Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Plants/Archive60

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Conservation status of Plants

Are there any restriction on which conservation status listing and ranking system we use on a Plant page? The reason I ask is currently less than 10% of the plants in Borneo are currently listed on the IUCN redlist, however, there are a number of publish assessments done using the IUCN methods, but due to the massive backlog at the IUCN Red List office they haven't been reviewed by the IUCN/SSC groups. I had one Parashorea that isn't on the red list, but found a status listing for this species in the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak. The assessor/author of the TFSS is Peter Shaw Ashton, Peter also did the red listing of Dipterocarps for the World List of Threatened Trees (the sources of many of the IUCN's Tree Listings) - so it is a reliable source. Can this be used? can I reverted the deletion of this status listing by another editor? Sepilok2007 (talk) 14:02, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

New section added to project page

Just to advise everyone that a new section has been added to the project page at Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants#The use of botanical names as common names. This was based on a consensus reached above, but further comments are, of course, welcome. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:29, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Looks good, Peter. Some additional ideas you might consider:
1) Is there any way to make clear that this applies to the body of the articles, and must exclude article naming?
2) The 3rd bullet point: "The common name may not correspond to current genus boundaries at all, e.g. "geraniums".", seems to sharply fail for a quality encyclopedia, if we were sanctioning that use here. It would favor false and contradictory statements. Could I propose something with an idea similar to: "Common names that do not correspond directly to the taxon represented by the article title, e.g. "geraniums", should usually be avoided unless they are carefully explained and only used where they are sure not to confuse the reader."
3) I could see different ways your second bullet point might be interpreted; I'm sure you don't mean to give permission for a common name representing only a portion of the real genus could be substituted throughout the article with just an explantion in the lead. What do you think of something like: "If a common name represents only part of the whole genus (e.g. "azalea" would be a portion of Rhododendron), then the article should be clear exactly which plants are meant by each common name and scientific name used."?
--Tom Hulse (talk) 18:00, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Tom, I think that your point (1) is already covered by the subsection above on Plant article naming conventions. I think you're reading the second and third bullet points differently to the way intended: they are only describing possible ways in which the common name may relate to the genus name, not saying anything about whether they should be used in articles. The only place where any "sanction" is given to the use of the common name is at "When the plural means something like 'those species and cultivars of the genus which are in cultivation' its use is more acceptable". This is, to me anyway, clearly only relates to the use in the first bullet point, and says as much as there is currently consensus for, namely that it is "more acceptable". There's no consensus either to sanction or to ban the use; opinions differ.
I have moved a sentence within the subsection which may make it slightly clearer that we should explain all kinds of uses of the common name in relation to the genus name, particularly those covered by the second two bullet points. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:39, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I do see your intended meaning, Peter, and your edit is in the right direction, but you have to admit that when you use language like "may be used", it is rife for misinterpretation. I'm sure you have experience with editors pulling out whatever meaning they want from guidelines; and I promise you that some will interpret "may be used" as "you the reader may use". If you are not granting permission, then there is no reason really to "inform" the reader of how these may be used... somewhere but not here. I'm sorry to nitpick, but I'm looking ahead to discussions that are needed to clean up some of these really awful, confusing, and contradictory articles like Azalea. This section needs to be crystal clear.
So yes you have consensus to use "common names" in the text when they are just the genus name with different typography, but you do not have consensus with anything relating to common names that don't directly correlate to the taxon being discussed. I feel you're being too soft on that case by just mentioning it in the lead. So I would like the bullet points (mainly 2 & 3)to go away, they don't add any explanation of policy and they can easily be misunderstood.
Alternatively, instead of just telling the reader to explain cases 2&3 in the lead; let's tell them to avoid using common names that do not correlate to the scientific name, unless it is necessary, and unless the difference is carefully explained. --Tom Hulse (talk) 07:27, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Tom, you might like to tell editors to avoid using common names in this way, but I didn't put this in the project page because I judged that there was no consensus for it. I'll look again at the wording to see if I can clarify it further within the consensus so far. By all means open a discussion (in a new section please!) to try to achieve consensus for further changes. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:35, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I've now re-written the section again to avoid the use of "may be" which could, as Tom has pointed out, be mis-interpreted as giving permission for this use to be included in WP articles, whereas all that was meant was that this is one of the cases which may be found in sources. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:41, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Synonyms in Curcuma

I have just added a taxobox to the new article Curcuma cordata. There are suggestions there and elsewhere that this is synonymous with (the existing article) Curcuma petiolata. Can anyone confirm this (and which is the valid name)? If so, several pages will need to be updated here and on the Commons. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:08, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I'd want a good reason not to believe Govaerts at [1] where he gives C. cordata as a synonym of C. petiolata. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:29, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Peter. Everything is now under Curcuma petiolata, both here and on the Commons. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:49, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Anyone know what this is....

I just got back from Shanghai and this was in flower everywhere. Anyone have any idea? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 15:09, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

late summer-flowering annual from Shanghai....
Are you sure it's an annual? It looks like Nerine, which is a late summer-flowering bulbous perennial. Lavateraguy (talk) 15:48, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Lycoris (esp. Lycoris radiata) looks close, too, and is a better fit geographically. --Stemonitis (talk) 16:27, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
I would say definitely Lycoris radiata. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:11, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
(belatedly) thanks folks - yes the photos are like Lycoris radiata indeed. I just called it an annual but will rename. I meant bulb-thingy as I figured that's what it was. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:42, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


What should have been redundant wilinks have been added to Asteraceae. While checking this out, I find that there are separate (and rather similar articles) for sunflower and Helianthus annuus. Lavateraguy (talk) 18:23, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

That would seem to have been half a cut-and-paste move. I've reinstated the redirect at Helianthus annuus, but it seems likely that that should be the correct article title. --Stemonitis (talk) 18:25, 5 October 2012 (UTC)


Hello. The article Salsify is being discussed at WP:RM since 4 October 2012. There is no participation aside from the nominator, comments by knowledgeable editors in this area are appreciated. Thank you. --Vejvančický (talk | contribs) 11:47, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Sorghum vulgare var. technicum

For some days now, Sorghum vulgare var. technicum has been waiting for a taxobox. I had a look, and I couldn't establish what the appropriate name for such a taxon would be, let alone the authority for it. IPNI lists two infraspecific taxa called "technicum" within SorghumSorghum dochna var. technicum Snowden and Sorghum saccharatum (L.) Moench var. technicum (Körn.) Doronina & Ivanjuk. (basionym Andropogon sorghum (L.) Brot. var. technicus Körn.). Does anyone know what the title of the article should be? I can't seem to find any two sources that agree. --Stemonitis (talk) 14:12, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

IPNI just has nomenclatural information, not classifications, so it isn't much help in this case. Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench is said to be the taxon in Tropicos and The Plant List. Those two sources are tightly linked, so they agree, but they do get updated regularly, so in my opinion they are excellent sources. TPL seems more easily readable for wikipedia readers, I think. So it seems that a redirect to Sorghum bicolor is what is needed, with a long list of synonyms added at that page. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:46, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I take it the implication here is that the variety is not recognised as a meaningful taxon, then? Sorghum bicolor is a broader taxon than the var. "technicum". --Stemonitis (talk) 15:15, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

WCSP is clear that Sorghum vulgare var. technicum is not a recognized taxon: see here, where there is also a reference for the non-acceptance. So I agree with Sminthopsis84 that the article should be replaced by a redirect to Sorghum bicolor. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Good – that's easy to implement. Thank you both. --Stemonitis (talk) 16:25, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Stauntonia hexaphylla

We have a bunch of images at Commons:Stauntonia hexaphylla, but no page to use them on. Four other wikis have pages for this plant/fruit, so there's got to be something there. Maybe someone who knows something about plants would want to start an article? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 01:51, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

I think the expression from the grand old movies is "scientists are baffled". By this I mean that the taxonomy of this plant hasn't not yet been resolved (at least as far as the aggregator database indicates), see The Plant List. It has been decided that three names that were used for particular subgroups of S. hexaphylla belong in S. obovatifoliola, but the original type specimen of S. hexaphylla hasn't yet found a place (hopefully that's not because the specimen is lost, but rather because more work needs to be done). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:46, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Does that mean that we cannot have an article on this species at all? Would it be better to have an article on the fruit itself until the taxonomy is resolved? ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 04:04, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
One possibility is to have an article at "Stautonia vine" for the time being – this common name seems mostly to be used for Stauntonia "hexaphylla". It can explain the taxonomic confusion but also that in the horticultural trade the name S. hexaphylla is generally used. Then if the taxonomy is sorted, the article can be moved and updated. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:18, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Requested move discussion: List of extinct flora of Australia

Folks, the following move discussion has been open since 20 September: Talk:List of extinct flora of Australia#Requested move -

More input would be great; the argument to move the article from "flora of" to "plants of" rests on WP:NOTJARGON #7 and #8, implying that "flora" is too science-y even though it's not explicitly stated in this requested move (the nominator linked to another where that argument was used in opposition for a move from "animals of" to "fauna of"). Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 14:46, 21 October 2012 (UTC)


Hi all, suggestions would be welcome about what to do with this genus name, all of whose species have been synonymized, and which currently has no taxobox. There's a later homonym that's an alga, and that is also a rather complicated story involving misapplication and a replacement name. I wonder about turning the page into a disambiguation as I've suggested on the talk page, listing each species in the two genera and where to find its currently accepted name. That would be a bit unusual, but I think probably useful because both genus names are quite widely used. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:40, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

I think the article is more-or-less ok in the current format, given a bit of editing. It's not really suitable for a disambiguation page because the taxonomic history needs explaining. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:15, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Peter for undertaking that massive cleanup. That works now as a primary page, but the algae involved turn out to be a disparate bunch, so I'll see about setting up a disambiguation page as well. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:10, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

AFD List of Rhododendron species

List of Rhododendron species is up for deletion. Click here to discuss, and on the article to improve. -Fjozk (talk) 20:15, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

The list currently states that it includes cultivars, but when I looked it didn't. Where should those be listed? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:53, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
The list does include cultivars, I think. Aren't they the ones with an X in their name? I think it should not contain cultivars, though, just species. -Fjozk (talk) 02:18, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
The X (actually a multiplication sign, ×) indicates hybrids that have received a species name, such as Rhododendron × bathyphyllum Balf. f. & Forrest. Those could be naturally occurring hybrids, or artificial ones. I agree that cultivars such as Rhododendron 'Mrs A .T. de la Mare' shouldn't be listed on this species page. For roses there are garden roses and category:Rose cultivars as well as List of Rosa species, which seems like a good model. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:02, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

File:Lemna obscura (Austin) Daubs.jpg

Lemna obscura (Austin) Daubs Eichhornia crassipes, Taken at Zulia, Venezuela

Is this ID is correct (Lemna obscura)? Or is this is Eichhornia crassipes? JKadavoor Jee 16:50, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Definitely not Lemna; the flowers of Lemna are produced only rarely and are very inconspicuous. Eichhornia seems a far better bet. --Stemonitis (talk) 16:59, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Agree. Not certain about the species, but it could be E. crassipes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:40, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the review, All clear. --Wilfredor (talk) 18:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Can somebody identify this plant? It is said to bear violet flowers. It's a climber. The person who gave me said something like Cronja or Kronjia. But he is not sure. Anybody knows it? Thirdmaneye (talk) 14:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Where is it from? Tdslk (talk) 18:58, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
India. southern India. tropical.-- (talk) 19:45, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Might it be cultivated there rather than native to the region? An extremely wild guess is Petrea volubilis. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:49, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Could it be garlic vine Mansoa alliacea? This link says it's common in southern India. Tdslk (talk) 21:31, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
This looks like a vine being grown on a support trunk, and that is how Piper nigrum, or black pepper is grown in s. India. It is very common, it has similar leaves when young, although darker when mature, I do not know about the flowers, but it is grown cultivated and native to the area I believe, and on plantations it clambers on support trunks with some other s. India agricultural plant. This picture does not give sufficient information for me, though. Eau(W)oo (talk) 03:50, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Black pepper? Never. The person who gave me this plant mentioned petrea as another plant which means he is aware of petrea and knows this to be not that.-- (talk) 12:16, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Why don't you then give us all the information you have, like what else it isn't and could never be and why, if you really want help identifying it? Eau(W)oo (talk) 12:51, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Very likely Thunbergia laurifolia, the laurel clock vine, or some other species of Thunbergia. Most of them are native to India and Southeast Asia and are widely cultivated in gardens.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 16:24, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't think this is Thunbergia. It shows the wrong pattern of venation. If it had large white flowers, it could be some Jasminum, e.g. Jasminum elongatum, Jasminum laurifolium, or Jasminum sambac. But if the flowers really are violett, I don't have any idea. --Franz Xaver (talk) 17:32, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Chinese chives (kow choi)

The naming of Garlic chives is up for discussion, see talk:Garlic chives -- (talk) 09:40, 8 November 2012 (UTC)


Has anyone heard of this term? A recent edit to the Tree article linked to an article about Oscillants, but I'm wondering if this latter article is, well, phoney (for want of a better term). I've never heard of the word "oscillant" in the context of tree ecology before, it isn't in my dictionary (nor Wiktionary), and when I googled "oscillant" and "oscillant tree", then on the first few google pages there are no references to the phenomenon described in the Wikipedia article (except for references to the Wikipedia article, or to the none-too-rigorous main source used in the article). Apart from the main source (which appears to be some sort of local community website), most of the references in the Oscillant article refer to other Wikimedia pages. Also the wording of the article is virtually identical to its main source, which indicates either copyvio, or that the author of the source is the author of the article. (Also note that the article uses the really scientifically rigorous phrase "liquefied water", making me question the author's authority...) If others agree that the article is of dubious merit/authenticity, should it be put forward for deletion? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:00, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

I attempted a google scholar search, but found myself stumped because "oscillant" is the present participle of the French verb for "oscillate", which is pretty commonly found in the littérateur. Circéus (talk)
A little bit of searching shows that the author of our Oscillant article is the same person who wrote the only non-wiki 'source,' that local community website. First Light (talk) 22:41, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I may be being too cynical, but is it possible that someone has invented a term for a "phenomenon", and then subsequently tried to achieve wider currency for the term by dotting references to it in various bits of Wikimedia (I notice the Acer pseudoplatanus article has a section devoted to "Oscillants", although the only source provided to substantiate it is another link to a Wikimedia page...)? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:49, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I didn't find any hits in the Web of Knowledge for "tree" & "oscillant". AfD? Sasata (talk) 22:56, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I also can't find any paths to enlightenment in the literature about this topic (thought for a moment that I'd found one about Martian permafrost, but it panned out). Sminthopsis84 (talk)
My cynicism means I'm personally inclined toward proposed deletion, taking whichever route is most appropriate (I'm not familiar enough with the different deletion options). Presumably that would then also give the author of the article a chance to defend/explain/enlighten (or not). PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:09, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I've put a note at the article creator's talk page, User talk:Rosser1954, notifying them of this discussion. They seem to be an active editor, so perhaps we should wait to hear from them before nominating for deletion. First Light (talk) 23:30, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that seems a civilised course of action, and it reminds me I ought to remember to assume good faith. I shall be interested to read a response from the article's creator. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:49, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
There's extensive copying from one of the external sources cited, but the editor may be the same as the author of that piece. I'm presently inclined to believe the phenomenon is real and the term invented. Choess (talk) 00:56, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Quite right folks. I could find no reference anywhere to a single term that covers this very real and quite fascinating phenomenon - I therefore used the term provided by a colleague with a degree in arboriculture. A bit insulting about 'liquified water' - should be 'liquified mud' as stated further on. I had problems with 'Ley Tunnel' as am article title - on this occasion the article wasn't deleted, it was re-titled. I responded the other day to a tag about links on the oscillant page. I tend to specialise on the obscure and negelected - your problem now is to find a new title as the subject is legitimate. Rosser Gruffydd 09:24, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I apologise if my line about liquefied water was a bit below the belt; I had become convinced the article was a hoax, and had put my 'being critical' hat on. However I do not think that what you have stated above actually changes very much; at the moment it seems the only source and basis for this article is "a colleague with a degree in arboriculture", which isn't sufficient. I'm also concerned that you've written a piece describing this phenomenon on a community website, and used this term without a caveat stating the casual origin of the term. Also it is not "our" problem, for if no reliable sources can be found to substantiate the article, I suggest that deletion is the only option, in which case, if you have an interest in maintaining the article, the onus is on you to produce a more concrete defence. I suggest you contact your colleague to ascertain where they got their information from - if they have a reliable source, they should be able to produce it. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 09:58, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

If we had a wind rock article, and some reliable sources (I tried googling for soil liquefaction and wind rock, and nothing relevant came up) for this (cavity formation by repeated transient soil liquefaction during wind rock), it would fit in there. Lavateraguy (talk) 10:45, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Regardless, I don't think it should be mentioned at the sycamore and common lime pages - it's not specific to those species. I have my doubts ("undue weight" about its inclusion at tree as well. Lavateraguy (talk) 11:36, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I think the article should be deleted, since the term seems unlikely to be found in reliable sources. Probably a PROD is in order, which would give a week to find something on the subject, and possibly use the concept in another article if sources are found. First Light (talk) 17:54, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I've prodded it as a neologism. Melburnian (talk) 23:55, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I see we think rather differently. I find something that others might find interesting or should be recorded on Wiki and then write it up. The job of all Wikipedians is to further this - what a simple task it is to delete - 'whats in name?'. I have found other Wikipedians who do think this way and work hard to find a solution. I don't see articles as being mine - they become everyones - and everyones responsibility once they are on Wiki. Some help would be appreciated. Any ideas other than removing the content for want of a name? If it exists as a phenomenon and doesn't have a name - how does it get one? In the meantime I will see if Walter has his old uni notes or books knocking around somewhere.Rosser Gruffydd 00:02, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Describe and name the phenomenon in a scientific journal. Then a source will be available from which to start the Wikipedia article. Sasata (talk)
Rosser1954, I count eight regular plant editors here who disagree with keeping this article absent a single legitimate source confirming that the concept is real, much less the name "Oscillant." I think most or all of us have spent our time in a serious good-faith effort to help you with this. I know that I've spent time searching for the term, and for the concept, without finding a single legitimate reference. At this point, you are going to have to help us, either by finding a Reliable Source supporting your idea, or pointing us in a direction that we can find it for you. Regarding your question of "how does it get" a name?, the only way for Wikipedia to have an article is if a legitimate plant scientist gives it a name, and describes it in a Reliable Source. That's just the way that Wikipedia works (and it's also how the sciences work). First Light (talk) 03:32, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Given objections to deletion indicated by the original author I've decided that AfD is more appropriate than PROD so I've opened a discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Oscillant. Melburnian (talk) 03:40, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Oscillatory pools

Interesting how the deletion option is the only option that your editors can envisage - any easy option? The use of a descriptive rather than a nominative term would solve your problems - if you are looking for a solution. I filled in a long questionnaire for Wiki which included collated opinions on editors. Original research is research - description of a phenomenon (not a concept - see Wikionary) - is not research in my experience. You must all get out more and visit woodlands in wet and windy weather. I will also check the library of the Glasgow Natural History Society to locate the term or the phenomenon recorded - the Victorians were excellent field biologists! I write many history related articles which do not see description as research.Rosser Gruffydd 20:49, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Beg to differ. As a professional specializing in natural history, including for example, taxonomy, description is very much a part of research. WIkipedia, however, is not a primary source. If the reader can't check that the information is correctly summarized, then that information doesn't belong here. So far, oscillatory pools are just one person's extremely specialized view of part of a much larger topic. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:28, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
The discussion has now moved to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Oscillant, so let's keep this page for discussion of plant-related matters, rather than wikipedia policies and whatever "collated opinions on editors" might be, which I for one would prefer not to find out. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 21:37, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Nothing which Rosser Gruffydd states above addresses the fundamental objection to the article and hence why it is being proposed for deletion. The article is not based on any reliable sources; it is just one person's view. Furthermore as Sminthopsis84 says, Rosser Gruffydd should engage in the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Oscillant, and should not be making superficial name changes to the article (and claiming that that somehow solves "your problems") whilst a deletion discussion is taking place. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:57, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
e/c Rosser Gruffydd, I live in a forest and don't have to visit woodlands in wet and windy weather, since I can't avoid it (wet and windy) five months of the year for the last few decades. I'm sure the other editors here have similar life experiences. But that doesn't change the fact that the article is still dubious for Wikipedia. Please discuss the article (and not other editors) at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Oscillant. (And no, I've never seen this phenomena, though I don't doubt that it might be possible). First Light (talk) 22:04, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Duplicated photo

Just a quick note to say that two pages on different plants are using the same photo:

One of which must be incorrect! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

The image file is labelled as being Agoseris glauca, which is not listed by The Plant List as a synonym for Nothocalais alpestris. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 16:43, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Good catch! Agoseris glauca var. dasycephala appears in the image description, which is listed as a synonym of Agoseris monticola, so I've changed that image caption, and substituted a photo for Nothocalais alpestris. I don't know these plants personally, so am trusting the labels. The latter species page needs more work as the synonym list is incomplete (I don't have time right now). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:07, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Resource request

Does anyone have a copy of The Complete Encyclopedia of Succulents (2009), by Ježek and Kunte? There's been a sudden burst of new articles sourced to it (e.g., Trichocaulon), and looking at the language in some of them, I'm a little concerned about copyright. Could someone who has access to it take a look at a few of these articles and make sure they're clear of copyright/close paraphrase? Choess (talk) 15:42, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

The book does not have articles on genera, so Trichocaulon should be OK - any problem is more likely to be synthesis rather than copyvio. Trichocaulon cactiforme has been paraphrased - it's close enough that it would be plagiarism if the reference hadn't been given, but I think (IANAL) that its different enough. Lavateraguy (talk) 18:06, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Hrm. There's certainly a lot of gray area in interpretation, but that's not great; see Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing. Choess (talk) 02:35, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
Having looked at Trichocaulon marlothii I am coming into agreement into with your concerns. The source work is written by non-native speakers, and it shows in the idiom and word choice. The paraphrasing retains some of the idiosyncrasies of the original - for example the "cross-shaped structure" at the centre of the flower is a stalk with 5 spreading bars at its apex (the style and stigmas?), and the corolla falls into the area between "spotted" (markings too continuous), mottled (markings too distinct), and variegated. It seems like time that you contacted the editor.
My research also finds that the current names for Trichocaulon cactiforme and Trichocaulon marlothii are Larryleachia cactiforme and Larryleachia marlothii, for Trichocaulon flavum it's Hoodia flava, and that the type species is a member of Stapelianthus ("reliable source" for this is AFPD.) Lavateraguy (talk) 09:46, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
I note that Wikipedia is inconsistent between Stapeliae and Ceropegiae-Stapeliinae, and that several articles for stapeliads don't give a tribal/subtribal affiliation. Lavateraguy (talk) 12:25, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The article title for Trichocaulon marlothii is misspelt (missing the last 'i') - it needs to be moved without leaving a redirect behind (requiring, IIUC, adminstrator action). Lavateraguy (talk) 12:29, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
 Done. No harm in leaving a redirect behind, marked as a misspelling. --Stemonitis (talk) 12:42, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
Is it possible for someone to do a checkuser on the editor responsible for these problematic edits? I am concerned that this may be a new sockpuppet of the user Sonia Murillo Perales, who has been blocked indefinitely, and who has previously caused a lot of trouble as the user Curritocurrito. Edits such as this have a horribly familiar feel to them (particularly the clumsy and nonsensical phrase "Multiple fertilizations is good during vegetation"), as does the pattern of rapid creation of new articles which are later shown to be faulty in some way. Although it is possible that I am becoming overly sensitive to the existence of new socks of this user (a new IP sock has just been blocked within the last 24 hours - see here), I'd rather err on the side of prudence. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 00:16, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you are being overly sensitive about this PCW. Although there hasn't been the tell-tale edits on Conquistador or Dipterocarpaceae that have been a mainstay of the detection methods that I at least have been using up until now for this string of sockpuppets, someone who would replace the taxobox with a "missing taxobox" template is at least of a very similar mind-set to the Sonia Murillo Perales and Curritocurrito signons. The rapid addition of so many extremely poor-quality new pages is also very similar. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 01:31, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
There's no harm in filing a request. Guettarda (talk) 01:51, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Done. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:53, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
The Checkuser request was declined on the grounds that the older evidence is stale (it's only three days old). This may be due to my misunderstanding of what the checkuser process is. It is apparently not possible to find out if the user is editing from the city of Zaragoza like the previous IPs and signons. On the bright side, the signon appears to be dormant, but if anonymous IPs spring up that show interest in the same pages, we may be eventually able to build a case. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:39, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the checkuser misunderstanding was mine, as I initially suggested it, on the grounds that I thought it would provide more concrete evidence prior to officially claiming the editor as a sock. I don't know if many Project members can recall the problems encountered with previous incarnations of the problematic editor, though anyone who has seriously tangled with him/her probably wouldn't forget it quickly. Of course this new editor may not be related at all, though I think it would be useful if the sockpuppet possibility is borne in mind whenever similar article creation problems occur (look out especially for a combination of copyvios, text that contradicts or misinterprets sources, clumsy formatting and nonsensical English). IP addresses that geolocate to Zaragoza are also a compelling indication. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 19:59, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Page moves

I just noticed a series of page moved from scientific to "common" name, contrary to WP:FLORA by User:Asarelah.

These do not appear, for the most part, to be actual common names - rather, they look like translations of the scientific names.

I raised the issue with the editor on her talk page, but I'm headed to bed. I will notify her of this note. Guettarda (talk) 05:28, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Oops, didn't notice this conversation here before I reverted all of the moves. I did a Google hits comparison in Scholar and Books before moving back and all except Prunus fremontii were clear cases of more sources using the scientific name. In the case of P. fremontii, the numbers are close enough that it's difficult to tell; in Scholar the difference was only 1 reference in favor of "Desert Apricot" though the margin is wider in Books. Still, I think WP:FLORA is clear in this case, too, that we would prefer the scientific name. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 13:23, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Since I asked the editor to move them back, it wouldn't have been polite for me to move them without waiting a while. But moving them back was the appropriate thing to do, per RM. Guettarda (talk) 14:20, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
The WP:PLANTS policy of using scientific names has repeatedly been shown to be the best way to achieve clarity and precision so I'm pleased to see the policy being upheld. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:17, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Lots of work to do ...

The new code of nomenclature, largely already in force, is now available online. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:40, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Interested parties please have a look at...

Talk:Bulbous plant where I have objected to the title etc and made perilous threats. JonRichfield (talk) 15:10, 25 December 2012 (UTC)


The use of the title "Iris" is under discussion, see Talk:Iris (plant) where the plant is proposed to be the primary topic. -- (talk) 21:33, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposed renaming of genus categories

You may wish to look at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2012 December 28#Speedy rename plant genera. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:29, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

PROD for List of early spring flowers, List of late spring flowers

If any of you would like to address my concerns, that would be great.--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:24, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Curtis raises valid questions with these lists, but they are issues for cleanup. Prodding was not appropriate and I have deprodded both articles. That being said, they do need work. LadyofShalott 04:58, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Prodding was totally appropriate, as was deprodding; that's the way Wikipedia works, which you know as well as I do. What would have been impolite is prodding without informing the projects. But if I don't see any cleanup in a month or so, I will take both of them to AfD, where I will explain why I think their basic premises (as currently constituted) are faulty.--Curtis Clark (talk) 05:23, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
LadyofShalott, the problem is that these lists could/should be identical and therefore meaningless, because it all depends on how far north or south you live and at what elevation (50 miles due west of me is 3,000 ft elevation closer to sea level and as much as one month earlier in blooming). Even listing a U.S. state or world region is meaningless. So it doesn't depend on the flower as much as other factors. It even varies year to year. First Light (talk) 17:54, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
A couple more, courtesy of Tryptofish over on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Horticulture and Gardening: List of early summer flowers and List of autumn flowers.--Curtis Clark (talk) 21:14, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
In addition to concerns already mentioned, a formatting issue with alphabetised list articles of this nature, is their switching between common and scientific names as one proceeds down the list, which is awkward in use but also makes it inevitable that plants get entered twice or more as editors add common names whilst unaware that the plant they are adding already appears under a different common name or its scientific name. The problem with multiple names isn't confined to such lists of course, but I think the potential for replication is much greater here, especially as such articles get enlarged (as these would have to, in order to even approach any vestige of completeness). A long time ago I did a lot of work on List of poisonous plants, and decided that the only way forward was to list everything under its scientific name (except for the food plants section), with internal article redirects from the common names. This resulted in a large article, which is still far from complete. I should expect the prodded articles to have potentially much larger lists. Much larger. Much much larger. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:57, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I agree that prodding was entirely appropriate. The lists do not work, because the distinction between "early" and "late" spring is highly latitude and location dependent. In a region with a very brief spring (e.g. high latitudes, high altitudes) plants which are in flower sequentially elsewhere may appear together. Possibly "spring", "summer", "autumn" and "winter" could be made to work. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:55, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

There's also Category:Flowering dates ([2]) created shortly after the first of the list articles. Dates for the seasons are defined therein (although it looks more like an article stub than a Category page). That page should probably follow the fates of the lists above.Plantdrew (talk) 21:19, 30 December 2012 (UTC)


Some possible alternatives:

  1. Take all four articles to AfD in hopes that they will not darken our doors again.
  2. Make lists for the canonical seasons.
  3. Make categories, to be used on articles that already have reliable sources for flowering times.

Alternative 2 seems the least desirable to me:

  • Flowering times often cross seasonal boundaries in different climatic zones (my jonquils were done before the December solstice), so that many species would be in too many of the lists to be useful, without adding information about latitude, elevation, and nearby ocean currents and rain shadows.
  • Even if we restrict it to ornamental cultivated plants, the lists could potentially contain thousands of entries, except that...
  • Reliable sources will be hard to find except for common ornamentals of Europe and North America, which will skew the coverage.
  • The articles will be a magnet for original research (such as my jonquils above).

My own preference is for alternative 1, but I'm open to 3, and I'm sure there are alternatives I haven't thought of.--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:45, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Actually soon after I'd written above that it might work for the four seasons, I realized that this is wrong. Plants that flower in late autumn in the warmer parts of the Mediterranean often only flower in spring in England where I live. The problem with #3 is surely the same as the lists. The category of "winter-flowering plants" would include jonquils if reliable sources report the same data as your observations, but they would not be winter-flowering in their native habitats or where I live. I think your original view was correct. The only other viable alternative is to define climatic zones and have lists/categories for these, e.g. "spring flowering in Mediterranean climates", "spring flowering in tropical climates", etc. However, I don't see that such articles would belong in Wikipedia. Peter coxhead (talk) 00:28, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Best case, alterantive 3 could stand as an example of "sourced but not true": any RS mentioning a flowering time would suffice to add to a category, but all context would be lost.
All four of these were created by PAK Man in May 2007, with the edit summary "Listifying category", which would also seem to argue at least obliquely against alternative 3.--Curtis Clark (talk) 01:19, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
I still don't think they should have been prodded - several editors touching them since 2007 does not seem like a clear delete to me, but whatever, we're past that now. I have no objection though to AfD (in which I likely won't participate at all should they be listed). LadyofShalott 03:33, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Curtis Clark pointed me here from WT:WikiProject Horticulture and Gardening, and I've come to share the concerns about the four list pages that are already described above by other editors here. It really does seem to me now that the combination of seasonality and geography is very problematic. I think one option is, indeed, AfD of the list pages, combined perhaps with replacement by categories. Another that I thought I'd mention is to merge the four pages into List of flowering plants (now a redirect to List of garden plants, and we could also just merge any pages not already there into that), perhaps sectioned, simply, by alphabetical order of the existing page names. As is already the case at List of garden plants, we could list everything by Latin instead of common names, and the problems of bloom season would be gone. A problem would be that the list would be very long, pointing perhaps to a category as being better, but I think a case could be made that some readers might find it useful to look at a list page instead of a category page. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:29, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Genera category names

For Category:Orania, a position has been advanced that genera categories should always take the undisambiguated form, but in the case of this category, Orania is a genus of plant and a genus of animal, so how does that work? Clearly both cannot be situated at an undisambiguated form. -- (talk) 15:58, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

This also applies to Category:Phoebe, Phoebe is both a plant and animal genus. Also Calamus -- Category:Calamus, Gaussia -- Category:Gaussia, Arachnis -- Category:Arachnis, Eucharis -- Category:Eucharis, Hypolepis -- Category:Hypolepis -- (talk) 05:18, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Expertise needed at AfC

Could someone knowledgeable in this field take a look at Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Pittosporum kirkii Hook.f. ex Kirk please. I'm not sure about the proposed page title, or weather this subject warrants an article of its own. Any help appreciated. Pol430 talk to me 17:58, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

The article title would be Pittosporum kirkii (the rest is the "author citation", which would be in the taxobox). The general view of the projects for organisms is that every recognized species is notable, so this would be a definite candidate for an article.--Curtis Clark (talk) 18:29, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Accepted Thanks for the swift response. I've accepted the submission. If someone else could add the taxbox (and some relevant categories) that would be great. I was utterly defeated by the 115 different parameters :) Pol430 talk to me 19:09, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Banana edit war

Please comment on User:Mark Marathon's changes to the Banana article here: Talk:Banana#Scope. I'm trying to be patient, but I'm not that patient. I don't know if he wants to merge banana with Musa or if he wants to redefine "banana" as purely Musa acuminata, and at this point I'm not sure if I give a shit.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 09:06, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Palm oil information

Hello, last year I introduced myself here with a request regarding the Oil palm page (now renamed to Elaeis) on behalf of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), which would like to see information about related topics improved. I received help from some knowledgeable editors here, and I hope I can again. As I have recently returned to looking at the topic of palm oil, I wanted to reach out here again. Last week I left a request on the Social and environmental impact of palm oil page for two changes there, introducing new information and supporting references, and suggesting the replacement of out of date information.

These requests are again on behalf of the MPOC, so I will not make the additions myself and hope that someone here will look at them for me. I'll be checking this page as well as the article talk page for any questions. Thanks in advance. YellowOwl (talk) 20:34, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

input requested

Some input from editors familiar with usage of plant nomenclature on Wikipedia would be appreciated at Talk:Paw Paw. There is disagreement as to whether a redirect such as Pawpaw (genus) is appropriate for disambiguation. olderwiser 14:35, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Expert needed: Ipomoea per-caprae subsp. brasiliensis / Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis

I'm hoping a subject expert here can check something for me please. The taxon Ipomoea per-caprae subsp. brasiliensis is linked from Flora of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and Flora of the Coral Sea Islands. I suspect the (untranslatable) per-caprae is a typo, possibly inherited from the articles source, and the correct link should be Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis. - TB (talk) 09:12, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Agree that it is a typo, a citation from the Flora of Australia is included here. I've fixed both articles.--Melburnian (talk) 12:55, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks. - TB (talk) 10:28, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Author abbreviations and dab pages

There's a discussion at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mont. which might benefit from input from a botanist/taxonomist. PamD 13:58, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

What we really need is a tool which can expand a botanical author abbreviation (baa), much as {{cite doi}} expands a doi into a citation. Then e.g. {{baa-link|L.}} would generate [[Carl Linnaeus|L.]]. In principle it can be done by a straight template which stores all the article titles and botanical author abbreviations, but this would probably be too inefficient. Then we wouldn't need redirects like "Mont.", which are likely to fall foul of the wiki-purists. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:36, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Hemerocallis 'Duke of Durham'

An article relating to this project Hemerocallis 'Duke of Durham' has been nominated for deletion see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Hemerocallis 'Duke of Durham'. Regards ★☆ DUCKISPEANUTBUTTER☆★ 06:29, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Which flower is this? Thank you. TME — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thirdmaneye (talkcontribs) 16:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

It looks like Senecio confusus as shown here--Melburnian (talk) 06:28, 15 January 2013 (UTC).
Yes, that's it. Thank you for the information. --Thirdmaneye (talk) 16:26, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


Today's Article For Improvement star.svg

Please note that Jungle, which is within this project's scope, has been selected to become a Today's Article for Improvement. The article is currently in the TAFI Holding Area, where comments are welcome about ideas to improve it. After the article is moved from the holding area to the TAFI schedule, it will appear on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Today's Article for Improvement" section for one week. Everyone is invited to participate in the discussion and encouraged to collaborate to improve the article.
Thank you,
TheOriginalSoni (talk) 11:09, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
(From the TAFI team)

Today's Article For Improvement star.svg

Please note that Energy crop, which is within this project's scope, has been selected to become a Today's Article for Improvement. The article is currently in the TAFI Holding Area, where comments are welcome about ideas to improve it. After the article is moved from the holding area to the TAFI schedule, it will appear on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Today's Article for Improvement" section for one week. Everyone is invited to participate in the discussion and encouraged to collaborate to improve the article.
Thank you,
TheOriginalSoni (talk) 11:15, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
(From the TAFI team)

Listed some change I do not know how to do.

["proposed changes"]

Done.--Melburnian (talk) 07:01, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Rename discussion

This discussion could have more general ramifications for naming lists of plants by region.--Curtis Clark (talk) 15:33, 27 January 2013 (UTC)


Can someone with more botanical knowledge than myself shed light on the current accepted taxonomic and nomenclatural position of Gaura? An IP recently edited the Onagraceae article and removed both Gaura and Stenosiphon from the list of genera within the Onagroideae subfamily, with an edit summary stating "Gaura and Stenosiphon have been included within Oenothera", followed by a web address: As that paper is a pdf with 243 pages - and I can only download one page at a time - I decided to investigate down other avenues. The Wikipedia article on Gaura also has some text referring to this placement of the genus within Oenothera, including a citation from Tropicos supporting an explicit statement that Gaura is a synonym of Oenothera (see the Tropicos source here). Looking at a species of Gaura with which I am familiar - G. lindheimerei - then according to the Gaura article's tabled summary of the 2007 paper this is now a synonym of the accepted name Oenothera lindheimerei. Tropicos list G. lindheimerei as a basionym of Oenothera lindheimerei (see the entries for both names here and here). This all seems well and good (if perhaps meaning that the Wikipedia articles are incorrectly named?), however according to The Plant List, Oenothera lindheimerei is a synonym of the accepted name Gaura lindheimerei, which perplexes me as I was of the understanding that synonymy didn't work both ways? To add to the muddle, The Plant List state their source as Tropicos. I imagine I am misunderstanding something that's actually quite simple (I'm still learning the basics of the terminology of botanical nomenclature), but wondered if someone could help me see more clearly? Has The Plant List made an error? Thanks. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 20:35, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Gaura lindheimerei and Oenothera lindheimerei are nomenclatural synonyms - that is they have the same type. If you sink Gaura in Oenothera the former is a synonym of the latter; if you maintain Gaura as a distinct genus the reverse is the case. Lavateraguy (talk) 21:12, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Presumably then there isn't agreement about where to place Gaura? A concern is a lack of consistency across the Wiki - surely the Gaura and Onagraceae articles are now at odds with each other, and the text of the Gaura article suggests its own title is incorrect? How should Wikipedia handle disagreement between sources such as this? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:30, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
You can get the full paper at Lavateraguy (talk) 21:34, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Tropicos is not self-consistent. It sinks Gaura in Oenothera on the basis of a Flora Mesoamerica treatment from 2009, which is likely in turn based on the 2007 paper cited at Gaura, but has most (all?) of the species still in Gaura. Tropicos is pretty good on Neotropical taxa, but Gaura is mostly Nearctic. The Plant List still reflects earlier opinion. Lavateraguy (talk) 21:58, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

There doesn't really seem to be disagreement about where to place Gaura; it's recently been synonymized under Oenothera. However, as this is a recent position that has just begun to creep into the secondary literature, and many older sources don't reflect this. lindheimeri is a Texas species; University of Texas [3] treats it as Oenothera. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas still recognizes Gaura [4]. The Jepson project (California) sinks Gaura[5]. Wagner and Hoch are responsible for sinking Gaura, and are the editors in charge of Flora of North America's treatment of Onagraceae (see [6], also [7]), so FNA will certainly reflect their position when it comes out.

Although there appears to be emerging taxonomic consensus for lumping Gaura, it may be too soon to make this change in Wikipedia. Arguably (per WP:PRIMARY), Wikipedia should not try to be on the cutting edge of taxonomy. GRIN is a secondary source, and provides the taxonomy in Onagraceae where Gaura is sunk in Oenothera. I'm wary of using GRIN as a source for genus/family level taxonomy as it is often does not attempt to have a comprehensive list of species. In this case, however, GRIN does appear to be fairly comprehensive.

The current state of affairs seems reasonable; articles at Gaura and various species in the genus. However, the genera that Wagner and Hoch synonymized should be listed at Onagraceae under a heading like "Recently synonymized genera". Once a comprehensive secondary source comes out (i.e. FNA's Onagraceae volume), article titles can be changed change and Gaura can merge with Oenothera.

Note that Tropicos (unlike most other taxonomic databases) does not attempt to put forward a single, consistent classification. Competing classifications are presented evenhandedly (although Tropicos certainly does not yet cite ALL existing opinions). Tropicos also is very conservative about only citing explicit statements (i.e., a source which says that two genera are lumped with out specifically mentioning the species affected would not be cited on Tropicos species records). The Plant List's synoymization of Oenothera lindheimeri attributes this synonymy to Tropicos. Tropicos's record for O. lindheimeri does not synonymize it, or cite any secondary sources. I've noticed a number of cases in The Plant List where Tropicos derived records with no secondary citations (in Tropicos) are being erroneously treated as Synonym/Accepted rather than Unresolved.Plantdrew (talk) 01:47, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree that we should usually err on the conservative side. Not relevant in this case (because the family isn't covered) but the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families has the advantage over "scraper" databases of being reviewed by a named person, which at least leads to more consistency. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

New source for public domain images

The North Dakota Plant Checklist has many fairly high resolution images. The author states "Here I need to mention that all materials are dedicated to the public domain, I do not claim any kind of copyright". None of these are uploaded to wikimedia commons. If anyone is looking for plant pictures that just aren't there yet, here is one more source.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 23:39, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, I've added it to Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Resources.--Melburnian (talk) 10:02, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Stub Removal

Hi there. On my bot request here someone has raised concerns about the removal of stub tags on pages such as "Organism stubs". Is there any chance I could get some further opinions regarding this? Cheers. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 23:06, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia:WikiProject_Plants/Assessment#Quality_scale uses the generic descriptor rather than a WP:PLANTS one, but even this is clear that length is not a sufficient criterion. A long article could be a WP:PLANTS stub if the information were all about cultural references rather than about botanical aspects. So although I think there are plant articles tagged as stubs which aren't, I doubt that this bot is the answer. Could it generate a list somewhere of WP:PLANTS-tagged stub articles which are longer than the bot's criterion? Then we could give a more informed opinion. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:53, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I should be able to generate such a list. The bot could always ignore all stub tags for the wikiproject leaving them for human checking. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 09:24, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, please leave a notice here when the list is available. Whether human checking is possible obviously depends on how many "plant stubs" there are which are longer than your criterion. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:23, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, need to create a list of all stub tags that fall within the wikiproject. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 06:35, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that you do. You can look at the project tags on the talk pages instead. Lavateraguy (talk) 08:46, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Of course :) ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 08:49, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
The article assessment on the talk page is an awful way to determine if an article is a stub or not. Most of the time it is correct but people expand articles and forget to update the assessment so you'll likely end up with a lot of stub-assessed articles that will not contain a stub tag. I swept through this contradiction about three years ago to clean up different categories of articles, like start-class assessed articles that still had stub tags. I haven't updated this list in a while so there may have been new stubs, but this could be a starting point: Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants/Resources#Stubs. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 13:12, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
What I intended to convey was that whether the page was attached to the project could be deduced from the talk page. As I understand it, the bot is intended to find obsolete stub templates. Lavateraguy (talk) 15:20, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Would it be feasible for the bot to generate a log page of organism stubs below 500 words? Run 100 or so of them, and let some people look over them. It's possible that 500 words may be too short (though the point raised initially - that an article lacking ecology and taxonomy might still be a stub - is far more restrictive than the project's definition of a stub), but honestly, the only way to know is to see some examples. Guettarda (talk) 16:17, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Right after looking at the absolutely massive list of stub types I am going to 'categorise' all articles that fall under the project as having tags found in Wikipedia:WikiProject_Stub_sorting/Stub_types#Botany. Am going to try and create some sort of list now. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 06:24, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I ran some quick analysis over two of the stub tags which I listed above and I got some hilariously tidy output. Ignoring my formatting issues the articles that appear in bold have over 500 articles, which are Dehydrin, Macrophomina phaseolina, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Cladosporium herbarum, Rhytisma acerinum, Taphrina caerulescens. They all look good except I forgot to ignore comments in the run hence Cladosporium_herbarum says it has over 600 words when it actually has just a few. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 08:11, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I have generated a new list here with the fixed regex. As far as I can tell those over 500 all look large enough to have the tag removed. Some borderline results are Obconic has 446 words, Lethal yellowing has 403, Hand-pollination has 417. Does anyone have an comments? :) ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 09:30, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Um, ok...words. I was thinking characters (so, in other words, less than half the length of the minimum for DYK). I withdraw all my reservations. (And thanks for that list of stubs - there are lots of interesting articles in there that I was unaware of.) Guettarda (talk) 14:41, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Note that a lot of these articles are actually fungus articles, within WP:FUNGI not WP:PLANTS. Looking at the list, I'm agree that 500 is fine as a criterion. Many of those with fewer words aren't what I call "stubs" either. I've temporarily listed those with down to 200 words here on my work page. Quite a lot of those with 200-odd words are definitions of botanical terms. How to handle these has long been an issue; whether to have very short entries as at Glossary of botanical terms, or separate short articles like Obconic, Connate, Catkin or Palea (botany). Peter coxhead (talk) 15:28, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses, if there was a stub tag in particular you would like me to list I would be happy to. Yes I meant 500 words not characters :) This is also with all links reduced to one word, templates removed, cats removed, interwikis removed, comments removed e.t.c. I will push ahead with the BRFA now. I will of course have the option to change the classification that the bot uses from 500, possibly lowering and catching more stubs that are no more. Again thanks for your responses. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 15:40, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Proposed move of Plantain

I would welcome comments at Talk:Plantain#Proposed move. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:36, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Medicinal botany

I started a new wikiproject: Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicinal botany. Should it be merged under this project as a task force? It includes fungal and algal botany, but those can conveniently be removed if necessary. Sidelight12 Talk 05:20, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Shouldn't you have waited to get approval for the project before launching it? I think the idea of a WikiProject aimed at medicinal plants would be great - the intersection between botany, history of science and medicine. But as it's currently outlined, with it's current goals, it doesn't mesh well with Wikipedia's goals. For example This is to make it easier to document traditional medicines ... that are passed down verbally and not written help preserve folk/traditional/passed down information on medicinal plants - I think that's a worthwhile endeavour, but it's inconsistent with WP:V and WP:NOR. Similarly rather than quickly erasing it, because of special interests or bias from aspects of the medical community is entirely inappropriate for the WP: namespace - it verges on conspiracy theory. The basic topic fits my interests, but there's no way I'd go anywhere near a WikiProject laid out like this one. Guettarda (talk) 14:51, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
I was eager to start it, sorry for that. I addressed concerns on the proposal page, and put the launched page on (pseudo) halt. Reliable published sources are always a must. I was against bias, and conspiracy theory for or against medicinal plants. It may have sounded a certain way. Sidelight12 Talk 22:02, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with avoiding the problems with such a proposal. And not go further than documented reliable sources. Would it fit here as a taskforce? Sidelight12 Talk 00:42, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

An eye for houseplants?

Can anyone help with recognizing a houseplant shown in this photo? It was added under Maranta, but I'm fairly sure that it is a species of Calathea, possibly C. roseopicta, but the book I have makes C. picturata and C. lindeniana look very similar. The book really isn't a substitute, though, for someone with a skilled eye that has been trained on these houseplants. Thanks. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 22:24, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Calathea 'Medallion' appears to be a close match based on this image from a Florida nursery (the subject photo is also taken in Florida).--Melburnian (talk) 23:04, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Excellent, Calathea veitchiana is another species that I didn't see as a possibility, but that certainly seems to be it. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:37, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The RHS Horticultural Database places it under Calathea veitchiana and uses the French spelling of the cultivar name 'Medaillon'.--Melburnian (talk) 23:51, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Being quite at a loss to know whether the cultivar differs substantially from other members of the species, I've only taken the step of labelling the photo to species level (a bit of a coward, perhaps). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 02:06, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I can't find any detailed information on the differences between the various cultivars and the species either, so I think that's the way to go.--Melburnian (talk) 05:57, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
(Purely as an aside, this paper looks interesting). PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:54, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
(That is amazing! Fortunately the paper discusses at some length how to tell C. pseudoveitchiana from veitchiana, including by the thicker leaf of the latter that is red/purple all over the underside rather than grey-green in places, and the photo shows that quite clearly.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:00, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Merges in Annona related articles and WP:FLORA

Oops. I just merged Custard-apple into Annona reticulata, based on apparent consensus at Talk:Annona reticulata, while missing the no-merge consensus at Talk:Custard-apple. Custard apple is ambiguous, so I think I acted correctly, but I'm now seeing similar discussions with Talk:Sugar-apple/Annona squamosa, Talk:Cherimoya/Annona cherimola and Talk:Soursop/Annona muricata. Editors opposing merges cited WP:FLORA; although the language at WP:FLORA has changed over the 4 years since those discussions, Note that it is often possible to distinguish between plant taxon and plant product, and in those cases it is not necessary to treat both in a single article. still seems to support the no merge position.

The examples on WP:FLORA are cases where a single taxon provides multiple products (Brassica oleracea), or multiple taxa provide a single product (rice, grape). In cases where a single taxon provides a single product, it's not at all clear what topics separate articles on the taxon and the product should cover. The Annona articles I mentioned above mostly have agronomic discussion at the common name, and distribution/botanical descriptions at the scientific name. Discussing agronomy at both the common & scientific name articles seems appropriate. How would you split a Solanum lycopersicum article out of Tomato? With a well developed article that covers a single taxon that corresponds to a single product, most content could potentially appear in both the taxon and product articles.

I'm arguing that unless the product is ambiguous (multiple taxa), or the taxon is ambiguous (multiple products), it's usually NOT "possible to distinguish between plant taxon and plant product" and both should treated in a single article (at the common or scientific name, as appropriate). Highly processed products like sugar, chocolate, or olive oil (but not olive which needs more content on culinary uses of the fruit) may be an exception.

Wikipedia doesn't really have separate articles for product & taxon unless there is ambiguity. Nor is it possible to draw a clear line about what content is best discussed in taxon or product articles. Splitting unambiguous taxa and product articles leads to repetition of content. While discussion should perhaps continue and at Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions_(flora), I thought I'd bring up here initially.Plantdrew (talk) 05:39, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

I think this is a very tricky issue, since non-botanically minded editors and readers don't seem to like scientific names and often don't want to read botanical stuff that interests us. I've drifted to the opposite view recently: that there is generally a case for a "botanical" article under the scientific name and a "use" article under the product name, even in cases where there is a 1:1 relationship between the two. If you look, actually Tomato is effectively already split in this way – contrary to the normal ordering and section naming policy at WP:Plants/Template, the "botanical" sections are titled as such and appear down at the bottom of the article; they could easily be moved to a separate article.
But, I repeat, this is a very tricky issue, particularly when there isn't a 1:1 relationship. I've been trying to grapple with it at Banana and Musa (genus) recently (Plantain is even worse), and still find myself uncertain as to how best to deal with it. There probably isn't a general answer, but I would certainly welcome a discussion! Peter coxhead (talk) 13:02, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
If one would overwhelm the other, then I'd say keep them separate. A balanced article about a plant should include a description section, a taxonomy section, an ecology section, a use section. If an article would be 40-50% use or more (to pick a somewhat arbitrary, but big number) then the use section should be spun off into its own article. If we approach this article the way we might approach, say, Barack Obama, where presidency, election campaign, and things like that are spun off into their own article, we'd have a pretty good model for thinking about when to split uses out, and when to maintain them in the parent article. Guettarda (talk) 13:25, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
So to be specific, would you consider splitting up Tomato (just as an example)? Peter coxhead (talk) 18:05, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I would. Guettarda (talk) 18:09, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Tomato has 1 meaning (plant group wise), that is the same both botanically and casually. Plantain has two meanings. Both meanings could be merged into one article, but that might cause this same confusion later and the relation of other species/subcultivars would be left out. This might require two articles to make up for its complexity. Banana is a genus, that also is named for the different sub-groupings. There are a lack of words and too many species. Citrus has lemon, orange, etc. Banana(genus) has banana(species), banana(cultivar), banana(subcultivar), repeatedly etc, plantain(proper). The tree is not the same for musa, tomato, and citrus. Banana may be obscure like the platypus. Culturally there's banana, plantain, plantanio (which might be plantain for a different culture). Culturally its easier and clear cut across culture to say cooking plantain, and sweet banana. Then botanically its true plantain. If the botanical name and the casual name overlap exactly both subjects can be in one article, if the casual name and the botanical name have muddy differences, it may need 2 (or more) articles. Sidelight12 Talk 22:31, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we would ever want to have separate articles for a botanical name and casual name, if both are about the plant. The many foibles of ambiguous cross meanings are better treated through Wiktionary or as notes in the article. The guiding principle is 1 plant taxon = 1 article. Anything else adds confusion and opens the door for massive chaos. The only exception is a plant product, such as one article about a Musa genus and another about the banana fruit (which must exclude all taxonomy, ecology, and anything not specifically about the product itself). Currently the banana article confuses the our readers into thinking banana is a specific taxon, however the Musa article makes clear that banana and plaintain "do not have any botanical significance". Banana must be exclusively about the fruit only.
For all those other little articles like Custard apple, I think we should amend WP:PLANTS to say when we should separate out these plant-product articles. My vote would be to wait to separate it out until the volume of the main plant article becomes too large to include everything we would need in the separate product article. --Tom Hulse (talk) 03:05, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I shouldn't have mentioned the Banana case in this context, I think – it's rather complicated and confuses the core issue. I'll make a few points here, then if it's worth discussing further I suggest we do so at Talk:Banana. The article is very clear that "banana" is not a single taxon (there's been a struggle to keep a taxobox out of the article). "Banana" is used in several different senses, but the main sources (e.g. Stover & Simmonds' book) use it to mean all cultivated varieties of Musa, both plants and fruit, and they cover all the sections in the Banana article and more. What's not of botanical significance is the supposed distinction between "banana" and "plantain". I can't think of a case quite like it; e.g. for citrus fruit we have English names for the different kinds.
I agree with you over articles like Tomato and Custard apple where there's a 1:1 relationship between a product and an identifiable taxon; it's primarily a length issue. Like Guettarda, I would split Tomato. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:47, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

About Eucalyptus divaricata

Hi all,
I think I've royally fucked up made a little boo-boo in working on this article. It would appear that this is a sub-species of Eucalyptus gunnii. Or possibly a sub-species of Eucalyptus archeri. But definitely something I'm waaaaay out of my depth to fix up. (See this source.) Your help would most appreciated.
NB: if a WP:TROUTing is in order, I request that I be thoroughly thwocked with a Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon.
--Shirt58 (talk) 09:26, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Put away the fish, you've made this article a lot more respectable. Here are some sources giving differing versions of the current name for this taxon:

I'd tend to use Eucalyptus gunnii subsp. divaricata as the article title because that is the name used by the Tasmanian Herbarium (it is endemic to Tasmania) and it has legal status as a threatened species in Tasmania under that name. I'll have a look at the article tomorrow, if someone else doesn't beat me to it.--Melburnian (talk) 13:18, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

We live in an amazing world; upheavals in taxonomy are enough to drive anyone schizophrenic just now, and that doesn't seem likely to change in the next few decades. As a counterpoint, I was not aware of Tasmanian pisciculture initiatives, so when I read "Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon", I thought it was a variant of Invisible Pink Unicorn! After all, Tasmania is as far from the Atlantic as one can reasonably ask to get, and it has no indigenous salmon that I know of, but I admit that I am now less confident in making such pronouncements than I used to be!  ;-( JonRichfield (talk) 06:23, 9 February 2013 (UTC)


Please help refine the category for this plant:

Presently only here:

Many thanks, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:55, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Sminthopsis84. Would it help with ID if I got photos of the top of the plant, or are they all too similar to positively ID? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 22:37, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Hmmm... it looks like the "Areca Palm Buds" Windows desktop background...a Köhler illustration and Blanco illustration show context for Areca hats can be made from the sheath. "Betel nuts, one of the four famous Chinese medicines, are mainly produced in South China's Hainan province, where the tradition of planting betel nuts has existed for over 1,500 years."[8]--Melburnian (talk) 00:08, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Clever bunny! Yes, that's probably it. They grow and chew that stuff everywhere here. Red splotches on the ground everywhere. Not enough room between them to swing a cat. In fact, the cats all have red splotches on them.
I will take photos of the whole thing, and ask locals next time I pass by. Many thanks, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:17, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I thought the first one was a patterned bract, and I have never seen anything like it. Now I realise it's just the young inflorescence with the bract removed. Still very pretty. Overall appearance of the plant would certainly help - leaves, stem, those kinds of thing. It's funny to realise that's the betel nut - it's one of the most common ornamental plants back home, but no one touches the seeds (and I never was terribly interested in non-native ornamentals). Guettarda (talk) 03:31, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Happy 2013, Plant People

Hello. I haven't been too active at Wikipedia lately. I have been uninspired and emotionally scrambled. Now, however, I am pining for plants (hee). I miss talking about them. But I don't know what to do with myself here. I would like to write some plant articles and perhaps submit some DYK candidates. What I am saying is, would someone please suggest some work for me to do? Your friend, IceCreamAntisocial (talk) 21:07, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm a fan of your work on grass taxa! I'd love to get Tuctoria and Orcuttia to GA, but am not myself a "plant person" and the terminology mostly confuses me. Would you be interested in collaborating to get these to GA (and perhaps FA?) Sasata (talk) 21:35, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Why sure, I'll try! IceCreamAntisocial (talk) 01:08, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm an admirer, too. Welcome back! Cornus unalaschkensis is probably the most common, showy and widely distributed vascular plant in western Washington with no article on Wikipedia.[9][10] It is found from Alaska to California and east to Montana.[11] I have contributed a gallery of photographs at Commons:Cornus unalaschkensis including a valued-image and focus-stacked images of the flowers. I think your touch would be just the thing. Thank you for the good 2013 wishes. Walter Siegmund (talk) 01:39, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back, IceCream...I was worried you'd melted! You and Sasata are the two users whose contribs page I have bookmarked (this just made Sasata's ego explode!), so I can start stalking you again for stuff to do! Sasata is one of my minions, so when he reads this he'll be glad to know he is so persnickety at his fungus articles, that your plant dregs and gleanings were even more interesting than I once thought!! Happy 2013! Bwahaha ;) Rcej (Robert)talk 08:35, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Walter, I'm not sure that Wikipedia doesn't already have it right by having just the article at Cornus canadensis. Several authors have listed it as a variety of C. canadensis, or as a widespread hybrid of C. canadensis and C. suecica. Murrell, 2004, was very thorough about this, as were others, and as one local notes, they are almost always sold as C. canadensis, so perhaps the nursery trade also has this right. Also, our current Cornus (genus) article lists Cornus x unalaschkensis as a hybrid. So we might consider a redirect at Cornus unalaschkensis to point to the canadensis article; and update that one to include a discussion of unalaschkensis. --Tom Hulse (talk) 09:35, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Would love to do the article if it is appropriate! But I'm bashful about writing about things that are ambiguous. I could just write a treatise about the plant's various identities and load it to the brim with sources. I'll take advice. IceCreamAntisocial (talk) 00:00, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Tom, I've read the Murrell paper. It is cited by David Giblin who nevertheless treats the taxon as Cornus unalaschkensis.[12] In the last paragraph, Murrell calls his study a "preliminary analysis" and calls for investigation of the "ploidy differences within and between species". Cornus x unalaschkensis appears not to be well-supported nor generally adopted, although it may become so.[13][14][15][16][17][18] Pojar and MacKinnon (ISBN 1551055309) recount a Hesquiat origin myth for the taxon.
IceCreamAntisocial, thanks for your interest. I think the approach you suggest for C. unalaschkensis or Cornus x unalaschkensis) is appropriate. Wikipedia is supposed to reflect the current state of knowledge (please see WP:BALL #4). Another interesting species with good photographs is Eriogonum thymoides (Commons:Eriogonum thymoides). As far as I know, it is not ambiguous. Best wishes, Walter Siegmund (talk) 01:51, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Walter, looking closer now I think I do agree with you. A quick review of Google scholar shows plenty of recent scientific work on these plants, and almost all of them start with the labeling assumption of Cornus unalashkensis without the hybrid symbol, even if their work indicates it to be a hybrid (most do). So I would support a new article at Cornus unalaschkensis, without the hybrid x; and described in the article as an allopolyploid species (I think there is enough different dna & morpho studies to support that). Here is a link to lots of great sources for for anyone working on the article.
If you are looking for redlinks with photos, there are still some here.--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:31, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Random person: I think you could do something about Zanthoxylum Nitidum: it's not in there yet. Sorry about the identity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:42, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Well, I started Cornus unalaschkensis... hopefully I didn't mangle it too bad. It could use some double-checking and copyediting. I'm afraid the taxonomy details are far beyond my botanical knowledge. Whew. Walter I love the photos, feel free to place a different one in the taxobox if you like, and a gallery would look nice in the article as well. And whoever suggested Zanthoxylum nitidum, I did that one too. Cheers, IceCreamAntisocial (talk) 02:08, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

cultivar or variety

Is Aechmea nudicaulis parati correct or should it be Aechmea nudicaulis 'Parati'? IceCreamAntisocial (talk) 02:05, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

If it's actually a variety, it should be Aechmea nudicaulis var. parati, but it's probably a cultivar, which would be Aechmea nudicaulis 'Parati' Guettarda (talk) 02:37, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Here it is on the cultivar register of the Bromeliad Society International.--Melburnian (talk) 03:49, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
There is quite a collection of Aechmea cultivar articles in Category:Bromeliaceae cultivar.--Melburnian (talk) 07:39, 13 February 2013 (UTC)


Can someone suggest what this might be File:Unid_tree.jpg - it was growing in southern India and had come from an unknown source and is possibly non-native, leaf looks more like a phyllode (no veins visible). Shyamal (talk) 15:41, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Some sort of Clusia would be my guess. The fruit doesn't look familiar to me (which suggests it's not Clusia rosea, but it looks a lot like this one. Guettarda (talk) 22:02, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, that certainly looks right. Shyamal (talk) 03:12, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Out of interest (not a family I know anything about) are the structures left on top of the fruit dried up stigmas? The Clusia article doesn't say much about anatomy. If so, the number looks wrong for Dave's Garden plant, although the genus is clearly right. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:27, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I suppose they would be sepals according to this which says that they have a persistent calyx Shyamal (talk) 00:02, 16 February 2013 (UTC)


I don't know any more about the above, but in the same category can anyone say for sure whether palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), Singapore - 20071013.jpg this is Ravenala? The palm category is a weird one, and perhaps other palm-like plants that have "palm" in their common names should be added to it. But on the other hand, Commons is multi-lingual, so using English common names to determine categories there would open a can of worms (just to throw in a difficult common name to denote a concept). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:58, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Probably, but you would have to be able to rule out the bigger bird of paradise plants, such as Strelitzia nicolai, which can sometimes have a very similar habit if it chooses to grow flat when large, such as here and here. --Tom Hulse (talk) 18:55, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I thought there was something else that looked similar. It seems to be the "bemavo" form of Ravenala madagascariensis, which has yellow leaf sheaths. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 20:10, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I can't see any obvious difference between Tom's second link above and File:Ravenala_madagascariensis_Maui.jpg. From the descriptions I've seen, Strelitzia nicolai should have a blue bract with largely white petals above, as at File:Strelitzia_nicolai_3.jpg – see [19] which is from a botanic garden so should be accurate. Ravenala madagascariensis has a green bract with less showy off-white or cream flowers above – see the abstract at [20]. There seem to be some mis-identified photos around. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:44, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the second photo Tom pointed to must be Ravenala. I've taken the liberty of adding your journal citation to Ravenala as a very useful bread-crumb trail for the next person who wonders about this question. Misidentified photos are rampant on the Web, but perhaps wikipedia can eventually guide it towards some improvement (if anyone wants a challenge, perhaps they'd like to go after for claiming that Twinkle Dwarf Star phlox is a perennial belonging to species Phlox paniculata rather than an annual P. drummondii). Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:35, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Good eye, Peter! I agree that one is mislabeled. Sminthopsis, here are a couple more to caution you against prematurely labeling that photo: 1 2. Also, like Ravenalla, Strelitzia nichoai gets yellow in the full sun, like here: 3.--Tom Hulse (talk) 02:39, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Egads, the second photo in that trio looks very like Ravenalla to me. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:03, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

I checked out some Strelitzia nicolai at Kew yesterday, and tried to get a photo similar to the one on the left, but the Strelitzia is a messy affair by comparison.--Melburnian (talk) 13:41, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

I think that clinches it, the "palm tree" in commons is a "traveller's palm", and the rest of the Web is not our (or at least not my) responsibility. Messy seems to be a useful morphological description for the large Strelitzia. As far as I can tell from what nurseries say about their wares, nobody has been selecting cultivars for neat leaf arrangement, only for the flowers, but they are definitely concentrating on the herbaceous ones, the tree forms cultivated may be effectively wild forms. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:03, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Plural or singular family names

User:Gigemag76 has been changing the first sentence of articles about families, like Rafflesiaceae, from "Rafflesiaceae is a family ..." to "The Rafflesiaceae are a family ..."

Do we have a view about this? I've seen reverts saying something like "we are writing English not Latin", which is what I am tempted to do, but I can't find anything written down about our view. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:50, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

I've tried Google ngrams for some common families like Liliaceae, Rosaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Iridaceae, Fabaceae (see e.g. [21]). Those I've tried suggest that "are" is usually slightly more common overall than "is", but since 2000 "is" often wins over "are". Peter coxhead (talk) 16:03, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Interesting question. My first thought would be that names of families (and other taxonomic levels) would be collective nouns, so they could be treated as either singular or plural depending on context. Tdslk (talk) 16:22, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
The closest thing to guidance I've found is Wikipedia:Lead_section#Organisms, but all the examples of higher taxa lead with common names that are clearly plural in form, so this issue isn't directly addressed. A couple months ago, I saw User:Michaplot was changing "is" to "are" in family articles, and also deleting the definite article "the". I'd lean towards treating families singularly, but plural also seems OK. Plural form without a definite article sounds weird to me ("Myricaceae are a family..." vs. "The Myricaceae are a family..."). On the other hand using a definite article WITH a singular form also sounds strange to me ("The Myricaceae is..." vs. "Myricaceae is...")Plantdrew (talk) 17:34, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for the username link, Plantdrew. I remembered having a conversation in the recent past with someone about this issue but forgot who it was. See my comments on Michaplot's talk page here: User talk:Michaplot#Hydatellaceae. My thought was that regardless of the Latin construction of the word, the taxon seems to be used in a plural sense as it encompasses all members below it so we when describing the collective attributes of all member taxa but using the family name, it should be "-aceae are". However, there's also the matter of the taxon name itself. Maybe I'm being a bit too peculiar here, but would it be unusual to suggest that it would then be singular when discussing when the taxon was first described and by whom and how the circumscription has changed over the years? In that case it would be "-aceae was described" and not "-aceae were described" certainly. Make a distinction between whether you're discussing the name or taxon and that might help. Rkitko (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

I suppose it is a philosophical issue involving your notion of proper language use. If you are a prescriptivist you want to follow the established rules. If you are a descriptivist, you will allow whatever the common usage is. In speech and informal writing I am the latter, but in formal writing I tend to want to follow the rules. (If you are a staunch descriptivist, you would allow, as some linguists do, such atrocities as "irregardless" and "misunderestimate" because even though the rules say these are wrong, you know what the person means.) One complication is that some dictionaries are descriptivist ( --they merely document how people use language, so finding, for example, that the dictionary says less means fewer, does not mean that we don't have a clear rule about when to use less and when to use fewer. But since so many people use these incorrectly the dictionary records it--and it is likely that, in fact, this distinction is disappearing as language evolves. Still--in formal writing, you would be corrected by an editor.

As for taxonomic names, the rule is very clear: taxonomic names above genus are plural (sources below). Granted this does not sound right to many of us (Myricaceae are...). The claim that some people make that we are writing English not Latin is not valid. We are definitely not writing Latin, we are using words derived from Latin, but these words are now part of our scientific nomenclature. I argue that we should follow the conventions of scientific nomenclature when using scientific terms, just as we follow the conventions of taxonomy when we delineate the taxonomy of a group. If we decide not to follow these rules, then why should we follow any other rule of language or taxonomy or anything else? As editors of an encyclopedia, following standard rules of usage becomes a strong indicator of quality and reliability.

There are at least several other complications I can see in this issue: one is that even scientists (and authors of popular sources) commonly misconstruct taxonomic names (especially molecular biologists!). Many papers in journals have taxonomic names with singular verbs. I have written to editors about this occasionally, and they generally agree this is an unfortunate error for which they apologize and assert that they can't catch them all or suchlike. The other complication is that in some situations it is correct to use a singular verb with a taxonomic name. This involves the Use–mention distinction. If a taxonomist wants to discuss Solanaceae as a name, then it would be correct use the singular verb, as in "Solanaceae is...a name erected by A.L. de Jussieu..." Similarly, I could say, "'Tomatoes' is a plural word" This distinction confuses some people.

The use of the article is another issue, which I would be happy to discuss. But as for the verb number associated with family (and higher) taxonomic names, I vote for plural.


  • The ultimate source for botanical nomenclature is the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

18.1. The name of a family is a plural adjective used as a noun; it is formed from the genitive singular of a name of an included genus by replacing the genitive singular inflection (Latin -ae, -i, -us, -is; transliterated Greek -ou, -os, -es, -as, or -ous, and its equivalent -eos) with the termination -aceae (but see Art.18.5).

  • A bit later in this Article, we see an example of both singular and plural verbs, denoting the use/mention distinction: "When the Papilionaceae are regarded as a family distinct from the remainder of the Leguminosae, the name Papilionaceae is conserved against Leguminosae."
  • The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group does not directly comment on this, but you can look how they treat taxonomic family names:
  • The Flora of North America is another relevant source of usage guidance:
  • Look at any family, for example, Nympheaceae, where it is said, "Formerly Nymphaeaceae often have been treated to include Cabombaceae and Nelumbonaceae, but these are now generally segregated."
  • You can consult plant taxonomy or systematics texts, all of which note the plural nature of families (and higher).
  • For example, (to pick one off my shelf) Plant systematics: an integrated approach by Gurcharan Singh says:

    The names of groups belonging to ranks above the level of genus are uninomials in the plural case. Thus, it is appropriate to say, 'Winteraceae are primitive' and inappropriate when we say 'Winteraceae is primitive'. [Pg 34]

  • The preeminent text in the field, Judd et al. Plant Systematics does not specifically discuss this but if you look through it you will see the usage. No taxonomic name above family is ever referred to in the singular in this text, as far as I know. A typical example:

    Solanaceae are considered monophyletic on the basis of...Solanaceae are the source of several pharmaceutical drugs...

  • You could also consult journals and their policies.
  • The Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society in their instructions to authors ( says:

    Names of suprageneric taxa (subtribe, tribe, subfamily, family, order etc.) are plural nouns and take plural verb forms e.g. "Allioideae are", "Betulaceae comprise" etc.

  • There are manuals of style that address this topic.
  • For example, The Manual of Scientific Style: A Guide for Authors, Editors, and Researchers by Harold Rabinowitz and Suzanne Vogel says: General Rules

Names of taxa at the rank of family and above are treated as plural, while names of taxa for genus and below are treated as singular.

The family Micrococcaceae are…


The genus Python is…

Michaplot (talk) 19:29, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, that convinces me. Thanks for the insight, Michaplot. Tdslk (talk) 20:53, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I would agree Michael has shown it might be acceptable to say "The Rafflesiaceae are a family ...", since it is used that way almost half as often, however this does not at all prove that it would be unacceptable to also use "Rafflesiaceae is a family ...", in the collective sense. Be careful to note when reading those (carefully selected) references that they seem to approve the former method, but most, including the ICBN, do not condemn the latter. I say 'selectively chosen' because I have pointed out to Michael before that partially quoting Singh from Plant Systematics that way can be decieving. I'm dissapointed he chose to do it again. The whole context of the real paragraph is:

"The names of the groups belonging to ranks above the level of genus are uninomials in the plural sense. Thus, it is appropriate to say 'Winteraceae are primitive' and inappropriate when we say 'Winteraceae is primitive'. The focus changes when we are mentioning the rank with it. Thus, 'the family Winteraceae is primitive' is a logically correct statement." (italics added)

So the key factor is whether or not the rank is also mentioned with it, and in our examples it is. This source doesn't conflict with the ICBN, The Manual of Scientific Style, etc., but rather expands them, explaining how we can use it; since they say nothing about how plural nouns are used in English. Here's how a reliable source on plural noun usage in English specifically addresses this issue (no extrapolation/interpretation needed from how they do or don't use it, like other examples above). From Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary, in Explanatory Notes, under "Linnaean Nomenclature of Plants, Animals, & Bacteria":

Names of taxa higher than genus (as family, order, and class) are capitalized plural nouns that are often used with singular verbs and that are not abbreviated in normal use. They are not italicized.

"Singular verbs" is the key phrase. This is not casual common-use slang, but a solid, formal reading of how Linnaean plural nouns are used in the English language. The ICBN only tells us what they are (plural nouns), the dictionary tells us how these plural nouns are then to be used in English. So I propose we codify these examples:
  • "Rafflesiaceae is a family ..." (use singular verb when mentioning rank, the noun is referring to the collective)
  • "Rafflesiaceae is a name for..." (use singular verb when referring to the name itself)
  • "Rafflesiaceae are primitive..." (always use plural verbs when not mentioning rank or referring to the name)
--Tom Hulse (talk) 22:39, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
In the phrase 'the family Winteraceae is primitive', "Winteraceae" is a noun in apposition to "family", which is singular. This specific usage doesn't support the rest of your assertions.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:05, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, we have discussed starting articles with "Rafflesiaceae is a name for a family ..." which a former plant editor used to do; can't find the thread immediately, but I'm sure we agreed not to use this as the lead sentence. However, it's clear that the singular is correct here.
However, consider "Rafflesia are insectivorous", where the genus name is singular in Latin. Because we are writing Engish, not Latin or any other strongly inflected language, the choice of a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun is determined by meaning not morphology. So we can write either way, depending on context. This is precisely the same as with other collective nouns such as "committee". Either "The committee are meeting next week" or "The committee is meeting next week" is acceptable in British English; however there is a known ENGVAR preference for the singular in American English (see MOS:PLURALS). So I've tried to avoid writing "Rafflesia are ..." sentences, although they seem fine to me, in favour of forms like "Species of Rafflesia are ..." or "Members of Rafflesia are ..."
What is clear, to me anyway, is that the use of either a singular or plural verb is permissible in English with a collective noun. Whether that noun is morphologically singular or plural in Latin is utterly irrelevant. MOS:PLURALS explicitly permits either verb form. So editors should not go around changing this aspect of grammar. Peter coxhead (talk) 00:00, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
This gets back to the whole "cannas" conundrum: there is no straightforward, widely accepted way to pluralize a generic name in English text.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:05, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Tom, I agree with your second and third suggestions and disagree with your first. You are just plain wrong about the Singh quote. Really, truly, really?--do you honestly believe a mere mention of rank anywhere makes a plural word singular? Singh does not say that. He is simply pointing out that if the rank is the primary subject of the sentence, then singular verb becomes correct. "Family" is acceptably used with a singular verb, so "the family Winteraceae is..." (As in "Your claims are ignorant" versus how I might logically say, "The category of your claims is Wrong Claims." Similarly, "My collection of sources are convincing" is not correct. "My collection of sources is convincing" is correct.) It would not be proper to say, "the Hulses is a family..." So why is it proper to say, Rafflesiaceae is a family?

The argument that, because the ICBN does not specifically condemn use of singular verbs with families, it is OK to use them is outlandish. ICBN says very clearly that family names are plural words, and if you look through the entire code, you will not find an example of a family name used with a singular verb (unless the name itself is what is being discussed). Nor will you find any singular verbs with families in the APG pages, nor in the Flora of North America. Nor in Gledhill's famous, The Names of Plants, nor in Judd, et al., nor in Zomlefer's popular Guide to Flowering Plant Families, etc.

As for the Merriam-Webster opinion, it is absolutely correct. Higher taxa are plural nouns. They are often used with singular verbs. This is because many people (including scientists) use scientific names incorrectly (and the dictionary is desciptivist), and because often the name itself is what is being discussed, in which case the singular verb is appropriate.

Your confusion, Tom, may have to do with your failure to distinguish between use and mention. Unfortunately, WP articles on families and other higher taxa formerly treated the names, as do many technical manuals, as mentions not uses. Even more unfortunately, many pages still verge on mention over use. So it is true that Rafflesiaceae is a name, just as "mammals is a name for a group of animals." I strongly feel that WP treatments of groups should be about the organisms and not the taxonomic entities (the names themselves). I don't think the general reader cares that Winteraceae is a taxonomic rank that refers to a group of plants. I think they would rather learn something about the group, as in, "Winteraceae lack vessels, a very unusual condition among flowering plants."

Rafflesia are insectivorous, is clearly wrong. Genus names are singular. There is a convention for this situation. You could say, "Rafflesia species are insectivorous" or, if you must, the rule is to unitalicize and uncapitalize the word, and then typically add an "s" as in, "rafflesias are insectivorous."

The bigger issue is what to do. While standard usage in English allows variation in verb number for some collective nouns, when using scientific names we are not simply using English words. We are using terms from a nomenclatural system that has rules. And that is the rub. I would argue a consensus of scientists uses plural verbs with higher taxa. If we use singular verbs, we may not be breaking any rules of English. But we will make WP look amateurish, lame, benighted, suspect, scientifically illiterate, and we will justly earn the disdain of anyone with scientific standards. Do we want WP to be a sketchy, dubious source or a high quality, reliable source?

There are several other possible solutions to the awkwardness of plural higher taxa. One is to refer to groups by their common name. So rather then, "Gnetophyta are gymnosperms...", many scientists will say, "the gnetophytes are gymnosperms." I like this because the scientific names are not relevant to most general readers anyway. (And of course the scientific name can be included in the article, just not as the main focus.) Another solution that many scientists use is to always append the rank before the name, as in, "The Division Gnetophyta includes three families." I like this tactic less well, as it focuses on the taxonomy more than the organisms. Michaplot (talk) 04:17, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

And for the doubters, an entomologist friend of mine just pointed me to the following source: Encyclopedia of Entomology by John Capinera. The relevant section goes:

Names of all Higher Categories are Plural

The Latin (or Greek) terminations of these scientific names make plain that they must be treated as singular (species and genera) or plural (all higher categories). Article 11.7 of ICZN (1999) declares that "family-group names" (names of tribes to families) must be in the nominative plural (see a Latin grammar for further explanation), so cannot be construed as singular.

To follow the rules, we must write "Coleoptera are a huge order" and "Culicidae have many species that transmit disease?"

There seem to be three reasons why some writers treat these words as singular:

  1. They have not learned that the words are plural. This is quite common among students. Even some more experienced writers thoughtlessly copy the erroneous style of early writers.
  2. They argue that when they write "Coleoptera is speciose," what they really mean is "the order Coleoptera is speciose," but scientific writing should have no hidden meanings, so this excuse is not valid.
  3. They perversely refuse to accept what they are told are the established rules, or want to flaunt their ignorance or Latin and Greek and disdain for the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, and want to make their own rules.

It is of course acceptable to write "the order Coleoptera is speciose."

Coleoptera are species-rich. "Speciose" meaning species-rich is a neologism; in English it is an alternate spelling of "specious". --Curtis Clark (talk) 03:58, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Curtis--I found this out in grad school, when I tried to look it up in the dictionary and found it was not there. I generally avoid using it now, but the author of this example did. I also object to Singh's use of "primitive" to describe a family, so I think I won't be using that example any longer.Michaplot (talk) 18:10, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
And to forestall the bizarre claim that the mere mention of a taxonomic rank means the name should be singular ("Rafflesiaceae is a family..."), an example is given: "Arthropoda are (not is) a phylum of invertebrates"Michaplot (talk) 10:55, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid that you just can't say, by fiat, that Rafflesia are insectivorous, is clearly wrong. We can decide that we prefer not to use this form, but the use of genus and species names as collective nouns in English is very common. It's hard to find a genus which is used sufficiently commonly to demonstrate this, but it's easy for species. Try the exact phrase "E. coli are bacteria" in Google. There's difference between British and American English; the plural is relatively more common in British English, as I would expect, but can be found in plenty of reliable American sources.
"Arthropods is a phylum" is irrelevant; "arthropods" is a plural noun. The relevant example is "Arthropoda is a phylum" (about 1,500 hits) versus "Arthropoda are a phylum" (about 5 hits).
What Latin names are in Latin is irrelevant here; we aren't writing Latin, we're writing English. It's the same issue as "data is" versus "data are" or "the agenda is" versus "the agenda are" (when there is one list of items to be considered). "Data" is usually and "agenda" almost always (in this sense) treated as a singular noun in English. What is "right" in English is what is used. There's no committee deciding (as the French have unsuccessfully tried).
Summary: We can (and should) decide what to recommend, but we can't decide how English is actually used. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:17, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh, by the way, "The family Rafflesiaceae is" doesn't show what you want. Two nouns of this kind in apposition in English agree in (semantic) number. Consider "The poet Burns", "the artist Picasso", "the river Avon" when the meaning is "Burns is a poet", "Picasso is an artist", "the Avon is an ocean". (Note that "the Pacific Islands" is not an example; it doesn't mean "the Pacific is/are islands". You can't say "the islands Pacific".) Peter coxhead (talk) 11:29, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Peter: respectfully, I disagree with this assessment and summary. Common English usage is to confuse less with fewer - at least I cringe every time I hear it mangled, but I suspect we correct it when approaching FA status. And you would be incorrect that "data" is usually treated as singular; I've always been taught to write and say "the data are" or "the data show." Here, also, I do think the examples from the authorities on this matter, the ICBN especially, indicate we should treat families and above as plural except in cases where discussing the singular name itself. And I would dare to say that this is one case in which comparing google hits is not going to work well. This is a case where prevailing current use is demonstrably incorrect with regard to the authorities on the matter. Because most people use it incorrectly does not mean that our style guidelines or our own usage should reflect that popular and incorrect use. Cheers, Rkitko (talk) 13:29, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree with Rkitko. I agree that the we are not writing Latin. But we are using a nomenclatural system that has rules, even if those rules are honored more in the breach than in the observance by the general public.
So, Peter, we can say definitively that "Rafflesia are insectivorous" is clearly wrong by the rules of scientific nomenclature. We cannot say it is not a common usage and that it is acceptable for some people. The question of us is do we want to follow general, common usage or follow the rules of nomenclature. Obviously I favor the latter.
By the way, I meant to write Arthropoda are a phylum (which is what the book says)--my error, and I have corrected it above.
I would like to propose, respectfully, that you are wrong about this issue being comparable to data or agenda. (Data is a can of worms, and ckearly its usage is evolving--I propose we do not discuss it here.) In fact, I would propose to you that the use of a singular verb with family taxon name is incorrect even by the standards of English. Here is why: you argued above that since taxon names are collective nouns, we can use singular or plural verbs. And I think that is why many people do use singular verbs. (In fact, those taxonomists that do want to use singular verb make that argument--there are reasons in English to use a singular verb with a collective noun.) However, higher taxa are not collective nouns. They are aggregate nouns. This is a subtle but, I would contend, dispositive distinction. Aggregate nouns always take a singular verb in English. I can go into why taxa are aggregate not collective nouns if you want, but the clear indication that they are is the following:
  1. Use of determiners: collective nouns can take indefinite articles while aggregate cannot. So you can have an agenda, a committee, a family. But you cannot have a cattle or a police.
  2. Number:collective nouns can be singular or plural. You can have one family or two families. Aggregate nouns never have a plural case. You cannot have two police(s) or two poultry(ies) or two media(s).
Apply this to scientific taxa names. You cannot have a Rafflesiaceae, just like you cannot have a vermin or two clergy. Clearly, higher taxa are constructed as aggregate nouns in English, and this suggests they are only properly used without an indefinite article and with a plural verb.Michaplot (talk) 17:35, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for this discussion. It makes sense. I'm sure I've misused family names in the past - it's one of those things that I'm never quite sure how to use, so I tend to dance around them. That said, bear in mind that the usages of collective nouns differs between American English and British English (the team is in AE, but are in BE). Guettarda (talk) 19:16, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
This was what the gurus at the language desk had to say some years ago. Shyamal (talk) 04:36, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Instead of focusing on which type of noun these are, we are missing the much bigger picture that in our language these "rules" only apply in the most simple cases. They are not really rules at all. You guys aren't allowing that nouns can have multiple meanings, and therefore the same word can be two different types of nouns. The context matters. Everything around it matters in telling us which of the possible noun meanings are meant (plural plants or singular group). Mentioning the rank near the noun matters, as Singh said above in Plant Systematics: "The focus changes when we are mentioning the rank with it". He didn't say it was about which type of noun it was, or that it made a difference if you mentioned family first, but simply that it became "a logically correct statement". Instead of focusing so much on high grammar, try just simply focusing on the idea Singh is describing. There is a difference between discussing the family Winteraceae and the plants Winteraceae. If Singh says "the family Winteraceae is primitive" is correctly about the family, what do you think he would say if we showed him the sentence "Winteraceae is a primitive family"? Would he say it's about the plants or the family? It's very simple logic, not exotic grammar being forced on words instead of focusing on the complete phrases that change the noun completely.
Here are more examples where we can't force simplistic grammar rules on these plural nouns since they have multiple meanings... and the context that changes that meaning (and therefore the singular or plural verb) can be hidden almost anywhere in the sentence. There are billion ways you could hide the context that indicates which noun meaning is intended in these sentences. The context can hide at the beginning, middle, or end of a large sentence. Logic first. Grammar later.
  • "Customs is an agency...", or "Customs are traditions..."
  • "Bridesmaids is a movie...", or "Bridesmaids are women..."
  • "The species is extinct...", or "Species are groups..."
  • "A series is a sequence...", or "Series are sequences..."
  • "Mathematics is a course..."
  • "Politics is a method..."
  • "Hungry Hippos is a game..."
  • "Physics is a subject..."
  • "Alaska Airlines is a company..."
  • "Winteraceae is a family.." or "Winteraceae are primitive..."
Rigid authors like the insect specialists above have no concept of, and make no comment about, the case of multiple noun meanings for family names. They simply say something like 'the Code says they are plural nouns', and then erroneously assume 'therefore they MUST have plural verbs'. It's a childish, incomplete extrapolation that does not at all address the possible change in noun meanings like Singh did. That complete absence of discussion (going either way) on a critical portion of our subject makes those unreliable sources on this question (and also that he's a bug guy, not a word guy).
"A consensus of scientists" using plural verbs has been misrepresented above. In Google Scholar & Google Book searches for all the most popular families like Orchidaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Solanaceae, etc. the majority do use the singular verb. Here are just a few more selected sources that do use a singular verb: Vascular Plant Taxonomy (1996), Developmental Genetics and Plant Evolution (2010), Plant Taxonomy (2009), Flowering Plants (Takhtadzhian 2009), University Botany III (Reddy 2007), Taxonomy Of Angiosperms (2005), Systematic Botany (Datta), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs (2009), and of course innumerable others. Just to be clear, of course I am not advocating that we should always, or even usually, use the singular verb (just sometimes). --Tom Hulse (talk) 08:11, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Tom's core point is absolutely right.
Let me address Michaplot's argument. "Rafflesiaceae" is not analogous to "police". Can you construct a sentence of the form "Police is singular-noun"? No. But constructions like "Rafflesiaceae is a family" or "The family Rafflesiaceae is ..." are perfectly acceptable, certainly in British English, and they have been present all over Wikipedia for years. The argument about the indefinite article isn't relevant. There is only one Rafflesiaceae, so "a Rafflesiaceae" doesn't make any more sense than "a White House" or "a London". The same applies to plurals. Note that Michaplot's restrictions also apply to genus names, which are singular in Latin. You can't have "a Musa"; there's no plural of Musa. (There was an old use where e.g. "the Musae" meant "the species of Musa", but as far as I can tell this is now obsolete.) Sorry, but the argument that family names are not collective nouns is wrong.
It would not be proper to say, "the Hulses is a family..." So why is it proper to say, Rafflesiaceae is a family? However, it's ok to say "The Hulse family is coming to dinner tonight" (in British English anyway), whereas I would say "The Hulse family are all coming to dinner tonight" – the "all" shifts the meaning from the family considered as a single unit to the family considered as a set of individuals. Context is all. The Rafflesiaceae article currently says "the original Rafflesiaceae sensu lato is currently split into four families". Would Michaplot want to change this to "the original Rafflesiaceae sensu lato are currently split into four families"? If so, this is semantically wrong. It's the family Rafflesiaceae which is split, not the members of the family. You could perhaps say "the original Rafflesiaceae are divided between four families", but not "split".
Another example: the Asparagales article says "the order Asparagales is second in importance within the monocots to the order Poales". Changing "is" to "are" here would be quite wrong. We're talking about properties of orders here, not properties of all their members. (However, there's a complication. Because Asparagales is morphologically like an English plural, it looks wrong to write "the Asparagales is second in importance to the Poales"; you need "order" here where you wouldn't for Asparagaceae.)
We could say that you should try to write so that the number of Latin name of the taxon can be used, but this isn't a matter of changing "is" to "are"; some sentences would have to be completely re-written. I don't see the point of this. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:14, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Apposition. Please stop using such examples to support the use of family names with singular verbs. They don't support your case and lower the level of discourse.--Curtis Clark (talk) 19:20, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

  • I have been changing families and above because they are plural (Latin endings, plus collective - usually contain more than one species) in the sense of a family: The Smiths are... or The Smith family is (or in this case The family Smith) ... My impression was most of the "is" usage was due to ignorance (as mentioned above); if it doesn't end in s, it must be singular. If/When you reach a consensus, I would be happy to follow, but the singular seems awkward.Gigemag76 (talk) 02:15, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Curtis Clark. "The order Asparagales is second..." is correct because "order" is the subject and it takes a singular verb. But one should properly say, "Asparagales are second..." because Asparagales takes a plural verb, as the authorities cited above note. It is of course proper to say, "Asparagales is the name of an order" because this is a mention (not a use) of the term. Just as I might say, "Flowers is the name for those colorful structures."
OK, Tom, so if the distinction that determines whether I should use a singular or plural verb relates to whether I mean a collection of things or a single thing (plural plants or singular group), then can I say, "Solanum are not generally frost tolerant"? Or, "Solanum lycopersicum are variable in leaf morphology"? Why not? If we apply logic, and context is all, and I mean the plural plants, not the singular group, I should use the plural for these collections as well, no?Michaplot (talk) 02:48, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Curtis, Michaplot: So let's try to focus on the key difference of view. It seems that:
  • We agree that "The family Rafflesiaceae was split into four families" should have a singular verb.
  • We do not agree about "The Rafflesiaceae was/were split into four families". I would never write "were" here; Michaplot always would (if I understand correctly).
I suspect this a well-known ENGVAR difference between British and American English in usage, as per MOS:PLURALS. In which case we should resolve it in the standard Wikipedia way: if the article is written in American English, use "were". If it is written in British English, allow "was". There cannot be a standard rule. Peter coxhead (talk) 03:17, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I would use "were" in this case. I feel strongly enough about it to correct it when I encounter it, but not strongly enough to either seek it out for correction or require it. Absent any specific references to this situation, ascribing this to ENGVAR is OR.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:36, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Peter, I agree we should seek consensus and resolution of some sort, and thanks for moving this towards that with the summary.
I do not think this is a British/American thing, though perhaps the singular verb with families is more common in Britain? Still, as I noted above, the Linnaean Society of London, in the instructions to authors for their botanical journal says, "Names of suprageneric taxa (subtribe, tribe, subfamily, family, order etc.) are plural nouns and take plural verb forms e.g. “Allioideae are”, “Betulaceae comprise” etc." Not much confusion there, though Tom Hulse has disparaged this source. Also, check out this page on Solanaceae from Kew Gardens where it is said, "The Solanaceae are members of the order Solanales..." I do see other pages on Kew Gardens' site that use singular verbs.
I would contend the issue is twofold. There is the general usage patterns (by non-taxonomists/scientists) vs. the prescribed rules of scientific nomenclature. General usage is often wrong as far as the rules of nomenclature go, but cannot be said to be "wrong" in the broader sense (especially if you lean toward being a descriptivist).
The other issue is one of philosophy among taxonomists. My take on this, which of course is arrantly anecdotal, (but this is my area of specialization and I know a number of working taxonomists) is that taxonomists generally understand that the plural verb form is required unless the names are what is being discussed. But many taxonomists, for philosophical reasons, prefer to dwell in the names (which they contend is all we have anyway, even if we hope our arbitrary signifiers approximate something objectively true, like phylogeny). So you will find taxonomists who do advocate for using singular verbs in those cases where a single thing (the taxon) is what they claim to be referring to. But I believe these taxonomists recognize that they are advocating for a change in the traditional rules of scientific nomenclature.
What it comes down to for scientists is the question of whether the terminology is clear and unambiguous. The debate I have heard among taxonomists concerns the differences in meaning between singular and plural verbs for taxa. For example, is "Rafflesiaceae are widespread" different in meaning from "Rafflesiaceae is widespread"? I can explain this further but it is rather arcane and tedious for most people.
In any case, I say that the longstanding tradition and the current standard of scientific nomenclature remain that plural verbs are used with suprageneric taxa. I have provided a number of authorities to support this. If there are sources anyone can find that contradict these (i.e. that prescribe use of singular verbs), let's see them. Otherwise, we should all agree that the common standard for scientific nomenclature is to use plural verbs.
Then the question before us would be, do we want to follow the standard of scientific nomenclature, or do we want to decide verb number based on applying what we believe are the rules of English grammar, logic, or simply what sounds right?
Call me crazy, but I believe that many if not most WP articles on plant groups could be rewritten to largely avoid these issues. We could accomplish this by focusing on the plants rather than dwelling on taxonomy, using common names wherever possible, and using tricks like inserting phrases such as "members of the Rafflesiaceae are..." or, as Taktajan (cited by Tom above) and other taxonomists frequently do, putting the taxon rank as the subject (as in, the family Rafflesiaceae is...)Michaplot (talk) 08:18, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
The main bone of contention with this issue, as it appears in articles, seems to me to be the first sentence, which states what the subject of the article is, and this cannot be circumvented by inserting phrases such as "members of the Rafflesiaceae..." etc. The first sentence therefore has to state "Rafflesiaceae is..." or "The Rafflesiaceae are...". PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 09:12, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Good point PaleCloudWhite. I think the solution could include what I suggested: emphasize the plants and not the taxonomy. The Rafflesiaceae article is a good example. I think the article should not begin with the sentence, "The Rafflesiaceae are a family of parasitic plants found in east and southeast Asia, including Rafflesia arnoldii, which has the largest flowers of all plants." I would rather begin the article with something like, "Rafflesiaceae are parasitic plants found in East and Southeast Asia. This group includes the species Rafflesia arnoldii, which has the largest known flowers."
I would also note, among other errors, that the sentence, "Nickrent et al. (2004) showed Cytineae was related to Malvales and Apodantheae..." should say, "...Cytineae are related...."
I would also change the sentence, "Thus, the original Rafflesiaceae sensu lato is currently split into four families..." I think it should read, "Rafflesiaceae sensu lato have been split" or "...are currently spit." As support for this, I would note that the reference for this claim is the APG site, which refers to Rafflesiaceae only with plural verbs. (The APG site says, "Rafflesiaceae s. str. are stem or root parasites..." and "Nickrent (2002) had suggested that Rafflesiaceae themselves might be close to Malvales...") I would also note that Peter Stevens, who wrote this text (and to my knowledge never uses a singular verb with a suprageneric taxon) is a British botanist, which argues against the notion that this issue is a British/American English issue.
In reading and thinking about this issue since it came up here, I am beginning to think that singular verbs with suprageneric taxa are nearly never warranted on WP. The mention of taxa is largely a concern of taxonomists. WP should use the terms, not mention them. While it is possible to find articles on WP that focus on mentioning words rather than using them, I argue that WP should mostly use words. Consider "fruit". Fruit is two things: it is a plant structure and it is a word that signifies the plant structure. Our article on fruit begins: "In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from..." It does not begin: "Fruit is a word signifying a plant part, classified as a noun or verb, derived from the Latin..."Michaplot (talk) 02:06, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I get your fruit point Michael, though I don't agree that's a reason we must never have a single sentence that describes the group. Fruit, though, is a poor example for you I would think, since it is an optionally plural word that is using a singular verb in your quoted example; not very much unlike the examples above. On your question about reversing it and using plurals for genus names, I don't think it's such a simple "rule" that you can codify it that way to reverse it; and if you could, the plural nouns have 2 basic states because they are a group of more than one thing; whereas a singular noun only contains one item, and you don't have a choice to pick between members or groups, so it's different.
I do have one request, can we stop claiming this is about "prescribed rules of scientific nomenclature"? It absolutely is not. It is English grammar and logic. The Code merely says they are plural nouns. That is where the scientific nomenclature stops. Period. Everything after that, like authors not specializing in English grammar saying "...therefore they must always get a singular verb", is just personal extrapolation and assumptions by rookies not trained in the proper field to make that call. There are many, many plural nouns in English that are frequently used in a singular state, and not just when using a mention of the name, as I showed examples above. These rookies in grammar don't recognize this, don't even comment on it, and are not reliable sources on this subject. They can be an insect or botany genius, but still a grammar simpleton. Even if this discussion was about scientific nomenclature, you still have to stop the wild claims like your way is "the standard of scientific nomenclature", when we already explained that it is actually in the minority among scientists. Please stop exaggerating. In any case, as I think you may have agreed somewhere above, use does not make it right... that goes both ways.
Our current Rafflesiaceae article is broke. The first sentence uses the word "are" like a logic equals sign in an equation, to equate the plural phrase "The Rafflesiaceae" to the singular phrase "a family". Singular cannot equal plural. It's a big fat oops that needs to be fixed. It could change to the slightly awkward: "The Rafflesiaceae comprise..." to fix the equation, but it would be more natural (and just as correct!) to just say "Rafflesiaceae is a family of...". This is not a use/mention issue. An alternate meaning is not a mention of the name as you say. When you talk about rewording to "emphasize the plants not the taxonomy", I don't think we can reduce these plain & simple sentences to "taxonomy" as if it were something not of interest to our reader. Our article title at the top of the page is Rafflesiaceae. Our readers want to know first, "what is it"? They very well may not even understand what frame of reference that word belongs to. Is it something related to raffle tickets? What is it? Rafflesiaceae is a family of flowering plants. --Tom Hulse (talk) 10:50, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
  • "The Navajo (Navajo: Diné or Naabeehó) of the Southwestern United States are the largest federally recognized tribe..." Navajo people
  • "The Lakota people (pronounced [laˈkˣota]; also known as Teton, Titunwan ("prairie dwellers"),[1] Teton Sioux ("snake, or enemy") are an indigenous people of the Great Plains." Lakota people
  • "The Muscogee (or Muskogee), also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people..." Muscogee people
  • "Hungarians, also known as Magyars—Hungarian: magyar (singular); magyarok (plural)—are a nation and ethnic group..." Hungarian people

Obviously there are more examples. I don't know of any that say "the Navajo is..." or "the Hungarians is..."--Curtis Clark (talk) 17:00, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

I will stop claiming that the rules of scientific nomenclature say the verb should be a plural verb when you provide sources that say it is acceptable to use singular verbs. So far you have not. Provide a specific source and we can discuss it.
Isn't it rather outlandish to claim that the taxonomic authorities I have cited are grammar simpletons?
You are wrong about the grammar here as well. (Suprageneric taxa are constructed more like aggregate nouns, not collective nouns.) But the grammar is not the issue here. The issue is philosophy, just as it is among taxonomists. You claim that if "Rafflesiaceae" means a single thing, not a collection we should use a singular verb. The problem with that claim is that THERE IS NO THING called Rafflesiaceae. Plant families do not exist, beyond their name. In all your examples, like team, the actual singular entity exists. A team is a real thing. We can decide if we mean the team as a single entity or a collection of players. But there is no real thing which we can call Rafflesiaceae--except the taxon as a name and a "concept". So if you refer to as a taxon name, go ahead and use the singular verb. Solanaceae is a family rank erected by Jussieu" Otherwise, Rafflesiaceae are a group of plants.
Provide some sources.Michaplot (talk) 17:28, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
There are plenty of very reliable sources showing the use of a singular verb with a "bare" family name. Tom gave a list above; looking through my shelves I could give you several more. One such is Flowering Plants of the World, Oxford: OUP, 1978. The main editor is Prof. V.H. Heywood; Prof. W.T. Stearn of botanical Latin fame was one of the four advisory editors. The book surveys all the then-accepted families, and begins every section with "The –aceae is ...". It consistently uses the singular (opening at random, p. 158: "The Rhizophoraceae is quite closely related to the Combretaceae").
There ample good evidence that both the singular and the plural verb are used in reliable botanical sources. I agree that the reasons why one is chosen over the other can't at present be sourced, so let's ignore this issue.
I repeat what I've said before. We can try to agree on recommended usages within plant articles in Wikipedia. But it cannot be said that one is "right" and the other "wrong".
What we need now are constructive suggestions which we might all be able to agree on. Trying to argue that the singular is somehow "wrong" in the face of all the evidence that it is used in many reliable botanical sources is futile and not productive. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:56, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


To resolve this issue, I suggest including something like the following on the project page:

The names of taxa above the rank of genus are plural in Latin; genus names (and hence the names of species) are singular in Latin. Practice in reliable botanical sources differs as to whether the Latin number should be strictly followed when writing in English or not. Consistency is desirable both between and within Wikipedia articles. Avoid using the "bare" taxon name as the subject of a sentence whenever possible, thus removing the need to make a choice which other editors may make differently and which may be controversial. For example:

  • The family Asparagaceae is ... (where the singular English noun "family" is the subject) rather than Asparagaceae is ... or Asparagaceae are ...
  • Members of the Asparagaceae are ... (where the plural English noun "members" is the subject) rather than The Asparagaceare are ...
  • Dahlia species are ... rather than Dahlia are ....

I'm not sure how to avoid the choice in the opening sentence of an article (other than "Asparagaceae is the name of a family ...", which was rejected in an old discussion somewhere in the archives). Peter coxhead (talk) 20:57, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Peter, this is a very interesting debate and a difficult problem. Perhaps we are making progress, thanks in large part to your levelheadedness. As I have said, I do not think this is solely an issue of grammar, but of philosophy, and it reflects a profound and ongoing shift in systematics in general. And that makes it all the more difficult to figure out what to do here on WP. I know the Heywood book quite well. We always have a copy on hand in systematics labs for students (and professors) to refer to. Interestingly, it is based on the system of G.L. Stebbins and Cronquist. I knew Stebbins in his later years at UC Davis, and would spend many hours at his house, reading papers to him (he was vision impaired) and debating their significance. In his work (Flowering Plants: Evolution Above the Species Level) he largely avoids constructing sentences where he needs a verb to match a taxon name, but in those case where he does, it is always plural (I think--e.g. pg. 136 "...Papaveraceae are..."). (More importantly, I would say he did believe that higher taxa existed, or more precisely, he believed that actually reconstructing evolution was an armchair exercise in speculation that would never bear fruit, so we were left with creating a structure where nature was inscrutable.) Cronquist always uses plural verbs as far as I know. Why does Heywood use only singular verbs? I can only speculate that the Heywood book is written for general readers (i.e. dumbed down) but also, perhaps more saliently, is reflective of the old school of taxonomy. If you can bear with me for a bit, I can explain how I see the conflict. The program of botany (and other biodiversity studies) used to be (and for some still is) classification. This is an essentialist (typological) activity in which every individual is seen as a representative of a higher category. This turns out not to work very well for biological entities. It is logically flawed to see biological entities as typifying a category, though this does work for things like furniture and rocks. One basic flaw, among others, in this program is that the logical assumption that learning something about one member of a group will give you insight into the nature of the group entity fails for living things. The program of botany has thus shifted to systematics, which is about arranging biological entities into a system (in modern systematics, this is evolutionary history, of course.) In this way of looking at life, which is a more accurate reflection of nature, we no longer see arbitrary and subjective categories as having much value, though Peter Stevens makes a strong case for maintaining a classification scheme (along with the suffixes) for cognitive reasons, as long as the taxa are monophyletic. So I would say the current standard of scientific nomenclature leans to plural verbs, and away from taxonomy in general. What this means for us and for anyone else when discussing suprageneric taxa is that if you see the name Rafflesiaceae as a merely convenient name indicating a reasonable grouping of biological entities, you would represent Rafflesiaceae with the pronoun, "they." You would think of Rafflesiaceae as a mere signifier (perhaps even a hypothesis of a natural grouping (i.e. a lineage). If you think of Rafflesiaceae as a category in a classification, you would represent it with the pronoun it (and refer to it in the singular). This is why Peter Stevens would say "Rafflesiaceae themselves are parasitic" while Heywood would say of Rafflesiaceae, that "it is parasitic."
I know there are lots of examples of suprageneric taxa taking singular verbs in reliable sources. To Heywood, we could add the Walters and Keil Vascular Plant Taxonomy, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, (which has a weird mix), and a number of others. These sources (many of them older, or explicitly taxonomic as opposed to systematic, phylogenetic or evolutionary) are aligned with thinking in terms of classification, not evolution. The more recent and systematic sources (as well as scientific writing manuals, a few author instructions, and other odd bits) use plural verbs--because the focus in biology today is on the organisms, not on the categories of classification. This is fortunate, as classification is largely subjective and there would never be agreement on which classification is better. Systematics is tied to reconstructing phylogeny and thus has an objective measure against which to judge the accuracy of our estimates and models.
Here is an analogy that I hope will show what I think the problem with current WP articles on taxa is. Let's say I decided to make a classification of furniture. I created the categories Stools, Chairs, Beds, Tables, etc. If my focus is on the classification scheme, I might begin a WP article on Chairs with, "Chairs is a category of furniture that is closely related to Stools..." Note that this is essentially a mention of Chairs, not a use. That is essentially how many of our WP articles on plant families go. I would rather see the articles begin with something more like "Chairs are furniture that is designed to sit on."
Although I don't agree with Peter Stevens about the need for classification (though I do enjoy it), I am not opposed to having classification schemes discussed in WP articles. I just don't think they should be the focus. I also think phylogeny should be discussed (as it frequently is). I think the verb choices we make reflect the implicit concepts we are applying to biological diversity, and that is why I think this is not simply a trivial debate about grammar.
So while I like some aspects of your proposal, I have no problem with using traditional family names, genera, orders, etc. as the subjects of a sentence as long as they refer to plants and not primarily to a category in a classification.
Could we have an explicit, expanded taxonomy section for each taxon that describes the names, ranks, categorization, etc. (in which section I would generally not object to singular verbs with suprageneric taxa)? We already do in some articles, but we could be rigorous about corralling taxonomic discussions into this section (except for a quick link or definition in the intro). Perhaps a brief reference to the name might suffice in the intro, as in, "Members of Rafflesiaceae (a taxonomic family)[with a link to the article on taxonomic families] are parasitic plants..."?Michaplot (talk) 23:35, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Michaplot: the problem is that we don't know why Heywood and other sources made the choice of verb number. In Heywood it looks very deliberate because it's consistent throughout, even in places where I would naturally use the plural. I have tended to think that there's a ENGVAR issue because British English uses more singulars with collective nouns than does American English (this is sourced), so it's more natural to do the same with the names of higher taxa (but as Curtis rightly pointed out, this is just my opinion). You may be right that it reflects a philosophical difference as to the "individuality" of taxa. The reverse use is interesting (i.e. a plural verb with a genus name). I can find plenty of reliable British sources which do this; e.g. Brian Mathew regularly writes this way in his books on bulbs. When he writes "Zigadenus are mainly bulbous plants" (The Large Bulbs, p. 146), he's considering the genus as a collection of plants, I think, not as a single entity. It seems to me that the logic of your argument is that the plural verb should be used, regardless of the number of the Latin name, when the taxon is considered as a set of plants, and the singular used only when it is considered purely as a name.
However, much as I enjoy arguing about the philosophy of biological classification, we can't possibly allow any of this to affect our choice here; it would be quite contrary to NPOV and probably OR as well! Peter coxhead (talk) 11:22, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I find a lot here to agree with (and the parts I don't agree with aren't salient to this discussion. I'd prefer family articles to start out something like The plant family Brassicaceae consists of herbs and subshrubs with a worldwide distribution. Maybe if we start with the plants rather than the taxa, we won't have so many people wanting to call everything "greasewood".--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:23, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me that most WP articles begin using the format "[Article title] is [definition]....", for example:
"Venus Ebony Starr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is an American professional tennis player....."
"Steel is an alloy made by combining iron and other elements....."
"Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign state....."
"Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae......"

To begin an article with a construction such as "The plant family Brassicaceae consists of herbs and subshrubs with a worldwide distribution" is akin to beginning these other articles thus:
"The American professional tennis player Venus Ebony Starr Williams....."
"The alloy steel....."
"The sovereign state Spain....."
"The common name mackerel....."

This construction seems to me to be taking the definition as given. It should be possible to define what the article is talking about right at the beginning, and then progress from there. Incidentally I think the mackerel definition is an interesting one because, like plant families, it is a name and concept covering a number of individual components. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 08:28, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
(As an aside, I once worked for Prof. W. T. Stearn, as mentioned above; it was in 1994, just after I'd left RBG Kew to go freelance, and Prof Stearn was one of the first people I worked for. His garden was a bit haphazard and untidy, if I remember rightly (these botany types - tsk! haha!), and rather full of Epimedium (not surprisingly), which he instructed me to be careful with. I received the princely wage of £8 per hour, and really had no clue at the time who he was!) PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 08:51, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
(Aside: so when my garden looks a bit haphazard and untidy, as it does right now, I can just think that I'm in good company – and I have four species of Epimedium! Peter coxhead (talk) 11:22, 19 February 2013 (UTC))

WP:Flora naming convention now obsolete?.

Is this so? As this is the only project with a banner at Talk:Greasewood, I am alerting you that an editor there has just told me that the WP:Flora naming convention has been made, if I am interpreting the editor's words correctly, essentially null and void in favor of the general rule at Wikipedia:Article titles. This seems crazy to me. Hamamelis (talk) 22:48, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

It's crazy. What's true is that if WP:Flora in any case contradicts WP:AT for a specific title, policy wins out over guideline. But it this case the editor is really saying WP:IDONTLIKEIT.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:41, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not true. There have been long and very contentious discussions at various MOS and MOS-related pages about consistency between different parts of the WP policy/guideline pages, e.g. WP:AT and WP:MOS#Article titles. If you have a few hours to spare you can look at the talk pages (plus the archived ones) of both. No consensus has been reached, although people on both "sides" frequently claim otherwise for their own purposes.
WP:AT explicitly calls for a balance between the 5 principles at WP:CRITERIA. As we are well aware over here, from many, many specific cases, plant common names differ so much by country and by region, that they regularly fail Recognizability and Naturalness for an international encyclopedia as well as the more obvious Precision. The wording at WP:FLORA#Scientific versus common names could usefully be made more consistent with WP:AT but the policy is fully consistent. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:57, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Personally I think that it takes special circumstances to justify using any title heading than the scientific name, which seems to me reasonably consistent with "Scientific names are to be used as article titles in all cases except when a plant has an agricultural, horticultural, economic or cultural use that makes it more prominent in some other field than in botany; e.g. rose, apple, watermelon. These exceptions are determined on a case-by-case basis through discussion towards consensus." Personally my preference is a lot narrower than that, even when the title is incomprehensible to all (including myself) except for a tiny minority, but I seldom would go to war over it. There are quite a few practical reasons for such conventions, including NPOV, stability, and unambiguity, and all exceptions referring to a specific taxon could be handled fully and satisfactorily by putting any arguable or common name into a redir or disambiguation. Where common names could be of use would be where the reference is not to a specific taxon, such as coffee, Nut (fruit), or Pulse (legume). In practice the matter shouldn't arise except when there is a wikilawyering in the offing, because most good-faith editors will discuss the matter and come to an accommodation. JonRichfield (talk) 16:15, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Unfortunately there is a lot of wikilawyering going on. The "MOS warriors" appear to consider that the WP:FLORA policy is incompatible with WP:AT. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:41, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Checking out for a while

My Wikipedia experience has become unpleasant enough that I need to take a break, and as SMcCandlish has pointed out, Wikipedia does not need me. By and large, you folks are the most agreeable group I hang out with on Wikipedia, but even this isn't fun for me any more. I have email notification of posts to my talk page, so if there's something that needs my attention (I can't imagine what it would be), you can always get hold of me there.--Curtis Clark (talk) 17:55, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm really sorry to hear this. I've spent a lot of time arguing with SMcCandlish myself; he's certainly not someone I would listen to on the subject of what Wikipedia needs. I still have on my to-do list to include some material on the historical uses of "monophyly", etc. and will certainly ask for your comments if I get round to it. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:35, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm also very saddened by this, and have always respected and indeed looked forward to hearing Curtis' views on this (the recent discussion) and other matters - it has often struck me that few editors have the ability to wear their wisdom with such lightness. I sincerely hope that I personally have not contributed to WP:Plants not being fun any more, and hope Curtis doesn't feel the break should be a long one. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 19:31, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Dittoing the above. I hope that your break is temporary, and that you come back to WP refreshed and ready to continue your valuable contributions here. Tdslk (talk) 19:50, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
That is sad, to see so much of the scarce wisdom in here under such heavy attack. But as the Wikipedia doesn't need wisdom page seems to be trying to say in its poorly phrased way, none of our efforts amount to very much except for cheering one another along. I highly recommend Special:EditWatchlist/raw followed by selecting and deleting all, it's very therapeutic. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 19:52, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Too bad, for us and for Wikipedia, but probably good for you. The article title and naming *cough*experts*cough* have driven away too many of Wikipedia's best content contributors, and driven the rest of us batty. First Light (talk) 21:45, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Illegitimi non carborundum. Wikipedia is not a person, but I am. I greatly value your contributions and appreciate that you bring your many years of expertise here. I selfishly hope that your break is very short, but time out (however long it is) is much preferred to burnout.--Melburnian (talk) 01:35, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Are we being watched?

I just had a look at the 'viewing figures' for this page, and was struck by how high they were (whenever I've looked previously, they've usually been less than 100 per day). I thought this must be due to recent discussions, but then when I had a look at the 90 day figures, something inexplicable seems to be occurring. As can be seen, since the start of this year - pretty much exactly - figures have noticeably jumped, and each day's figure doesn't seem to bear any correlation to edits made. For example on 12th January the page views hit a high of 1,857 views, yet the only postings made were two by Peter C. to the thread on Author abbreviations and dab pages. Even assuming all regular contributors had a look at Peter's comments several times, that really can't explain a figure of 1,857. Then on 17th January a new high of 1,921 views was achieved, yet no postings were made to the page on any days between the 15th and 19th. Is it possible this page is being watched as part of some kind of study? Do students have to do that kind of thing? I appreciate this query isn't about plants per se, I'm just rather curious. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 01:34, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

That does seem strange. My first thought was that someone was experimenting with a bot or a reporting program, trying to get it to work the way they wanted, but it's not at all clear what other pages they might have been hitting: Wikiproject Pokemon and Wikiproject Algae show nowhere near as many hits. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:16, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Lygos (botanical name)

Does anyone want to figure out what's going on with Lygos (botanical name)? I'm not quite sure what the article desires to be - dab page, set index article, wiktionary entry...

Also, if you haven't noticed, Ser Amantio di Nicolao has been busy assessing articles for our project that had no project tag yet. Because of that effort over the last few days, the project is now at over 53,000 articles under our scope. Rkitko (talk) 05:05, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

As a rejected name, it seems best to redirect it to and treat it only under Retama (and with any necessary "formerly placed here" entries if the genus is split), and as you say, perhaps shunt some of the material to wiktionary.
Applause for the number of articles under our scope, perhaps we'll be able to finally gain some traction on the common-names issue. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:39, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I've moved the content of "Lygos (botanical name)" to Retama, which seems the correct approach, and made it a redirect to that article. The "Systematics" section of Retama needs some re-writing to take into account the status of Lygos under the ICN. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:21, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


I'm interested in adding etymology information to several pages about plants of the Pacific Northwest. Where is the best place to add this information? For example, on the page Oemleria cerasiformis, I would like to add details about Oemleria referring to Augustus Gottlieb Oemler and cerasiformis referring to the cherry-shaped fruit. Should I create a new section for Etymology or add this information elsewhere? Also, are there any circumstances in which etymology information is too obvious to be necessary (eg macrophyllum meaning big-leafed)? Any other input about phrasing, formatting, or citations for etymology information is also welcome. RoenTree (talk) 04:02, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Plants/Template gives an outline for how an plant article can be set out and suggests a mention of etymology in the "Taxonomy" section. If you go to Category:FA-Class plant articles you can peruse the featured articles listed there to see others have handled this. An example there is Banksia oblongifolia which includes the text "Derived from the Latin words oblongus "oblong", and folium "leaf", the species name refers to the shape of the leaves." Ideally, I would expect the etymology to be given in all our articles where it can be reliably sourced. Some may seem obvious to most but will not be to all.--Melburnian (talk) 05:52, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
About obvious cases like macrophyllum, I've never seen this done, but an alternative approach might involve a link to wiktionary, which is rather interesting in that it treats Latin as a sort of subset of English (which appeals to me, for one). Any thoughts about whether a lot of wiktionary calls would be a good way to deal with this? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:40, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Two mouse clicks from the wiktionary link gives "having very large leaves" whereas in-text treatment at Ficus macrophylla#Taxonomy gives "the specific epithet macrophylla is derived from the Ancient Greek makro "large" and phyllon "leaf" and refers to the size of the leaves", which is more informative and user-friendly IMHO.--Melburnian (talk) 23:57, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
If you can track down the original description, it should explain the origin of the name. A lot of stuff like that can be found through the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Guettarda (talk) 15:03, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I'd also say that it may be obvious to us what "macrophyllum" means, but we shouldn't assume that it is to readers. The origin of all epithets should surely be explained in species articles, where they can be sourced. Peter coxhead (talk) 23:29, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Move discussion

Members of WP:PLANTS may wish to comment at Talk:Pseudotsuga#Requested move: both genus and species articles Talk:Pseudotsuga menziesii#Requested move. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:15, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

To explain further: there was a previous move from Douglas-fir to Pseudotsuga that was closed by User:Mike Cline. If members of WP:PLANTS wish to re-open that move discussion, we can create a new discussion at Talk:Pseudotsuga.
There is also a current discussion for moving Pseudotsuga menziesii to Douglas fir that has not come to consensus. Please come join the discussion at Talk:Pseudotsuga menziesii#Requested move. —hike395 (talk) 12:12, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Alamanda? It is a fast growing vine with alamanda like flowers. Unlike alamanda which starts as a bush and then starts climbing (a semi climber) this entwines and grows. What's it? --Dondrodger (talk) 17:45, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The opposite leaves are suggestive of Dolichandra unguis-cati, particularly the drawing here. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 23:00, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
No, the leaves are wrong for cats claw, as is the stem. And the flowers, for that matter - the calyx is completely wrong, as is the way the unfused portions of the petals connect with the corolla tube. I definitely know those flowers, but I can't place them (though they're clearly not Allamanda either). Guettarda (talk) 12:58, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Where were the pictures taken? Guettarda (talk) 12:59, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Pentalinon luteum[22] perhaps?--Melburnian (talk) 01:42, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Spot on. No wonder it looks like Mandevilla. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:28, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Pentalinon luteum Exactly. thank you. Cats claw was also useful information as I was planning to ask about that plant also. Thank you all. --Dondrodger (talk) 17:10, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Boris Lariushin/plagiarism charges

This blog post by Mark Watson at RBGE may be of interest to the Wikipedia editors involved in this project: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 8 March 2013 (UTC)


The usage of Rhamnus is under discussion, see talk:Buckthorn -- (talk) 04:11, 9 March 2013 (UTC)


Sumac has been proposed to be renamed, see talk:Sumac -- (talk) 09:57, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Eriophorum angustifolium (Common Cottongrass)


I've been working on a high(er) quality draft article of Eriophorum angustifolium (common cottongrass), presently located at User:Jza84/Sandbox3. As I have no technical knowledge of plants, and may have missed some key information and sources, could anybody help sense check the draft and provide feedback on how to improve the draft further before I move it over to the main article space? I would ultimately like to take this to DYK? and WP:GA. --Jza84 |  Talk  14:27, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Daikon Article

I'd argue for unfair bias with using the Japanese name as Daikon is a sub sub-varietal rather than what the thing actually is (which is laid out in the talk in the last two comments) I propose a move to "White radish" with a redirect from "Daikon" as laid out. I have the resources to get pictures of at least more than one variety for the lead picture. The reason for the move is that the group is called "White radish" but there is undue bias towards "Daikon" (Which also has political implications). It's kinda like calling the "carrots" article "Nantes". Objections?--Hitsuji Kinno (talk) 14:24, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

"White radish" does look like it is used to cover both mooli and daikon. It may be a little ambiguous; it could be taken to be a descriptive term for "any white fleshed radish". Scientific name? Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus is treated a synonym in taxonomic databases, but it probably has some standing as a cultivar name under the ICNCP.Plantdrew (talk) 01:48, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I'd support the move since the weight of the article is a bit heavy on the Daikon side which is giving the article some NPOV problems (not to mention according to the article itself, it would be highly inaccurate). Also, it seems to have come up a few times as unfair bias in the talk. Would you happen to know a more neutral name that would encompass the specific sub-varietal or how to search for it? White Radish, so far seems to be the only option I've seen on the table. Thank you.--Hitsuji Kinno (talk) 00:29, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Flora of North Korea a stubby stub - anyone have any info to add? Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:49, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Swamp taro by many other names


Hi, I am working on articles about Kiribati. There is a plant that's very important in Kiribati and throughout the Pacific, but it's got different names in different islands, I thought I'd just link to an existing page about this plant but things are not so simple. An article exists about this plant, but it is from the Tuvaluan perspective and uses the Tuvaluan name Pulaka. But the same plant is equally important in other Pacific cultures. It is known as ~ puraka in Cook Islands, ~ te babai in Kiribati, ~ pula’a in Samoa, ~ via kan in Fiji, ~ pulaka in Tokelau, Tuvalu, ~ simiden in Chuuk, ~ swam taro in PNG, ~ navia in Vanuatu [23]

To make things worse, this same plant has at least four scientific names too.[24]

The article about this plant in the French Wikipedia handles all these issues much better, using the neutral name "Giant Swamp Taro" and listing its local names.[25]

What I would like to suggest to sort this out is to create a new English Wikipedia page called "Swamp Taro", basically a translation of the French Wikipedia page. I will need help on this, as I am no expert either on French or on botany. This page can link to Pulaka for specific Tuvalu information but I would change a few other links, particularly Taro_(disambiguation) to link to the more general article about Swamp Taro throughout the Pacific.

Does this sound like the right solution?--Obkiribati1 (talk) 00:02, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

I think the consensus you'll get here is to use the Cyrtosperma merkusii for the title. While Cyrtosperma chamissonis and C. edule appear often in older literature, most plant taxonomic databases appear to be calling it Cyrtosperma merkusii (USDA PLANTS is a notable exception)Plantdrew (talk) 01:32, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I would agree that the best title for an article on the species is Cyrtosperma merkusii, as this appears to be well accepted as the correct name. How to deal with the Tuvalu cultural aspects is a different problem. I'd be inclined to make this a section of the species article. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:14, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
This would work if the plant was only of cultural importance in Tuvalu, but it's of equal (and different) cultural importance in Kiribati. In the context of Pacific history and geography, this is a way interesting plant. My understanding is that in Fiji it grows almost wild, and is fed to pigs, but as you get into the atoll communities of the Northern Pacific it becomes almost the only source of starch in a diet dominated by fish and coconut, and takes on a magical as well as a practical significance. Its cultivation is literally a labour of love - you can see in the photo that each plant has a woven container of basically compost constructed around it - this is called "te ribana" in the Kiribati language which is also the word used for nurturing children. The impact of climate change and sea level rise on its cultivation is a tragedy. Perhaps this is a case analoguous to coffea, where the "cultivation and use" section actually has a number of links to further articles as the plant's cultivation is a bigger topic than the plant itself. This is why I suggested creating an article about the plant (I now know that this should be called Cyrtosperma merkusii), linking to the unchanged Pulaka article (it's a good article and I have no mandate to change it), and creating a babai article as well to describe its cultivation in Kiribati.--Obkiribati1 (talk) 22:39, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
I think that Peter's idea is basically the key to the problem, but agree that the interest of the human/cultural aspects is important and deserves detailed treatment. The complexity of the topic need not be a show-stopper however; it is just a matter of structuring the article hierarchically. The fundamental root of the topic is the species. Convert the current Cyrtosperma merkusii redir into a main article containing the botanical information from the Pulaka article, but without the cultural material. Instead segregate that material into a Cultural aspects section in the Cyrtosperma merkusii species article, in the head section of which you mention all the cultural generalities. Put all the Pulaka-specific material into the rticle as one or more sections of one or more levels, but within the Pulaka subsection of the Cultural aspects section of the article. Create further subsections of the Cultural aspects to deal with specific topics peculiar to Vanuatu, Samoa, and all the other relevant regions and particular times, all as context demands. Convert the Pulaka article into a redir, and create redirs for all the other names from different regions and languages to redirs to the Cyrtosperma article or if desired, to appropriate subsections. Do the same with botanical synonyms if desired. That way anyone could not only find any specific topics he desires, just as easily and transparently as if he had clicked on a main article name, but also could see them in their true contexts if desired, whether he had hitherto been aware of such contexts or not. I trust I have conveyed the general idea. I know no French to speak of, and am neither a botanist nor an anthropologist, nor yet a wiki expert, but I wouldn't mind offering a bit of assistance if invited. JonRichfield (talk) 09:22, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Obkiribati, for pointing me to this discussion. I worked on this a long time ago, but only from a poetic perspective (so to speak)--I have no opinion on the scientific name. You botanists can do whatever you like with that, and I suppose you can move the article around from here to kingdom come, but I insist there remains an article on the material and cultural significance of pulaka. I prefer this not to be a redirect (in my opinion people come before plants), but I'll abide by consensus. The last thing we want is an edit war or dispute (think Shrimp) that forgets that we have to fulfill different functions for different readers. I understand that taxonomy is very important to one of our readerships and I hope you experts can figure that out; I can't do anything there. Bon appetit, Drmies (talk) 23:27, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

OK these articles all exist now; Cyrtosperma merkusii, Pulaka, Babai, and there are various redirects, "main" tags etc, also disambiguations. I am going with Drmies' suggestion that separate articles need to exist for Pulaka and Babai, because the people who are likely to look for these names will be interested in the cultural more than the botanical aspects, though of course I have put in prominent links to the plant article. I gratefully accept any offers of help with any of these articles. Thanks in advance --Obkiribati1 (talk) 10:17, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

File:Model of a cross section of a banana with Banana Xanthomonas Wilt.jpg

File:Model of a cross section of a banana with Banana Xanthomonas Wilt.jpg has been nominated for deletion. Do we have a replacement image? -- (talk) 09:14, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Let's hope that Bio6469 who uploaded it will provide the required information; he or she may just have forgotten. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:54, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Ipomoea oenthenarae or Ipomoea oenotherae

I am no more than a visitor, and I am not a botanist. However, I think there is an error in some wiki(p/m)edia pages, and I ask some professionals to check and make the change if necessary. On page Ipomoea (English) one finds

  • A species list with Ipomoea oenotherae.
  • a picture (towards the end of the article) of a "Young Ipomoea oenthenarae plant". This picture has a link to the wikimedia page [oenthenarae] where the erroneous name is found everywhere.

Conversely on page [oenotherae (German)] one finds Ipomoea oenotherae everywhere, even in the figure caption "Knolle und Rosettenblätter von Ipomoea oenotherae". Remak that it is the same picture as in the english article although there is no link to wikimedia.
Ipomoea oenthenarae is found neither in the IPNI nor Tropicos databases. Conversely Ipomoea oenotherae is found.
Could somebody solve the problem? If some changes are made in the wikimedia page, it should be useful to keep the present link as an alias to a new link (due to changed name): this would avoid broken link in references to the jpeg by other users outside wikipedia.Dsw2 (talk) 07:16, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

I've had the file renamed by request at commons File:Ipomoea oenotherae habit.jpg. The links to other wikimedia pages have have been fixed at the same time. Thanks for letting us know. --Melburnian (talk) 11:37, 28 March 2013 (UTC)


The usage of Beet is under discussion, see talk:Beet -- (talk) 05:04, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Wild rose

Any chance anyone could identify this one? It's either Rosa arkansana or Rosa acicularis I think. Was taken in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. – Connormah (talk) 23:58, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Also could the insects on this flower be mating? Did not have a chance to look at this one close up until about now... pretty interesting stuff I'd say! – Connormah (talk) 00:01, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I can't see what I need to see to be sure about the identity, but I think it's R. arkansana (R. blanda and R. woodsii also grow in Alberta). The flowers of R. arkansana are borne on the top of the current years growth, which appears to be the case here. R. acicularis has flowers on the previous years growth, which are usually single (the flowers in the photo are clearly not single). R. arkansana has 9-11 leaflets, while the others have 5-7 leaflets. The leaf in the lower right has 6 leaflets visible, but the whole leaf is not in the frame, so I suspect there may be another pair of leaflets. I think the beetles are probably eating pollen.Plantdrew (talk) 20:31, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
R. arkansana comes in 2 varieties - var. arkansana and var. suffulta. I have var. suffulta in my garden, but it's just twigs at this time of year (as an aside, that's one of the few species I've tried that is fairly compatible with R. rugosa from a breeding point of view, resulting in progeny with flowers which smell of cloves.) Some of the beetles look like they're mating; in my experience, beetles are always mating..... PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 02:59, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Kaffir lime

We have a circular parent/child at commons:

[[Category:Citrus hystrix]] --> child: [[Citrus x hystrix]] --> child: [[Category:Citrus hystrix]] etc. I'm guessing Citrus hystrix is parent, but could someone pls look after it in case it's not what I think?

Also, maybe we could create Kaffir lime catgory with a {{Category redirect|Citrus hystrix}}.

Thanks, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 09:06, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

The Plant List seems to treat Citrus hystrix as an accepted name, albeit with not much confidence, so I guess that the Wikimedia category "Citrus x hystrix" should be empty/removed. I've made some fixes to remove the circularity, but it could do with some more work. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:14, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks good. Thanks. I guess we don't need the redirect. Several images are titled Kaffir lime, so visitors will get to the cat no problem. Cheers. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 23:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Daikon (Oriental radish)

Daikon (white radish) has been proposed to be renamed, see talk:Daikon -- (talk) 21:35, 31 March 2013 (UTC)


file:Ma-kok.jpg has been nominated for deletino -- (talk) 22:57, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Joshua tree

There is a new discussion at Talk:Yucca brevifolia#Page name, to some extent recapitulating the 2008 requested move. --Bejnar (talk) 12:46, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Oh dear. Hesperian 14:14, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Indeed - see Talk:Douglas_fir#Requested_move for more hilarity and mirth, where the nominator seems surprised that a closing admin felt there was consensus for the move. sigh ..... Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:18, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
The Douglas-fir example is truly ludicrous for those who haven't looked at it. We now have an article about one variety of Pseudotsuga menziesii at the supposed common name of "Douglas fir" and an article about the other variety at the scientific name; the first article uses the style "Douglas fir" throughout, the second uses the style "Douglas-fir". It's a complete mess. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:58, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
This editor sounds just a notorious common-names battler from about five years ago. Then again, they all sound pretty much the same and have not offered a new argument in many years. But this one is particularly familiar. I offer that energy expended in discussion with him is a waste of time. He is not discussing. - (talk) 00:12, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, I think that the initial problem there might have quite a bit to do with misunderstanding how bold face is used in wikipedia searches, so that the spiralling argument isn't really to do with Joshua trees and albums. Fingers crossed that the page doesn't move! Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:27, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

which plant?

This plant is made out to be related to Indian laburnum (Cassia fistula). Is it really? (talk) 16:08, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

The multiple major veins in the petals suggest Senna, which is related to Cassia. I don't know which species of Senna is most likely. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:19, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
It looks like a recently introduced plant in this part of the world (South India) and the name is Canadian Konna, in which konna is the local language name for Cassia fistula.-- (talk) 02:04, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
It might be the medicinal plant Senna alexandrina, which was formerly called Cassia senna, but you'd need to be absolutely certain of the identification if there is any chance that it could be used medicinally, and I don't think that one photo is enough to be sure about the identification. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:43, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Admin action required

A non-admin has closed the discussion at Talk:Siberian squill with the conclusion "move" (to Scilla sibirica), but the move hasn't been made because it requires an admin to do it. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:43, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

User:JohnCD has moved it to Scilla siberica--Melburnian (talk) 23:26, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
 Done Peter coxhead (talk) 13:10, 4 April 2013 (UTC)


Scilla siberica splits Puschkinia and Chionodoxa from Scilla, but Scilla sinks them. Lavateraguy (talk) 14:53, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I've been working on Scilloideae and its genera for some time. It's a very difficult area. Secondary sources, such as the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) and those databases that use it, like the Plant List, use the APG III families and have a set of "lumped" genera. But all the recent primary sources don't use APG III – they all use Hyacinthaceae, not Asparagaceae: Scilloideae, and many use a greatly expanded set of genera, but not the same set. Franz Speta and co-workers have split Scilla massively, for example. At Scilloideae I have already started to discuss the differences, and will expand on this, but for the article titles there has to be one choice. I'm inclined to stick to APG III and WCSP for the present (which means a bit more combining of articles than is there now), but I would greatly welcome any advice/discussion. Peter coxhead (talk) 17:52, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Eriophorum angustifolium

Hi WP:PLANTS, Eriophorum angustifolium is currently a good article candidate, but is in need of some input and support to give it a final polish. Can anybody from the project support this massively improved article and help to score and secure a new GA for the project? Talk:Eriophorum angustifolium outlines some outstanding issues. --Jza84 |  Talk  22:25, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Cultivar Groups

Over at Talk:Beetroot, User:Sminthopsis84 suggested (based on a comment I made) suggested writing up some guidelines for treatment of cultivar Groups in Wikipedia articles about cultivated plants. I don't feel up to the task, but I'd like to get some discussion going.

There are a large number of cultivated plant articles with taxoboxes using ICN names (e.g. Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla at chard). Tracking down accepted usage of these names in the major botanical databases is an exercise in frustration. Botanical taxonomists almost universally synonymize these sspps./vars. under the species (probably rightly so, as some of these cultivated plants have become naturalized on other continents and these feral populations are often indistinguishable from plants in the native region that have been long growing outside of cultivatation). Horticulturalists/applied botanists have a need for a precise scientific name for the cultivated plants and don't much care that botanical taxonomists treat these names as synonyms. This need is what the ICNCP is intended to address, but both camps (botanical taxonomists & general horticulturalists) are generally unaware of the provisions espoused by the tiny community of horticultural taxonomists responsible for the ICNCP.

As far as concrete recommendations go, I think there should be a greater awareness at WP:PLANTS that infraspecific ICN names for cultivated plants are usually treated as synonyms. Therefore, taxoboxes for cultivated plants are often inappropriate and should be replaced with cultivar infoboxes using ICNCP cultivar Group names. On the other hand, cultivar Groups name are unlikely to be appropriate for article titles. The plants in question usually being "prominent in some other field than in botany" (WP:FLORA), and the ICNCP compliant names being less commonly used then the synonymized ICN names. WP:FLORA should address cultivar Groups in some way (currently they are not discussed). I'm seeing this issue mostly with articles on food plants. Unfortunately, most of the official registrar authorities ([26]) are focused primarily on ornamentals; I'm not sure where to go to find a reliable source for cultivar Group names for the food plants.Plantdrew (talk) 20:47, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I entirely sympathize with your concerns, but am equally unsure as to how to deal with the issues. As an example, consider Musa cultivars, which I've worked on recently. There is an established naming system among banana horticulturalists which some sources claim is in accord with the ICNCP, but isn't (e.g. groups of somaclones are given cultivar names in single quotes, but then individual somaclones are also given cultivar names in single quotes). Part of the problem with Musa cultivars is that their sheer number (some estimates run to 1000) requires a hierarchy of cultivar groups, but the ICNCP only provides one level, the Group. The ICNCP only really works when there is an International Registrar (whose register is freely accessible, which is not always the case either). However I do agree that the practice of giving cultivated varieties Latin names is obsolete and should not be used here, even if the non-Latin names can't always be in accord with the ICNCP in the absence of reliable sources of such names. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:32, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
Interesting reading. As a botanist who feels incompetent to tackle cultivar boxes for Capsicum, one thing that would be very helpful is pointers to any good sources of information about cultivar groups that anyone has come across. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:59, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Taxobox for two species

Opinions are invited at Goji, about whether the page should have a taxobox or not. This common name is used for two related species. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 11:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

This seems to be resolved; Rkitko removed the taxobox, pointing out (yet again) that a taxobox is for a taxon. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Macadamia article and related taxa. Please let’s update!

G’day. Please let’s gather for some team work to bring the Macadamia (genus) article and its related Proteaceae (family) article up to date according to the taxonomy and evolutionary (phylogenetics) correlations, some from since ten or more years ago (e.g. Catalepidia). Scientific sources, i can send to you as i have access to most of the scientific sources, if any of you does not have that access, even the older Queensland Australia non electronic sources like Austrobaileya journal, Contributions to the Queensland Herbarium and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland.

Freely available and simple, not very technical, summary listing information, for one of the centres of diversity, the north east Queensland Wet Tropics region:

E.g. Australian genera articles not even in newly created now: Lasjia (different from Macadamia, see Mast et al. (2008), below), Nothorites (different from Orites, see Mast et al. (2008), below); please expand them using quality sources. Wikilinked now also in the Proteaceae article as Wikipedia redlinks.

E.g. Australian genera in WP as redlinks, now newly created!: Catalepidia, Hollandaea, Megahertzia, Opisthiolepis, Placospermum, Sphalmium. The great work of editors Melburnian and Casliber who also produced several DYKs. Please expand them using quality sources.

Of course there are more genera from Africa, Asia and the Americas with redlinks, not yet articles, so i won’t be surprised if editors from there want to work on those. This additional mutual team work i hope for will mutually motivate us all.

Significant 2008 phylogenetics and taxonomy update paper of the tribe Macadamieae (91 spp., 16 genera)—the full text is free to download:

——--macropneuma 07:11, 4 April 2013 (UTC) —strike out, refactoring, about the 6 genera now done—--macropneuma 01:54, 5 April 2013 (UTC) —strike outs, refactoring, clarifying, appreciating and suggesting more editors please expand these new articles—--macropneuma 12:20, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

In the Proteaceae article i just did the quick and easy adding of the redlinks wikilinks to Lasjia genus and Nothorites genus (out from Tribe Roupaleae) to Tribe Macadamieae – Subtribe Macadamiinae. ——--macropneuma 07:34, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I've been expanding Triunia for a DYK ....Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:02, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeh, looks better; that is encouraging me and i hope more editors, to do more and together, as team work. Anything specially i can assist with in Triunia articles, except photographs—they’ll obviously come to the fore when i’m properly set up to take some … ? ——--macropneuma 09:37, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Hilarious Opisthiolepis did you know (DYK) nomination (new article) – plant-wise hilarious – this field botanist, i, got a laugh. ——--macropneuma 01:12, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Have you ever heard that name?! I never have...but sounded funny....mountain rockets (5x expanded) next.....Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:30, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
A surprising name for me, still—i’ll ask around botanists and bushies in the region here about that name’s legitimacy and usage.
Please help—any bright ideas, more than i’ve already tried, on getting this?:
Thank you so much to User:GabrielF at the Resource Exchange.—--macropneuma 23:50, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
The following, if you have direct access at home—i have to go to the library for CSIRO publ’s and the most recent vol’s of many others—if anyone has access to this above in PDF please send it to me, and perhaps even have the following ones below—or alternatively i'll use the WP resource exchange:
Please, everybody, can you help generally with this Macadamia sens. lat. updating, and access to journal articles? Please if you can, for instance, email these:
——--macropneuma 02:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
——--macropneuma 02:35, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
——--macropneuma 02:53, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Damn - will try to browse some via uni when I get a chance later tonight - I thought of a DYK....

...that Ferdinand von Mueller named several genera of proteaceae, including Buckinghamia, Cardwellia, Carnarvonia, Hicksbeachia and Hollandaea, after Colonial Secretaries of the time. - more expanding to do......Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:35, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

No worries. Always more to do, dare i say it: 'never ending!'
DYK! good! – on a curious history … . Any more journal papers PDFs you already have got, that you think i should read relevant to Macadamia and related genera, to Australian rainforest Proteaceae and others (eg. just now looking at citations of Zieria Rutaceae revisions papers in Aust Sys Bot & Austrobaileya journals), please feel free to email them to me, then i'll get to work on them.
i might email you this good paper for interest, if you haven’t already found access to that via Informit and obtained it?:
——--macropneuma 09:08, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Incredible!: "Opisthiolepis has been viewed 15403 times in the last 30 days." –nearly all on 11 April – page view statistics due to Casliber’s hilarious Opisthiolepis did you know (DYK) (new and expanded article) – plant-wise hilarious – (again) this field botanist—I—got a laugh. Thanks for the great works! ——--macropneuma 12:06, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Casliber, what more needs to happen to Buckinghamia? I can do it! Huaha. ——--macropneuma 13:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

It has to be a 5x expansion - it had 141 words here so has to be expanded to a 705 word article....a tall order.... Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:41, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
Please have a look at it now, for my improvements (?) and expansions (–no. words?). ——--macropneuma 06:34, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Needs another 100 words - I scoured the Johnson and Briggs paper for anything to add...couldn't think what else to :( Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:13, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Please see Talk:Buckinghamia for quotations i’ve just added, of the B. ferruginiflora original description paper and of the Elliot and Jones (1983) entry on so called "monotypic" B. celsissima (little did they know of what had been found in N. QLD by Gray, Sankowsky, Hyland et al. from the early 1970s!).
What have i missed please, from those two important sources, that could be good material for basing layman’s WP statements paraphrase writing on?
You’re greater than me on articulating the plant cultivation matters (!). i bet you can find several points in there to use to elaborate the article. i think i can also find a few more points, by the way. ——--macropneuma 05:47, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
My uni library has the old landmark Venkata Rao treatment on proteaceae from the 1960s - I will also see Hoot and Douglas paper to see if we can struggle over the 5x line.....Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:20, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I think i found the same interesting 1957 Rao article digitised online, which includes a Buckinghamia treatment, via, at: – "Cytotaxonomy of the Proteaceae"; or is it a different one you’re meaning?
We can do it! It’s not too hard, only ca. 100 words. Finally i confirmed from history that granitethighs (in small case!) is long time since MEL contact R.S.—we know each other from the 1980s when i spent a lot of time (a bit like WP), doing a major graphic communication final high school year assignment on all the Australian native rainforest plants of the gardens and a walk through all the individual plants —i'll ask him to help on Buckinghamia horticultural interests, eg. if he can tell when they were first used horticulturally, and when first in Melbourne and other botanic gardens, etc. As you may know, he’s cool. If you’re listening R. r r r granitethighs then G’day, and please come in here! ——--macropneuma 08:46, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

What kind of plant name is Hedraianthera_sp._Mossman_(V.K.Moriarty_2557)

A reader has written articles that include plant names like this. (Personal attack removed) Maybe someone here can explain these names to me? This one is links to an online resource.


Thanks. - (talk) 14:33, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

It's a provisional name for a putative species which has yet to receive a formal scientific name. This name could probably be read as "a possibly new species of Hedraianthera found near Mossman, Queensland and known only from a single specimen, the 2557th plant collected by V.K. Moriarity". Of course, I'm not positive that there is only one specimen (Moriarty 2557 may simply be the first specimen), nor am I sure that Mossman refers to the town, rather than another geographical feature (there's a Mossman River too).
There are a few Wikipedia articles on plants with provisional names (e.g. Grevillea sp. Mt Burrowa, Rhus sp. nov. A). The guidelineWP:CULTIVAR briefly mentions naming articles about plants with provisional names. Personally, I'm not enamored of having these articles; the articles exist because the plants in question have been asssessed as threatened/endangered, but we have very little information on them besides a listing in say, the IUCN Red list or a list of threatened species published by the Australian government. Until a species is formally described, articles can't really be more than stubs.Plantdrew (talk) 15:18, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Update. It turns out this plant was recently (2012) formally described, but ended up in a different genus. The scientific name is Brassiantha hedriaintheroides; see [28].Plantdrew (talk) 15:25, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
√ Thx Plantdrew. ——--macropneuma 15:43, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
You're welcome. Sorry to have parked the name in Brassiantha in the Hedraianthera article you've been working on; obviously it doesn't belong there in the long term, but there's no Brassiantha article yet.Plantdrew (talk)Q 15:50, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
No worries. I was about to do the same edit myself, merely to flag the matter in that article, but you beat me to it, hence an extra thanks,
Clarifying re. spelling: Brassiantha hedraiantheroides A.J. Ford. See the formal publication paper (protologue).
APNI has a typo, and it is early days for this entry on APNI. After some lag time it will get checked and (if it passes) receive the Australian Plant Census tick that it is an accepted name. In that process APNI will correct their own name spelling typo according to the original publication (protologue).

(Personal attack removed)

A few of us in north eastern Australia here would be the only people who have done the visit to Mossman (Gorge), seeing, keying out and recognising this taxon, recently receiving this new name. ——--macropneuma 17:35, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the information, Plantdew. Could this information be added to the article on botanical names? Is it in the code? - (talk) 18:37, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
The code doesn't have a lot to say about provisional names (by definition, they're not code compliant). It does say "A name is not validly published...when it is merely proposed in anticipation of the future acceptance of the taxon concerned, or of a particular circumscription, position, or rank of the taxon (so-called provisional name)" (Art. 36.1b [29], also see Art. 23 ex. 12)
Wikipedia does have an article on Undescribed species which discusses use and formation of provisional names as well as an "Undescribed species" category (sorry, not sure how to link to categories on a talk page). I've just added See also links for Undescribed species to the Botanical name and International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants articles. It might be worth discussing provisional names in the text of Botanical name and Binomial nomenclature, although I'm not sure how best to introduce the concept.
Undescribed species could certainly use some work; it doesn't have any references at present. "Hedraianthera sp. Mossman (V.K.Moriarty 2557)" would be a good example for discussion since it incorporates a locality and a voucher (existing provisional name examples are of the form "sp. A", "sp. B", etc.). The IUCN's discussion of undescribed species ([30]) would be good to add as a reference, especially since most of the undescribed species with Wikipedia articles are using provisional names taken from the IUCN Red list.Plantdrew (talk) 19:58, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
So, they have no formal standing, so we probably should not be writing articles about potential taxa? I would only include H. sp Mossman if it had any literature relating it to undescribed species. I have not seen botanical names like this, so I would be leery of including it without sources. The IUCN space looks good for part of referencing. Thanks again for all of the information. - (talk) 21:07, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
If something hasn't been formally described it's probably not notable enough to merit it's own article. Listing it in an article on the parent taxon might be appropriate. I wouldn't be opposed to deleting most of the bot-created articles about Red listed species with provisional names. Omphalotropis sp. nov. 2 is an interesting exception; formally described, but formally nameless, as the name given turned out to be a homonym. Ancistrocladus korupensis was described in Dec. 1993 at least 6 months after it began receiving attention in the popular news media for its anti-HIV potential, so was notable prior to scientific description. And the provisional name Nessiteras rhombopteryx just needs a type specimen to become the scientific name for the Loch Ness Monster. Undescribed species may rarely be notable, but usually are not.Plantdrew (talk) 00:02, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with you that many of the unnamed species should be deleted; and the bot should not have created them in the first place. This is an older bot, though? It seems though, that sometimes there will be articles about notable unnamed species. - (talk) 04:27, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
Dare I suggest that these articles should have titles that are common names, to be moved to the scientific name once it is established? A reckless suggestion in this forum, I know. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:09, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
The problem is the uncertainty, until described scientifically, that it is a unique taxon. So, would they have a unique common name if it were unknown whether the plant was unique or not? - (talk) 16:25, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
In some cases, they might. The Loch Ness Monster is one of User:Plantdrew's examples above with that characteristic. Sorbus "no parking" was one, since named Sorbus admonitor. That certainly won't happen in all cases. As an aside: I'm a bit distressed to see the string "Omphalotropis sp. nov. 2" in view of various data mining efforts to find species descriptions that try to rely on the phrase "sp. nov." to flag the descriptions. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:42, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I'd support a well-attested common name title over a provisional scientific name, but it seems like it would be a very rare situation to have a common name for an undescribed species; Sorbus "no parking" might be the only good example (early news reports on Ancistrocladus korupensis just called it "an African vine in the Anistrocladus genus").
Several of the undescribed Arygrodendron species have vernacular names (more than one in some cases). Lavateraguy (talk) 12:46, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
How long do they remain undescribed? Maybe if they are undescribed, their information should go in the genus article? It concerned me moving into non-taxa for articles, although I'm not sure I should be concerned. Obviously Lochie deserves his/her own article, so maybe it is completely doable on a case-by-case basis, and my concerns are unwarranted? - (talk) 17:40, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
At least 6/7 years, and probably longer, in the case of the Argyrodendron species. Lavateraguy (talk) 23:01, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
I have no idea how to interpret that. It seems that naming and identifying a plant would be high priority; these are Angiosperms, not lottle balls or genes from some single-celled marine Eukaryote. I am comcerned they may not be valid taxa without a formal description that identifies and defines it, but if they are known for this long with common names, an article might be in order. - (talk) 23:48, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree that an article might be in order (I searched hard for that Rhus example, hoping to match the specimens listed at IUCN to a publication, but failed to find it). Describing a species is not just a time-consuming process, but these days requires serious expenditure for laboratory data such as sequences and chromosome counts, money that might simply not be available. It is generally not acceptable for publication to say only "it looks completely different and its geographic range is disjoint from related species", so these matters tend to languish. Also, I've seen graduate students find evidence of a new species and then rush off to follow their careers, never having gained the knowledge necessary to publish a species description, so unless their graduate supervisor steps in the publication might never happen. (Also, I suspect that the existence of the phylocode is dissuading some people from publishing the traditional, useful, shockingly old-fashioned taxon information that is required for conservation efforts.) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:44, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
There are 78 putative taxa in Category:Undescribed species, mostly fish and gastropods, and mostly created by User:Polbot in 2007 from the IUCN list (Rhus sp. nov A is the only Polbot created article on a plant). Other projects can worry about the undescribed animal articles. There are 8 plant articles in the Undescribed species category. One, Eucalyptus expressa, has been described ([31]) and needs updating. Grevillea sp. Mt Burrowa, Nepenthes sp. Anipahan, Nepenthes sp. Luzon, Nepenthes sp. Misool, Pelargonium sp. Striatellum, Pultenaea sp. Genowlan Point, and Rhus sp. nov. A remain undescribed. The Grevillea, Pelargonium and Pultenaea reference Australian government sources with a decent amount of information about the plants. The Nepenthes all appear in a book. I'm not sure where I'm going with all this, but Rhus sp. nov. A is the weakest of all the undescribed plant articles.Plantdrew (talk) 19:33, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
So, it's rare enough that it can be dealt with one at a time, Nessie under common name, others not, etc. I think we could delete, sink, or move most of the Polbot creations. Although this bot was not as problematic as others, if any of these articles have been created by the bot being using by WikiProject Gastropod, I would like to ask that programming to cease, though. Yes, the mining should be a concern. - (talk) 05:01, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Proposed move of Syringa

It has been proposed that Syringa be renamed and moved to "Lilac" - see here. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:26, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

The Plant List reference template

I was unable to find a reference template for The Plant List, so I just created one Template:ThePlantList. I'm seeking feedback and constructive edits. Is the output format good? Are the parameter names (id, taxon, authority) appropriate? I've been back and forth on calling the "id" parameter "record" or "recordid", but am not sure how much it matters. Is splitting The Plant List's page title into an italicized section under the "taxon" parameter and an un-italicized "authority" useful, or would it better to have a single default un-italicized "taxon" parameter with editors manually italicizing? Any suggestions for Template:ThePlantList/doc?Plantdrew (talk) 23:28, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

The Plant List is 2.5 years out of date. I have found serious species listing errors in it. I don’t use it. I use the sources which get constantly maintained that it used. I’m in the botany luxury–place of Australia as here we have the, world class, authoritative, Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), an inspiration for IPNI. So now i won’t settle for any less quality; which has made for hard work in my editing of plant taxa of India, New Guinea and some parts of Malesia and south east Asia. In those regions, most often i have not found maintained up to date and authoritative plant taxa lists, except for some good examples, the excellent China eFlora, some great monographs eg. Pseuduvaria and the Flora of Peninsula Malaysia’s recent publications. Have i missed some resources, please do tell? A few botanical informatics resources in India that i know about, i could not access yet—any tips please? In those regions, as said some monographs, and more so some Flora … publications, provide better quality than any regionally published lists—better quality also than The Plant List and better than any web sites. For some examples in this region: as said, the current and great quality eFlora of China; the free three volume Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea (1975–1995)([32]); in some parts the huge Flora Malesiana that’s been going more than 60 years; and of course the 'simply brilliant botanists' resources here in Australia, etc.
Anyway, enough better alternatives, back to your good and useful template editing.
That said, using The Plant List is fine with very careful checking through to the original sources. Use of the The Plant List raises my hackles because people pretend it to be more authoritative than it really is—and that it claims itself to be—as you would know, but unfortunately many WP edits using it that i’ve seen, seem not to know, see: "About The Plant List". Often the Kew list, which is maintained, is a good quality ultimate source, but not all the time; though better accuracy and maintenance than most.
That said, for your great work on creating a template for easily using it:
  • |id= does just fine.
  • |taxon= separate please from |authority=.
The first |taxon=, output it in italics by default for the majority of cases, with an option to turn italics off.
The second |authority=, by default enclosed within the Au template for maintaining all authority names and making them appropriate small type (see Template:Au)
For two good examples see the very simple Template:APNI, that needs some more work, and my work creating the Template:AustTRFPK6.1. ——--macropneuma 00:39, 22 April 2013 (UTC) —numerous clarifications added—--macropneuma 02:32, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. I'm well aware of errors in TPL; any attempt to build a single authoritative classification of all the plant species in the world is going to have some errors. I find TPL most useful for lists of synonyms of an accepted species. It's fairly accurate in that respect, or at least usually errs on the side of not synonymizing. By the same token, it's not as accurate for lists of accepted species in a genus; obscure synonyms may be listed as accepted. I'm not aware of any good regional sources for the areas you mention. Tropicos [33] is my usual preferred source. Tropicos doesn't attempt an authoritative classification; it compiles mentions of a name, whether it is accepted or treated as a synonym. Of course, it's not totally comprehensive. Coverage of plants from the Americas and China (Flora of China is fully integrated) is better than for plants from Australia, India, Malesia. Tropicos and WCSP are the major sources of The Plant List, and present their data in a more nuanced way.
Italics associated with |taxon= can be turned off with double apostrophes around unitalicized infraspecific ranks, since double apostrophes simply toggle italics on/off. I suppose more sophisticated coding than I can accomplish could look for "var."/"subsp." and automatically deitalicize. Thank you for pointing out Template:Au, I'll be relying on that for future edits. I'm not sure if small caps authorities are appropriate for the reference template. I think the title should display the typography used by The Plant List, where the authority is not shown in small caps. The TPL title on my browser tab is entirely in standard format (e.g. "Rubus idaeus L."), and the title in large print at the top of the TPL taxon page is mixed italic and non-italic (e.g. "Rubus idaeus L.")Plantdrew (talk) 03:05, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for dialogue. I’m well aware of, also, and use Tropicos. I prefer it as better than The Plant List, for its coverage region, but Tropicos isn’t good enough quality either, for many requirements of mine. As you mention one of the points, it often does not distinguish synonyms from currently accepted names, instead almost always lumping them all together, appearing to the uninitiated as if all names were current.
I’m aware of, also, and use many more botanical information systems. IPNI has more data behind its simple version output listings, available in delimited text outputs, however its synonymy also is unpopulated, woefully incomplete and/or out of date (IPNI’s "Name status" database field). On synonymy compare the excellent APNI, to IPNI as its much bigger, but much younger, 'less wise', brother.
Yep, forcing normal font style text by manually as well entering two single quote marks, does invert the italics set by the template coding, if the template is coded using two single quote marks. That’s not elegant coding in articles’ uses of the ThePlantList template. That double italicisation inversion coding will not get understood by many (of the often, lazy, summary execution style, of) editors. A smarty pants coding trick would be detecting infraspecies or other different name types and appropriately deitalicising the rank text or the other text. Better quality coding though, but not so smarty pants, provides the editor user with an optional control for turning italicisation off, then manually editing the italicisation. This is how i have done Template:AustTRFPK6.1 by means of its |pgtype= (page type) optional parameter (also my similar optional parameter updates of templates: Template:Asiantitle and Template:Eigo).
I will happily help writing the coding. I will leave up to you the choices of what funtionality you want for The Plant List template, as i almost never use that source. PS. oh i get the faithfully reproducing of it as a source, for better or worse, for the readers to evaluate themselves, and therefore not using the small font for the author name in citations of The Plant List. I’m consistent, not liking the lack of quality but abundance of rhetoric of The Plant List and not wanting to present it to readers as better quality than it has. ——--macropneuma 03:51, 22 April 2013 (UTC) —Adding postscript—--macropneuma 04:05, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

For African plants there's the African Flowering Plant Database. There's also a new Brasilian checklist. For a list of floristic resources see here. Lavateraguy (talk) 12:52, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

An impressive resources list, thank you very much for compiling and sharing it. ——--macropneuma 13:23, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Off topic

@macropneuma: Clearly I must be using online checklists and floras differently from you. Why would you describe the online Flora of Chine as authoritative when its families are way, way out of date (see Liliaceae)? Peter coxhead (talk) 14:42, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, not for family level information, of course. An irrelevant non issue. Don’t we both do more than only one kind, (ie. family), of plant article editing? (or is all plant article editing for you blinkered to dominantly about families? Or was that merely a one-up-man-ship thoughtless passing comment? I’ve worked on thousands of edits of genera, species and subfamilial ranks of Proteaceae (e.g.), Meliaceae (e.g.), Pandanaceae (e.g.), etc. The family and suprafamily ranks are not an issue when working on subfamilial Proteaceae articles, of course.) A provocation question? In the context of this The Plant List website discussion, we are talking on about species. We’ve had some, disgraceful, hate speaker, cowardly trying to dog whistle hate towards me in the previous talk section above, to studiously ignore. Now what? In reality, i don’t know what you’re on about. Are you leaving room for disruptive debate over the legitimacy of APGIII+ and the currently very active phylogenetic methods? I don’t leave room for disruptive debate over those, only for deep and philosophical debate over improvements, towards reality outside in the: tropical forests; tundra; woodlands; alpine and montane habitats; arid zone floras; temperate tall forests; tropical savannas; temperate lowland grasslands; tropical and temperate wetland habitats, peat and swamp forests; shrublands and heathlands; coastal, maritime and littoral habitats; riparian scrublands, rheophyte vegetation, gallery forests and other riverine vegetations; …, etc., etc.. In other words, improvements towards the still under-appreciated and under-estimated genetics and evolutionary biology evidences of the likes of Prof’s Alan Templeton & late Lynn Margulis. Or are you perhaps asking trick testing questions of me, personally? I use the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, e.g., associated formally published scientific APGIII+ papers, and for back stops both Mabberley’s Plant Book (May 2008), e.g. and Kubitzki e.g. 2007. You can see those in my edits of plant family related information, where of course i also do not use The Plant List. What do you use? For family rank sources? For species information sources? In the Malesia region i’m writing about above, for examples of my past trialling of The Plant List, in some parts of the large region there are a lack of up to date species databases and recent Flora treatments; eg. Flora Malesiana. (This was originally written in haste, without any proofing or copyedits, at 1am when i wanted to go to bed. Still more to clarify, proof read and copyedit, later when time permits.) ——--macropneuma 15:19, 22 April 2013 (UTC) —…part proofing…—--macropneuma 22:39, 22 April 2013 (UTC) —clarifying and questioning motivations and intentions more—--macropneuma 01:46, 23 April 2013 (UTC) —more clarifying refactoring by emphasising under-appreciated diversity outside in reality—--macropneuma 02:01, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Er, tempers seem to be running a bit high here. You're both surely fighting on the same side, really. Flora of China was absolutely authoritative when the decision was made to structure it as it is, and the later volumes have followed those early decisions. Hence, some aspects, notably suprageneric classifications, are out of date. The same applies to Flora of North America, and would be more of a problem with Flora of Australia if later editions of some volumes hadn't already been published. None of the databases that we use are perfect; there is no simple solution to the problem that we face here of tabulating the best available taxonomic opinion. Personally, I don't want to see EOL or COL or zipcodezoo cited anywhere, but if someone puts in a citation that has merit, then I'd defend it until something better comes along. I sincerely hope that TPL will be updated as promised, and that the result will be so much better that we won't regret any of the citations to it that are already in place. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:55, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry if my question seemed aggressive – it really wasn't meant to be at all; a perennial problem with communicating in this way rather than face-to-face. I was puzzled as to what aspects of the Flora of China were thought to be authoritative. I have used it from time to time (e.g. for descriptions of Roscoea species), but, at least for those groups I've worked on, haven't found it very reliable on names, synonyms, etc. Mostly this is just an issue of when it was published, but as with all regional floras, it has a tendency to elevate taxa found in its area compared to a source like a genus monograph which can take a wider perspective.
More generally, for those families it covers, I strongly recommend WCSP. If you do find any errors, Rafael Govaerts is very quick to correct WCSP, and I've always found him very helpful. Where The Plant List simply presents data from other databases, it seems to me better to reference that source directly and not TPL. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:29, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
What dried specimens of plant families and genera are there (directly)? Mr. Simpson says: doh! ——--macropneuma 06:03, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure what point you are making here. All I meant was that if the source of the record in TPL was, e.g., WCSP or Tropicos, then reference WCSP or Tropicos directly, not TPL. Peter coxhead (talk) 13:35, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Exactly what i already made crystal clear. No one knows what the meaning or point of this mocking off topic is talking about, except a nuisance. What about using Mabberley’s Plant Book to diagnose at the rank of species the identity of an unknown specimen of the genus Banksia(?) (i realise the mocking f. Oh what does f. stand for(?)) ——--macropneuma 14:23, 26 April 2013 (UTC) … and yes, I never did think you sounded aggressive nor did i write that. Misconstruing ≠ understanding.

Getting back to templates, a template to automatically format scientific name+authority would be quite useful (and something I could call in my reference template). If you've got the coding skills Macropneuma, please make it happen. I can't do it myself, but I can kind of articulate the rules it should follow. Given a desired output format of "Aus bus subsp. cus var. dus (L.) Plantdrew", from an unformatted string, the code should look for subsp./ssp./var./forma/etc. to be unitalicized. The second space character after the smallest rank (or the second space character in the string if there are no infraspecific ranks) marks the transition to the authority which would be formatted in small caps. I.e., in my example, the first space after the smallest rank, "var." leads to "dus", and the second space follows "dus" and leads to "(L.) Plantdrew". I'd love to have something like Template:Au that would handle that formatting. Plantdrew (talk) 07:27, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Or keep it simple and just do a template that can't handle infraspecific ranks. Input a string with genus+species+authority, look for the second space character and italicize everything before that space and small cap everything after. That would cover the majority of scientific names I'm manually formatting and would be a useful shrotcut.Plantdrew (talk) 07:35, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Just to point out that "Aus bus subsp. cus var. dus (L.) Plantdrew" is not a name but a classification according to the ICN and would therefore rarely occur in a Wikipedia article. The name would be "Aus bus var. dus (L.) Plantdrew". Peter coxhead (talk) 13:35, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Cite a source. ——--macropneuma 14:23, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
See the ICN, Article 24.1. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:29, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
No criticism, a smart idea, but more trouble than realised; as i realise with many names variations across all the several thousand species names i’m familiar with. For example, if—not you Plantdrew—if you’re an example of doing mobile ip editing silliness, then try this url ('put this cloak on over your mobile head and try it on for size':) here. The species with the coloured "√ APC" symbol are authoritative, accepted, scientifically published names, … albeit informally for now …, by the best. Back to you Plantdrew, that big one gives you an indication of that non-usefullness, on all those thousands of authoritatively accepted, published, vouchered, examples, without formal publication yet nevertheless with authoritative acceptance by amongst the best botanists—some of whom we Australian editors know. Such a template would not have any use for all of these thousands of accepted names, then in turn, inconsistent use and non–use of such a template would occur all over the place; especially in less well known plant species groups which require the greatest efforts for the most correctness and good sources;
also some editors would use it and some would not—inconsistently—but that isn’t a good argument, philosophically, because that is the WP reality (distortion field, of us all—like the well known Apple Inc. reality distortion field! (look it up)—only the inverse of Apple of the WP characteristic inconsistency!—beautiful, diverse, inconsistency sometimes, terrible some (other) times). I could readily code your above described functionality. I have done so before, for more than 20 years, in other coding platforms, e.g. NSW plant databases in FME geospatial manipulation. But, again, it is smarter thinking about it than it is useful in practise—a bit faddish.
Copying and pasting works more quickly and easily for all the formatting of italics, species/taxa wikilinks/redlinks, authority names in small text, distribution summaries, reference footnotes and so on; and works well when combined into one workflow operation—in species listings of tens of rows.
The coding is easy, as said, but there’s also the considerations of wikipedia server loading and performance issues, of template coding and calling from pages. This kind of species list template, with more templates nesting within them, like Au, wikilinks, italics, and so on, would probably overload the template expansion limits—don’t bother about that—only that i will avoid doing any coding that would make that problem. Let me join you helping work on the practical template for The Plant List. Like the AustTRFPK6.1, we can also see to it that appropriate background context and qualifications get flagged by that template's output—everytime! For species listings i have in mind much more sophisticated automatic formatting tables structures, based on extensive database experience i have. The NSW people do a great PlantNet species information system (look it up) based on a (flat file) table of unformatted text (–a text database table; i can point you to the database if you want to see it). ——--macropneuma 08:27, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
For example use this copy and paste 'template':
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}}<ref name=XXref/> – (XXRegion, XXRegion)
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}}<ref name=XXref/> – (XXRegion, XXRegion)
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}}<ref name=XXref/> – (XXRegion, XXRegion)
Or this one:
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
* ''[[XXGenus XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
Then the first step to save time would add the genus to all before further pasting, for example(!):
* ''[[Nypa XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
* ''[[Nypa XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
* ''[[Nypa XXSpecies]]'' {{Au|XXAuthority}} – (XXRegion, XXRegion)<ref name=XXref/>
Obviously with a standard formatting coding like that, you can get a species listing in a spreadsheet or database software, eg. free Google Refine, and automate the combining of each species binomial with this standard formatting, and then copy and paste that whole output into the edit pane; voila!
——--macropneuma 08:42, 23 April 2013 (UTC) —added examples of easier ways! Voila!—--macropneuma 08:56, 23 April 2013 (UTC)