Sunday, 18 January 2009

Phoenix loureiroi

Here is one of those confusing botanical tangles.

Sorting Phoenix names

Phoenix loureirii Kunth nom. illeg. -> Phoenix roebelinii O' Brien
Phoenix loureiroi Kunth

Spelling makes all the difference - these names refer to two VERY SIMILAR species.

An extremely valuable study from which I learned to distinguish the many species of palms I encountered when first in Portugal As Palmeiras de Lisboa e Arredores by João de Carvalho e Vasconcellos & João do Amaral Franco, uses Phoenix loureri Kunth. to designate what is now a popular garden centre plant Phoenix roebelenii. The book publishes a photograph of the palm at Jardim Botanico de Lisboa which is sufficiently clear to recognise as Ph. roebelenii. The authors list the following synonyms for their subject:

Ph. pusilla Lour. Fl. Cochinch. II: 753 (1790) non Gaertn.
Ph. Loureiri Kunth Enum. Pl. III : 257 (1841)
Ph. Roebelenii O'Brien in Gard. Chron. II: 475 et 758, f.68 (1889)
Ph. humilis Royle var. Loureiri Becc. in Malesia III: 348, 349, t. 44, ii, f.16, 17 (1890)

Phoenix loureirii is a nom. illeg. - an invalid name. The correct name for this palm is

Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien in Gard. Chron. II: 475 et 758, f.68 (1889)

On the other hand Phoenix loureiroi Kunth is a legitimate species and an accepted name. Just it is so very similiar to look at that this confusion will go on for a good many years to come.

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