new ones) the more I see why the order in the template makes sense. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:30, 19 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree "Wikipedia readers want to know first of all what a plant looks like". So do I, in most cases. General appearance is a good thing to put in the lead first sentence. This is especially true for plants that are used for visual aesthetics, such as for flowers, landscape plants, etc. In certain specific instances, like for food plants, readers likely want to first know how food plants are used as food, and then appearance. If a plant has a high commercial use, that should be in the first sentence in the lead, which is for general information. The lead should also generally describe range and habitat, like "a North American desert plant that grows in sand dunes", with specificity in sections below.
  • Following the lead, in the more technical oriented sections below the lead, I am suggesting that the first two sections should be about distribution, habitat, and range, and then technical appearance, including growth pattern, leaves and stems (and roots), and inflorescence and fruit (seed). This is stuff more technical (and should use plain English, with technical nomenclature in parentheses) , but it is stuff that general readers can still read without much background knowledge, and is what is in books at the local store. I am suggesting moving distribution, range, habitat, to a section ahead of taxonomy, because the taxonomy section is something that requires more background knowledge than general readers likely have.
But you wrote, "the more articles I work on... the more I see why the order in the template makes sense". I defer to your experience on that.
  • Re "most sources... start from the bottom to the top, roots, stems, leaves, inflorescence, fruit." That is the most logical order, and it has parallels to each subject: growth, physiology, and moving from birth to reproducing. The advice "follow the approach used by standard Flora" in the template is also good (maybe tweaking this to "Flora or manual"). Floras differ from region to region in this ordering.
  • Re "but for families, genera, and species with significant infraspecific taxa, it doesn't really work." That is true. A reason for having distribution next to description for species in most cases, is that for general readers, that is often all they want. I am basing that on the fact that this is the way most plant books in a general bookstore have it, such as in field guides and slightly technical books that can still be read by non-experts. Its not that important, and the article template is only for general guidance anyway.
  • Re my bonehead waste of your time - I did not notice that you already restored most of my edits before I started writing all this.
  • The other changes I made that you did not already restore generalizes the sections and subsections I have been finding underly many articles already written. I was just trying to formalize that. -

Subsections might include "growth pattern", "stems and leaves (and maybe roots)", "inflorescence and fruit", or further subdivisions of these subsections. For example, "it is a branching perennial shrub that grows to 1 meter with a taproot. Stems are woody and covered with corky bark. Foul smelling leaves are opposite, compound pinnate, with hairy oval opposite leaflets having toothed edges. The inflorescence is a a corymb. Fragrant, radially symmetric flowers have five pointed green sepals and blue to violet petals fused into a tube flaring five lobes, with five anthers opposed to the petals. Pistils have three-parted styles. Ovaries are superior. Fruits have three dehiscent chambers filled with many black seeds."

The example should probably not be the one I made up from a chimerical plant that appeared in my mind as I typed, but instead be a clear and illustrative one from a "gold star" article (or whatever Wikipedians call their best articles). FloraWilde (talk) 02:42, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree with Peter that a description section should come first, before distribution and habitat etc. Regarding FloraWilde's concerns, I wonder if some plant articles might appear 'too technical' at the start simply because their leads aren't sufficiently fleshed out to give a good general overview - I think this applies to quite a few plant articles. Also in some plant articles the taxonomy sections are far more detailed than any other section, giving an impression of technical impenetrability, but I think the solution to these situations is not necessarily to reorder sections, but to expand and rewrite information so that articles are more balanced and the text is easier for laypeople to understand. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 18:55, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree with PaleCloudedWhite. The distribution, at least, is likely to be more accessible to the lay reader because there's only so much you can do to make it impenetrable; but description, taxonomy, ecology and even habitat can all be rendered technically overwhelming pretty quickly. In theory, the lay reader should be able to read over the lead and come away with the kind of general information you might find in a field guide; in practice, Wikipedia in general has problems with poor lead construction. (It's probably partly due to the accretive way in which we write articles; when I write a new article, I tend to write the lead last, because I find I need to look over the completed article in order to write an orderly summary.) As it stands, the "Introduction" section of the template is very cursory; perhaps we could place more emphasis on this role, at the expense of repeating some of WP:LEAD.
BTW, welcome to Wikipedia, Flora. Your boldness in making useful changes to the article template and your graciousness when some of them have been disputed are both commendable. It's always nice to see someone else added to our little botanical community here, and I hope you have more ideas for making our articles better. Choess (talk) 14:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I think making major changes to the order of sections at this stage would be disastrous, since it would literally require thousands of pages to be rewritten. As it is I revise several every day. I think a well written lead section gives the general reader all they they need to know and the following sections amplify this. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 00:06, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Plant field guides and manuals do not meet WP:MEDRS standards for reliability of medical information[edit]

Many authors of plant field guides are notable experts at plant identification. But they often add comments about traditional or alternative medicine uses, or exaggerate actual or potential medical use, often with an apparent end of furthering a conservation agenda by trying to find some reason other than just loving the plants for conservation of them. They are often not qualified to even read a proper medical study. Plant field guides and manuals do not meet WP:MEDRS standards for reliability of medical information. This should be stated in the template.FloraWilde (talk) 21:35, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

While I agree that this is true, it's also important in my view to report (without any hint of endorsement) traditional uses for plants. There have been some problems with over-enthusiastic WP:MEDRS-influenced editors trying to remove historical and ethnobotanical information of this kind. There is significant scholarly ethnobotany literature which can be used to support this kind of material. So I believe it's important a balance is struck. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Exaggerating actual or potential medical uses would be a problem, but ethnobotany and traditional medicine are important areas of scholarship. Without the material studied by those disciplines, modern medicine would hardly exist, and neither would the hypotheses that medical trials aim to test, which come largely from traditional practices. I've seen the problem that Peter mentions, that WP:MEDRS enthusiasts expunge simple unproblematic statements or entire sections, but I hope that it is still rare. Literal and unthinking application of WP:MOS and various guidelines is, I believe, becoming a serious problem, and I would not be happy to see the proposed statement in the template. As Peter coxhead says, balance is needed. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:35, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I see two countervailing tendencies, both of which are to be avoided. The first, as Sminthopsis mentions, is expurgation of ethnobotanical/folk medical information under the aegis of WP:MEDRS. This is a problem, because that information is useful in an anthropological, if not a medical, context. On the flip side, one often sees (even in the published literature!) a sort of WP:SYNTH problem: plant X is reported to have a traditional use, say, treatment of wounds. A crude extract of plant X, or some compound present in plant X, is found to have some kind of biological activity in vitro. The inference is implicitly or explicitly drawn that the in vitro findings ratify the traditional in vivo use. I think it might be appropriate to say something like "The use of plants to treat illness is traditional in most societies. However, most of these uses have not been scientifically validated. Unless the plant itself, or its extracts, has been reliably shown to be effective in treating illness, as defined by WP:MEDRS, it should not be described as medically effective, only as traditionally used in certain cultural contexts." Choess (talk) 14:04, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Choess in that we try to keep to what the sources say and keep things circumscribed if at all possible. mention cultural/folk-use context and clarify that and avoid mentioning medical effectiveness unless there is a MEDRS doing so. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:25, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
As an aside, but I think related: at a conference related to ethnopharmacology I was impressed by talks that discussed two things (1) that traditional medicine is the intellectual property of the cultures that developed it and must not be "stolen" by others for profit and (2) that traditional medicine needs to be documented so that the knowledge is still available. An example given was a cholera outbreak in Micronesia where western medicines ran out and people died, when the plants traditionally used to treat cholera were growing right outside the clinic but the young staff didn't have their grandparents' knowledge that would have made use of those plants. I don't know what in wikipedia prevents people from giving too much detail that is IP, such as the various ethnobotanical manuals that are being prepared around the world. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:01, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I also agree with Choess. This is a frequent issue in plant articles, and one where it would be helpful for there to be some sort of guidance on how to approach things. Tdslk (talk) 19:14, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Agreed with above comments as to use as sources for historical/anthropological/sociological material on traditional medicine belief systems. Not putting in historical uses of traditional medicine belief systems would be like leaving religion out of a history article. My point is that the way the wording often occurs in these field guides, they appear to endorse some kind of actual usefulness or efficacy, when there is none, or none has been proven.
If I understand what Choess said, it is exactly the example I was thinking of. A tribe rubs a plant on a wound. Some lab finds chemical in an extract from the plant which, if injected in sufficient concentration, has antibiotic efficacy. But rubbing the plant never reaches the level of concentration needed for minimal efficacy. The field guide only says in a mis-blending of two facts with values, "they use it to treat wounds and it has been found to have antibiotic properties, so we need conservation efforts in this beautiful area". The inference any reader would take from this both that it is useful to rub it on wounds, and that there is a pragmatic reason to conserve the area, other than just to preserve its aesthetic value. The chemical may be readily available without the plant, very expensive to obtain from the plant, and rubbing it on a wound does nothing. The Wikipedia editor has this as their source, and reads it just as any other reader would. Strictly following the source would violate MEDRS. FloraWilde (talk) 20:12, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's just what I was getting at. I think it would be reasonable to add something to my above notes for the template to the effect that field guides and the like may be reliable sources for ethnobotanical claims but not for medical claims, and that the latter should only be made on the basis of reliable secondary sources as described at MEDRS. (As a side note, ethnobotanical material is interesting not only because the medical claims it makes might bear scientific investigation, but because of the light it throws on cultural beliefs about plants. And yet the belief systems it illuminates--like the doctrine of signatures--may have mediated the plant's entry into the culture's pharmacopeia despite a lack of reliable empirical evidence!) As a crotchety biochemist, I think we should also be fairly selective about what lab results we report. There seems to be a perpetual flow of papers in obscure and local journals of biochemistry and the like showing that the crude extracts of [plant used in traditional medicine] kill bacteria or fungi or the authors' favorite cancer cell line in vitro. These results almost never have in vivo pharmacological applicability. There are probably enough exceptions to this that I wouldn't want to draft a broad rule banning them, but I think it should be legitimate to sweep out that sort of "extract did this in vitro" material unless there's a very compelling reason to keep it. Choess (talk) 03:26, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Note - There is a related discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Plants/Template#Uses. FloraWilde (talk) 10:01, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the key issue is to distinguish between traditional folk or cultural use, and actual pharmacological and clinical data - both have their place but need to be carefully distinguished. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 00:10, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Inappropriate tagging[edit]

Single source[edit]

I have found several pages recently where lists of species have been tagged {{one source}} by an enthusiastic editor who does not realise that something like the Plant List or Checklist is the authoritative source. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 03:28, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

If you have a problem getting these tags removed, come here and I'm sure many of us will help. More common is the reverse: editors who don't understand the problems merge together lists from several sources so listing the same species under several synonyms. Quite what we can do about this, I don't know, other than the usual work of editing/maintaining plant articles. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Michael Goodyear How can two places both be "the authoritative source?" Either one is, or the other, or neither, but not both. I vote for neither, as I have seen errors in both. More germane than being "authoritative" (a matter of opinion) is that these secondary sources represent compilations and distillations of information from thousands of different sources. Hence one Checklist citation is worth at least a dozen ordinary citations, if not hundreds. Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:04, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Admin needed for move[edit]

A new user has moved Dracaena braunii to Dracaena braunii (Lucky Bamboo) thereby violating several principles of article titling. I've explained on their talk page, but could some admin please move it back. Thanks. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:04, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

He's also deleted half the article. Lavateraguy (talk) 07:53, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I moved it back - I looked at what he's removed and some is (I think) right but (a) we're not a how-to manual and (b) some I think was possibly wrong, so I might leave it and have a hunt for sources before readding. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 08:23, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Dioscorea opposita[edit]

What should be done with Dioscorea opposita (see Talk:Dioscorea opposita#Nomenclature_is_all_mixed_up for some background)? I'm kind of confused by it, but what I think I understand follows. Nomenclaturally, D. opposita is an illegitimate and superfluous name for the south Asian (India) species Dioscorea oppositifolia (and thus a synonym of that species). However, the name Dioscorea opposita is widely used to refer to an east Asian (Japan, China, South Korea) species that is used as a vegetable and which is naturalized/invasive in the United States. The vegetable/invasive is apparently best treated as Dioscorea polystachya.

Most people searching for D. opposita are probably interested in the east Asian vegetable/invasive, not the Indian species. There would be less need to disambiguate incoming links to Dioscorea opposita if it redirects to D. polystachya. But that doesn't mesh with the nomenclature situation. Would it be better to redirect to D. polystachya or would it be better to make D. opposita into a disambiguation page, or is it best to redirect oppposita to oppositifolia as nomenclatural rules prescribe? Plantdrew (talk) 05:48, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

My view is that we're here to serve readers, not knowledgeable botanists/editors (although I don't always like the consequences of this view!). So I would redirect it to D. polystachya with a prominent explanation in the lead section that this plant is widely but incorrectly called D. opposita. (One reason for calling the R template "R from alternative scientific name" rather than e.g. "R from taxonomic synonym" is that there's no claim that the alternative name is a valid synonym.) Peter coxhead (talk) 06:40, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Similar things have happened many times before, someone discovering that a name has been applied to the wrong plant for years. There is even a standard, technical way of writing it: "Quercus nigra auct. non L." to mean a misapplication of L's name to some species other than the real Quercus nigra. You can put "D. opposita auct. non ..." as a synonym in the taxobox section of D. polystachya. As for the redirect question, you can treat this "auct. non" name the way you would treat a legitimately published synonym, forwarding it directly the the D. polystachya page. And be sure to say prominently in the first paragraph "D. polystachya often misidentified as D. opposita" or something to that effect. That would work.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:03, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd say that that sounds like the perfect solution. USDA GRIN can be cited to say that D. opposita auct. is D. polystachya. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:17, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

I've tried to explain some of this by removing the taxobox from the Dioscorea opposita page, and adding taxonomy sections there, on Dioscorea polystachya, and Dioscorea oppositifolia. I don't know whether these species are interchangeable as food and medicine, in particular whether Dioscorea oppositifolia is known by the various common names that were listed there and whether it can be safely eaten raw. For now, I've removed that material from Dioscorea oppositifolia. If anyone has that knowledge, please re-add the statements. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:15, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

"English rose"[edit]

I've suggested a split of English rose (personal description) into a girl and a plant article. See talk:English rose (personal description). Is this plant concept significant? -- (talk) 06:37, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Flora of the Sierra Nevada alpine zone[edit]

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Flora of the Sierra Nevada alpine zone. FloraWilde (talk) 02:27, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Botanist template flagged for deletion[edit]

You may wish to comment at Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2014 August 7#Template:Botanist where it is proposed that the {{Botanist}} template is deleted. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:39, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I think that would be a disaster. Final say should remain with this group. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 22:45, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Request for closure: Category:Drosera by synonymy and others[edit]

Please could an uninvolved person from this project close the discussion at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 April 27#Category:Drosera by synonymy? If the closure is done by a non-admin and requires admin action to implement it, just ping me. – Fayenatic London 15:01, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't think there's really been enough participation in this discussion by members of this project to reach a consensus. I've added my view; I'd like to see some views from others interested in the categorization of plant articles. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:24, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

please develop some botanical articles by me[edit]

i have put the photos of some bamboo species in their respective pages,Bambusa membranaceus, Bambusa multiplex var yellow,Bombus affinis, Bambusa oldhamii ,‎ Bambusa wamin ‎ ,Bambusa teris. ‎, Bambusa multiplex ‎ , ‎ Bambusa tulda please develop these pages. --Dvellakat (talk) 14:09, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

ok. Will do.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:30, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Dvellakat A few problems. The names Bambusa teris, Bambusa multiplex var yellow, and Bambusa wamin do not apply to names accepted by the World Checklist. Bombus affinis is a bumblebee.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 11:07, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
teris may be an error for teres. I see nothing in IPNI for which wamin is a plausible orthographical error. (There is a Bambusa affinis.) Lavateraguy (talk) 09:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Could the wording be improved?[edit]

A reader contacted the Wikimedia Foundation, noting that Leontopodium alpinum states it belongs to the sunflower family. while Leontopodium states it is in the daisy family,.

The implication being that one or the other is wrong.

I looked at Asteraceae, which suggest that the same family is known by both names.

I'm out of my depth, but would it make sense to have more harmonized wording. If one usage is more common, change one, or if both are quite common, refer to both?--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:29, 16 August 2014 (UTC)

This is a good example of the problems caused by using English names. Any of aster, daisy, composite or sunflower family is equally "right". A Google ngram suggests that since 2000 the use of "composite family" has dropped markedly, leaving "daisy family" and "sunflower family" about equally common. However, there's a marked ENGVAR difference: in British English, "daisy family" is much more common, whereas in American English, "sunflower family" is increasingly dominant. So it seems sensible to use both English names. I'll fix the two articles mentioned, but there must be many more. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:15, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
As an Australian, I think of daisy as the more natural term for the family, and think of a sunflower as a type of daisy (not vice versa)...just sayin' Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 21:39, 16 August 2014 (UTC)
"Aster family."Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:31, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, if I were choosing freely, then this would be my choice too. (Although the genus Aster has been so changed lately that most of the plants I think of as asters aren't now in this genus!) However, Wikipedia policies require us to reflect usage not impose it. I think "Asteraceae, the daisy or sunflower family" is the best compromise. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Ok. Sounds good. Actually, the common term among botanists in the US is "DYC," short for "darned yellow composites." They are very difficult to tell apart sometimes. Me? I never saw anything wrong with "composites."Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:12, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Epacris impressa[edit] at FAC..Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Epacris impressa/archive1...and it's going pretty slowly. Would appreciate any input from folks....especially botanists..cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:05, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

10th anniversary of WikiProject Plants[edit]

Happy anniversary to all plant editors, past and present, and thanks for your improvement to plant articles and contributions to the many informative discussions here over 10 years.--Melburnian (talk) 13:55, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

AfC request for assistance from subject expert[edit]

Hello from AfC! Can someone please review the draft article located at Draft:Chloroplast migration, which is fairly technical, and check if it is original research or not, or if it makes sense? Thanks. Reventtalk 23:55, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

So how to we go about saying that is contains copyright violation from this web site? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:31, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Image request for Aristolochia watsonii[edit]

Image request for Aristolochia watsonii. FloraWilde (talk) 01:02, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Discrepency regarding Euphorbia and List of the largest genera of flowering plants[edit]

The Euphorbia Planetary Biodiversity Inventory project web page, last updated July 2012, says[1] -

"Euphorbia. With over 2000 accepted species, it is second in size only to the legume genus Astragalus among the flowering plants."

This is inconsistent with information in the List of the largest genera of flowering plants.

The Euphorbia PBI is "Supported by the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI) Program of the National Science Foundation", Smithsonian Institution, University of Michigan, and University of Florida, which is pretty good support as a reliable source. Can anyone resolve the inconsistency. Can anyone help resolve the inconsistency? FloraWilde (talk) 18:18, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

I am always unhappy with lists like those at List of the largest genera of flowering plants which combine information from sources of different ages, different reliability, and different standards and criteria. The only accurate statement would be something like "Based on the list of species in genus X accepted by SOURCE1 as of DATE1 and the list of species in genus Y accepted by SOURCE2 as of DATE2, X is a larger genus than Y." More than this is simply not meaningful. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:17, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Peter. I purposely avoid trying to estimate the number of species in any genus. Two reasons: various authors will frequently disagree on which ones to recognize and where to draw generic boundaries, and, second, for many genera, perhaps the majority of genera, there are probably more species happily turning leaves toward the sun, never having been seen by any human botanists. So instead of saying "This genus has 53 species," I say "This genus has approximately 50-60 known species." The "known" is a disclaimer.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 18:49, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
Peter is correct as to being meaningful, and without implementing something like his operational definition-like language, the article may approach the opposite (i.e, get close to nonsense). The comment on "different standards and criteria" is an instantiation of the species problem, of which there is the same "genus problem". But I still like Wikipedia's various "extreme" lists - "List of the largest...", "List of the oldest...", "List of the strangest", etc., both for their entertainment value, and sometimes for edification. Peter's criticism on being meaningful generalizes beyond a list of genera, and beyond articles on plant topics. (Using Peter's qualifiers for a start), it would be helpful to suggest qualifiers in Wikipedia's "list of most..." articles generally - suggesting always to use "as of date D", "according to source S (and maybe commenting on the basis of its reliability)...", "judging by standard S...", "using criteria C...", "from the perspective of P...", "using definition D...", etc. Perhaps these suggestions can at least be added to the plant article template (or other appropriate place).
Joseph's qualifiers "known" and "approximately" should be suggested in the plant article template. Joseph's second point of expected shifting numbers because of yet-to-be-discovered species "never having been seen by any human botanist" (or by any human, for that matter), made me recall these recent words by botanists Kara A. Moore and James M. Andre (January 2014 Vol 42 No 1 issue of Fremontia Journal of California Native Plant Society, p. 8)</ref> (The context was talking about the unexplored bloom after rare heavy and long summer monsoon rains in the eastern Mojave Desert, when temperatures are so extreme that human survival is challenged just to sit in one place, let alone hike up and over a mountain) "... the California desert is indeed a major hotbed for taxonomic discovery... This resurgent golden age of discovery..." If you read the whole issue, you may feel the urge to experience this resurgent golden age and get out there next summer (and almost die, too).

Admin move request[edit]

Could an admin please move Lanariaceae to Lanaria in accordance with our policy on monotypic taxa? Thanks. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:35, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Done. But perhaps we should upmerge Category:Lanariaceae and Category:Lanariaceae genera per WP:SMALLCAT? Rkitko (talk) 23:41, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
@Rkitko: Thanks for the move. Yes, I agree about upmerging. I've moved the articles up in the category hierarchy and marked both Category:Lanariaceae and Category:Lanariaceae genera with {{Db-c1}}. Could you delete them? Peter coxhead (talk) 08:52, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Sure, consider it done. Rkitko (talk) 23:36, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Request for comments: categorizing monotypic redirects[edit]

Arising from the move above (Lanariaceae to Lanaria), there's an issue about categorizing articles and redirects involving monotypic taxa. The project's current advice is here but only covers the "R" templates. The issue that concerns me is the main taxonomic categories. There seem to be three choices:

  1. Categorize the single article on the monotypic taxon for each of the actual taxa covered in the article. Thus for Lanaria (only genus in family, only one species), the article would be categorized as the family article Lanariaceae, as the genus article Lanaria, and as the species article Lanaria lanata.
    The argument for is that it's the article that should be categorized.
    The argument against is that the category contents then look odd; e.g. a genus name will appear in a list otherwise of families.
  2. Categorize the single article on the monotypic taxon only for the taxon used in the title. Thus for Lanaria, the article would be categorized only as a genus article. Categorize the redirects from higher or lower taxa appropriate to their rank. Thus the redirect at Lanariaceae would be categorized as a family article, the redirect at Lanaria lanata as a species article.
    The argument for is that the category contents then contain taxa at the expected rank.
    The argument against is that normally it's articles that get categorized in "proper" categories; redirects are categorized by their type via the "R" templates. Also there wouldn't be related sourcing for some of the categorization – Lanaria lanata was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 (as Hyacinthus lanatus) so should be in the Category:Plants described in 1753. Normally this information is sourced in the categorized article, but would only be done indirectly for the redirect.
  3. Do both of (1) and (2), i.e. categorize the single article for each of the taxa covered in the article and categorize the redirects appropriate to their rank. This has the advantages and disadvantages of both (1) and (2).

I think we've discussed this before, but not added the conclusions to the project page (as often seems to happen). At present, we're somewhat inconsistent (at least I know I am).

Comments, please.

I plead guilty to being the person who created the Lanaria pages. I struggled with the decision of how to do this. Obviously, there needed to be three pages, with two of them redirected to the third. But which gets the actual info? I decided to put it on the familial page, with the generic and specific pages redirected. Apparently, I chose the wrong one. Mea culpa. As for categorization, sorry, but your explanation above is as clear as mud.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:04, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
It's an arbitrary choice, but the project decided to use genus page as the main one in such cases, so it's better to be consistent.
To give a specific example of the choices, one of the categories to be used somewhere is Category:Plants described in 1753 for the species Lanaria lanata. So where should this category be put? (1) On the article Lanaria? (2) On the redirect Lanaria lanata? (3) On both?
Does this example help? Peter coxhead (talk) 11:50, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
I did not realize that redirect pages could be put into categories.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:28, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Peter, the previous discussion I'm aware of was at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Tree of Life/Archive 33#Categorizing taxa vs. common names. At this point, sets of articles and redirects for monotypic plants (but not animals) are pretty consistently categorized following choice #2. Some people are unaware that redirects can be categorized, and others are generally opposed to categorizing redirects; indeed, the practice of categorizing redirects (aside from via the "R from/to" maintenance templates) is generally discouraged. However, the guideline at WP:INCOMPATIBLE suggests some situations where categorizing redirects is appropriate. The Lanaria article at the genus title is WP:INCOMPATIBLE with Category:Asparagales families and Category:Monogeneric plant families, but the Lanariaceae redirect is "compatible" with these categories.

And the related issue which kicked off the thread at Tree of Life was how to categorize redirects from scientific names to articles with a common name title. We have very few of these for plants. In the handful of cases where a plant article has a common name title, both the scientific name redirect and the common name article are usually categorized (i.e. the Allium sativum redirect and the Garlic article are both in Category:Plants described in 1753 and Category:Allium). I don't mind the duplicated categorization, but I'd probably argue that "garlic" was incompatible with Category:Allium if I had to pick only the species redirect or the article for the genus category.

"Described in year" categories are a whole other issue which I've complained about being problematic before. The status quo is that (were it not monotypic), a Lanaria lanata article would get placed in the described in 1753 category, not the Hyacinthus lanatus redirect. I don't particularly like that situation, but I can accept it. Putting the "described in year" category at the monotypic genus article just seems like a really bad idea though. "Described in year" categories are almost entirely species. If genera are getting a description date category, it should be a parallel set of year categories. It just seems super misleading to have Lanaria in "Category:Plants (species) described in 1753" and not a hypothetical Category:Plant genera described in 1789. Plantdrew (talk) 05:13, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

@Plantdrew: I agree that choice #2 is, on balance, best. I tried to present the choices as neutrally as possible above to encourage discussion. (My impression is that only a handful – if that! – of editors have any interest in categorization.) Pending this discussion, I left the approach to categorization at Lanaria as I found it. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:20, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Geez. I try to do these things the way you good people want them done, but when you cannot agree... One thing I learned many, many years ago in the last century is that if you are designing a system that you want many people to use, keep it simple. Otherwise, you spend all your time explaining esoteric little details and losing the big picture. I look at pages other people have written and see major problems with some of them. The most common are people not knowing what the word "endemic" means or aiming their writing at people in their own narrow little field of expertise or their own small geographic area. I myself am much more interested in cleaning up those sorts of errors rather than in arguing formatting details.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:16, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually Plantdrew and I do agree on categorization. I could just edit the project page to say what we think, but I was trying to get some more input first. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:51, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Okay. You deal with that, and I'll deal with the page saying "This plant is endemic to South America. Its country of origin is Mexico." No, I did not make that up. One question concerning monotypic pages: What is to be done with specific synonyms? It is fine to put a category statement on a redirect page, but if we put the specific synonymy on a redirect page, nobody will ever see it. It needs to go on the generic page. But where? In the taxobox or in the text? My contention is that in the case of a monotypic genus, the generic name and the specific name are essentially synonyms of each otherJoseph Laferriere (talk) 13:05, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
At Lanaria I separated the list of synonyms in the taxobox into genus and species, which seems to me to work. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:02, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

As no-one seems to dissent (or be very interested!), I'm going to edit the project page to reflect (2) above, which is what mostly seem to happen currently. Revert if you don't agree! Peter coxhead (talk) 15:42, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Just adding my support to the option preferred by you and Plantdrew. I agree with the description given in number 2 above and to the change made to the project page. I'm glad someone is keeping the project on task of recording the results of discussions somewhere! Rkitko (talk) 23:41, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Does anyone know any sources to establish notability of Allan A. Schoenherr?[edit]


Allan A. Schoenherr wrote A Natural History of California. His book is a classic. A [Google Scholar search] produces many results. Does anyone know any sources to establish notability for a Wikipedia article on him, or on his book? FloraWilde (talk) 04:00, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

@FloraWilde: actually a lot of the results don't refer to Allan A. Schoenherr. If you do a better search in Google Scholar, namely author:"Allan A Schoenherr", you get only 15 results listing only 7 publications. So I'm not sure whether he is sufficiently notable. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:50, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. It does look pretty weak in the publication department. I established notability with mainstream news sources as the area's go-to-guy "naturalist" on California natural history. FloraWilde (talk) 00:34, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Admin move request (2)[edit]

According to the last paragraph of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (flora)#Monotypic taxa when a monospecific genus needs to be disambiguated, instead of creating the article at the disambiguated plant genus, it should be created at the species name. I've checked all of Category:Monotypic_plant_genera and the only case left is Stokesia (plant) which should be moved to Stokesia laevis. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:31, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Rkitko (talk) 23:37, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Changing digger pine -> gray pine in articles[edit]

Pinus sabiniana has various names, among them are "digger pine" and "gray pine". The problem with the usage of digger pine is two-fold. For one the term "digger" originated as a derogatory term for native Americans in the central California region around which Pinus sabiniana is distributed. To quote an historical interpreter for the California State Indian Museum in Sacramento:

To call a California Indian a `digger' means you are either ignorant or you are purposely trying to insult him. It is a very derisive word." These observers concur in the opinion that "the term digger is as offensive to California's Native Americans as the term 'nigger' is to African Americans." The terms "foothills pine" or "gray pine" are now officially preferred.

To see that the latter two terms are officially preferred is easily verifiable by visiting the webpages concerning Pinus sabiniana on any official website such as the USDA plant database.

The second problem is that of usage, which although I have only my own personal experience as well as Google results to support, I believe "gray pine" to be the most widely used common name. The relevant Google search counts are: digger pine = 35,300, gray pine = 42,700, grey pine = 96,500, foothill pine = 11,400. The reason I support the choice of gray over grey is because gray is the American spelling and the tree is American and I expect most articles mentioning the gray pine to be concerned with American ecology, although I'm not concerned with either one being used. I will await responses and if there are no objections I will start switching out mentions of "digger pine" to "gray pine".AioftheStorm (talk) 19:27, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

@AioftheStorm: um... Wikipedia doesn't censor, nor does it restrict itself to "officially preferred" names. So if by "switching out mentions" you mean "removing all mentions" this would be quite wrong. What exactly do you have in mind? Peter coxhead (talk) 19:33, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
What I have in mind is going to articles which mention "digger pine" and changing that mention to "gray pine", and my reasons are based both on not using a historic and offensive name, as well as using what I believe to be the most commonly used name.AioftheStorm (talk) 19:36, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
To add to this, I wouldn't be removing "digger pine" from lists of alternative names for Pinus Sabinia, I would just be switching out "digger pine" with "gray pine" where digger pine appears alone within an article.AioftheStorm (talk) 19:39, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Since the combination "gray pine" + "grey pine" is almost 4x as common in Google searches as "digger pine", this would seem reasonable regardless of any offensive connotations, provided that, as you say, it still appears as an alternative name in the main article. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:05, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps this doesn't affect what you are doing, but Pinus banksiana is called "grey pine" in eastern Canada. I've just added a (very old) citation, since I can't find a good recent one that reflects what people say. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:05, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Interestingly Grey pine doesn't exist. Perhaps we should stick a hatnote on Pinus sabiniana telling them that "Gray pine redirects here, for the eastern Canadian tree see Pinus banksiana" and then create Grey pine and either make it a disambiguation page, a redirect to Pinus sabiniana, or a redirect to Pinus banksiana with a hatnote redirecting to Pinus sabiniana.AioftheStorm (talk) 04:43, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
That would be good. I hadn't got around to it; am vaguely wondering if there might be others that share these common names, or have a species epithet grayana and are pine-like but not Pinus. Haven't found any yet. There are too many "grey pine" flooring companies and hostels. Of course, there's the Icee Blue® Podocarpus with "lime-gray-blue" foliage! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:16, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of a proposed Barnstar - For improving botany and plant related articles[edit]

There is a discussion of a proposed Barnstar - For improving botany and plant related articles here[2]. FloraWilde (talk) 18:58, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

geographic catorization[edit]

Here is an update on something we were discussing a few weeks ago. You may recall that we were discussing the use of geographic categories on plant pages. Policy is to use the highest-level category instead of listing all the more local categories, e.g. "Flora of Africa" instead of "Flora of Ghana" + "Flora of Togo' + "Flora of Benin" etc. I have been attempting to comply with those guidelines that were outlined here on this page. Problem is that I have received complaints about this, people reverting my changes to existing pages or sending me strongly worded emails. One person objected strongly to my deletion of "Flora of Lebanon" category from one page, despite that the plant discussed on that particular page does not grow in Lebanon.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 18:01, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Ah, yes. A few years ago we had a persistent IP editor adding hundreds of plant articles to Category:Flora of Pakistan. A similar thing happened with Category:Flora of Lebanon -- there are editors who feel they have a certain amount of ownership of a category or set of articles. Perhaps it's best to ignore these complaints, but maybe the best thing to do would be to clarify our positions at Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Template#Categories and Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Categorization so that there is project consensus you could point other editors to when a conflict arises. That way discussion will be directed here instead of user talk pages. I tried my best in the intro of WP:PLANTS/WGSRPD to explain my understanding of the geographic categorization. Please modify it for clarity if it is needed. Rkitko (talk) 21:29, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that "highest level category" is defined differently for different editors. An editor editing on Lebanon may think flora of Lebanon, mountains of Lebanon, climate of Lebanon, birds of Lebanon, etc., are subcategories of Natural History of Lebanon, and that Natural History of Lebanon and Political Parties of Lebanon, etc., are subcategories of Lebanon. An editor editing about plants may think that Flora of Lebanon is a subcategory of Flora of Eastern Mediterranean Countries, which is a subcategory of Flora. If the issue came up at the ProjectLebanon, there would likely be a consensus, as there would be at the ProjectPlant talk page. But the two consensuses would be different from each other. Categories are a non-hierarchical network ("reticulate"). FloraWilde (talk) 21:52, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think there's any chance of a conflict between various WikiProjects. Geographic categorization for flora is clearly going to be a hierarchy of smaller regions nested within larger regions. (Category:Flora of Lebanon is one of 12 countries or regions in Category:Flora of Western Asia.) Categories are not necessarily a strict tree, meaning that you can get to the same subcategory via different parent categories, but they are generally hierarchical -- WP:CAT says as much. Rkitko (talk) 22:51, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
I do not think that the problem here lies in categories on birds or mountains. We are discussing floral categories. Problem is that if a plant is found in every country from Portugal to Korea, it will have been put in the Flora of Lebanon category and in no other floral categories. No, that is not acceptable. Joseph Laferriere (talk) 22:52, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, WP:OVERCATEGORIZATION is still a problem. The same goes for Category:Flora of Delaware. It was placed on so many articles where the only other flora category was Category:Flora of North America because the taxon had a wide distribution. I reverted many of these but the task was so large that I gave up. What we need is an intuitive approach and clear directions repeated on this project page. Each category should then link to those instructions, transclude them, repeat them, or clearly define the circumscription. I tried doing this on some of the North American, African, European, and Asian category hierarchy, e.g. Category:Flora of the Northeastern United States, but it still needs work. Rkitko (talk) 23:02, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
I went through the Flora of Delaware category examining many of the pages listed there. I cleaned up as many as I could. The problem with the instruction pages is that many people do not read them. I see many pages with very major problems, people not even following basic tenets of grammar, sentence structure, logical organization, whatever, never mind the content difficulties. I try to clean things up when I can, but sometimes I cannot figure out what the authors are trying to say.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 23:45, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
I do remember seeing your work on cleaning up the Delaware category some time ago. Thanks for tackling that difficult and tedious job. While it can be frustrating to find sub-par articles below our standards, it's important to remember why Wikipedia was established to be edited by anyone and that it will always be a work in progress. So putting everything else aside, how can we best communicate our categorization goals? I suggested clearly and simply explaining the categorization normally applied to plants in one place that can be consulted, linked to, and used in discussions to justify and explain edits to others. There will always be new editors or those unfamiliar with plant article categorization and they will usually make a few mistakes, but a quick link to a project guideline and they will likely join the effort to sort it all out as long as our categorization schemes are reasonable. Many mundane and routine tasks can be bot- or script-assisted. So my questions would be: 1) Does consensus exist for following the WGSRPD? If yes, how far can or should we deviate from it and where will we make these decisions? N.B. I nominated Category:Flora of the Great Basin desert region as largely redundant to Category:Flora of the Southwestern United States but there has been little discussion as of yet. 2) Shall we develop appropriate guidelines for geographic categorization that mostly follow current ideal practices or do we need to re-examine our scheme? There appears to be some pushback against geographic categorization as a whole -- some editors cite WP:DEFINING, suggesting that being native to a country is not a defining attribute of the species. See Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 August 29#Category:Birds of Suriname for a current discussion with no participation. Earlier, all European fish categories by country were upmerged to "Fish of Europe" even though some had enough endemic species to exist on their own if the categories had been re-defined (see archived discussion here). And 3) Shall each flora geographic category contain an explanation or a brief circumscription and link to our newly created guideline? I suggest that tackling these questions as a project (not limited to just this list, of course) would help us on our way to curating the categories more effectively. Finally, we'd need to jettison many of the categories that overlap wholly and mostly with the WGSRPD. I had a recent discussion with an editor who prefers the parallel floristic kingdom category hierarchy -- should we have both (more categories on each plant article that largely overlap with one another) or should we just use one? Rkitko (talk) 01:05, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

@User:Joseph Laferriere, can you provide a link to the discussion you referred to as "those guidelines that were outlined here on this page"? Is there somewhere "highest-level category" was defined? @User:Rkitko, does "geographic category" mean political geography or a contiguous area with some shared environmental feature, as what might lead to creation of a plant community or vegetation type? In this case, a category like "flora of the Golan Heights", makes much more sense than "flora of Syria" or "flora of Israel". Similarly "Flora of the Great Basin desert region", Flora of the Sonoran Desert, Flora of the Mojave Desert, make sense. Putting the former two in a category defined by political boundaries is possible, since both are in the western US, but the latter crosses over international boundaries. Is there a place that defines a purpose or intended use of categories? FloraWilde (talk) 02:54, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

@FloraWilde: Your question is related to one of mine. The few folks who have participated in past discussions have seemed to embrace the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions. I have drafted our category structure at WP:PLANTS/WGSRPD. For the most part, it follows political boundaries, but you'll note that it doesn't make Greenland subordinate to Denmark, for example. This is done for practical reasons: plenty of sources exist that describe the flora native to regions confined to political boundaries (floras of countries, states, and provinces) while there are fewer resources, such as checklists, available for regions that cross borders such as those you mention. Further, places like the "Great Basin desert region" sometimes have ill-defined boundaries. More to the point, we already discuss and describe flora by their endemism, native or invasive status, and rarity by political boundaries. It is expected that an article will describe a taxon as rare in New Mexico, but wholly unexpected to find a sentence that indicates it is rare within the Sonoran Desert. "Flora of Syria" means more to the general reader than "Flora of Golan Heights". And finally, the WGSRPD is a good scheme to follow because we get to defend our choices against those who wish to see all categories upmerged to the continent scale by using a published system also used by GRIN and other references instead of trying to defend a system we hack together ourselves. And to answer your last question, WP:CAT is the good place to start for general category guidelines. Categories are for aiding navigation and browsing. They are not meant to duplicate list articles. If that doesn't sufficiently answer your questions, let me know and I'll take another stab. But once we settle those issues, I'd really like to get on to figuring out how to improve the system. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 03:24, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
FloraWilde Just now, I scanned past postings for this subject but could not find it. It was a few weeks ago but I do not remember the exact date. Also, "Great Basin" does have definite boundaries and they are not synonymous with the region known as the Southwest, not even close. The Great Basin is a large region which drains neither into the Atlantic nor into the Pacific. Rivers in that area drain into inland salt lakes or else disappear in the desert. This is well to the north of The Southwest, which is drained mostly by the Rio Grande and the Rio Colorado.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 08:41, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
But the borders of the Great Basin are neither clearly marked on maps or familiar to the general reader. I did not suggest the two are synonymous, just that the Great Basin and Southwestern US categories largely overlap and thus a plant article placed in both would be unnecessary. I prefer sticking with WGSRPD geographic categories whose boundaries are more familiar. The other categories are also incompletely hierarchical -- that is, we have Category:Flora of the Sonoran Deserts and Category:Natural history of the Mojave Desert (acting largely as a flora category), which would both be in the Great Basin region, but what subcategory exists or would exist for areas within the Great Basin not included in those recognizable regions? With the WGSRPD, all land is accounted for in a way that is simple and familiar, aligning with books and other resources written on flora by political boundaries. I don't see why the choice isn't simple here. Rkitko (talk) 12:34, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
Okay. We discussed this at some length some time ago. There is some confusion over the purpose of the categories, which in turn should determine how they are designed. A biologist would likely prefer ecological boundaries, while a layperon would be more comfortable with political regions. But we are using secondary sources for Wikipedia, therefore the decision is pretty much made for us and we are stuck with the political scheme. I made the point some time ago that we should not only in categories but in the text avoid geographic terms that the reader is not going to be able to find on a map. A term as simple as "New England" or "Scandinavia" may be obvious to most of us, but imagine the reader in Kyrgyzstan trying to find them on a map. Never mind "Macaronesia" or "The Holarctic floristic province." Wikipedia is supposed to be educating people, not confusing the bejeebers out of them.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 14:00, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Input requested[edit]

at Talk:Acacia pycnantha regarding phytochemistry. An issue with alot of acacia pages I see. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:48, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Helianthemum squamatum[edit]

Hi All

I've started writing about Helianthemum squamatum, it's the only know species able to extract water of crystallization from rock. I know a little about plants but would really appreciate help in writing the article if anyone is interested.

Many thanks

--Mrjohncummings (talk) 16:05, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Taxonomy categories[edit]

There are some plant categories with "taxonomy" in their name. For example Category:Taxonomy of Banksia which is placed in Category:Angiosperm taxonomy. These categories are for articles about taxonomy not for the taxonomy/classification itself. Thus we don't put Category:Asparagales into "Category:Taxonomy of monocots" but directly into Category:Monocots. I've been sorting out all the incorrectly used "taxonomy" categories that I've found, but if you come across any used incorrectly, please fix them. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:42, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Comments sought on renaming Taxonomy of the Bambuseae[edit]

Please comment at Talk:Taxonomy of the Bambuseae. Thanks. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:22, 11 September 2014 (UTC)


Opinions are invited about recent changes on Opopanax, which in part involve a difference of opinion about how to treat the multiple plants historically used, in light of a statement that currently "all production" is from one species. A copyright issue has also surfaced. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:50, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for Plant article template - Don't hide the family name[edit]

MOS says use plain English. But that does not mean we should not include the technical term after the plain English. I propose that the plant article template suggest stating a common name for the family in the lead sentence, followed by the scientific name in parentheses with a link, as here - Sarcodes. FloraWilde (talk) 15:57, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

I wouldn't "suggest", I would insist that if an English name for the family appears first, the scientific name must be given. In many cases different English names are used, often in different countries (see the discussion of the Asteraceae above), so they are not universally understood. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:47, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Many taxa (famlies, genera, species etc.) have no common name at all.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:29, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Species identification[edit]

Does anyone know what is the plant species? --Yuriy Kvach (talk) 19:05, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Were the images taken in a natural habitat? If so, where? What time of year? FloraWilde (talk) 22:45, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Southern Ukraine, near the sea beach. All the images made at June 2014. --Yuriy Kvach (talk) 07:16, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I made the description of each file in English. Thank you! --Yuriy Kvach (talk) 07:29, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
It seems to be Zygophyllum fabago. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:42, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank You very much!--Yuriy Kvach (talk) 04:58, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Araujia sericifera edit[edit]

Can anyone shed light on the veracity (or not) of this edit and its source? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:04, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

It links to the Jepson Manual, which does use that spelling, and the Jepson Manual is a "reliable source". (Tropicos documents sericefera as another orthographic variant.) My first thought was that it was a mistake in the Jepson Manual, but if one goes back to Brotero's 1818 paper one finds that Brotero also used that spelling, so the Jepson Manual spelling may have been deliberate. That suggests that sericofera is a correctable spelling error under the IC(B)N. One needs a rules lawyer.
Wikipedia FR has a footnote which translates to "The original name given by Felix de Avellar Brotero was Araujia sericofera  ; it was corrected Araujia sericifera the same year".
One might question the notability of orthographic variants. Lavateraguy (talk) 07:36, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I had also wondered if the Jepson Manual was in error, but my lack of knowledge on these matters is such that I wasn't even aware that orthographic variants are not just dismissed as wrong. It seems surprising; is it not the case that names are either documented as synonyms, or just not recognised? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 07:54, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Article 60.1 of the ICN says that "the original spelling of a name or epithet is to be retained, except for the correction of typographical or orthographical errors and the standardizations imposed by [list of ICN articles]." One of the standardizations which over-ride the original spelling is Recommendation 60G, namely that compounds formed from Latin roots should use "-i-" as the compounding vowel, whereas those formed from Greek roots should use "-o-". Since sericus (also sericeus) and -fera are of Latin origin, the correct form is sericifera and any other spelling should be corrected to this. The alternative spellings aren't synonyms (because they aren't possible names under the ICN) but orthographic variants. I'm not sure when this "correction provision" came in, but as the ICN applies retrospectively, names which once would have been acceptable with their original spelling now aren't.
As a newcomer to plant taxonomy and nomenclature, I find the vagaries of the ICN quite fascinating (which is doubtless some kind of negative comment on my personality!). I've had quite a few names corrected in WCSP and elsewhere, both changes from the original version (the latest being Rhodochiton atrosanguineus which was published as R. atrosanguineum, but the ICN requires genders to be corrected, and the Greek chiton is masculine) and changes back to the original version (e.g. Allium bigelovii was published as this, but has been written as Allium bigelowii, as it's named after Bigelow, and this form was previously used in WCSP; however the original isn't changeable under the ICN since it was based on the latinized Bigelovius). Peter coxhead (talk) 10:09, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
A few points: 1) So-called "authoritative sources" do make errors. The ICN exists to provide some way of solving dilemmas about which name or which spelling is correct. Imagine if authors could create as many orthographic variants as they want with no way to settle the arguments. 2) The question "Is this orthographic variant worthy of the status of formally recognized synonym?" is different from the question "Should we here at Wikipedia make note of such variant spellings in widely used sources and provide redirect pages to aid the reader in locating the appropriate information?"Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:09, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely – I'm all in favour of as many redirect pages as editors have the energy to create, and well-used orthographic variants, some of which are historically more common than the spelling currently regarded as correct, should certainly be listed in the taxobox under "Synonyms" (labelled as "orth. var.") and be redirects. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:24, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Peter coxhead Certainly. I have been doing this for some time, except that I generally anglicise the "orth. var." to "spelling variation." No need to confuse people. "Nom. nud." I generally translate to "name published without description." Remember the motto: "Eschew obfuscation!"Joseph Laferriere (talk) 23:07, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Where would we be if taxonomists eschewed obfuscation? A heretical idea, indeed! Peter coxhead (talk) 07:08, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Should link to genus be in the lead and article, or just in the taxo-box[edit]

There is often no link to the genus in plant articles, not in the lead, and not in the body. Conversely, there is almost always a link to the family in the first sentence. (If a user happens to know to look in the taxo-box, and there happens to be a taxo-box, that is the only place to find the genus link.) It is possible to put the link in the genus part of the bold faced binomial name, in the first sentence of the article. Other than producing bicolored binomial names, is there a good reason why this is almost never done? FloraWilde (talk) 22:54, 13 September 2014

This is covered in the guideline MOS:BOLDTITLE "Links should not be placed in the boldface reiteration of the title in the opening sentence of a lead". And I agree, it would be very distracting IMHO.--Melburnian (talk) 00:19, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Also, promoting having a link to the genus in the first sentence may encourage non-informative and redundant constructions such as:
Fooia communis, also known as the common fooia, is a plant in the genus Fooia.
--Melburnian (talk) 01:25, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I have seen very few plant pages without a taxobox, and when I do find one, I generally create one. It is very frequently the only place where a link to the genus page can be found, and I think this is entirely adequate. I do not need to go looking through the text to find the link to the genus page, because I know exactly where it is. A sentence such as "Zea mays is in the genus Zea" is stating the obvious. I would much prefer an opening sentence that actually says something.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:23, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Thus it's important to botanists where a taxon is placed, but usually of little importance to anyone else. I'm as guilty as anyone else of starting genus articles with information on the family placement, but I am now convinced that the first sentence should usually be descriptive. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
A few points: 1) So-called "authoritative sources" do make errors. The ICN exists to provide some way of solving dilemmas about which name or which spelling is correct. Imagine if authors could create as many orthographic variants as they want with no way to settle the arguments. 2) The question "Is this orthographic variant worthy of the status of formally recognized synonym?" is different from the question "Should we here at Wikipedia make note of such variant spellings in widely used sources and provide redirect pages to aid the reader in locating the appropriate information?" 3) Most amateur plant lovers do know what a genus is and that the first half of the so-called scientific name is in fact the genus name. Most do pay some attention to families, especially the larger and more distinctive ones such as grasses, palms, cacti, etc.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 12:16, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "Fooia communis, also known as the common fooia, is a plant in the genus Fooia" is exactly how articles should start. It may be obvious to all of you, but won't be to many readers. Johnbod (talk) 00:20, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
But its only restating what's in the taxobox to the right and doesn't tell the reader anything specific about the plant.--Melburnian (talk) 01:38, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. Further, a reader who doesn't know that Fooia communis is in the genus Fooia won't know what a genus is anyway, so will gain nothing by being told this in the first sentence. Whereas, "Fooia communis is a small tree with yellow flowers, native to south eastern Madagascar" says something informative to everyone. For a real example of a good opening sentence, how about "Hyacinthoides non-scripta ... is a bulbous perennial plant, found in Atlantic areas from north-western Spain to the British Isles, and also frequently used as a garden plant." For completeness I'd probably add "with spikes of blue flowers" after "perennial plant". Peter coxhead (talk) 08:33, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Johnbod's sentence not only has content, it has essential content that should overtly be in the lead wording.
  • Peter coxhead's first comment above is also right on the mark, a lay-person-description is almost always best to start off with - what kind of plant (tree, shrub, perennial plant, etc.), gross appearance-to-lay-person growth form (low growing, tall, thorny, bushy), lay-person-notable colors (showy yellow flowers, whitish powdery leaves, red bark), and general range and habitat (country/region, mountain range/plains, rain forest/desert, etc.).
  • But family and genus should be overtly stated in the lead first paragraph, if not the first sentence, since it is also essential content for a large number of plant article readers. There should also be links to the terms "family" and "genus", so a reader unfamiliar with these terms, or who only vaguely recalls them from a long-ago biology class, can quickly get up to speed on them - "Fooia communis (common fooia) is a small, whitish-green tree with showy yellow flowers, that is found in moist, coastal-facing slopes of the western Wikiland mountain range. It is in the Fooia genus of the commoners family (Commonaceae)."
  • One problem with relying on taxo-boxes (other than that they might not be there at all) is that many casual encyclopedia users are "sentence and paragraph reader-types", who read the words and ignore all of the boxes and tabs appearing all over their screen (the left column Wiki box, the Wiki ad banner box at top, and the taxo-box at right until they know to look there, etc.
  • Proposal - Add to the plant article template that"

"The genus and family should be overtly stated in the lead first paragraph, with a link to both "genus" and "family", e.g., "It is in the Fooia genus of the commoners family (Commonaceae)."


For me, the family is acceptable, but the genus? No, sorry, I don't agree. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:40, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Re: But its only restating what's in the taxobox: this is not a good reason to keep information out of the main text of the article. The taxobox should be a summary of the structured part of the information from the article; it should not be considered a replacement for that part of the article. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:00, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Part of the purpose of the opening sentence is to reassure the reader that she or he has located the correct page. A sentence such as "Gardenia is a genus of plants" may seem simplistic and redundant, but it does serve the purpose of informing the reader of the fact that this is not a page on the marine crustacean named Gardenia nor the ancient Roman Province of Gardenia.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 21:20, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Sure, a genus article needs to say that it's about a genus of plants, but that wasn't quite the point, I think. FloraWilde seems to have been asking about species articles; my reply was directed at these. I don't believe we should say that "X y is a species in the genus X". Peter coxhead (talk) 21:27, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I was talking about species articles. At first I suggested linking to the genus from the title, but I changed my proposal after reading Johnbod's comment. Not only should the genus be stated in a species article, but the word "genus" itself should be in the article, with a link. And I fully agree with David Eppstein's comment. FloraWilde (talk) 22:11, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
I haven't created many plant articles (and none recently), but looking at a few (e.g. Rosa fedtschenkoana), I can see that I did state genus and family in the first sentence, my reason being that I was trying to pinpoint exactly what the article was describing. In fact, I often wrote "plant genus" or "plant family", in order to make it as clear as possible to lay readers. However, I remember I was never very happy with this construction, as it seemed inelegant and laboured, and I agree with Peter that it isn't the best approach; readers who are familiar with binomial names won't need to be told which genus a species is in, whereas readers who aren't familiar with them won't understand what a genus is anyway (and linking the terms genus and family in the first sentence could lead to excessively dense linking). Personally I favour Peter's approach of a descriptive first sentence; the taxonomy can be explained later in the article. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:42, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't want to prescribe any particular form of first sentence, but it should not be assumed that readers understand that the genus is part of the species name, nor should readers have to go to the infobox for any information that a general reader might want and that can easily be put in the text (as opposed to technical classification numbers etc). Johnbod (talk) 00:49, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
To clarify, I was objecting to mandating a genus link in the first sentence of a species article which was the opening proposition of this discussion, not precluding a link elsewhere in the article text.--Melburnian (talk) 01:37, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────*Modified proposal -

"If possible, the lead first sentence should contain descriptive information in plain English that informs a general reader about the plant, e.g., growth form (tree, shrub, annual), size, flower colors, where it naturally grows, etc. Although stating what the genus is may seem redundant, given it is already in the article title, the genus and family should be overtly stated in the lead first paragraph, with a link to both the term "genus" and the term "family", so that readers unfamiliar with these concepts, or who may have learned them but do not readily recall what they learned, can quickly link to them - e.g., "It is in the Helianthus genus of the sunflower family (Asteraceae)."

. FloraWilde (talk) 03:05, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I know that the focus was on species pages, but my previous comment applies to any sort of page.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:27, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Clicking the note at the end of that statement clarifies that the restriction presumes a circular redirect. When the link goes to another page, the circular redundancy doesn't exist. If the link only uses part of the reiterated title, it is splitting the boldface reiteration between two colors that is cautioned against. HTML gives us a possible solution using <span> tags. Consider this example where only the genus is linked: Bambusa oldhamii. Perhaps this approach could quell the concern raised when a term requires only a partial link.—John Cline (talk) 07:55, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Acacia pycnantha[edit]

Australia's floral emblem is at FAC - Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Acacia pycnantha/archive1 - any input from botanists would be welcome...cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:45, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Pretty quiet there.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:03, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Are the expression "lichenized fungus" and "lichen" synonymous?[edit]

The answer may seem obvious at first, but reliable sources are not consistent. Please contribute to the discussion here. 23:46, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Please help write taxobox and fit article into plant article template, for the "genus with scare quotes" - Dendriscocaulon[edit]

Please help adding a taxobox and with a WP:BOLD rewrite of the Dendriscocaulon article . FloraWilde (talk) 14:41, 17 September 2014 (UTC)