Additional notes on the taxonomy of Parakeelya Hershk. (Montiaceae)

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Mark Alan Hershkovitz


Parakeelya Hershk. (Montiaceae) has become the name conserved over the older name
Rumicastrum Ulb. for a lineage of Australian plants historically classified in Calandrinia Kunth. In
Candollean taxonomy persistent to the late 20th Century, Australian plants were classified in a large,
heterogeneous, and polyphyletic circumscription of Calandrinia, later referred to by the designation
“Calandrinia s. l.” Following cladistic dissection, Calandrinia “s. str.” was restricted to a small,
homogeneous, and well-supported clade of American plants. The Australian plants were referred to the
formerly monotypic and poorly studied genus Rumicastrum Ulb., and later to Parakeelya, which
specifically excluded the latter. Australian specialists, however, eschewed both of these names and
continued to classify existing and new Australian species as Calandrinia. However, they never justified
this usage on taxonomic evidence. In some cases, they used the name Calandrinia as though it applied
exclusively to the Australian plants, and they never explained why Rumicastrum does or does not pertain
to this lineage. Phylogenetics researchers later appropriated the designation “Calandrinia s. l.” to refer to
the Australian lineage plus Calandrinia s. str., and predicated to disprove its monophyly, which never was
supported in the first place. They demonstrated that Rumicastrum indeed pertains to the Australian
lineage, but they proposed nomenclatural conservation of Parakeelya. Yet, in numerous subsequent
publications, they continued to use and describe new Australian species in Calandrinia. In the present
work, I demonstrate that the application of the name Calandrinia to the Australian species and the
designation “Calandrinia s. l.” for this plus Calandrinia s. str. were conceptually illegitimate, because
they are conceptual homonyms for the taxa to which these names had been applied. I discuss evidence
that this usage was deliberate with the objective of preventing the correct name Rumicastrum from being
accepted for the Australian lineage. The evidence includes but is not limited to earlier-reported
irregularities in the Australian authors’ proposal to conserve the name Parakeelya, including considerable
factually incorrect or otherwise misleading information that biased in favor of the later approved
conservation. I discuss this in terms of the equivalence of scientific names to scientific assertions, be they
correct or erroneous, and incidentally or deliberately so.





Calandrinia, Parakeelya, Rumicastrum, Montiaceae, taxonomy, nomenclature, ICN, conceptual illegitimacy, conceptual homonymy


Published: 2023-09-30 06:36

Last Updated: 2023-10-03 14:07

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