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Research Project: Plant Genetic Resource Acquisition and Conservation Strategies, International Germplasm ... for the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System

Location: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory

Title: Proposal to conserve the name Viola blanda Willd. against Viola blanda Salisb. (Violaceae)

item CHOO, THEREIS - Cornell University - New York
item GANDHI, KANCHI - Harvard University
item Wiersema, John
item JARVIS, CHARLES - Natural History Museum - London
item REVEAL, JAMES - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2014
Publication Date: 6/15/2014
Citation: Choo, T., Gandhi, K., Wiersema, J.H., Jarvis, C., Reveal, J. 2014. Proposal to conserve the name Viola blanda Willd. against Viola blanda Salisb. (Violaceae). Taxon. 63:690-691.

Interpretive Summary: A common eastern North American violet, variously known as sweet white violet, woodland white violet, or large-leaf white violet, has been consistently known for more than a hundred years by the scientific name Viola blanda, a name first applied to this plant in 1804 by the German botanist Willdenow. We have discovered that there was another Viola blanda published earlier by Salisbury in 1796 for a European species. Salisbury’s name is not used anymore, since the plants so named are now considered to be the same as the earlier Viola cornuta of Linnaeus. Because of Salisbury’s name, the international rules of nomenclature mandate that Willdenow’s commonly used, but later-published, name cannot correctly be used, forcing us to adopt an obscure name for this species. In order to prevent the disruption of names in situations like this, the international rules provide the remedy of conservation. This paper consists of a proposal that must be formally submitted and approved to achieve that end, which will then permit the continued use of the name Viola blanda for the North American species.

Technical Abstract: Earlier confusion in the application of the name Viola blanda Willd. was sorted out by Brainerd back in 1905, and this name has been consistently applied for over one hundred years to a wide-ranging eastern North American violet. Somehow it has escaped detection until now that there was another V. blanda, published for a European species by Salisbury in 1796. This was earlier than Willdenow’s name, which was published in 1804. Under the International Code of Nomenclature the name V. blanda Willd. is an illegitimate later homonym and therefore unavailable for use, despite the current widespread usage of this name. On the other hand, Salisbury’s name is not used at all, being, as examination of its type specimen confirms, a later synonym of V. cornuta L. In order to preserve usage of V. blanda Willd. and avoid the necessity of adopting the obscure name V. leconteana G. Don for the North American species, we are formally proposing that V. blanda Willd. be conserved against V. blanda Salisb