Talk:Cupressus forbesii

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Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page not moved: casting vote: this discussion has run for 31 days. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 10:36, 7 December 2010 (UTC)



Cupressus forbesiiTecate Cypress — "Tecate Cypress" is the unambiguous, common name of this tree. Dohn joe (talk) 19:20, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:FLORA. The scientific name is the most commonly used name in reliable sources. Rkitko (talk) 20:10, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually, by my count, "Tecate cypress" by itself outhits "Cupressus forbesii" by itself in Google Scholar 90 to 66. (They're found together 43 times.) And that's Google Scholar, mind you, not just regular ol' Google. Which suggests to me that "Tecate cypress" is actually more commonly used in reliable sources. Dohn joe (talk) 20:50, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Given the synonymy with Cupressus guadalupensis and multiple other scientific names it has been known under (C. guadalupensis subsp. forbesii and C. guadalupensis var. forbesii), and this being the most recently accepted name, your googling would have to include these other scientific names, something difficult to do since scientific publications often include the author citation, e.g. C. guadalupensis Wats. subsp. forbesii (Jeps.) Beauchamp. The point is the common name is ambiguous in that it has been used to refer to taxa both under the species C. guadalupensis and C. forbesii. Title it at "Tecate cypress" and you'll get folks changing the taxon from one to the other based on their own perception of the taxonomy. Titling it at the scientific name presents the scope as this taxon and not the ambiguous common name. Further per WP:FLORA, this species is not well-known as a garden plant or used for wood products and thus should remain at the scientific name. I would also point out that all the Cupressus articles are titled at the scientific name for consistency (WP:AT). Rkitko (talk) 21:22, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that in this case it is the scientific names that are introducing the ambiguity. Picture three botanists in front of a certain tree in Southern California. Ask them, "What is the scientific name of this specimen?" Number 1 says, "C. guadalupensis subsp. forbesii", number 2 says, "C. guadalupensis var. forbesii", and number 3 says "C. forbesii". Ask them then, "And what is its common name?", and all three would certainly say, "Tecate cypress", wouldn't they? This is not a case where one common name refers to multiple species or subspecies, or where there are multiple common names for a single species or subspecies. Instead, you have one common name for one species/subspecies. I would picture the first line of the article to say something like "Tecate cypress (known variously as C. forbesii, C. guadalupensis var. forbesii, etc...).
Lastly, I re-ran the Google Scholar search for "Tecate cypress" -forbesii -guadalupensis, and it still returns 67 results. "Tecate cypress" with guadalupensis gives 14 results. Which still suggests to me that "Tecate cypress" is at least as common in scholarly sources as any scientific name. And less ambiguous. What do you think? Dohn joe (talk) 22:21, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
As I understand the evidence for this taxon being recognized at the species rank, it is pretty clear and any botanist who knows the literature will tell you no matter what previous ranks it was classified as, the current accepted name is Cupressus forbesii. No ambiguity there. We developed WP:FLORA for a reason. It's not only common practice to title plant species at the scientific name, it is the most precise and consistent approach, two of the major guiding principles at WP:AT. I still support the current title. Someone else may have a compelling argument, though, so for now I'll wait for other opinions to roll in. Rkitko (talk) 23:08, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, since other opinions haven't exactly rolled in, I thought I'd post again to goad the watchers of this page into action....

This proposed name change is consistent with WP:FLORA, whose guiding principle is to "follow usage in reliable sources". Here, "Tecate cypress" is the most commonly used name for this tree in reliable sources, according to my Google Scholar searches (see above). There are 200 entries that contain either "Tecate cypress" or "Cupressus forbesii" in Google Scholar. Of these, "Tecate cypress" appears in 134 - 67% - while "Cupressus forbesii" appears in 110 - 55%.

As for the ambiguity argument, I would say again that "Tecate cypress" has always unambiguously referred to the same plant. Even when the Tecate cypress was thought to be part of C. guadalupensis, nobody referred to the cypresses on Guadalupe Island as "Tecate cypresses". Just because the taxonomy recently caught up to the reality doesn't mean that "Tecate cypress" has ever been ambiguous.

As for precision and consistency, if "Tecate cypress" and "C. forbesii" refer to the same organism, then they are equally precise. And I ran searches for all the Cupressus articles, and there were only two where the common name was more prevalent in reliable sources - the Tecate cypress and the Cuyamaca cypress (which I need to look into more to be sure). So while the Tecate cypress may be an anomaly, it is consistent with WP:FLORA's guidelines to rename this article Tecate cypress. Dohn joe (talk) 19:55, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm sorry but I don't think your google searching catches a lot of the scientific uses of the species name. When mentioned as part of a larger work and with its own heading or entry, Cupressus forbesii will almost certainly mention any vernacular name attached to that taxon. However, when mentioned in passing or in the context of other species that interact with it (e.g. in this source it's in the context of a beetle that lives on the tree), only the scientific name is used. I imagine there are a lot more sources like the above that aren't indexed by google scholar and that only use the scientific name. In fact, most of the sources I checked through at the Biodiversity Heritage Library did not mention the vernacular name at all. I've also discovered that quite a few sources refer to the taxon as Forbes' cypress. When there's more than one vernacular name, we also usually go with the scientific name for obvious reasons. Rkitko (talk) 20:36, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
I think Google Scholar is a fair representation of the scholarly literature out there. The Google Scholar results for "cupressus forbesii" contain lots of examples where it's mentioned in passing, so I don't know why the overall percentage of articles with "cupressus forbesii" would be higher in the wider world of research.
As between Forbes' cypress and Tecate cypress, surely "Tecate cypress" is the WP:PRIMARYNAME? Google Scholar only has two results for "Forbes' cypress" to the 134 for "Tecate cypress". On regular ol' Yahoo!, "Tecate cypress" outhits "Forbes cypress" by like 584,000 to 50 (that's 50 - not 50,000 - and many of those 50 are for people named Forbes in Cypress, CA).
Also, Tecate cypress seems like a much more stable name to me. So far, information about that tree has already been under two scientific names - Cupressus guadalupensis and Cupressus forbesii. But, aside from the species-specific nomenclature, what happens when they move all the New World cypresses to Callitropsis? Or when they decide to rename that genus Xanthocyparis? Throughout all the taxonomic reshuffling, "Tecate cypress" will remain an accurate name for that organism, no? Dohn joe (talk) 21:32, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't see any compelling reasons to use the scientific name here, nor any compelling reason to not use the term most likely to be used to search for this topic. Tecate Cypress already redirects here, so whatever ambiguity issues there may be are apparently relatively insignificant. --Born2cycle (talk) 21:39, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose the article's rename. All the other Cypress—Cupressus species in Category:Cupressus use their botanical name, using a common name for just one of many articles there is confusing. A simple Tecate Cypress search 'auto-redirect' to Cupressus forbesii will ensure readers using the common name direct access.---Look2See1 t a l k → 02:22, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The interminable arguments about the number of Google hits dancing on the head of a pin are exactly what WP:FLORA is designed to prevent. Let's do some content instead - this article doesn't say much about what distinguishes this species from other kinds of cypresses, for instance. Stan (talk) 17:08, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment. Actually, the motivation for this move was exactly because I had searched for "Tecate cypress", and I was redirected - to Cupressus guadalupensis, not Cupressus forbesii. Which led me to look into the taxonomic situation, which seems unsettled - and not just at the species level. As I noted above, it is quite possible that all of the New World Cupressus species may be transferred to Callitropsis - Little (2006) has already made that move - and there is a further proposal to rename Callitropsis to Xanthocyparis. Also, as noted above, the common name seems to be used more often in scholarly sources than any of the botanic names. Why is a scientific name in flux preferable to a stable, precise common name? Isn't this the sort of exception contemplated by WP:FLORA? I'm not looking to upend that convention. I've presented evidence that the common name follows the convention by being the most often used name in reliable sources, which is the guiding principle of WP:FLORA. I've shown the taxonomic uncertainty at the species and genus level. Isn't "Tecate cypress" following the spirit and letter of WP:FLORA? Dohn joe (talk) 18:07, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Um, I don't see anything in WP:FLORA that suggests we deal with taxonomic uncertainty by using some other name? If anything, your experience suggests that maybe "Tecate cypress" should be a disambig page. Stan (talk) 21:57, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
How so? Dohn joe (talk) 22:11, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I think Stan is missing the point here. I think he thinks Tecate Cypress is used to refer to either species.

If I understand what you're saying, there is species of cypress for which the common name is certain, but the scientific name is uncertain. They're not sure what to call the species best known as Tecate cypress. So, yeah, we should just go with the only known/certain name available: Tecate Cypress. --Born2cycle (talk) 01:38, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose. per Stan, especially now that the redirect seems to be fixed.--Curtis Clark (talk) 17:18, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong opposition to all the wasted attempts for common name article titles for organisms that lead to one species of a genus having its article title one way, the other other ways, then eventual arguments after a news item about moving it to a more commoner common name, discussion on the weed name being commoner versus the native habitat uncommon common name and on and on, and weighing of google hits for naming organims. --Kleopatra (talk) 19:44, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.