Kalanchoe marmorata, Baker, Gardn. Chronicle, 1892

Smith, Gideon F., 2021, How Kalanchoe marmorata (Crassulaceae subfam. Kalanchooideae), a distinctive central and east African species, received its name, and the later, valid publication of K. macrantha by Maire, Phytotaxa 502 (1), pp. 93-100: 94-96

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http://doi.org/ 10.11646/phytotaxa.502.1.7

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scientific name

Kalanchoe marmorata


How Kalanchoe marmorata   got its name

Baker (1892: 300) correctly recorded that the name K. grandiflora   that Richard (1847: 310) published for an African species had been predated by K. grandiflora Wight & Arnot-Walker (1834: 359)   , which had been published 13 years earlier for an Indian species. Kalanchoe grandiflora   of Richard was therefore an illegitimate later homonym. This prompted Baker (1892: 300) to state: “The Abyssinian plant will therefore require another name, and I would suggest K. macrantha   . [emphasis on ‘ suggest ’ here and further on by the present author]”. In the same paper, Baker (1892: 300) validly published K. marmorata   as a replacement name for K. grandiflora A.Rich. (1847)   non Wight & Arn. (1834). The name K. marmorata   was soon—the following year—interpreted by Baker himself ( Baker 1893: 458) as being applicable to material for which Richard (1847: 310) had earlier published the illegitimate name K. grandiflora   , and for which Baker (1892: 300) had suggested the designation ‘ K. macrantha   ’. When coming to this conclusion, Baker (1893: 458) stated: “I described the Abyssinian plant [ K. grandiflora A.Rich.   , nom. illeg.] not long ago in these columns under the name of Kalanchoe marmorata   .” It is therefore clear that Baker (1892: 300) did not accept his own ‘ K. macrantha   ’ given that, in his own words, he only suggested it as a replacement name (for Kalanchoe grandiflora A.Rich.   ) and stopped short of explicitly accepting it. Article 33.1 of Turland et al. (2018: 82) makes it clear that as one condition for a name to be validly published, that name “…must always be explicitly accepted in the place of its valid publication [emphasis on ‘ explicitly ’ here by the present author]”. Turland et al. [2018: Art. 36.1(a)] also specifically states that a name is not validly published when it is not accepted by its author in the original publication, for example when it is merely proposed in anticipation of the future acceptance of the taxon concerned. Furthermore, the designation ‘ K. macrantha   ’ was not indexed in the volume of Gardeners’ Chronicle where it first appeared as a suggestion ( Anonymous 1892: v), whereas, in contrast, the name K. marmorata   was indexed.

Nowhere in Baker (1893: 458), where he recorded that he described the Abyssinian plant as K. marmorata   , is the designation ‘ K. macrantha   ’ mentioned. This is further evidence that Baker himself did not accept his “suggest[-ed]” ‘ K. macrantha   ’ as a replacement name for K. grandiflora A.Rich.   , nom. illeg.

Similarly, the designation ‘ K. macrantha   ’ was not mentioned in the text that accompanied the plate of K. marmorata   that appeared in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine ( Hooker 1894: t. 7333). Note though that one year earlier, Sprenger (1893: 513) still used the illegitimate name K. grandiflora A.Rich.   for this species.

If Baker (1892: 300) had indeed validly published the name K. macrantha   as a replacement name for K. grandiflora A.Rich.   non Wight & Arn. and therefore had not “merely propose[-d] [‘ K. macrantha   ’] in anticipation of the future acceptance of the taxon concerned, or of a particular circumscription, position, or rank of the taxon […]” ( Turland et al. 2018: Art. 36.1), then K. macrantha   (under such circumstances as a name, not a designation) and K. marmorata   would have had equal priority.

The acceptance by Baker (1893: 458) of the name K. marmorata   for a species that would have included the type of the name K. macrantha   , i.e., that of K. grandiflora A.Rich.   non Wight & Arn., would have established the precedence of K. marmorata   over K. macrantha   ( Turland et al. 2018: Art. 11.5). Under Article 11.5, the first choice to be effectively published establishes the priority of the chosen name. Article 11.5 Note 3 further provides that such a choice is exercised when one of the competing names (or its final epithet) is adopted and the other name(s) or their homotypic synonyms are simultaneously rejected or relegated to synonymy. The unambiguous expression by Baker (1893: 458) of the view that the name K. marmorata   is to be used, would have sufficed as “simultaneously rejecting or relegating to synonymy the other(s) or their homotypic (nomenclatural) synonyms” ( Turland et al. 2018: Art. 11.5 Note 3).

A well-known example of just such a situation had developed some 20 years earlier when Aloidendron barberae ( Thiselton Dyer 1874a: 566) Klopper & Gideon F.Sm.   in Grace et al. (2013: 9), the iconic tree aloe of South Africa’s eastern seaboard, was first described in the same paper as both Aloe barberae Thiselton Dyer (1874a: 566)   and as A. bainesii Thiselton Dyer (1874a: 567)   . However, seven months later in December of the same year, Thiselton Dyer (1874b) noted that he then believed the two species to be identical, and he explicitly placed the name A. bainesii   as a synonym under A. barberae   . Shortly afterwards Thiselton Dyer (1874c) repeated his preference for the name A. barberae   as opposed to Aloe bainesii   (see also Walker et al. 2019 and Figueiredo & Smith 2020). In expressing this preference, Thiselton Dyer determined which epithet must be applied to the tree aloe, which would become known as Aloe barberae ( Smith et al. 1994)   , now Aloidendron barberae   . This would also have applied to K. marmorata   , with K. macrantha   having been effectively synonymised by Baker (1893: 458), even though in typical 19 th century courteous fashion he did not use the word “reject” nor even “synonymy”, but Thiselton Dyer (1874b: 91) was clearer and deliberately stated: “The name A. [ Aloe   ] Bainesii   must therefore be merged as a synonym in A. Barberae   .”