For all who are interested, it would seem that the taxonomists have made some fairly important decisions about the family Leguminosae, and we're not following these guidelines as they were intended.
Leguminosae did not simply changed to Fabaceae, as we (I?) originally thought. Instead, all genera within the family now fall into one of three sub-families: Caesalpiniaceae, Mimosaceae, and Papilionaceae.
What this means is that in a few days, all references to Fabaceae will be removed from the PDB, to be replaced by one of these families. Before we make this change, we (the PDB editors) thought we'd give the DG membership at large an opportunity to voice any concerns that you have about this change. If you have questions, now's the time to raise them.
On a related note, we're overdue for changing Hemerocallis to Hemerocallidaceae (from Liliaceae). Again - if there are any dissenting opinions, we'd like to hear from you now, rather than after we make the changes en masse.
The virtual "floor" is now open to questions and comments...
I donīt think the Fabaceae family needs to be changed. The recent phylogenetical studies made by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (here: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/APweb/orders/fabalesweb.htm#Fabales ), using the most advanced molecular techniques, show that the 3 subfamilies of Fabaceae form a close and monophyletical group that can be confortably considered as a single family. The 3 subfamilies are closest to each other than to any other family, so they are being considered as it traditionally is, a big family hsaring the same general characteristics with 3 distinct groups based basically on the floral morphology.
These molecular studies are still confusing regarding many groups (like what they did to my Theaceae... those #@#$), but in this case, it comes to the same conclusions that many traditional taxonomists were stating before.
What we're doing is tidying up and coming into line with the ICBN rules. We can't leave things as they are in the PDB, we have some genera listed under 2 or even 3 family names because of the confusion on how to use the ex-Leguminosae family names that has prevailed these recent years.
We can choose to use only Fabaceae as a family name for all the related genera or we can use the 3 sub-family names (but not Fabaceae), at present we are using the 4, it's causing problems and is technically wrong.
I have noticed that mani Leguminosae are listed under different family names. My point is that all those taxa are summed up into one family, acording to those recent studies, the family Fabaceae. To rename these families to make them stay under the ICBN rules, the most safe option could be only renaming all the Leguminosae/Caes./Pap./Mim./Fab. into "Fabaceae". I wouldnīt put them into "Fabaceae", "Caesalpinaceae" and "Mimosaceae", because these taxa are being proved to not constitute true families, only part of the big family "Fabaceae".
Since we are on it, thereīs another family that got major changes after the molecular studies. I think that around half of the Scrophulariaceae fell into the formerly small family Plantaginaceae (which, now, became a huge family). The traditional specialists on Scrophulariaceae are going crazy about it, but they donīt have means to prove it wrong.
It's very hard for my pea-brain (hehe, no, I did NOT mean to make that pun!) to understand all these new (long) words.
How will we know what falls into those 3 new categories? Is there a "cheat sheet" somewhere?
I never knew it but the "Fabaceae (Bean) Family" seems to include trees (Redbud, locust, coffee tree, for example). I've always, in my limited way, looked at legumes as garden beans and/or alfalfa type plants. Is this why the 3 categories are being put into play, to better define the variety of plant life that are somewhat related?
Yes there are cheat sheets to this, thank goodness!
The reasons we're looking into this is to try and dissolve some of the confusion around. As there are 4 correct family names for Legumes but the nomenclature rules say you must use one system or the other (either the blanket Fabaceae or the other three) we're trying to keep the PDB as current/correct as possible.
Other horticultural entities are favouring the 3 names rather than Fabaceae. As time goes on, more and more entries will come into the PDB under one of those 3 family names. However, Fabaceae still stands as a correct name and some places will hold out on the Fabaceae fort. We need to have a clear policy on how the family names are represented in the PDB.
Another reason is
If you were trying to search Mimosa in the PDB and wanted to narrow it down, you'd click on the Mimosa in one of the plant entries.
so you click on an entry which has
Family - Mimosaceae
Genus - Mimosa
Yoru search is limited to all Mimosa entries which also have Mimosaceae as a family name. It won't bring up the entries that have Fabaceae as a family name!
Baa, maybe it would help if we lined out which genera will/would fall under each family name? I've gotta scoot for a couple hours, but I'll be glad to help research it and get a list up and running tonight.
Unless there is a strong and steady breeze blowing from the Fabaceae-only direction within the taxonomic community, I'm leaning (from a purely pragmatic standpoint) at separating them now. As messy as it will be, I'd rather do that and then possibly be faced with "lumping" them back under Fabaceae (if need be), versus lumping them together now and separating them later when there are who-knows-how-many-more entries?
Shoe that would be Papilionaceae which is the largest of the three and the pea flower shape family. Which reminds me, I didn't get around to planting the edible peas this year ... sigh. A case of too many plants, so little garden.
Monocromatico, what don't you like about it? Instead of having one huge family to contend with we have 3 smaller families, are following the ICBN rules regarding the family and current horticultural useage. Or is it because you disagree with the split in general, which we have no control over.
Ahh so it's not so much the PDB using the 3 subfamilies but the actual nomenclature change, I agree it's confusing to have one main family and then split into subfamilies and then say you can't use one name if you are using the other 3. However, the family changes (and their nomenclatural useage) are it's something we hortics will just have to ride until the botanists decide on something else ;)
I don't think Scrophulariaceae will be anywhere near the confusing issue that Leguminosae is who's main problem was the rules about how to use the names. It appears that Scropulariaceae, Orobanchaceae and Plantaginaceae the main families in question will be a relatively straight forward transition to their old genera.
Now Ulrich...the ornery part of me agrees with you.
But on the other hand, the taxonomists provide an important service to us mere gardeners. We would be even more confused if there weren't groups providing oversight and standards so we can know we're both talking about the same pea, whether it's called Leguminosae, Fabaceae or Papiloniaceae ;o)
Nope, she didn't call you 'ornery' ... she just said the 'ornery' part of HER agrees with you ... and you get to draw your own conclusions, or assume something (and you know what they say about someone who assumes something...) ROTFLOL
1) Anything ending in "-aceae" is a family, except for eight conserved names that remain valid because they were in such prominent and long-standing use;
2) Anything ending in "-ideae" is a subfamily;
3) All families and subfamilies are named for genera within them (except for the conserved names mentioned above).
The current most widely accepted taxonomy:
The family Fabaceae can also be called Leguminosae--both names are valid, since Leguminosae is one of the seven conserved names. The family Fabaceae has three subfamilies: Caesalpinoideae, Faboideae, and Mimosoideae. Cercideae is sometimes recognized as well, containing Cercis & Bauhinia; more often it is lumped into Faboideae. Papilionoideae is equivalent to Faboideae, but is an illegitimate name because of rule "3"--there is no plant genus "Papilio", and you can't name a plant family after an insect genus.
The names "Papilionaceae", "Mimosaceae", and "Caesalpinaceae" derive from taxonomists who recognize these as separate families. Under this arrangement, "Papilionaceae" should be called "Fabaceae", for the reason mentioned above.
In differentiating the three subfamilies, here's the gist:
Faboideae: flower pea-like--strongly zygomorphic with four apparent petals; ten stamens, these forming a tube; stamens in the tube may be fused together (most often in a 9 + 1 pattern) or free from each other; the stamens are usually included within the "keel", which is a fusion of what were once two separate petals;
Caesalpinoideae: flower varying from actinomorphic to moderately zygomorphic, with five distinct petals; 5 or more stamens, these always free from each other, never forming a tube, never hidden between petals;
Mimosoideae: flower actinomorphic, with five small fused petals; stamens 10 or more, usually free from each other, many times longer than the petals; flowers in dense inflorescences, these either round or elongate.
Clear as mud? The three subfamilies are very easy to distinguish 99% of the time...
BTW, if you wanted to keep up with modern taxonomy, a few other changes would be necessary. I don't really know to what extent that's your goal, though. Also worth mentioning that I certainly wouldn't recommend trying to stay on the bleeding edge of the nomenclature, but there are a number of recent changes that are well-supported and generally accepted. The most notable of these at the family level--or at least the hardest for most people to swallow--is the shift of most members of Scrophulariaceae to Plantaginaceae. At the genus level, a change that's particularly near to my heart--since I work on the things--is the move of most North American former Arabis to Boechera.
Thank you for your interesting post. I do have a question though :)
You wrote and I quote
"The names "Papilionaceae", "Mimosaceae", and "Caesalpinaceae" derive from taxonomists who recognize these as separate families. Under this arrangement, "Papilionaceae" should be called "Fabaceae", for the reason mentioned above."
Which paper or group does this come from, as my understanding of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature is different.
We are aware of the other changes to family names and have been working on them when and where we can, I have been particularly absent this year which I hope to redress in the new year. I can tell you though that we do not claim to be current right up to the minute because we'd be chasing our own tails much of the time and botanical nomenclature changes very often don't filter down to horticulture very quickly. As we are "For Gardeners, By Gardeners" we go with the horticultural flow rather than the botanical rapids (and then we'd have to choose a system to follow), otherwise the PlantFiles would end up making very little sense to anyone and difficult for members to know which name for their entry is the most current in botanical circles :)
The general rule that higher-level taxon names have to be based on the names of genera contained within them is in the ICBN somewhere, but I don't know where offhand.
It looks like I might be wrong about Papilionaceae, though. In some dinking around I came across a paper (I'd stick a link here, but the forum software is mis-rendering it...) discussing family names that violate this rule, and I guess the eight conserved names I knew about (Leguminosae, Umbelliferae, Palmae, Gramineae, Cruciferae, Guttiferae, Compositae, Labiatae) aren't the only ones. Apparently Papilionaceae is another improperly-formed name that has been conserved.
With name changes in general... yeah, there's a balance between being correct and being comprehensible. I'm not sure where exactly you guys want to strike that balance on PlantFiles. The horticultural community in particular tends to be very slow to incorporate new taxonomy, but my view tends to be someone's gotta start using names that reflect new information, or else we'll be stuck in the past indefinitely. I don't know a thing about how PlantFiles works in terms of this, but one helpful approach would be to leave entries under older names, but have these forward you to the current name. Then, for instance, you could leave the name Arabis tricornuta in there, but have it forward you to Pennellia tricornuta... and hopefully people could still find things just fine, as well as being aware of some of what's going on with the taxonomy.
We already list synonyms which are searchable on the PF so those members working with older names still have a chance to find the entry, of course this isn't entirely perfect as it requires the synonymy in the first place and for brevity's sake, we only allow 5 synonyms per entry, (the rest can be made in a comment which are not currently searchable).
I understand what you mean about someone leading the way for newer nomenclature and if it was the case that new entries were only created by a restricted group of members this may be achievable with a lot of research. This would also mean that the group would also need to have a keen interest in taxonomy, a subject which as you will know is not one that is overly enthused about in a positive manner by many gardeners *G*
In many respects, while I have my ideas on how I would shape the PF were it my own work, I do think that it's beauty lies in the fact that it isn't a dry and dusty, set in stone, database but a living, breathing work on plants based on peoples gardening and local flora experiences. To focus on the taxonomical aspect in an effort to lead the way would be to take the PF out of the reach of a lot of members and it's the myriad of contributing members that make the PF what it is in the first place.
We're always open to new suggestions and information on how to walk that fine line between being as current or correct as humanly possible and ensuring the PF is accessable to all. :)
"This would also mean that the group would also need to have a keen interest in taxonomy, a subject which as you will know is not one that is overly enthused about in a positive manner by many gardeners."
Yeah, I've noticed that. :-)
A couple changes that could be made without inconveniencing gardeners in the least (because most gardeners don't care a whit about these species!) would be moving Arabis thaliana to Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabis tricornuta to Pennellia tricornuta. Also, Cheilanthes aliena should be Notholaena aliena.
ginger749, have you looked at the date on this thread? These things where done along time ago. I agree it's a great thread and we refer to it often. There is really no reason to keep it bumped to the top anymore since it was a change that was made a couple years ago. I think that is why nobody replied.