Notoceras bicorne Aiton (1789: 394)

Ferrer-Gallego, P. Pablo & Laguna, Emilio, 2021, Notes on the nomenclatural types of Notoceras bicorne (Cruciferae) and its heterotypic synonyms, Phytotaxa 496 (2), pp. 195-200: 197

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.496.2.9

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Notoceras bicorne Aiton (1789: 394)


Notoceras bicorne Aiton (1789: 394)  

Aiton’s protologue (1789: 394) of Erysimum bicorne   consisted of a short diagnosis (“6. E. [ Erysimum   ] lanceolatis pilosis, siliquis apice bicornibus”) followed by six annotations: 1) “Horned Hedge-mustard”; 2) “ Nat   . of the Canary Islands. Mr. Francis Masson.”; 3) “ Introd. 1779”; 4) “ Fl. August and September”; 5) “G. H.” [indicating that this species is cultivated in the Green House at Kew (see Aiton, 1789: page xxx, abreviations)]; and 6) “ʘ” [indicating that this species is annual [ʘ] (see Aiton, 1789: page xxx, abreviations)], and a complete description of the plant: “Descr. Flores parvi, flavi. Calyx   flavescens, extus pilosus. Siliquae approximatae, adpressae, ex ancipiti tetragonae, pilosae, tri-vel quadrilineares, apice bicornes. Stylus   persistens, capillaris, longitudine cornuum. Stigma capitatum, integrum”. William Aiton set to work in the 1780s to catalogue every plant being grown at Kew. The result, published in 1789, was called Hortus kewensis and included information on the country of origin of every plant, and who first cultivated it in Britain. The botanical descriptions in the Hortus kewensis were not made by the Aitons (William Aiton [1731–1793] and William Townsend Aiton [1766–1849]), but by Daniel Carl Solander, Jonas Carlsson Dryander and Robert Brown, based on material from Kew. On the other hand, some of the new taxa described in the first edition of the Hortus kewensis, published in 1789, originated from L’Héritier (so indicated) and the types of those taxa are in the L’Héritier herbarium at G-DC. Concretely, as indicated by Britten (1912) and Krok (1925), the diagnoses in Hortus kewensis vols. 1 & 2 were largely written by Dryander, who used a manuscript left by Solander, and this manuscript is present at the Botany Library at BM. Accordingly, in the Art. 46.8 Ex. 43 of the Shenzhen Code (ICN; Turland et al. 2018) is indicated “Although the descriptions in Aiton’s Hortus kewensis (1789) are generally considered to have been written by Solander or Dryander, the names of new taxa published there are attributed to Aiton, the stated author of the work, except where a name and description were both ascribed in that work to somebody else” (see Turland et al. 2018).

Concretely, Erysimum bicorne   was offered to the Kew Gardens by Francis Masson, it was brought from the Canary Islands in 1778. Francis Masson (1741–1805) was a British plant collector and gardener at Kew. 1760s he travelled to London where he got a gardening job at Kew which was the directed by Sir Joseph Banks, i.e., as plant collector for Kew and working for Banks ( Fry 2013).

Masson’s living plants went to Kew and his herbarium specimens (mainly) to Banks and now are preserved at BM, and duplicates of Masson’s collections are in several herbaria, e.g., BR, CGE, DBN, HAL, LD, LINN, MO, PH, UPS (incl. Thunberg herbarium) ( Stafleu & Cowan 1981: 361). No such specimen of this species from Masson’s collections and collected in Canary Islands, however, is present at K. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew had no herbarium in the 18th century. In addition, as indicated by Stafleu & Cowan (1976: 25) almost all types of both editions of the Hortus kewensis are in the Banksian herbarium at BM (Banks herbarium).

Fortunately, in the herbarium BM there is a relevant specimen of this author collected in Canary Islands in 1778, with barcode BM000583715. The sheet bears a well preserved specimen, four complete plants, with leaves, flowers and fruits, and a handwritten label: “Insula Canaria. Fr. Masson 1778”. The geographical locality “Insula Canaria” and the author “Fr. Masson” agrees with the locality and author given in the protologue. Therefore, this specimen is undoubtedly original material of E. bicorne   and it was used by Aiton for its description. We have not been able to locate any further original material in other herbaria (e.g., BR, CGE, DBN, G, HAL, LD, LINN, MO, PH, UPS) and possibly the specimen at BM is the only original material used by Aiton in the description of N. bicorne   . However, as we cannot exclude that there were more than one specimen of this taxon, we consider the specimen as the lectotype of the name, admitting that the specimen might well be the holotype (see McNeill 2014). The specimen BM000583715 is well preserved and complete, and represents the traditional concept and current use of the name (see e.g., Ball 1964, Galán Cela 1993). This specimen was indicated as “type” of N. bicorne   by Jafri (1973: 194) “Type: Canary Island, Masson (BM) (see














Notoceras bicorne Aiton (1789: 394)

Ferrer-Gallego, P. Pablo & Laguna, Emilio 2021

Notoceras bicorne

Aiton, W. 1789: )