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(1949) Proposal to conserve Tieghemella Pierre (Sapotaceae) against Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni (Absidiaceae)

TAXON 59 (5) • October 2010: 1604–1605Mouly & al. • (1949) Conserve Tieghemella
(1949) Tieghemella Pierre, Not. Bot. 1: 18. 30 Dec 1890 [Sapot.],
nom. cons. prop.
Typus: T. africana Pierre.
(H) Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni in Saccardo, Syll. Fungorum
7: 215. 1888 [Fungi], nom. rej. prop.
Typus: T. repens (Tiegh.) Berl. & De Toni (Absidia repens
The genus Tieghemella Pierre (Sapotaceae) comprises two reco-
gnized species: T. africana Pierre and T. heckelii (A. Chev.) Pierre ex
Heine. Both species, known in timber trade and forestry as makoré,
douka, or baku, are commonly used as timber in West and Central
Africa. They are economically important for countries of these areas
as shown by the Gabonese timber volume exportation statistics (La
lettre de l’ATIBT 18: 41. 2003). The genus Tieghemella Pierre is cur-
rently used in floras, ecological studies or timber tree atlases, as well
as by political authorities, forestry departments and timber exploita-
tion companies. Moreover, both species of the genus Tieghemella
Pierre are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of 2009
with the endangered status (IUCN, 2009).
From a nomenclatural point of view, the genus Tieghemella
Pierre was published originally in 1890 (Pierre, l.c.) to accommodate
a single species, T. africana. However two years earlier the fungal
genus name Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni had been published (Berlese
& De Toni, l.c.). Hence, the fungal name has priority according to
the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (McNeill & al. in
Regnum Veg. 146. 2006).
To build the case for its conservation, a review of the history
of Tieghemella Pierre is in order. Following publication by Pierre,
based only on its seeds, it was first mentioned as an uncertain genus
by Engler (Nat. Pflanzenfam. Nachtr. 1: 279. 1897) and later ignored
by him (Monogr. Afrik. Pflanzen-Fam. 8[Sapotaceae]: 1–88. 1904).
Perrot (in Chevalier, Vég. Util. Afr. Trop. Franç. 1(2): 160. 1907)
mistakenly treated its only species, T. africana, in the synonymy of
Mimusops djave Laness. ex Engl. (l.c. 1897) (= Baillonella toxisperma
Pierre), but while comparing the fruits of another species (moabi or
M. pierreana Engl.) to those of djave (l.c.: 172), he suggested that
those of moabi better resembled a plant he called “Tieghemella heck-
elii (Pierre), vulgairement makerou du Grand-Bassam”, presumably
referring to a handwritten name on the label of a poor seed specimen
from Ivory Coast in Pierre’s herbarium. Lacking diagnostic elements
and collection number references, this name has to be considered a
nomen nudum. That same year Chevalier himself validly published
the name Dumoria heckelii A. Chev. (in Compt. Rend. Hebd. Séances
Acad. Sci. 145: 267. 1907. ‘Heckeli’), based on study of additional
material from Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Liberia, under his new genus
Dumoria A. Chev., arguing that Tieghemella Pierre, based only on
seed material, was too obscure to be used. Dubard (in Ann. Mus.
Col. Marseille, sér. 3, 3: 40–41. 1915) reconsidered the two genera
and concluded that they were most likely congeneric. Although being
aware that Tieghemella Pierre should have priority (but unaware of
Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni) he decided to keep Dumoria because
of its much clearer description and published the new combination
D. africana (Pierre) Dubard for the Gabonese species. Later, however,
both species of Dumoria were treated in Mimusops by Hutchinson &
Dalziel (Fl. W. Trop. Afr. 2: 14. 1931), a position followed by several
other authors during the next 30 years.
Based on material that had accumulated in the intervening
decades, including flowering material of the Gabonese species,
Aubréville (in Notul. Syst. (Paris) 16: 235. 1960) first demonstrated
unambiguously that the two species were congeneric. Unfortunately,
he was also unaware of the precedence of Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni
and discarded the name Dumoria in favour of Tieghemella Pierre.
However, Aubréville never made formally the combination T. heckelii,
which was inadvertently but validly published three years later by
Heine (in Hepper, F1. W. Trop. Afr., ed. 2, 2: 21. 1963).
The illegitimacy of the name Tieghemella Pierre, pointed out
in the Index Nominum Genericorum (,
could easily be overcome, as the legitimate name Dumoria can be
adopted without need of any new species combination (D. africana
having being published by Dubard in 1915, l.c.: 41). However, the
name Tieghemella Pierre is firmly established in both taxonomic
and politico-commercial literature, in comparison to Dumoria. Since
Aubréville (l.c. 1960) convincingly distinguished the two species
from Mimusops, placing them in Tieghemella, the later genus has
been widely accepted in taxonomic works. The only departure from
this was by Baehni (in Boissiera 11: 121. 1965), who combined the
considered species under Baillonella in his system of Sapotaceae.
The name Dumoria has not been accepted since Aubréville’s treat-
ment, while Tieghemella predominates in monographs, in regional
floristic publications, and in ecological, forestry and phylogenetic
works (as in 29 references noted, including Aubréville, Fl. Gabon
1: 45. 1961, Fl. Cameroun 2: 42. 1964; Heine, l.c.; Keay & al., Nige-
rian Trees 2: 35. 1964, ed. 2: 392. 1989; Kunkel, Trees Liberia: 196.
1965; Gautier in Lebrun & Stork, Énum. Pl. Fleurs Afr. Trop. 4: 148.
1997; Burkill, Useful Pl. W. Trop. Afr. 5: 60–61. 2000; Govaerts &
al., World Checkl. Bibliogr. Sapot.: 323–324. 2001; and PROTA [Fr.
version] 7(1): 624. 2008). This is further evidenced by a Web search
(1949) Proposal to conserve Tieghemella Pierre (Sapotaceae) against
Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni (Absidiaceae)
Arnaud Mouly,1 Laurent Gautier,2 Joëlle Dupont,3 Hervé Chevillotte,4 Jean-Louis Guillaumet4
& Jacques Florence4
1 UMR CNRS 6249 Chrono-environnement, Université de Franche-Comté, 16 Route de Gray, 25030 Besançon cedex, France
2 Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Case Postale 60, 1292 Chambésy/GE, Switzerland
3 UMR CNRS 7205 OSEB (Organisation, Systématique et Evolution de la Biodiversité), Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,
Paris, France
4 UMR CNRS 7205 OSEB (Organisation, Systématique et Evolution de la Biodiversité), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement,
MNHN, Paris, France
Author for correspondence: Arnaud Mouly,
TAXON 59 (5) • October 2010: 1605–1606 Doweld • (1950) Conserve Caytonia
xxi. 2001] and very widely used in modern systematic palaeobotany.
Article 38.1 of the ICBN (McNeill & al. in Regnum Veg. 146. 2006)
states that “In order to be validly published, a name of a new taxon of
fossil plants of specific or lower rank published on or after 1 January
1912 must be accompanied by an illustration or figure showing the
essential characters, in addition to the description or diagnosis, or
by a reference to a previously and effectively published illustration
or figure”, and therefore, Laconiella as a generic name is validly
published (Art. 38.1 does not apply to generic names), and hence
disturbing the established use of widely known generic name Cay-
tonia, which was published later.
However, Harris (l.c.: 20. 1964) treated the synonymy differently:
“In 1920 Krasser published his Laconiella and gave diagnosis but no
figure; hence this was not valid publication, since the rule requires
a figure. […] Laconiella is strictly a nomen nudum.” In reality, this
was not true, because the Montreal Code (Lanjouw & al. in Regnum
Veg. 23. 1961) effective at the time of Harris’ monographic treatise
of 1964, had already revised Art. 38 limiting its application to names
of species and infraspecific taxa only; generic names escaped be-
ing obligatorily illustrated or have any references to illustrations.
In former editions of the rules of nomenclature, starting from the
Brussels Rules (Briquet, Règles Int. Nomencl. Bot., ed. 2. 1912) to
the Paris Code (Lanjouw & al. in Regnum Veg. 8. 1956), provision
of an illustration for valid publication of the name of a fossil taxon
applied to a name of any rank, and therefore Harris was right in his
reference to the existence of such a ‘rule’. Nevertheless, the change
of the provisions of the article to limit its application only to names
(1950) Caytonia H.H. Thomas in Philos. Trans., Ser. B 213: 314.
21 Feb 1925, nom. cons. prop.
Typus: C. sewardii H.H. Thomas (‘sewardi’).
(=) Laconiella F. Krasser in Akad. Wiss. Wien Sitzungsber.,
Math.-Naturwiss. Kl., Abt. 1. 129: 16. 13 Dec 1920
nom. rej. prop.
Typus (hic designatus): Gristhorpia nathorstii H.H. Thomas
(Philos. Trans., Ser. B 213: 305. 21 Feb 1925).
The congeneric identity of both fossil genera, Caytonia and La-
coniella, was established as early as 1929 by Edwards (in Ann. Mag.
Nat. Hist., ser. 10, 4: 386. 1929) (along with Gristhorpia H.H. Tho-
mas, a synonym of Caytonia H.H. Thomas), and later was accepted
by Harris (in Ann. Bot. (Oxford), n. ser., 16: 718. 1940, in Yorksh.
Jurass. Fl. 2: 20. 1964). After Edwards’s synonymization, Lacon-
iella fell into oblivion, and disappeared from palaeobotanical works.
However, its generic priority still remains over the well-known and
widely used generic name Caytonia that serves as type of a distinct
group of extinct plants, ranging from family to even subphylum
[Caytoniaceae Kräusel in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. ed. 2,
13: 98, 1926, Caytoniales E.V. Wulf in Priroda 15(11–12): 95. 1926,
Caytoniopsida H.H. Thomas in Arkell, Jurass. Syst. Gr. Brit.: 219.
1933 (‘Caytoniales’), and Caytoniophytina Doweld, Prosyllabus:
1 Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, 13 Dec 1920 (№ 281,
S. 15182).
conducted on 2 August 2010, which gives a very neat advantage to
Tieghemella + timber” (more than 5800 results) compared to “Du-
moria + timber” (235 results).
In turn, the fungal name Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni, which
has priority over Tieghemella Pierre, is now placed under synonymy
of Absidia Tiegh., as the type (T. repens (Tiegh.) Berl. & De Toni) is
currently recognized as an Absidia species (A. repens Tiegh.) accord-
ing to the Index Fungorum ( Among
the other fungal species previously placed under Tieghemella Berl.
& De Toni, most are now considered Absidia species as well, and a
few are placed under Gongronella Ribaldi, Lichteimia Vuill. and
Rhizomucor Lucet & Constantin. A recent revision (Hoffmann & al.
in Mycol. Res. 111: 1169–1183. 2007) using molecular, morphological
and physiological data confirmed the placement in Absidia of several
species previously placed under Tieghemella Berl. & De Toni, includ-
ing the type species T. repens. Two poorly known species without any
recorded economic interest still await transfer from Tieghemella Berl.
& De Toni to another genus.
Although acknowledging the illegitimacy of Tieghemella Pierre,
Pennington (Gen. Sapotaceae: 125–126. 1991) continued to accept this
genus in his monograph of Sapotaceae genera, labelling it as a “nom.
cons. prop.”, but such a proposal has never been prepared. Given this
precedent, and the historical pattern of usage of both generic names in
different parts of West Africa, we consequently assume that a change
from Tieghemella Pierre to Dumoria A. Chev. would not be imple-
mented by most political and forestry authorities, perpetuating the
confusion in the future and increasing the nomenclatural discrepancy
between those in the scientific community and politico-commercial
authorities. We therefore now finally propose the conservation of
Tieghemella Pierre.
The research was supported by the French “Institut de Recher-
che pour le Développement” and the “Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle” in Paris, in the context of a research and valorisation proj-
ect for the publication of an “Atlas des essences commercialisées
d’Afrique tropicale humide”. We are grateful to Joost A. Stalpers,
CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Netherlands, for sharing expertise
on fungal Absidia group nomenclature and to the two reviewers for
improvement of the manuscript.
(1950) Proposal to conserve the name Caytonia against Laconiella
(Fossil Gymnospermae, Caytoniopsida)
Alexander B. Doweld
National Institute of Carpology (Gaertnerian Institution), 21 Konenkowa Street, 127560 Moscow, Russian Federation.
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