Date or year that the scientific name was given to Calocedrus Decurrens

Asked January 29, 2019, 5:27 PM EST

Hello! I was hoping that you could tell me when, explicitly in time (date or year) Calocedrus Decurrens was given it's scientific name/categorized into the modern taxonomic system. Also useful information: If you could tell me when the genera 'Cedrus' and 'Calocedrus' were first identified/acknowledged as genera. I would absolutely LOVE if you could answer these for me!! Thank you in advance for the service that you provide!

Washington County Oregon plant identification botany taxonomy

2 Responses

The first resource I consult for nomenclatural questions is the International Plant Names Index (https://www.ipni.org/). After a search on the name of interest, you get the information about the name, its taxonomic status (accepted, synonym, etc.). For a taxonomist like me, this is riveting reading (I am being completely sincere; I love this stuff). Here are the answers to your questions, with my comments interspersed and appearing with # to proceed my commentary (between items I'm going to cut and paste from IPNI).

Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin -- Taxon v. 192 (1956). # This tells me that the name Calocedrus decurrens was first created in 1956, when it was published in the journal Taxon. Florin is the name of the person who made this new combination, based on a pre-existing name (a basionym) described by John Torrey. With some clicking, I see that Torrey described a new species and gave it the name Libocedrus decurrens
A little more clicking, we learn:

Libocedrus decurrens Torr.

Smithsonian Contr. Knowl. 6(art. 2):7, t. 3. 1853 [Apr 1853] ; alt. publ.: Pl. Frémont. 7, t. 3. Apr 1853

#So, Torrey described that species in 1853. More than 100 years later, Florin determined that the species better belonged in the genus Calocedrus, which is when he made the new combination.

# The genus Calocedrus was erected in 1873, in the Journal of Botany, British and Foreign (London); the genus was described by

Kurz, Wilhelm Sulpiz (1834-1878)


A search on the genus "Cedrus" points to several "problems." It is associated with 3 families: Cuppressaceae, Meliaceae, and Pinaceae.
  • Cupressaceae Cedrus Duhamel -- Traité Arbr. Arbust. (Duhamel) i. 139 (1755); vide Dandy, Ind. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 1753-74(Regn. Veg. li.) 37 (1967). (IK)

  • Meliaceae Cedrus Mill. -- Gard. Dict., ed. 7. (1756-59); vide Dandy, Ind. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 1753-74 (Regn. Veg. 51) 37 (1967). (IK)

  • Pinaceae Cedrus Trew -- Cedr. Lib. Hist. Pars 1, 6 (1757); Loud. Arb. Brit. iv. 2402 (1838). (IK)
  • Pinaceae Cedrus Mill. -- Gard. Dict., ed. 3. (1737); Loud. Arb. Brit. iv. 2402 (1838). (IK)

# This shows me that there is some taxonomic trouble with the application of that name. I then am inclined to go to my other go-to information source, Tropicos from the Missouri Botanical Garden:
http://www.tropicos.org/NameSearch.aspx
# After searching on the name "Cedrus", I see that the following two names are INVALID (designated by the ***:
  • Pinaceae***Cedrus Duhamel Traité Arbr. Arbust. 1: xxviii, 139, t. 521755
  • Meliaceae***Cedrus Mill.Gard. Dict. (ed. 7) no. 3 1757
And the correct, valid name:
  • Pinaceae! Cedrus Trew Cedr. Lib. Hist. 6 year: 1757
# THANKS! This was fun for me.

Melanie, you are a goddess of wisdom, and a true delight!! Thank you so much for your erudite and thorough answer! I'm hoping you just helped me win one of the nerdiest (but friendly) debates I've ever gotten involved in. With your help, I think I can safely say that I'm in the position to choreograph my victory dance.

I love that you didn't just give me the answer to my question, you gave sources (which I will use as resources now!), and peripheral/supporting information which definitely helped bolster my argument. Thank you SO much!! Your love of study clearly shows in your work. I'm so glad we have people like you!