Taxonomic Swap 129913 (Committed on 09-01-2023)

Recent research showed Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. nuttallii to be morphologically, phylogenetically, and geographically distinct from the rest of M. fasciculatus. It also blooms roughly one month later than the other M. fasciculatus varieties growing at similar elevations. The 2023 treatment of the genus returns M. fasciculatus var. nuttallii back to the species rank as M. nuttallii. This change is accepted by POWO.

Malacothamnus Volume 3 (Citation)
Added by keirmorse on September 02, 2023 02:51 AM | Committed by keirmorse on September 01, 2023
replaced with


Good name for it, too. Thanks for updating these, it's a very distinctive form in the field.

Posted by dcoopercem 8 months ago

Now someone needs to fix all the IDs that were to M. fasciculatus but not to variety. That's the danger in only identifying to species on iNat.

Posted by keirmorse 8 months ago

Splitting M. fasciculatus would fix that problem in part.

Posted by thomaseverest 7 months ago

@thomaseverest I thought of that but, according to the iNat rules, you aren't supposed to use splits for IDing things and there are a couple plantings of M. fasciculatus var. laxiflorus within the range of M. nuttallii.

Posted by keirmorse 7 months ago

you aren't supposed to use splits for IDing things

What do you mean by that? What do you think they're for?

there are a couple plantings of M. fasciculatus var. laxiflorus within the range of M. nuttallii.

You don't have to atlas them to split if it's that big of an issue. But even if you did I'd guess there would be far fewer maverick IDs to overturn.

Posted by thomaseverest 7 months ago

Got it from a comment here:
"It sounds like you want to use a taxon change to 'bulk identify' alot of observations from the species rank to the subspecies rank? Taxon changes should never be used to identify species like this - they should only be used to make sure content gets moved to the right spot in response to alterations to the structure of the tree. I know it might seem tedious, but once you add the spp to the tree the proper way to try to identify those observations currently sitting at species."

I was thinking about that for a couple fasciculatus varieties when I read the above and maybe the nuttallii split would be more acceptable. Some people have already started to make some changes and maybe it will bring more attention to the change if people have to do it manually.

Posted by keirmorse 7 months ago

Ah I see. That's in a different context where someone would like to bulk add IDs to observations, not change existing IDs because of a change in taxonomy. Otherwise there wouldn't really be much use for taxon splits. This swap has presumably created numerous unintended disagreements (which should have been checked before committing, and would have recommended splitting), where an old name does not mean what it means after the swap. That's exactly what splits are for.

Posted by thomaseverest 7 months ago

Okay, maybe I'll do that. If I do, I would probably want to add to the range of M. fasciculatus var. laxiflorus so those don't get changed. They are naturalizing anyway.

Posted by keirmorse 7 months ago

Hmmm, but would a split mess with the all the varieties of M. fasciculatus that are already ID'd? I guess I can draft a swap and see what the results would be. The identifying subspecies by range thing is exactly what it says not to do and that is exactly what would happen as I would probably have to split all four fasciculatus varieties out with nuttallii if I did a split at the species level of fasciculatus. That would definitely create some misIDs regarding the many plantings too. And I guess that is a good reason not to do it as M. fasciculatus is planted in the range of M. nuttallii and vice versa, and the same goes for some varieties. So, maybe best to just let it play out as it could make a bigger mess.

Posted by keirmorse 7 months ago

If you split M. fasciculatus into M. fasciculatus and M. nuttallii, then only IDs of M. fasciculatus with no subspecific ID would be changed. If you didn't add atlases, those IDs would be bumped to Malacothamnus. Given that most observations aren't IDed past species, that would be pretty disruptive and probably not worth it if there's just a few observations needing to be updated. It all really depends on how many observations need to be changed, and whether they fit into neat ranges or not. Maybe it is just easiest to manually add IDs.

Posted by thomaseverest 7 months ago

I've reached out to a few people to help add IDs, so we'll see what happens. About 1/5 of the problem ones have already been fixed. Thanks for your suggestions! I'll definitely keep these all in mind for future taxon changes.

Posted by keirmorse 7 months ago

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