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How do I read a species description that uses both ≡ (triple bar) and “incl.” to denote synonymy?

How do I read a species description that uses both ≡ (triple bar) and “incl.” to denote synonymy?



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I'm trying to understand the relationship of plants formerly classified as Dorstenia crispa with distinct individuals continuously classified as Dorstenia foetida. I would assume that the distinctive phenotype would warrant a var. or forma, if not a subspecies, but I haven't seen it written as such anywhere.

I turned to monographs, which in one case stated:

incl. Dorstenia crispa Engler (1898);… incl. Dorstenia crispa var. lancifolia Rendle (1915) ≡ Dorstenia foetida ssp. lancifolia (Rendle) Friis (1983);

  1. Would this indicate that a specimen identified as D. crispa is properly identified no more specifically than as D. foetida?
  2. Does this indicate that a specimen of D. crispa v. lancifolia is properly D. foetida ssp. lancifolia; or simply recognising that D. crispa v. lancifolia and D. foetida ssp. lancifolia would refer to the same individuals, which are properly still called nothing more than D. foetida?
  3. Since these formerly-recognised infraspecific taxa do exist as separately-kept lines in cultivation, would they be properly recognised as cultivars?

My answer may simply be the closing remark in the above-quoted description, "Since the various forms are connected by intermediates, it is impossible to recognize infraspecific taxa." However, that's deeply-unsatisfying if cataloguing a collection that contains several now-synonymous specimens.


According to the Taxon guidelines for authors (pdf, pg 205), a triple-bar (≡) indicates a homotypic synonym:

Homotypic names are cited in chronological order in a single paragraph with the identity sign (≡), followed by the type.

So, in your example, Dorstenia foetida was described on the basis of the same type specimen used by Forsskål in 1775 to describe Kosaria foetida -- or possibly a neotype was designated linking these two names, possibly by Schweinfurth in Bull. Herb. Boissier 4(App. 2): 120 in 1896. More information about the relevant type specimens would help sort this out.