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Plant Focus

A guest post by Matt Candeias, host of the In Defense of Plants podcast and blog

Nomenclatural Notes - Holm Oak Is Indeed Quercus ilex But Quercus candicans Is Not an Oak

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Allen Coombes

Published May 2018 in International Oaks No. 29: 19–24


While most of us are familiar with the problems of assigning a name to any particular oak, or, come to that, any other plant, we do assume that a name can be relied upon as a firm foundation to anchor our plant to once it has been identified. What few may realize is that in some cases there is considerable confusion that can give even the most familiar names a very shaky basis.




Iamonico, D., and L. Peruzzi. 2013. Lectotypification of Linnaean names in the genus Quercus (Fagaceae). Taxon 62(5): 1041-1045.

McNeill, J., F.R. Barrie, W.R. Buck, V. Demoulin, W. Greuter, D.L. Hawksworth, P.S. Herendeen, S. Knapp, K. Marhold, J. Prado, W.F. Prud’homme van Reine, J.F. Smith, and J.H. Wiersema, (eds.) 2012. International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants (Melbourne Code). Regnum Vegetabile 154. Königstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.

Née, L. 1801. Descripción de varias especies nuevas de Encina (Quercus de Linneo). Anales Ci. Nat. 3(9): 277.

Valencia-Avalos, S., A.J. Coombes, and J.L. Villaseñor. 2018. Quercus candicans (Fagaceae) is not a Quercus but a Roldana (Asteraceae). Phytotaxa. 333 (2) 251-258. ISSN 1179-3155.

Valencia-Avalos, S., J.L. Sabas Rosales, O.J. Soto Arellano. 2016. A new species of Quercus, section Lobatae (Fagaceae) from the Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico. Phytotaxa 269 (2): 120–126

Vázquez, F.M., and A.J. Coombes. 2017. Proposal to conserve the name Quercus ilex (Fagaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon. 66(6) 1473-1475. https://doi.org/10.12705/666.20