Jaltomata Nomenclatural History

revised 15 Oct 2015
Link to Jaltomata homepage

Mione, T. [continuously updated]. Jaltomata: A global synthesis of taxonomic, morphological and geographic information. http://web.ccsu.edu/faculty/mione/jaltomat.htm, Central Connecticut State University, Biology Department, Copernicus Hall, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050-4010 USA, date accessed.

Link to description of
the genus Jaltomata

Many Jaltomata species have basionyms in either Saracha or Hebecladus.   Keep reading if you want to find out how this came to be.  

Saracha was first described by Ruiz and Pavón (1794) in the Florae Peruvianae et Chilensis.   In the second volume of the same work (1799) both species now recognized as Saracha and others now recognized as Jaltomata were described as Saracha.   The result was a group that has since been divided; today Ruiz and Pavón's 1799 circumscription of Saracha would be described as polyphyletic.  

Miers (1848) recognized that the Saracha of Ruiz and Pavón was not a natural group and divided the genus into two groups; unfortunately, he placed the type species, Saracha punctata, and a few closely related species in a new genus, Poecilochroma.   The name Saracha was inappropriately retained for the remaining species.   In 1849 (p. 443) Miers tried to justify this by remarking, "I proposed to detach [the type species] from that genus, because, as it differed essentially in structure and in habit from all the other species enumerated by them, it could not be regarded as its type."   Miers later (1853, p. 92) transferred most Saracha species (these are now Jaltomata) to Witheringia and re-established Saracha (p. 93) in its original 1794 sense (also the current sense).   Miers later (1857, p. 149) re-established Saracha and Poecilochroma in their 1848 senses, but then in the Appendix of the same article again transferred most Saracha species (these are now Jaltomata) to Witheringia (p. 56) and re-established Saracha in the original 1794 sense (p. 57).   Macbride (1930, p. 110; 1962) apparently did not see the appendix of Miers (1857) and contributed to the nomenclatural confusion by using Poecilochroma in its original sense (= that of Miers, 1857, p. 149).   Poecilochroma was nomenclaturally superfluous when erected and is not recognized by any contemporary workers (Gentry, 1974; D'Arcy, 1979, 1986).    

Jaltomata was described by Schlechtendal (1838) with a single species, J. edulis.   The next year (1839) Schlechtendal reduced Jaltomata to synonymy under Saracha.   The species represented by Schlechtendal's J. edulis was first described as Atropa procumbens Cav. J. L. Gentry revealed this and hence, the correct name for the species that the type (J. edulis) belongs to is J. procumbens (Cav.) J. L. Gentry and J. edulis is a synonym (Gentry, 1973).   Gentry (1973) resurrected Jaltomata and noted that, "Jaltomata Schlechtendal is the correct name that applies to the plants traditionally referred to as Saracha."   He correctly transferred two Saracha species into Jaltomata and stated, "A more detailed study of the genus is required before proposing any additional nomenclatural changes."   Nevertheless, by 1986 eight additional names had been transferred to Jaltomata by various authors. Morton (1938), Gentry (1973, 1974) and Davis (1980) include more discussion of the history of the nomenclature of Jaltomata and Saracha.

As mentioned, the genus Jaltomata was described by Schlechtendal in 1838, but then some species currently recognized as Jaltomata were treated as a different genus, Hebecladus. Hebecladus was erected in 1845 by Miers to accommodate eight suffrutescent species with infundibular to tubular corollas. Several of Miers' (1845) species of Hebecladus were first (incorrectly) described as Atropa by Ruiz and Pavón (1799). These have traditionally been treated as distinct from Jaltomata. Hunziker (1979) and Nee (1986) recognized that both genera should be treated as one, as Jaltomata. In contrast, Davis (1980) and D'Arcy (1986, 1991) considered the genera to be separate. Mione (1992) adopted the approach of Hunziker (1979) and Nee (1986) and unified Jaltomata and Hebecladus. Molecular data presented by Mione (1992) and Mione et al. (1994) supported the unification of the two genera, and to date this broader concept of the genus has been adopted by all researchers. D'Arcy’s view changed over time: in a letter (January 1993) he asked T. M. to continue transferring the remaining species of Hebecladus to the genus Jaltomata.

Literature Cited