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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346358

Research Project: Taxonomy of Landscape Trees and Shrubs

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: What is Sambucus mexicana (Adoxaceae)?

item Whittemore, Alan

Submitted to: Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2017
Publication Date: 7/20/2018
Citation: Whittemore, A.T. 2018. What is Sambucus mexicana (Adoxaceae)?. Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 12:69-73.

Interpretive Summary: The name Sambucus mexicana has been used in different references for three different species of elderberry in the western United States and Mexico, a situation that creates confusion in the reporting of scientific results. Accurate communication about these plants requires a stable, well-documented nomenclature. An ARS scientist determined that Sambucus mexicana is the correct name for a species of elderberry native to the western United States and northern Mexico. Correcting the nomenclature of this plant allows information on this species to be accessed accurately and thoroughly, ensuring that the work of botanists, land managers, and conservation organizations is based on full and accurate information on the plants.

Technical Abstract: Inconsistent application of the name Sambucus mexicana Presl ex DC. has resulted in confusion in the literature and in herbaria, so Presl’s original material (a Haenke collection, made on the Malaspina Expedition) was located and characterized. It matches plants from the area around Monterey, California, where Haenke did much collecting, and clearly differs from Sambucus taxa in other parts of North America. The name Sambucus mexicana must be applied to plants from California and adjacent areas, as has been done by most authors, not to plants from central Mexico, as in a few recent references. A lectotype is designated for the species.