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)

Botanical authorities are 'notable'[edit]

I was alerted earlier today that a botanical authority page was nominated for speedy deletion as not notable. Fortunately the nomination was withdrawn after vigorous protest.

I am proposing that we should, as a matter of priciple, declare that botanical authorities are 'notable by definition, and should not be deleted. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 01:41, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Where's a detailed rationale for this proposed declaration?--Melburnian (talk) 03:11, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
But are they? I don't think it's implausible that someone could write a single diagnosis and otherwise be completely biographically obscure. Choess (talk) 03:16, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes - it is possible. I can recall at least one obscure person that only published one or two names who'd not likely satisfy notability, and suspect there'd be a few others - not many historically but not none either. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:29, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
I assume "botanical authorities are notable by definition" would encompass anybody with a listing on IPNI. I have a colleague with an IPNI author listing based on their being the 3rd author on papers describing 3 species. The primary author was generous in attributing co-authors. Being listed as an authority on IPNI isn't a guarantee of notability. What's the status of "all species are inherently notable"? I know there's something to that effect on Wikipedia, and while it doesn't seem to be controversial, if I recall correctly, species notability isn't a Wikipedia policy or a guideline. I'd go for getting species notability enshrined as a guideline before adopting a WikiProject standard that species authorities are inherently notable. Plantdrew (talk) 06:34, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
There is a mention at WP:SPECIESOUTCOMES. This is not a guideline, but reflects AfD precedent. That's about as good as it gets, every article needs to meet WP:GNG on its own merit at the end of the day.--Melburnian (talk) 07:11, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
I would rather say "species are inevitably notable", rather than "inherently" simply because the processes that determine the existence of a distinct species inevitably result in the creation of reliable sources of the highest quality - scientific journal articles. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 21:30, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I have a listing on IPNI (one name in one paper in a horticultural journal), and have been cited/mentioned in a score or more of papers. I don't think I qualify as notable. Lavateraguy (talk) 09:03, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
@Lavateraguy: well, if the taxon has an article and your author abbreviation is in the taxobox, how do you suggest it's linked to explain it to readers if not via an article? Peter coxhead (talk) 18:10, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

My argument in the specific case was that if there's a taxobox containing that person's standard author abbreviation, then it should be wikilinked, which requires there to be an article. This isn't saying that we should create articles on authors in advance, but that once the author abbreviation is used, it is right to create an article.

Now this idea could be qualified; e.g. we could say that the person has to have been a (co)author of X names, where X > 1. Or we could say that it applies when the author abbreviation is not obvious, so that, say, "J.Smith" wouldn't need an article if X is small, but "Sm.f." would. It's the desire/need to wikilink which drives my wish to have an article. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:23, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Isn't one of the fundamental guiding principles of Wikipedia that everything must be cited and verifiable? The decision has already been made that all species are notable. I support this. Common species are notable because people will encounter them frequently. Rare species are notable because they are very frequently the focus of conservation efforts. And the decision has been made that all species should have the authors cited in the taxoboxes. If we are required to include this author information, it seems to me that combining this with the principle of universal verifiability means that we need to provide the reader with some means of decoding these author abbreviations. In other words, if a person described only one species, and we are required to have an abbreviation of this person's name on that plant's page, we need to provide the reader with some means of figuring out who this person is/was.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 00:46, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree. We could be more restrictive! but I personally wouldn't. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:07, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
@Joseph Laferriere...I hadn't thought of it like that before and it makes sense...colour me converted. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:15, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Maybe authorities without articles should be linked to List of botanists by author abbreviation or similar? Stuartyeates (talk) 07:22, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Stuartyeates That would be a good idea if the list were more complete. That page gives only full name plus birth and death dates, with the name linked to a bio page (about 30-40% red linked). And the list is not complete. I tried looking several colleagues whom I know have authored numerous names, but could not find them.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:40, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, just add them! The list is constantly being built up. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:05, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I did one, an old professor of mine from Arizona. There were a few others I was tempted to do, but could not find sufficient biographical information.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 19:29, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Actually, my name is on the list, but I figured it would be uncool for me to write a page about myself.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 19:36, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
(The first step would be to give IPNI your date of birth, so it doesn't just say "fl. 1990"! Peter coxhead (talk) 20:45, 10 May 2014 (UTC))
I'm in the camp that not all botanical authorities are notable, though many are. I mean... I'm a botanical authority myself, and I am most forcefully not notable. Circéus (talk) 22:42, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Peter coxhead: I must have been looking at a different page. The list I looked at a few hours ago did give my dob (1955). Joseph Laferriere (talk) 00:51, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Circéus: The point here is not what you think of yourself, but rather whether the readers of Wikipedia have the right to know who coined the name.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 00:51, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I strongly agree that not all authorities are notable. Readers should be able find out who the authority is by reading the taxonomy section. Sasata (talk) 00:59, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
@Sasata: we'd have to alter the way we word many of those sections for this to work. I always try to write things like "Scadoxus cinnabarinus was first described by Joseph Decaisne", but I haven't been adding "whose standard author abbreviation is 'Decne.'"; however, without this, where the abbreviation isn't initials + name, the ordinary reader probably won't connect the entry in the taxobox with the text in the article. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:24, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Is there any evidence that the "ordinary reader" actually cares about this? I can't recall ever seeing a talk page query about the identity of an unlinked authority abbrieviation. Have you? Sasata (talk) 09:26, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Only a tiny percentage of any of these taxonomy sections contain any shred of information about who the authority is/was.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 01:45, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know how WikiData works, but could it possibly be used to address this? The taxobox template could be used to map abbreviation to authority, and if there is no article for the authority to link to the list of author abbreviations, which in turn can point to the IPNI Author Search for authorities not included in that list. Lavateraguy (talk) 11:32, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Acacia didyma is a case where one of the coauthors does not have an article. Considering some of the discussion points here, I've removed the orphan red link, added a footnote to explain the author abbreviations and inserted IPNI author cites for both authors in the text.--Melburnian (talk) 13:08, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
With all due respect,I think that this is a bit awkward Joseph Laferriere (talk) 14:41, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I have to say that I agree. It also makes a decision about whether the person is notable, which I'm not sure can be made until someone actually tries to write an article about them. Some way of producing a default wikilink, as Lavateraguy suggested, would be better, though it's not clear how to do it. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:21, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
What I meant was that the footnote creates a disjointed page with duplicate information. The names are already in the text; the footnote adds the middle names but nothing more. So the footnote I find distracting. I like having it buried in a link so the reader can click on the link to obtain that information if she or he needs it, but can sit and admire the pretty blue letters if she or he does not need the info.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 01:50, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
@Peter coxhead: No, its the other way around. Inserting a redlink is making a decision about notability as defined for Wikipedia. WP:REDYES states that "creating a redlink also carries the reponsibility to first ascertain...that its foreseeable subject matter will meet the WP:notability guidelines for topics covering covering people (WP:BIO)". That means if you are writing the article and you are not sure about the notability of a subject, don't insert a redlink. That doesn't stop another editor who is sure (or oneself after further investigation) later adding a redlink or writing an article.--Melburnian (talk) 02:03, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, right. I took it to be the case that we agreed that everyone with a standard form in IPNI was a priori notable, so it requires evidence to say otherwise. Clearly, this isn't the case, so I was wrong. However, in the specific case, Maslin is clearly notable, and has an article; "A.R.Chapm." is associated with 32 unique names in IPNI (see here), so I would say is also notable by any reasonable standard. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:28, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The general problem is that there is a paucity of substantial written information about living botanists (even prolific ones) in reliable secondary sources. For Australian botanists, there is Australian Plant Collectors and Illustrators 1780s-1980s which is a list that has links to notes for many of the entries. Often such mini-biographies are not written until the subject retires or dies, so many of those in the middle of their careers don't tend to have good coverage.--Melburnian (talk) 01:21, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
@Peter coxhead: You say "No, its the other way around." Please reread my previous note. I said I like blue links. I never said I liked the red ones.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 01:56, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
""No, its the other way around" was me replying to Peter coxhead's [18:21, 12 May 2014 (UTC)] comment.--Melburnian (talk) 02:36, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Humble apologies. It was late in the evening when I read that.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:43, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

It would have been good to have reached a consensus on this, but I think we haven't. There seem to be two issues:

  • Whether authoring a taxon is in and of itself sufficient to make the author notable; on this we simply disagree. Can we perhaps agree that authoring say 20+ taxa makes the author notable, while agreeing to differ about a figure lower than this?
  • Whether it's worth writing a stub article given that sufficient information in reliable secondary sources is often hard to find, especially for living authors. I'm not clear whether Melburnian is simply commenting or arguing that it's not worth writing a stub article. If the latter, again I think we don't agree; in most cases it's possible to say something worthwhile based on papers, etc. I'd like to know more about A.S. Losina-Losinskaja, but what is in the article is surely better than nothing?

Peter coxhead (talk) 07:16, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

It's worthwhile writing a stub article, providing you can establish notability.--Melburnian (talk) 02:53, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Ok, so the only issue is the one we started with, namely whether botanical authors are automatically notable. If you look at the list of criteria at Wikipedia:NOTE#General notability guideline, botanical authors will pass most tests, in relation to their authorship status – this is in reliable third party sources; there will be at least one primary source, whose use is justified by the secondary sources; outline biographical information, such as institutional affiliations over time is easily gleaned from publications without the need for OR. I guess the issue is whether botanical authorship amounts to just "a passing mention", since more than this is required. I incline to the view that it is more than this; it's an integral part of the full citation of the scientific name. Maybe if the person has authored only one or two names he or she isn't notable, but I contend that most authors will be. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:14, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
That sounds like that an inherited notability argument to me.--Melburnian (talk) 01:21, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
"Maybe if the person has authored only one or two names he or she isn't notable" is a distasteful argument since some of the people who do the best work publish very few or even zero names, generally because they are cleaning up after people who publish a lot of names (e.g., Willard Webster Eggleston tidying up after Charles Sprague Sargent and William Willard Ashe), or Robert Brown (botanist) being notably less well known than less careful workers. It's an argument that parallels judging the worth of wikipedians by counting their edits, or of programmers by counting the number of lines of code that they write (or duplicate into irrelevant places). I'd be distressed to see name-counting enshrined as a criterion of notability. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:35, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
@Sminthopsis84: I think you've taken my wording out of context. I meant "if the person has authored only one or two names he or she isn't notable purely on that account" – clearly they may be notable on other accounts. The issue is whether authoring botanical names in and of itself makes someone notable. Melburnian seems to say that it doesn't, although hasn't directly picked up my point about numbers. I'm inclined to think that someone who has authored a "reasonable" number of names, whatever number that is, is notable purely on that account. Of course they may be notable on other accounts, as may botanists who have never authored a name. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:34, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Peter, I would argue that authoring botanical names does not in and of itself make someone notable. A "reasonable number" doesn't really have a meaning when satisfying the requirements as specified in the Code of Nomenclature has next to nothing to do with whether a name should be published. Horror stories of bad behaviour by people who have published names abound, which is the reason for the perennial discussions among nomenclaturists about how to move away from attaching author names to taxon names. Just one example is where the same author in a series of publications moved species between various candidate genera, with the effect that no matter what later competent botanists decide about placement, his authorship will be attached to the correct name. To say that that person must be notable is the equivalent of applauding a vandal. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:50, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
Applauding? Nobody is applauding anybody here. It is just a statement of fact, informing the reader as to who coined the name. And nothing more than that. It is not our job here to pass judgement on whether these authors were nice people or not, nor whether they coined one name or a thousand. Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:06, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I have to say I agree with Joseph here. Curt Backeberg was described by David Hunt as having "left a trail of nomenclatural chaos that will probably vex cactus taxonomists for centuries", including describing new species from the window of a passing train. He's notable precisely because cactus taxonomists have had to spend so long sorting out his names. Pierre Delforge ("P.Delforge" in IPNI) has been very influential in naming orchids, and has created a large number of species names in the genus Ophrys (up to 10 times the number others recognize), a number quite unsupported by all the recent molecular phylogenetic research. He doesn't yet have an article, but he should have because he is definitely notable, partly precisely because other botanists have to deal with his names whether they agree with them or not. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
My favorite is Rafinesque. I have seen some of his books, published in the 1830s and 1840s. Some of these are on BHL so you can see for yourself. Very long lists of new names, some of which are new names of other people's taxa, which he decided to change because he did not like the sound of the existing names (in his defense, this was before priority rules came into vogue). Others were new species with cryptic descriptions 5 or 6 words long, half the words abbr. One time I saw him create a new name on line 6 of a particular page, then create a homonym for it on line 7. And his private herbarium got burned after he died, so there are no lectotypes. But many of his names did in fact represent new species, so there are hundreds of names with "Raf." at the end. Joseph Laferriere (talk) 10:46, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Summation: I think this has been a useful discussion, and as I anticipated, has seen a variety of opinions. Obviously no issue is ever completely black and white, and all Wikipedia style pages are to some extent guidelines not laws. Thus 'notability' is partly subjective. From that perspective there are two issues, one being Wikipedia's general guidelines on notability, and the other being the more specific issue of notability to botanists. I think the whole point of having WikiProjects is that we can have a certain degree of autonomy in setting guidelines specific to our own subject. To be completely logical, if standard nomenclature attaches an authors name to a taxon, that name has been 'noted. This issue arose because I wrote a page to provide information on a taxa's authority, and someone tried to delete it on notability grounds, untill I explained the whole concept of botanical authority. However there were no guidelines to point to, hence this discussion.

There is no point in having these discussions unless it leads to some sort of policy, or we will have them all over again in a few years, and other editors will be none the wiser. So I am going to try and translate this into some sort of policy on our page which is more of a guideline than a black and white law. In describing a taxa with an authority, it would be preferable to have a link to information about that authority, and there are certain basic elements that should be in that page, including IPNI, the {{botanist}} template, and links to the taxon or taxa, and vice versa, and also inclusion in our list of authorities. If you write a page about a botanist who is linked to a taxon, and someone tries to delete it, point them to this guideline (still to be written). At present we have no guidelines regarding botanist pages, and as such that would be useful in itself. --Michael Goodyear (talk) 13:42, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

@Mgoodyear: I agree that it's a good idea to add something to the project page. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:45, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
I have provided an initial version at WP:WikiProject Plants#Botanists.--Michael Goodyear (talk) 03:29, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Identification request[edit]

Can anyone identify the plant in this featured image for me (and the community)? ResMar 02:03, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Not an expert on Hawaiian flora, but after a little poking around, it looks like Metrosideros polymorpha. Tdslk (talk) 02:09, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Reddit came to the same conclusion, so that looks to be it. I was about to ask about how likely that this was planted into the lava flow, but a quick look at its Wikipedia page says otherwise: "colonizer of recent lava flows". Beautiful picture. ResMar 03:44, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
For more information, see kīpuka. Viriditas (talk) 04:41, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of whether or not use of the content in Jepson, or field guides based on Jepson, constitutes a violation of WP:Copyright[edit]

There is a discussion of whether or not use of the content in Jepson, or use of content in plant field guides that cite Jepson as their authority, constitutes a violation of WP:Copyright. The discussion can be found hereTalk:Hilaria_rigida#Copyright_problem_removed, and a realted discussion is here Copyright investigations (manual article tagging) Syntrichopappus fremontii. FloraWilde (talk) 15:40, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Categories "flora by countries"[edit]

I think these categories have not much botanic sense, since plants do not recognize national borders, and they create a huge mass of categories for some species. As an example Lily of the valley has about thirty such categories. I propose to suppress these categories, or admit only those that are for English speaking countries.--Auró (talk) 21:38, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree. I have raised this once before here but without much success. Regards  Velella  Velella Talk   23:01, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
The mess you found at Lily of the valley was the result of a misapplication of the flora categories and overcategorization. For example, the plant was in both Category:Flora of Europe and many of the country categories within Europe. As the distribution for this plant is best accurately described at the higher level, we remove child categories and upmerge as long as that category higher in the hierarchy still accurately describes the distribution. I cleaned it up, and for the most part the plant is native to temperate Asia, Europe, and the southeastern US.
It doesn't matter what the plant thinks about political borders. This is how we discuss, write about, define, and think about plants. Political borders are a convenient way to discuss plant distributions, which is why we use the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions. Books and flora treatments are written on the plants native to areas defined by political boundaries. When you find category clutter like that on the lily of the valley article, it is not the fault of the category scheme but a few overzealous editors who seem to think a plant must be included in every country category it can be found in. Be bold and clean it up by upmerging! I wrote some advice here: WP:PLANTS/WGSRPD. Rkitko (talk) 23:19, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
We have discussed this at great length before. I have only one thing to say at this juncture, i.e., that I very strongly and unequivocally object to the bit about "admit only those that are for English speaking countries." I cannot think of a single polite thing to say about that idea.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 02:02, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
I think that my suggestion about limiting the category flora by country to the English speaking countries has been taken in a sense that was not intended by me. Fortunately there are many Wikipedia projects, for many languages. If Wikipedia Catalana, for instance, contains a category named "Flora de Catalunya" I would find it quite normal, but to admit that English Wikipedia has to contain "Flora from Catalonia" as well as any of world countries and regions is not sensible. I hope my point is now clear.--Auró (talk) 21:28, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Since the geographical areas of distribution for plants tend to be larger than a single country, merging up could in fact suppress about 90% of the categories by country. It is a practical solution.--Auró (talk) 21:38, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Auró - Two assumptions here: 1) People will be reading Wikipedia only in their own native languages. Much of the information is available in one language but not another. In general, the English wikipedia tends to cover more information than the versions in other languages, though of course with exceptions. Many people whose first language is not English will be reading the English-language wikipedia pages. 2) People are interested only in plants native to their native countries. This is hardly true. Many botanists cross international boundaries in their work and need information about plants around the world. I personally have worked much in Latin America and frequently make use of websites in Spanish and occasionally in French or Portuguese. The current system offers the option of large-range categories or short-range categories. If a plant is widespread across most of Africa, it goes into the "Flora of Africa" category but if it is endemic to Botswana it goes in the "Flora of Botswana" category. You are proposing eliminating that option.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 22:38, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Joseph - For me the question is settled by means of Rkitko up merging solution.--Auró (talk) 21:36, 9 July 2014 (UTC)


Hello. I was wondering if any of you would be interested in creating a page on garidella, a subclass of the thalamiflorae, named in honour of French botanist Pierre Joseph Garidel. Let me know if you are. Please reply on my talkpage. Thank you.Zigzig20s (talk) 18:53, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Tools for adding lists to plant pages[edit]

I've been working with @Peter coxhead: and getting valuable advice from @V111P:, creating tools that might be of interest to other plant editors, for rapidly reformatting synonym lists and species lists. A prototype tool is described at User:Sminthopsis84/TPLSynonyms. That one uses synonym data from chosen by the wikipedian, who uses copy/paste to give input data to the program and to add the result to wikipedia. The program is written in HTML and javascript, and would run in your browser (we've tested it on a few of the many available browsers), thereby avoiding the security problems that come with a compiled language like java. I'd be very interested to know if people think this would be useful, and happy to answer questions. It is possible to create programs that work with other databases, WCSP, algaebase, ...

We've discussed possibly integrating such tools further into wikipedia, perhaps creating a button that you would click to go to the program, and perhaps working directly from the plant database without using copy/paste. Those sophisticated additions don't seem to be warranted at present, unless people think they would be helpful.

The prototype tool is easily downloaded as described at User:Sminthopsis84/TPLSynonyms. You would put the two files into the same directory anywhere on your computer, and then open one of them with your browser. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:53, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Nice work! I do want to mention I still have some concerns about using TPL or WCSP exclusively for synonym lists. I've found some egregious errors on both, as is natural for databases of their scope. Often, the synonymy lists are informed by a single editor and no supporting documentation is provided. I'd rather not see existing synonym lists compiled from recent monographs and other sources be overwritten by TPL or WCSP, though I'm not suggested that would happen. Scripts just make the possibility of such errors a little more likely. Anyway, just my two cents, and really more of a response to lots of recent conversations here that have treated TPL or WCSP as authoritative sources when they should be used more carefully. Not a criticism of the tool you've created! Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 21:55, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I entirely agree that these aggregator databases must not overwrite more authoritative information. They have errors, and may simply be working from less than the complete set of authoritative literature. I think it is encouraging, though, how much they have been updated in the last couple of years, and (funding permitting) seem likely to continue to improve. My feeling is that the need to carefully consider the contents of those databases is a good reason to not further automate the tools. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:51, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
For synonym lists, I agree that multiple sources can be used, although there are problems: using monographs is sometimes against the preference of WP:RS for secondary sources, and combining sources can lead to inconsistencies unless care is taken. Obviously it's always necessary to review the information in any source, TPL, WCSP or whatever, before using it. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:06, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Addendum: Rafaël Govaerts at WCSP (use the "contact" link on the WCSP page) is, in my experience, very helpful and very quick to correct errors for which evidence can be provided. TPL is different: it seems that they "scrape" other databases only once for a version, so corrections and changes to WCSP, Tropicos, etc. won't show up until the next version. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:09, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I had a problem a few weeks ago. I put together a species list to put onto a genus page, as I have done many times before. But this one time, I got a nasty note from some bot accusing me of violating copyright by, according to the bot, swiping the list from TLP. I had not even consulted TLP at all on this; I had swiped it from WCSP. The bot note went on to say "you can obtain information from another source, but you must rephrase it." You can't rephrase a scientific name. Can a list be copyrighted? Maybe if I were to de-alphabetize the list, the bot might accept that as rephrasing. Bots are not all that bright. Anyhow, nothing came of this, and the list is still on the wikipage.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 23:11, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm no expert on US copyright law which applies to Wikipedia, but the information in a list can't be copyrighted, although the layout and precise wording can. So long as we extract only scientific names and authorities and put them into WP's format, there shouldn't be a problem. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:06, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

There's a working prototype temporarily here which takes a list of species pasted from a WCSP checklist (using the "Build a checklist" option in the left column), extracts records according to selected criteria, and produces a wikified list for copying and pasting into Wikipedia. WCSP is not entirely consistent in its formatting, so automated parsing doesn't always work; careful review of the output is needed! Comments welcome. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:06, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Peter coxhead That's what I figured. I was not copying anybody's format, adding links and a brief range statement for each species on the list, the range information taken again from WCSP but reworded. It is much easier to reword a range statement than it is to edit the name of a species (simply say "Staffordshire and Tajkistan" instead of "Tajkistan and Staffordshire)." But these bots are not consulting with lawyers before they send out these threatening notes.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 09:57, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
@Joseph Laferriere: can you provide the details of where this bot ambushed you? Perhaps WP:PLANTS people could mount an argument somewhere about how to improve its behaviour. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:51, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
Sure. I can give you the direct quote, cut/pasted from my talk page: "This is an automated message from CorenSearchBot. I have performed a web search with the contents of Globba, and it appears to include material copied directly from" Joseph Laferriere (talk) 13:14, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I see what you mean by a not-very-bright bot. Apparently, CorenSearchBot will leave alone additions that use a citation template like {{1911}}. There doesn't seem to be such a template for WCSP, but there is one made by @Plantdrew: for The Plant List, and that isn't being used by the tool described above. Plantdrew, could you please have a look at the more complex example listed here, and see what you think about how to interface your template with that? I could write code that looks for two different situations, a URL that includes "record" and one that includes "search", using your template only for the former case. The tool would also need to be modified to pick up the taxon name and authority from the TPL page for that case. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:08, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
I have templates for both TPL and WCSP which I use regularly: see User:Peter coxhead/TPL and User:Peter coxhead/WCSP. The problem with "citation templates" is that preferred styles vary; e.g. my templates default to my preferred style of Template:Citation and to ISO dates for the access date, etc. which may not be to other people's tastes. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:24, 12 July 2014 (UTC)
A few thoughts, my friends. First, I have done hundreds of these pages, but CorenSearchBot objected only the one time. Second, Peter, you mentioned US copyright law. Why US? Indeed, what country's laws are applicable to an international phenomenon such as wikipedia? Plant List comes out of Kew, or so I thought. Kew is in the UK, or was last time I checked. Third, I am a bit uncomfortable with things like this being done automatically. That seems almost certain to introduce new errors. Old-fashioned cut/past may be more time-consuming, but it does allow for an actual human to double-check to make sure the not-so-bright bot is not doing something totally daft.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 04:05, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
@Joseph Laferriere: (1) Wikipedia is held on servers in the US, so US copyright law applies – see Wikipedia:Copyrights#Governing copyright law. (2) I would never suggest automatically extracting information from any database. For example, all my WCSP tool does is to re-format information copy-and-pasted from a WCSP checklist. It's intended solely to make it easier to format information consistently in the style we use. Peter coxhead (talk) 06:00, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Interesting that CorenSearchBot doesn't often react. I hope we can ignore it, and just revert its action when it strikes.
  • I don't like the idea of automatic extraction either.
  • So, what is the general consensus about whether tools like TPLSynonyms should use a template rather than coding their own format for the citation? Is that premature because the templates aren't universally beloved? I've described two possible embellishments at User talk:Sminthopsis84/TPLSynonyms and would welcome opinions there. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:13, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Inaccuracy of TPL[edit]

The accuracy of TPL has been questioned in these talk pages in the past. I entirely agree; for those plant families it covers I've found WCSP much more reliable. A particular problem with TPL is that it does not extract information correctly from Tropicos. Here's just one example I've found.

  • Search TPL for "Maurandya acerifolia". Response: Maurandya acerifolia Pennell is an accepted name, citing Tropicos.
  • Search TPL for "Mabrya acerifolia". Response: Mabrya acerifolia (Pennell) Elisens is an accepted name, citing Tropicos.

The authorities should ring an alarm bell, so let's look at Tropicos directly.

  • Search Tropicos for "Maurandya acerifolia". On the response page there's a tab "Accepted Names (1)" under which we find Mabrya acerifolia (Pennell) Elisens.

So Tropicos does not accept Maurandya acerifolia Pennell; it regards it as a synonym of the name it accepts, Mabrya acerifolia (Pennell) Elisens.

Sadly this isn't an isolated example. The status of names in TPL derived from Tropicos needs to be checked directly with Tropicos.

However, Tropicos isn't itself a reliable source for the status of names, since it collates information including specimens in herbaria, which may well be wrongly labelled. Here's an example. TPL claims that Lophospermum nubiculum Elisens is an accepted name in Tropicos. Tropicos does indeed have an entry for Lophospermum nubiculum Elisens, but doesn't cite the source of the name, only a secondary source. The name isn't in IPNI; a search of plant names by author in IPNI shows that Elisens didn't name species after 1985. His 1985 monograph which covers Lophospermum is online; there's no such name as Lophospermum nubiculum although there is a Lophospermum nubicola. The epithet nubiculum appears to be an orthographic error based on the re-labelling of a single herbarium specimen (see here) which cites Elisens (1985) which doesn't contain the name.

This probably counts as original taxonomic research so can't be included in Wikipedia, but the moral seems to be "don't believe what you see in (some?) online taxonomic databases". Peter coxhead (talk) 06:30, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

The phrase "orthographic error" is another way of saying "misspelled word." We are not allowed to correct misspellings? Suppose I were to say that the Queen of England lives in Buckleham Palace. We are not allowed to correct the error because this would constitute original research? Joseph Laferriere (talk) 07:34, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
We do correct names, by following the rules in the ICN. So do other botanists, and sometimes they do so incorrectly. I think that what went wrong with TPL here is that it didn't downgrade all names to low confidence if there was no original citation listed in To TPL's credit, the most recent update did correct a lot of crossed pointers. At least one of those crosses, though, was crossed in Tropicos, and has since been corrected. The next update of TPL should correct at least that one. In general, I believe that IPNI has done a superb job of incorporating the changes to articles 60, 61, and 62 of the ICN, so a good rule of thumb is to use IPNI's spelling. I've witnessed the anguish at two botanical congresses (6 years apart, as always, the next will be in 2017) where both times there were a huge number of proposals to change or clarify those articles about orthography, and both times the congress latched with alacrity onto the suggestion to refer them all as a block to the editorial committee. Those articles have been nightmarish. In 2001, it was much harder to figure out how to apply them. I suspect that those authors either goofed or did not, but in any case are now considered to have been mistaken. Botanists and wikipedians should ignore that name.
There are certainly errors in TPL: I don't remember where, but I saw a species listed as a synonym of its own autonymous variety …
I've sometimes set off to place synonym lists and move plant pages as appropriate and found that there is no database that I can find that gives a good account of what the current accepted taxonomy might be, then had to back-track. In many cases, there is no recent authoritative monograph either, the plant group simply hasn't been revised in living memory. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:13, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
@Joseph Laferriere: well, if you came across, say, "Lopospermum" in a context which clearly meant "Lophospermum", then it would be like "Buckleham Palace". In my example, it's not so obvious that it's an orthographic error. I've contented myself with a footnote at Lophospermum, but maybe I should have been bolder and not listed the name at all?
@Sminthopsis84: I'm a bit wary about applying the orthographic correction rules in the ICN directly in Wikipedia. For example, epithets with "ae" instead of "i" can be corrected (as I understand the rules). Thus if you find e.g. alliariaefolia or yuccaeflorum they can be corrected to alliariifolia and yucciflorum. If I found such cases in the online databases, I've preferred so far to report them and wait for the change. Again, I can only applaud Rafaël at WCSP who's been very quick to make corrections. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:48, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Peter coxhead Okay. I can see the point about waiting until WCSP changes the error its database before we correct it on Wikipedia. Having them spell it one way and us spell it another would create confusion, even if we are right according to the ICN and they are wrong. The ICN exists for a reason, i.e., to solve problems rather than to create them. Any good botanist knows this and tries to follow the ICN as closely as possible. Yes, it can be complicated, but is mostly due to the retroactive nature of the rules, trying to apply 21st Century rules to 18th- and 19th-Century publications. But sometimes botanists (esp many of my fellow Americans) have a poor knowledge of Latin, resulting in mistakes. I saw one paper in which a male botanist said he was naming a species after his wife, then proceeded to use the male -ii instead of the female -iae.Joseph Laferriere (talk) 22:14, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Update Tropicos (in the person of Jim Solomon, the Curator of the Herbarium) has now removed "Lophospermum nubiculum", so I can fix the Lophospermum article. For me, this yet again points to the undesirability of using The Plant List as a source, because it only seems to change its data when a new version appears. Peter coxhead (talk) 05:53, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree that getting the databases corrected when we discover an error is by far the best course. I think that working on plant taxonomy in wikipedia is valuable in large part because of the errors that it reveals in those external databases. No single database covers all that we need, however: e.g., WCSP doesn't cover Rosaceae; Tropicos and the Kew databases don't cover Boronea. APNI doesn't decide on a single synonym list, but list the opinions of various authors, as for example here, and Wikipedia doesn't work that way (neither does wikispecies, the wiki world apparently isn't ready for multiple taxonomies or for incomplete resolution in the taxonomy). Tropicos doesn't have any sort of "confidence" indicator, and I would prefer to see that ThePlantList says that Baissea names derived from Tropicos should be taken with a small grain of salt, than to look directly at Tropicos and see no such indication. I very much hope that ThePlantList will, in future, be making small updates more frequently than it did in the first two upheavals. For species-level taxonomy, it is different from the other sources, and potentially the final checklist. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:43, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

The most up to date checklists[edit]

gets updated to the latest available highest quality taxonomy at least as frequently as twice a year and often within days or weeks of the new taxonomy publication date (if it’s already widely accepted) by means of thorough taxonomy review by the Council of the Heads of Australasian Herbaria (CHAH) including coordination of taxonomic botany specialists—as written by the manager of botanical information to me. The best standard plant taxonomy and nomenclature database that i know of in the world … for all others to be compared to … many more reliable sources about this can be provided … . --Macropneuma 05:46, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Regional/national databases are fine for endemic taxa of whatever rank. The problem with using them more generally is possible inconsistency with the treatment of the same taxon in other countries. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:41, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Again, please Peter Coxhead reply to the above request about Europe and the British Isles most up to the moment (date) and highest quality plant species and genera checklists.
Not a problem. Compare the most up to date highest quality taxonomy checklists (secondary and most reliable sources) and read through the body of taxonomic literature on the subject genus, especially the most recently published (so called primary sources, in terms of well attested human taxonomies of plant species and genera).
Real, topical, example (—JL), compare the Gahnia genus (Cyperaceae family) taxonomy and nomenclature in the Australian Plant Name Index here, Florical (linked above), NZ plant taxonomy database (online) and so on —the most up to date and highest quality taxonomy checklists, with the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP), here and through the means of its "Build a Checklist" link with the setting of the family to Cyperaceae and genus to Gahnia. Quotation below of WCSP’s own citations of their sources and of how up to date they are—does this mean this Cyperaceae checklist was compiled in database form in 2004 and published in paper form in 2007 without update or that they did do more checking of the taxonomy after 2004 before going into hard copy print in 2007. Clearly it means that no update has happened since 2007 for their Cyperaceae family checklist of species and genera available in WCSP and The Plant List.
  • Govaerts, R. (2004). World Checklist of Monocotyledons Database in ACCESS: 1-54382. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
—--Macropneuma 00:41, 15 July 2014 (UTC) —addendum: here we see who the few Cyperaceae (family) actual plant taxonomist reviewers were, partial info on what they reviewed and when they last did review so for WCSP (from 2004 to 2008 —of course, Govaerts merely compiles). —--Macropneuma 23:37, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Gmelina (Lamiaceae) was a genus WCSP got up to date (superfluously for WP purposes, here) based directly on the taxonomy of de Kok’s high quality worldwide genus revision published in 2012 in Kew Bulletin—hardly surprising really, has everyone heard of the Johari window (here referred to not literally but rather figuratively for the ethnic group social scale rather than the usual individual person scale)? —--Macropneuma 01:12, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
For this genus, a quotation of WCSP’s own citations of their sources:
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • de Kok, R. (2012). A revision of the genus Gmelina (Lamiaceae). Kew Bulletin 67: 293-329.
—--Macropneuma 03:21, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Where WCSP, Tropicos, etc. state the sources they use, then if more recent monographs covering the entire taxon are available, one would of course use them, with the usual caveats about single primary sources as per WP:OR. However, in many cases, they simply aren't available. Producing detailed taxonomically reliable monographs seems to be a dying activity; most modern papers on a taxon consist of molecular phylogenetic studies on those subtaxa which have gene sequences available.
@Macropneuma: sorry, didn't realize you were asking a question. For Europe as a whole, I know of no up-to-date reliable source. For the British Isles, we use Stace, Clive (2010), New Flora of the British Isles (3rd ed.), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5  plus updates published by the BSBI in its journal Watsonia and its bulletin. There isn't yet a single consolidated list (to my knowledge); I use the 2007 list + the updates at [1]. It should be noted that Clive Stace is an explicit supporter of paraphyletic taxa where he feels these make best sense, so e.g. Lemnaceae is recognized independently of Araceae. Recent British Floras (e.g. the Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country, 2013) follow Stace + updates. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:37, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I was going to suggest the Euro+Med plant database for Europe, but checking out its Malvaceae listing, there are a few errors in there (e.g., they've sunk Lavatera in Malva, but haven't transferred Althaea sect. Hirsutae and haven't sunk Malvaltheaea). Lavateraguy (talk) 10:23, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
… Thanks. Around twenty years ago in the late 1980s and early 1990s we used and cited Flora Europaea. I’ve just been reading various sources about the Euro+Med plant database, how Flora Europaea volume 1 was revised and the new edition published in 1993, then all volumes were digitised and released on CDs in Dec. 2001, then all this information has been used in this Euro+Med plant database wherein they have started doing many packages of work on updating it all; see here. … —--Macropneuma 12:11, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Flora Europaea was a fantastic resource – actually I still use my copy from time to time (and some groups have been round in a circle, e.g. FE‘s conservative treatment of Ophrys fell out of fashion as botanists like Delforges multiplied the species ten-fold, but recent molecular work tends to support FE‘s approach). I have about ~20,000 slides of European plants (mine and two late friends), which were originally (re)labelled using FE. The issue for these is not whether the latest taxonomy has been used, but whether there is a complete and self-consistent list. At present it doesn't seem that there is. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:29, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Rename request: Dandelion_(disambiguation) to Dandelion[edit]

Dandelion currently redirects to Taraxacum. Opinions are invited at Talk:Dandelion_(disambiguation) on a proposal to rename and move Dandelion (disambiguation) to Dandelion. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:32, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

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)