Taxonomic Swap 73692 (Committed on 03-15-2020)

Added by bobby23 on March 15, 2020 06:33 PM | Committed by bobby23 on March 15, 2020
replaced with


There is a reason why this taxon was without the '×'.

The Swedish botanist Veit Brecher Wittrock described the plant in 1896, but gave her no species name, as it was a hybrid form of crossbreeding. The first description under the name Viola wittrockiana by the Austrian botanist Helmut Gams was published in 1925. [1] Due to content deficiencies, however, this was not a valid first description; there was no scientifically correct documentation. This was made up in 2007 by the biologist Johannes D. Nauenburg from the Botanical Garden of the University of Rostock in collaboration with colleagues Karl Peter Buttler from Frankfurt am Main and published in the magazine Kochia. Now the pansy is called Viola wittrockiana Gams ex Nauenburg & Buttler correctly. The garden pansies are crosses involving the species Vosges pansies (Viola lutea), Viola tricolor and Altai pansies (Viola altaica). The last presented and accepted bastard formula is: Viola lutea subsp. sudetica × tricolor × altaica (WERNER in JÄGER & WERNER 2001 "2002": 242)


So like for example Tulipa gesneriana it is a man-made complex hybrid that was described as a species.

Please discuss such things before you submit changes!

Posted by kai_schablewski over 3 years ago

Now we have a complicated situation, many man made hybrid complexes have been described as species.

Tulipa gesneriana, Dahlia pinnata, Chrysanthemum morifolium and more. POWO is inconsequent and accepts some of them but apparently not yet Viola wittrockiana.

Usually i dont care about these human made plants, they are of little scientific value to iNaturalist.

It might seem stupid to preserve a pansy from a gardencenter as a holotype and describe it as a species but that is what actually has happened and therefore it is now a valid species and not Viola × wittrockiana.

Posted by kai_schablewski over 3 years ago

Hi, @kai_schablewski. Since this was an artificial garden plant, I assumed that committing a change like this would be inconsequential. That was naive of me and I apologize.

This is also one of the most observed taxa under Viola, and committing this change likely put an unnecessary processing strain on iNaturalist, which I also regret.

In the future I will discuss changes before committing them.

I do not think I understand from your description why the cross symbol "×" is inappropriate in this context if the taxon is a man-made complex hybrid and not a naturally occurring species. From what I was taught, from what I can infer from Chapter H of the International Association of Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) (, and based on what Kew implements on Plants of the World Online (POWO), my understanding was that the cross symbol visually indicates that Viola wittrockiana is a hybrid taxon. Is this not an accurate interpretation? What makes this representation faulty?

Posted by bobby23 over 3 years ago

Tulipa gesneriana, Dahlia pinnata, Chrysanthemum morifolium and others are also hybrid taxa and have no cross symbol in the name because they were described as species. That was not the case for Viola wittrockiana until relatively recently (2007), before it was known as Viola x wittrockiana.

But... i really dont care much about these taxa, for me they only become interesting once they naturalize or become invasive. I usually simply click a 'thumbs down' at 'Organism is wild' if the plants are cultivated, because iNaturalist is mainly about wild species.

Posted by kai_schablewski over 3 years ago

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