Friday, December 9, 2011

spelling of Ribes nevadense

Its plain that Albert Kellogg was, reasonably,  avuncular, yet peculiar, in his choice of plant names.  Take Marah – the etymology of which drove Kate Brandegee nuts.

Rines Navadaensis was founded on the lower left-column of page 63 the Proceedings California Academy of Natural Sciences on July 16, 1855 in San Francisco.  Dr. Lanswweert was in the Chair, and the meeting recorded “Donations to the Cabinet”.  Perhaps if all copies of the Academy proceedings had perished along with the herbarium in the 1906 earthquake and fire, we would not be left with a problem. The problem is Ribes nevadense Kellogg.  That is, how to spell the epithet of this common Sierra Nevada gooseberry. 

First, we credit Dr. Lanswweert because, from his Chair in the chair, he noted the “wild Black Mountain currant” the fruit ‘by a little culture would undoubtedly improve in every respect.”  On the upper right hand column of page 64 “The Academy and the public are indebted to the generosity of the Pacific Express Company for these value able acquisitions.

That is, the currant came to Kellogg in San Francisco via “pony express”.  The era was, as I make it out it, one of start ups:  Adams & Company was an express begun in 1849, and following that company's failure in Feb, 1855, cowboys out of a job formed the Pacific Express Company “under the leadership of Russell G. Noyes.” Instead of supplementing Wells Fargo, they offered competition.  [see:]

Thusly, the type of Ribes nevadense Kellogg, which is imaged at CAS, does not look all too fresh. That’s fine considering having bounced down in saddlebags to Sacramento, then onto a paddle wheeled steamer to The City.

The crux of the problem is this: the printed ‘protologue’ attached to the holotype, which is not the actual protologue, spells the name Ribes nevadense Kellogg – current and historic usage. 

O.k. is it Ribes nevadensis Kellogg, Ribes nevadaense Kellogg (as in Tropicos), or Ribes nevadense? Navadaensis seems to be just a typographical error: lead type set by hand ought to have such errors very frequently. In fact. the typographer coined a new genus “Rines” at the same instant (perhaps "b" was in short supply). Given what is at hand, Kellogg’s name was intended to denote “of the Sierra Nevada” –nevadensis, and not “of Nevada” – nevadaensis.  Thus, Ribes nevadensis Kellogg ought to spelled as such.  This spelling saga is now recorded.

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