Plant Database forum: Convallaria, Lily of the Valley

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Nov 13, 2012 9:59 PM CST

Plants Admin

Convallaria has from one to three or more species, depending on the authority. eFloras Flora of North America (FNA) provides a very good summary.
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=1...
"As described here, Convallaria may be viewed as monotypic with three (or more) isolated infraspecific taxa, or else as three morphologically similar but isolated species..."

There is further debate as to whether or not the North American taxa is native or naturalized (European taxa) even though it goes dormant in late summer as opposed to as the result of frost and other, greater similarity to the Asian taxa.

Three species vs. three varieties (infraspecific taxa) as follows, I'll leave out synonyms for clarity:
1. Convallaria majalis (European LOV) vs. Convallaria majalis var. majalis.
2. Convallaria montana (American LOV) vs. Convallaria majalis var. montana.
3. Convallaria keiskei (Asian LOV) vs. Convallaria majalis var. keiskei.

The Plant List, referencing Kew WCSP, accepts three isolated species. http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/search?q=Convallaria,
http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/acceptedRef.do?name_id=303076
http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/acceptedRef.do?name_id=303097
http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/acceptedRef.do?name_id=303068
1. Convallaria majalis
2. Convallaria montana
3. Convallaria keiskei

ITIS, referencing Liliaceae s.l. of North America Update, database (version 2010), appears to accept the infraspecific taxa but with the exception of not addressing the Asian species. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt
1. Convallaria majalis var. majalis
2. Convallaria majalis var. montana
3. Convallaria majalis. IF they consider 1 and 2 above to be infraspecific taxa in agreement with the description on FNA, then C. majalis is a species wholly represented by the varieties. ie. the non-variety species form does not exist.

The reference material noted on ITIS appears to be more recent than that noted on Kew. If we use ITIS, then I feel we should maintain the infraspecific taxa approach which includes Convallaria majalis var. keiskei.

Here are the 2 approaches with synonyms:
A. Species approach:
1. Convallaria majalis, syn. Convallaria majalis var. majalis.
2. Convallaria montana, syn. Convallaria majalis var. montana, Convallaria majuscula.
3. Convallaria keiskei, syn. Convallaria majalis var. keiskei.

B. Infraspecific taxa approach:
1. Convallaria majalis var. majalis
2. Convallaria majalis var. montana, syn. Convallaria montana, Convallaria majuscula
3. Convallaria majalis var. keiskei, syn. Convallaria keiskei

By using the species approach as found on The Plant List/Kew, whether outdated or not, species and synonyms are represented from an authoritative source and clearly. If we use ITIS then both Convallaria majalis and Convallaria majalis var. majalis must be included and they both refer to the same plant. Also Convallaria keiskei would be included as The Plant list is the only other reference.

ANY comments, pro or con, would be appreciated!
Evan
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Nov 14, 2012 12:10 AM CST

Plants Admin

The infraspecific approach looks so strange to me, but I'm not saying it's wrong. It's a purely subjective reaction. It just seems odd that we could have an entry for C. majalis var. montana without first having one for C. majalis.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Nov 14, 2012 6:03 AM CST
I agree

And think about all the photos without positive IDs.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Nov 14, 2012 11:45 AM CST

Plants Admin

Zuzu and Tee, I agree with you, we would have to include an entry for C. majalis along with the three varieties. The data, however, would have to be limited to the genus/parent plant level (see parent plant Convallaria) since, in this approach, there is only one species in Convallaria. The PP is probably where the noid photos should go as well.

This new research may change some of the names. http://www.phytoneuron.net/PhytoN-Convallaria.pdf
Evan
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Nov 14, 2012 1:04 PM CST
eclayne said:Zuzu and Tee, I agree with you, we would have to include an entry for C. majalis along with the three varieties. The data, however, would have to be limited to the genus/parent plant level (see parent plant Convallaria) since, in this approach, there is only one species in Convallaria. The PP is probably where the noid photos should go as well.


I agree



The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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