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An i for an i

  • Subject: [ferns] An i for an i
  • From: "Tom Stuart" tstuart@westnet.com
  • Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 09:48:24 -0500
  • Content-description: Mail message body
  • In-reply-to: <20041220.115315.316.7.Foliageg@juno.com>

The Asian fern Dryopteris championii is listed 108 times in a google, while 
D.championi gets 33 adherents. Which is right?

The earliest name is usually given:
> Aspidium championi Benth.; Fl. Hongk. 456 (1861) 
refering to the Flora Hongkongiensis of George Bentham, for which a brief bio:

This site,
tells us:
> His eight volume opus, Flora Hongkongensis (1861) was partially based
> on 500 to 600 species of phaenogamous [flowering] plants and ferns
> placed in his hands by John George Champion on his return to England in
> 1851. The volumes firmly contradicted first impressions of Hong Kong as
> a barren rock as few islands contain as varied or extensive a flora
> as Hong Kong. Many plants in Hong Kong today thanks to George, thus
> bear as part of their moniker Championii. 

But wait, it is not so simple. The Flora of China checklist cites the basionym,
the first name used, as:
> #Asplenium championi Benth. 
> Flora Hongkongensis 456. 1861.
Asplenium seems improbable, even in mid-nineteenth century, particularly 
because nomenclature was based largely (even solely by some taxonomists) 
on the shape and position of the sorus. As you can see below, the sorus is 
not asplenoid. Still, Aspidium or Asplenium, we have but one i.

The source for the move to Dryopteris was the Chinese pteridologist R.C. 
Ching. Here is the FoC checklist citation:

> Dryopteris championii (Benth.) C. Chr. ex Ching, Sinensia 3(12): 327. 1931.

This Flora of China Checklist entry also gives an annotation "as championi". 
Though I don't have the Fl. Hongk. there can be no doubt championi is the 

William Stern (Botanical Latin), citing the International Code of Botanical 
Nomenclature, lists many rules for Latinization, among them,
> When the name ends in a consonant, the letters ii are added, except
> when the name ends in -er when i is added. 

So, championi was first used, but according to the rules, mis-applied. 
Will anyone stand up for championi?

Now that I've made you wade through all this, the best diagnostic photos of 
our taxon on the web are here:

There is no easy way to get there from Google using an English query. (When 
viewing Japanese pages, a more-presentable version results from changing 
the browser encoding; for example, in Internet Explorer: View/Encoding/Japanese

Goggle has recently added translation of Japanese. Here is your goggle giggle 
for today:

Speaking of Dryopteris, a number of fern web sites linked to the monograph on 
the genus at the Natural History Museum site. In February the proprietor, 
Los Angeles County, evicted Botany, and those links have been dead ever since. 
It is back now at Rancho Santa Ana:

A Happy New Year to Rancho Santa Ana, and a lump of coal for Los Angeles.

Tom Stuart
P.S. The i's have it. I am indebted to Sue Olsen for raising the question. 

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