ArticlePDF Available

(2326–2327) Proposals to conserve the names Micromeria varia with a conserved type and M. hyssopifolia against Thymus ericifolius (Lamiaceae)

63 (5) • October 2014: 1137–1138
Puppo & al.
Micromeria variaM. hyssopifolia
Micromeria varia
MhyssopifoliaThymus ericifolius (Lamiaceae
1 Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO) / InBio Associated Laboratory, University of Porto,
Campus Vairão, R. Monte-Crasto, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
2 Institute for Integrative Nature Conservation Research, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1180 Vienna, Austria
3 Departamento de Biología Vegetal (Botánica), Universidad de La Laguna, 38271 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
4 Department Biolog y I, Systematic Botany & Mycology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Menzinger Str. 67, 80638 Munich,
5 Botanische Staatssammlung München, Menzinger Str. 67, 80638 Munich, Germany
6 Technische Universität München, Restoration Ecology, Emil-Ramann-Str. 6, 85350 Freising, Germany
Author for correspondence: Christian Bräuchler,
(2326) Micromeria varia Benth., Labiat. Gen. Spec.: 374. Mai 1834
[Angiosp.: Lab.], nom. cons. prop.
Typus: [Spain, Canary Islands], Ins. Teneriffa (K barcode
K000193466), typ. cons. prop.
(2327) Micromeria hyssopifolia Webb & Berthel., Hist. Nat. Iles
Canar ie s 3(2,3): 72. De c 1844 [Angiosp.: Lab.], nom . cons. prop.
Typus: [Spain, Canary Islands], “Thymus polymorpha sp. n.?;
in rupestribus siccis Ins. Canar. vulgatissima”, Barker-Webb
(FI, upper left-hand specimen of 5 on sheet).
(=) Thymus ericifolius Roth, Catal. Bot. 2: 50. 1800 (‘ericaefolius),
nom. rej. prop.
    [Spain, Canary
Islands], “Habitat in Hispania” [on folder B-W 11017-000],
“Hort. bot. Berol. W.” (B-W barcode 11017-010).
The name Micromeria varia Benth. has been widely used for
the most common species of the genus in the Canary Islands and
Madeira (e.g., Webb & Berthelot, Hist. Nat. Iles Canaries 3(2,3):
71. 1845; Bentham in Candolle, Prodr. 12: 212. 1848; Pérez de Paz,
Rev. Gen. Micromeria Reg. Macaronesica: 173. 1978; Hohenester &
Wells, Exkursionsfl. Kanar. Ins.: 219. 1993; Morales in Bot. Complut.
18: 165. 1993; Bramwell, Fl. Isl. Canar.: 120. 1997; IUCN-Red List of
threatened plants: 311. 1997; Bräuchler & al. in Taxon 54: 639–650.
2005, in Willdenowia 38: 363–410. 2008, in Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 55:
501–523. 2010; Meimberg & al. in Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 41: 566–578.
2006; Govaerts, World Checkl. Lamiaceae:,
retrieved 12 Mar 2014). Micromeria varia is a perennial subshrub
characterized by leaves condensed on short side branches that are
er icoid with margins revolute and laminas green and freq uently ti nged
with red as well as flowers less than 1 cm long, with corollas pink
to purple.
Initially the species was listed as Thymus inodorus Desf. by
Bentham (in Linnaea 6: 77. 1831), without description based on a speci-
men collected by Chamisso (K000193457, identified as a possible
hybrid between M. varia and M. hyssopifolia Webb & Berthel. by
Pérez de Paz and mounted on the same sheet as the proposed con-
served type at K). Recognizing it as distinct from T. inodorus Desf.,
Bentham (Labiat. Gen. Spec.: 374. 1834) chose the name M. varia
to account for the considerable variation among the material cited
(according to Pérez de Paz, l.c.: 175, including also specimens of
M. hyssopifolia, and M. herpyllomorpha). Even in a more narrow
circumscription excluding these latter collections the species today
remains the most variable of all taxa on the Canary Islands.
Inclusion of Thymus ericifolius Roth (Catal. Bot. 2: 50. 1800)
in the original synonymy of M. varia, however, renders the name
illegitimate, for the epithet of this older name ought to have been
adopted under Micromeria. Formally the type of M. varia thus is th at
of T. ericifolius, the designation of a “lectotype” by Pérez de Paz (l.c.:
174) is ineffective (see Art. 7.5). Pérez de Paz was unable to trace type
material of T. ericifolius, but kept it in the synonymy of M. varia. He
suggested M. varia should be cons erved aga inst T. ericifolius, but did
not submit a formal proposal to Taxon as required by the ICN. Accord-
ing to the original description and the neotype designated by us,
application of the name T. ericifolius contrasts with the definition of
M. varia in the literature cited above (see below for further details).
To avoid disruption of current usage and guarantee stability, the
well-established and well-descriptive name Mic ro me ria var ia is here
formally proposed for conservation with a conserved type (Pérez de
Paz’s suggested “lectotype”).
As already noted, Thymus ericifolius Roth was considered a
synonym of Micromeria varia by Bentham (l.c. 1834), as well as by
later authors (e.g., Pérez de Paz, l.c.: 173; Hohenester & Wells, l.c.;
Govaerts, l.c.). After its original description, T. ericifolius was only
accepted by Willdenow (Enum. Pl.: 624. 1809) and not listed anymore
except in the synonymy cited above. Bornmüller (in Repert. Spec.
Nov. Regni Veg. 19: 198. 1924) rediscovered the name and published
the legitimate combination M. ericifolia (Roth) Bornm. (“M. varia
Bth. (richtiger M. ericifolia [Roth sub Thymo] Bornm.)”). Subse-
quently the name was not used again except in the publication of
Satureja ericifolia (Roth) R.H. Willemse (in Willdenowia 21: 83. 1991)
necessitated by the suggested inclusion of Micromeria in Satureja.
Many of Roth’s own collections according to Stafleu & Cowan
(TL-2, 4: 914. 1983) had been incorporated in the general herbarium
at B and were mostly destroyed during WW-II in 1943. The type of
T. ericifolius most likely was among them. The specimen present at
the Willdenow herbarium at B may or may not be part of the original
material. Due to citation of Roth’s name and description by Willdenow
(l.c.), that material, however, represents the best available for typi-
fication. A specimen labelled “Thymus ericaefolius Roth” and most
likely stemming from the same source is at GOET (via Herbarium
C.A. Fischer). After carefully examining the available material and
Version of Record (identical to print version).
63 (5) • October 2014: 1137–1138
Puppo & al.
Micromeria variaM. hyssopifolia
description the conspecifity of T. ericifolius with M. hyssopifolia
Webb & Berthel. (1844) could be confirmed due to indumentum,
shape of leaves and colour of corollas. The neglected M. ericifolia
thus would become the oldest available name for the latter taxon.
However, Micromeria hyssopifolia is another ver y commo n spe-
cies of the genus on Tenerife and El Hierro islands (e.g., Christ in Bot.
Jahrb. Syst. 9: 131–132. 1888; Engler in Engler & Drude, Veg. Erde
9(I,2–3): 840. 1910; Bannerman, Canary Isl.: 82, 359. 1922; Pérez de
Paz, l.c.: 173; Rodríguez & al. in Revista Acad. Canar. Ci. 2: 138. 1990;
Hohenester & Wells, l.c.; Morales, l.c.; Izquerdo & al. (eds.), Lista de
Espec. Silvestr. Canar.: 128. 2004; Bräuchler & al., l.c. 2005, l.c. 2008,
l.c. 2010; Meimberg & al., l.c.; Govaerts, l.c.). The species comprises
perennial subshrubs in contrast to M. varia characterized by strigose
indumentum, giving the plant a greyish aspect, leaves lanceolate or
oblong-lanceolate and flowers less than 1 cm long, with white, barely
exer ted corollas. Being the long acc epted and most widely used name,
Micromeria hyssopifolia, lectotypified by Pérez de Paz (l.c.: 209) on
the specimen cited above, is here formally proposed for conservation
against T. ericifolius.
The authors express their gratitude to John McNeill and John
Wiersema for improvements to the manuscript.
Version of Record (identical to print version).
Recently, the authors presented a proposal to conserve the names Micromeria varia Bentham (1834: 374) with a conserved type and M. hyssopifolia Webb & Berthelot (1844: 72) against Thymus ericifolius Roth (1800: 50) (Puppo et al. 2014a) to avoid disruption of current usage of these two well established names. This proposal, however, was not recommended by the Nomenclature Committee (Applequist 2016) and subsequently turned down by the General Committee (Wilson 2017). While regretting this decision, we are prepared to accept the taxonomic and nomenclatural implications.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.