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Heterotypic synonyms and homotypic synonyms - what is the deal??

Discussion in 'Everything Else Orchid' started by orchidkarma, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. orchidkarma

    orchidkarma Member

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    Ok... I have been scratching my head about this with "heterotypic synonyms" and "homotypic synonyms" and wonder what it really means... Kew lists Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi f. flava as a "heterotypic synonym" to Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi (Breda). Is it simply so that all forms and varieties of a specis are regarded as heterotypic synonyms of the species? And then as far as Homotypic synonyms goes there is a better, accepted name you should use if you want to be accurate? For example: Vanda sanderiana is now supposed to be called Euanthe sanderiana.

    Am I right in my assumptions - or how does this stuff really work? :p
     
  2. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Good questions Karma.

    When a species is formally described for the first time to botanical science it is based on a type specimen and ultimately differentiation between the categories of homo- and hetero-typic synonyms hinges on this.

    Homotypic synonyms consist of different names that have existed in the past for the same type specimen (one taxon).

    Heterotypic Synonyms consist of different names for different type specimens of which were all at one point considered distinct taxa.

    So in the case of Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi f. fava, as a heterotypic synonym of P. cornu-cervi (no forma), it was once considered to be distinct but because taxonomists no longer recognise any formas or varieties in this species, they were all sunk into the species and went from valid names into heterotypic synonymy a.k.a. 'lumping'. Of course in horticulture retaining a heterotypic synonym can be useful for organisation of strains within a taxon. In this case, 99% of orchid growers want to know if they are buying or growing the clear yellow form or not, so keeping f. flava even if not accepted officially, is pretty important.

    Vanda sanderiana is a homotypic synonym of Euanthe sanderiana because the former is now the latter and both names spring from the same type specimen. So a homotypic synonym simply 'switches places' with a former name for the same taxon.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Kitty

    Kitty AKA\Debby

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    WOW, you two are so smart, a couple of real braineacts, I can't quite twist my pea brain around all that! Oh look, it's lunch time.... :eek:
     
  4. orchidkarma

    orchidkarma Member

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    Thanks a million Jacob!! :clap:

    Sounds like I had pretty much assumed right then. :cool: Oh, and yeah... knowing if you are buying or growing the clear yellow form or not is pretty darn important in my book.

    Kitty, you made me laugh. ...oh look at the kitty.... gotta go! ;)
     
  5. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Kitty, what's with the self-deprecation? You are awesome :)

    Glad I was just reinforcing what you already knew Karma. Isn't taxonomy fun?