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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);
- Would this indicate that a specimen identified as D. crispa is properly identified no more specifically than as D. foetida?
- 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?
- 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.