Nomenclature

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Commonly misnamed cultivated Malpighiaceae
William R. Anderson

Some species of Malpighiaceae are cultivated for their attractive flowers, and sometimes for their winged or edible fruits. In addition, a few members of the family produce hallucinogens and are cultivated for those chemicals. — Many Malpighiaceae in the horticultural trade are misnamed. This list is an attempt to aid those seeking the correct names. It should be used in consultation with the nomenclature database on this website.— Full descriptive treatments of many genera are available on the Malpighiaceae website; others will be added as they are prepared. Illustrations of all the genera listed below are also posted.


Glossary (for details see the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature).

accepted name, correct name — the name of an entity with a particular circumscription, position, and rank that must be adopted in accordance with the rules of nomenclature

conserved name — a name ruled as legitimate and with precedence over other specified names even though it may have been illegitimate when published or lack priority

synonym — a name considered to apply to the same entity as the correct name


Banisteria — see Banisteriopsis.

Banisteriopsis — This is the correct name for the genus sometimes still called "Banisteria," a name that cannot be used, because it is a synonym for the conserved generic name Heteropterys. — Banisteriopsis caapi is a famously hallucinogenic plant. — Reference: Heteropterys (In ICBN, Appendix III: Conserved and rejected generic names). — Illustrations.

BunchosiaBunchosia glandulifera is the correct name for the species called "B. argentea" by horticulturists; the true B. argentea is not cultivated. See also "Uses" on Bunchosia webpage.— Reference: W. R. Anderson, 2001a, pp. 102–103). — Illustrations.

ByrsonimaByrsonima crassifolia is the correct name for the species sometimes called "B. coriacea," which is a synonym for B. crassifolia and should not be used. — Byrsonima spicata is the correct name for the plant sometimes called "B. coriacea var. spicata." — See also "Uses" on Byrsonima webpage. — Illustrations.

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Callaeum — This genus is a segregate from the much larger genus Mascagnia. — Callaeum macropterum is the correct name for the species often called "Mascagnia macroptera" in the horticulture trade; the names are not interchangeable. — Many (if not most) of the plants sold under the names Callaeum macropterum and "Mascagnia macroptera" in the USA are actually Callaeum septentrionale. A key to distinguish the two species is contained in D. M. Johnson's revision of Callaeum. — Reference: D. M. Johnson, 1986, revision [pdf]. — Illustrations.

GalphimiaGalphimia is the correct name for the genus called "Thryallis" by many horticulturists. The accepted genus Thryallis (see below) is restricted to southeastern Brazil and not closely related to Galphimia. — Galphimia gracilis is cultivated in warm regions around the world. It is the correct name for the species often grown as "G. brasiliensis" or "G. glauca," and as "Thryallis brasiliensis," "T. glauca," or "T. gracilis." Galphimia brasiliensis and G. glauca are not cultivated. — See also "Uses" on Galphimia webpage. — Reference: C. Anderson, 2007, revision [pdf]). — Illustrations.

Heteropterys — The ending "-pterys" in the generic name Heteropterys is correct, because it was conserved over the alternate spelling "Heteropteris."— Heteropterys glabra is the correct name for plants cultivated under the name "H. angustifolia." — Heteropterys brachiata is the correct name for plants cultivated under the name "H. beecheyana. — See also "Uses" on Heteropterys webpage. — Reference: W. R. Anderson, 1994 [pdf]. — Illustrations.

Malpighia — Both Malpighia glabra and M. emarginata are sold in nurseries in the USA as ornamental shrubs, and the sellers often apply the two names indiscriminately and incorrectly. — Malpighia emarginata is the correct name for the species sometimes called "Malpighia punicifolia" and widely cultivated for its edible fruits rich in vitamin C. The name "Malpighia punicifolia" cannot be used, because it is a synonym of Malpighia glabra. — See also "Uses" on Malpighia webpage. — Illustrations.

Stigmaphyllon — Stigmaphyllon bonariense is the correct name for the species formerly known as "Stigmaphyllon littorale." — References: C. Anderson, C. 1997c ["1996"] [pdf]; C. Anderson, 1997, monograph (S. bonariense, p. 235). — Illustrations.

Thryallis — The name Thryallis is conserved for a genus restricted to southeastern Brazil and does not apply to species of the genus Galphimia (see above). — Reference: C. Anderson, 1995, revision [pdf]. — Illustrations.

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