Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2006
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Yang, Y., Wiersema, J.H. 2006. Correcting the type designation of Phoebe calcarea S. K. Lee & F. N. Wei. Taxon 55:511-512.
Interpretive Summary: Accurate scientific names of plants are essential for communication about them. A tree species in the laurel family was described and named, however, confusion exists about the specimen upon which the name was based. The set of rules that govern the scientific names of plants known as the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature allow such a reference specimen to be changed. To resolve the confusion about this tree species in the laurel family a different specimen is designated. As a result the identity of this scientific name is clarified and preserved. This research will be used by botanists who need to communicate about this tree in the laurel family.
The name Phoebe calcarea S. K. Lee & F. N. Wei is in current use for a tree species of Lauraceae endemic to Guangxi Zhuangzu Autonomous Region in southern China. However, the type gathering cited in the protologue and the cited isotype bears characters prominently conflicting with the protologue, including the illustration. It is clearly referable to Mallotus repandus (Rottler) Müll. Arg. 1865 in the Euphorbiaceae and is so labelled. Moreover, the collection date of Du’an Exped. 4-10-004, cited in the protologue is not consistent with the date given on the label of that specimen at GXMI. This suggests that the authors of P. calcarea, who were clearly describing a species of Lauraceae, may have accidentally cited an incorrect collection number. The details in the protologue, viz. description, illustration, and type citation coincide very well with another gathering. This evidence clearly suggests that the original gathering of Phoebe calcarea S. Lee & F. N. Wei should be Du'an Exped. 4-10-0243. Without some nomenclatural remedy to correct this error Phoebe calcarea would become a junior taxonomic synonym of Mallotus repandus and the species of Lauraceae hitherto known as P. calcarea would require the publication of a new name. This would seriously disrupt the current usage of P. calcarea. There are provisions in the ICBN for selecting a new type. The type designation of Phoebe calcarea S. Lee & F. N. Wei is therefore corrected.