Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some Name Changes

There have been a number of name changes recently among our native orchids, mostly changes of genus, that have shuffled many of the orchids back into older genera.  Most of this taxonomic revision appears to have been done by Richard Bateman.  Whether these names will stick remains to be seen, but at least for now these appear to be the current names.

First, Coeloglossum viride var. viridis, the Frog Orchis or Long-bracted Green Orchis, is now once again Dactylorhiza viridis var. virescens.

Second, all the Listeras have been moved back to the genus Neottia.  This involves a total of four species from the Pacific Northwest.

Neottia borealis

Neottia cordata

Neottia banksiana

Neottia convallarioides

Third, all the Piperias, five species, have been moved back into the genus Platanthera, with Piperia candida changed to Platanthera ephemerantha.

Platanthera unalascensis

Platanthera elegans

Platanthera transversa and Platanthera elongata

Platanthera ephemerantha

Fourth, Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda seems now to be the accepted name for Malaxis brachypoda in spite of differences between that species and its Eurasian counterpart.

Fifth, the Small Round-leaf Orchis, Amerorchis rotundifolia, is now Galearis rotundifolia, a completely new genus for this species.

It is sometimes hard to keep up with the changes and to remember them, especially because the names seem to be in a continual state of flux and may be different again tomorrow.  In any case, if you are looking for a particular species always check for synonyms.


  1. Do you know if the Kew Monocot Checklist is accepting these new names? That's the resource a lot of orchidists around the world use as their baseline for orchid taxonomy.

    Also - do you know if the folks at the Jepson manual are accepting these names for species found within California? I've found if Jepson accepts it than most everyone else follows their lead.

    1. Hi Eric,
      I don't have access to Jepson, so I don't know what is being done with the names in it, but these are all the names that Kew is now using, though they are calling the last one Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda. I found the name changes at NOACC and checked them against Kew's list. Doesn't mean, though, that everyone is going to agree. They've done a number, too, on some of the tropical orchids, especially the whole Cattleya group (nearly everything is now Cattleya), the Vandaceous orchids (nearly everything is now Vanda including the Japanese Neofinetia), on the Maxillarias and on the Oncidium group.