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i Gordon/a (Theaceae). Phytoneuron 2011 


Michael H. Grayum 

Misouri Botanical Garden 

P. O. Box 299 
St. Louis, MO 63166, USA 

Quirico Jimenez Madrigal 

Unidad de Gestion Ambiental 

Empresa de Servicios Publicos de Heredia 

Heredia, Costa Rica 


The name Laplacea brenesii Standi. (Theaceae) is confirmed as a synonym of L. grandis 
Brandegee, the latter replaced by G. brandegeei H. Keng, nom. nov. (not G. grandis Andre 1880). As 
a consequence, Gordonia brenesii (Standi.) Q. Jimenez, comb. nov. (here validated), must replace G. 
brandegeei as the accepted name for the species involved. 
KEY WORDS: Gordonia, Laplacea, Theaceae 

Laplacea grandis Brandegee (1915: 186) is the earliest known name for an arborescent species 
of Theaceae ranging throughout the Mesoamerican region, and was used as the accepted name in the 
most te «nt tiM)ru»im leM^ion m whiJii ihit species was included (Kobuski 1950). The same 
species was treated in full under the name L. grandis in the Flora of Panama (Robyns 1967), and 
mentioned by that name in the Flora of Guatemala (Standley Sc Williams 1961: 32). However, in 
uniting Laplacea Kunth (in Humboldt et al., 1822: 207) with Gordonia J. Ellis (1771: 520), Keng 
(1980: 310) replaced L. grandis with a nomen novum, Gordonia brandegeei H. Keng, citing G. 
grandis Andre (1880: 60) as a blocking name. The name Gordonia brandegeei has since been 
employed as an accepted mime in at least one major floristic treatment (Pool 2001), several regional 
checklists (e.g., Correa et al. 2004; Linares 2005), and many herbaria, 

Keng's (1980) new names and combinations for New World species almost certainly did not 
involve any original taxonomic work but rather were based on Kobuski's (1950) revision, which was 
duly cited. But Keng did not take into account Kobuski's inclusion of the validly published Laplacea 
brenesii Standi. (1937) in synonymy under L. grandis. It seems most likely that Keng believed that a 
nomen novum assumes the priority of the name it replaces (a common misconception, in our 
experience). However, it is also possible that Keng simply overlooked this detail, or he rejected L. 
brenesii as a synonym of L. grandis; we cannot be certain, because Keng nowhere mentioned the 
name L. brenesii. Nevertheless, it is clear that, if Laplacea brenesii is indeed a taxonomic synonym 
of L. grandis, then a combination based on the former name must replace Gordonia brandegeei as the 
correct name for the species in the genus Gordonia. 

We have examined an image of the holotype specimen {Brenes 4379, F) of Laplacea brenesii 
posted by the Field Museum Department of Botany at the following Internet address: 

blip unuu Ji liJJinii^um <•!;_• k-Um vhpd 'i^pl.i\ php "nil _'^~"X:\Vi s 'uci \ l'.i\x ".._'l k' 
y%2F s ear chvtyp e. php 

Grayum and Jimenez I* 

This image is immediately verifiable by us as depicting the species that has lately been known 
as Gordonia brandegeei. Moreover, the specimen bears a 1991 annotation by Anna L. Weitzman 
(US), a contemporary Theaceae specialist, recording the same identification. And finally, not wishing 
to take anything for granted, we have confirmed both of these identifications by examining an image 
of the holotype of Laplacea grandis (Purpus 7092, UC), posted by the UC and JEPS herbaria at the 
following Internet address : 

lillp iiyM*. KiUk> ^lu _;_•■-!••■■• JiNpl.n mii.inJi imy pl'vm.ivji .koii. I'I"-I_'IX 

We therefore conclude that Laplacea brenesii is indeed a taxonomic synonym of I,, grandis, as 
originally indicated by Kobuski (1950). The combination of the former name in Gordonia is thus 
validated below, and the consequent synonymy is formalized. 

Gordonia brenesii (Standi.) Q. Jimenez, comb. nov. Basionym: Laplacea brenesii Standi., Publ. 
Field Mus. Nat. Hist, Bot. Ser. 18(2): 701. 1937. TYPE: Costa Rica. [Alajuela:] Los Angeles 
de San Ramon, 1050 m, 21 Aug 1925, A.M. Brenes 4379 (holotype: F-852413, image!; IT: 

Gordonia brandegeei H. Keng, Gard. Bull. Singapore 33: 310. 1980. Replaced name: Laplacea 
grandis Brandegee, Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 6: 186. 1915 (mm Gordonia grandis Andre, 1880: 
60). TYPE: Mexico. Chiapas. Finca Mexiquito, Jul 1913, C.A. Purpus 7092 (holotype: UC- 
174218, image!). 

It should be emphasized that, although we now regard Gordonia brandegeei H. Keng as a 
synonym of G. brenesii, the former name is not illegitimate, because Keng (1980) did not explicitly 
include Laplacea brenesii as a synonym. Thus the name G. brandegeei remains available and could 
theoretically come back into use, were the types of Laplacea brenesii and L. grandis judged to 
represent different species, 


[Andre, E.] 1880. Gordonia grandis. 111. Hort. 27: 60. 

Brandegee, T.S. 1915. Plantae mexicanae purpusianae VII. Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 6: 177-197. 

Correa A, M.D., C. Galdames, and M.S. de Stapf. 2004. Catalogo de las Plantas Vasculares de 

Panama. M.D. Correa A/Univ. Panama/Inst. Smithsonian Invest. Trop., Panama. 
Ellis, J. 1771. A copy of a letter from John Ellis, Esq; F.RS. to Dr. Linnaius, F.RS.&c. with the 

figure and characters of that elegant American evergreen-tree, called by the gardiners the 

Loblolly-Bay, taken from blossoms blown near London, and shewing that it is not an Hibiscus, 

as Mr. Miller calls it; nor an Hypericum, as Dr. Linnaius supposes it; but an intire new genus, to 

whichM-. Ellis gives the name of Gordonia. Philos. Trans. 60: 518-523. 
Humboldt, A von, A. Bonpland. and C.S. Kunth. 1822. Nova genera et species plantarum, Quarto 

ed. Vol. 5. Lutetiae Parisiorum, Paris. 
Keng, H. 1980. On the unification of Laplacea and Gordonia (Theaceae). Gard. Bull. Singapore 33: 

Kobuski, C.E. 1950. Studies in the Theaceae, XX. Notes on the South and Central American species 

of Laplacea. J. Arnold Arbor. 31: 405^129. 
Linares, J.L. 2005['2003']. Listado comentado de los arboles nativos v cultivados en la Repubiica de 

El Salvador. Ceiba 44: 105-268. 
Pool, A. 2001. Theaceae D. Don. In: W.D. Stevens. C. Ulloa Ulloa, A Pool, and O.M. Montiel (eds.). 

Flora de Nicaragua. Monogr. Syst. Bot. MssouriBot. Gard. 85: 2443-2448. 
Robyns, A 1967. Theaceae. In: R.E. Woodson. Jr. and R.W. Schery (eds.). Flora of Panama. Ann. 

Missouri Bot. Gard. 54: 41-56. 

Grayum and Jimenez I* 

Standley, P.C. and L.O. Williams. 1961. Theaceae. In: P.C. Standley & L.O. Williams (eds.). Flora 
of Guatemala. Fieldiana, Bot. 24(7): 24-36.