J.F.W.Bosse and Clivia miniata - A question of question marks?

The author of Clivia miniata was generally given as Regel alone, this having been the case from the latter part of the 19th century and onwards for the first three quarters of the 20th century. The reason for this appears to be that some of the earlier descriptions of this species had question marks associated with the given names - and most early taxonomists considered these names to be thus invalid. Prof. Piet Vorster formerly of the Botany Department of the University of Stellenbosch, and a man with a great interest in clivias, addressed this problem in a paper published in 1991 in the SA botanical periodical Bothalia. He pointed out that "Clearly Vallota miniata is validly published in terms of Art. 34.2 which states that 'a name is validly published when published with such a question mark or other indication of taxonomic doubt, yet published and accepted by the author'". He thus corrected the authorship, saying: "The correct author citation is therefore Clivia miniata (Lindley) Regel, based on Vallota miniata Lindley."

The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Vienna Code of 2006) says the following:
34.1. A name is not validly published (a) when it is not accepted by the author in the original publication; (b) when it is merely proposed in anticipation of the future acceptance of the taxon concerned, or of a particular circumscription, position, or rank of the taxon (so-called provisional name), except as provided for in Art. 59; (c) when it is merely cited as a synonym; (d) by the mere mention of the subordinate taxa included in the taxon concerned. Art. 34.1(a) does not apply to names published with a question mark or other indication of taxonomic doubt, yet accepted by their author.
52.2. Note 1. The inclusion, with an expression of doubt, of an element in a new taxon, e.g. the citation of a name with a question mark, does not make the name of the new taxon nomenclaturally superfluous.

Aside from Lindley's Vallota ? miniata, the original material of which can been examined on this website HERE, Hooker's "Imantophyllum? miniatum", usually said to contain a question mark, was an illegitimate name (see my 2010 article "Imatophyllum? ... Tut-tut, Dr Hooker." - Clivia 12 : 5-12.). I have recently discovered that it was not Hooker's intention for that question mark to be printed. See my page on the original material related to this name, as well as the note from Hooker HERE. And then there is Bosse's ?Clivia miniata - too many question marks?

Various botanists have accepted this latter name as the first valid transfer of 'miniat-' to the genus Clivia. There is no reason not to accept this name. The ICBN says the following:
33.2. Before 1 January 1953 an indirect reference to a basionym or replaced synonym is sufficient for valid publication of a new combination...
An examination of Bosse's entry regarding this species will readily show that he directly referred to Lindley's basionym Vallota ? miniata (this name rendered in full, including the question mark), as well as Hooker's illegitimate Imantophyllum miniatum ( as "Imatophyll. miniat. Hook."); so we cannot be in any doubt as to which plant he had in mind. Bosse's new combination saw the light five years before Regel published his notes on the species - and thus Bosse has priority.
Bosse may have had his concerns regarding the placement of the species in Clivia, but he did it, and did not offer any alternate option in his work; eg. he did not also place it under Imatophyllum - the other genus name he published in his work, from which entry he simply referred the reader to the genus Clivia, giving no other notes. Rafaël Govaerts of Kew, England, the Prince of Monocot botanical nomenclature, has accepted Bosse as the author of the combination, as "Clivia miniata (Lindl.) Bosse", on his World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) (based upon my research). In my opinion Rafaël is the premier world authority in his field.
I am quite delighted that we are able to discard the work of Regel; it is just so shoddy and poorly researched that it was never worth much.

Julius Friedrich Wilhelm Bosse (1788-1864) was a German landscape gardener, horticulturist and botanist, who was the Curator of the Ducal Gardens at Oldenburg, Germany. He was of the fourth generation of the Bosse family who had all been deeply involved in German horticulture, his father being the more famous Carl Ferdinand Bosse (1755 - 1793). In 1807. J.F.W. finished his apprenticeship at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Berlin and then worked in the parks of Potsdam and from 1810 in the Karlsaue in Kassel. From 1812 to 1814 he worked, like his ancestors, in Lütetsburg; and then took care of Oldenburg Castle Gardens of Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig for 42 years, eventually as curator (Grossherzoglich garten-inspector). J.F.W. Bosse added to the work of his predecessors in designing the palace gardens as 16 acres of garden art in the English style of the early 19th Century [his father having worked in England with the famous Lancelot (Capability) Brown]. This garden is said to look like a walk-in painting.
Bosse's major work was his Vollständiges Handbuch der Blumengärtnerei, oder genaue Beschreibung fast aller in Deutschland bekannt gewordenen Zierpflanzen, mit Einschluß der Palmen und der vorzüglichsten Sträuche und Bäume, welche zu Lustanlagen benutzt werden, nebst gründlicher Anleitung zu deren Cultur, und einer Einleitung über alle Zweige der Blumengärtnerei. (which translates as Complete Guide to the flower garden, or a clear description of almost all known ornamental plants in Germany, with the inclusion of the palms and the principal shrubs and trees, including those plants which serve to delight, along with thorough instructions for their cultivation, and an introduction to all branches of flower gardening.) ed. 1, 1829, 2 Volumes; ed. 2, 1840-1842, 3 Volumes; ed. 3, 1859-1861, 3 Volumes; Hannover : Hahn'sche Hofbuchhandlung.
I have prepared a translation of the applicable Clivia entry from the 3rd Edition, which was printed in Fraktur Gothic font (which offered me a great learning curve), and this may be downloaded in PDF, by clicking HERE.
The original pages concerning Clivia and Imatophyllum from the 3rd Edition of Bosse's Vollständiges Handbuch der Blumengärtnerei are available HERE.

Hooker, W.J. 1854. Imantophyllum miniatum. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 80: t. 4783. http://pennypoint9.itgo.com/bosse/miniatum.html
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Vienna Code). 2006. Regnum Vegetabile 146. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/main.htm
Lindley, J. 1854. New Plants. 47. Vallota ? miniata. Gardeners' Chronicle, 119. http://pennypoint9.itgo.com/clivia/bosse/vallota.html
Regel, E. 1864. Originalabhandlungen -c) Clivia miniata Lindl. Gartenflora, 13: 131, t. 434. http://pennypoint9.itgo.com/clivia/regel.html
Russell, G. 2010. Imatophyllum? ... Tut-tut, Dr Hooker. Clivia 12 : 5-12.
Vorster, P. 1991. The correct author citation for Clivia miniata. Bothalia 21 (1): 66.

© 2011 Greig Russell.

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