Gastrolobium celsianum

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Plant Propagation

Taxonomy is that section of botany which is concerned with the valid naming of plants. Often botanists who are studying a particular group of plants will find that the relationships between individual species (or genera) are different to what has been previously published or that the previously published names are invalid for one reason or another. As a result, this research may lead to name changes resulting from:

  • Old, invalid names being replaced (eg. Banksia prostrata became Banksia gardneri)
  • Old, superseded names being restored (eg. Hakea pugioniformis reverted to Hakea teretifolia)
  • Species being reclassified to different genera (eg. Eucalyptus maculata became Corymbia maculata - see footnote 4)
  • Previous single, highly variable species being divided into two or more separate species (eg. the variable Banksia sphaerocarpa complex was divided into 8 separate species.)
  • Previous similar species being combined into a single species (eg. Eucalyptus stoatei was incorporated into Eucalyptus forrestiana as Eucalyptus forrestiana subspecies stoatei)
  • Previous sub-species or varieties being raised to species status (eg. Banksia integrifolia variety aquilonia became Banksia aquilonia).

Acceptance of name changes

Taxonomists are sometimes criticised by their peers and others for what is seen to be an excessive enthusiasm for revising plant names. Name changes can be frustrating, can be difficult to keep track of and, when changes involve a group of plants which is entrenched in folklore (such as the eucalypts or banksias), they can also result in some antagonism.

Botanical revision is rarely carried out without a great deal of research but it needs to be appreciated that publication of a name change in a botanical or other journal does not necessarily mean that the change will be accepted by the wider botanical (and general) community. As an example, a publication by Lyn Craven of the Australian National Herbarium (Novon 16 468-475; December 2006 "New Combinations in Melaleuca for Australian Species of Callistemon (Myrtaceae)") argues that the differences between Callistemon and Melaleuca are insufficient to warrant them being retained separately and that they should be combined. As Melaleuca has precedence, adoption of Craven's work would transfer all species of Callistemon into Melaleuca. Some state herbaria have adopted this change while others retain the two genera as separate.

A national database of plant names

The issue of some authorities accepting a re-classified plant name while others do not raises a problem for an organisation like ANPSA. What names do we accept?

Our approach is to adopt the Australian Plant Census which is accessible through the National Species List of vascular plants. The Australian Plant Census provides a nationally-accepted taxonomy which is endorsed by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. The Census is a work in progress and not all plants have been reviewed.

Commonly encountered name changes

The following list is not intended to be comprehensive and it should not be regarded as definitive. It concentrates on those species of Australian plants which are more commonly encountered and where name changes are likely to cause confusion.

Advice of any significant errors or omissions in the list would be appreciated.

Table 1: Some Commonly Encountered Name Changes for Australian Plants
Currently accepted names are shown in bold. Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes at the bottom of the tables.

Previous Name New Name
Abelmoschus moschatus ssp tuberosus Native rosella Hibiscus rhodopetalus  
Acacia aulacocarpa Hickory wattle   Acacia disparrima and others (12)
Acacia armata Kangaroo thorn   Acacia paradoxa
Acacia binervia Coast Myall Acacia glaucescens  
Acacia disparrima (12) Hickory wattle Acacia aulacocarpa  
Acacia glaucescens Coast Myall   Acacia binervia
Acacia paradoxa Kangaroo thorn Acacia armata  
Acmena smithii Lilly-pilly Eugenia smithii  
Allocasuarina littoralis Black she-oak Casuarina littoralis  
Allocasuarina torulosa Forest oak Casuarina torulosa  
Allocasuarina verticillata Drooping she-oak Casurarina stricta  
Alloxylon flammeum Tree waratah Oreocallis "wickhamii" (1)  
Alloxylon pinnatum Dorrigo waratah Oreocallis pinnata  
Alocasia brisbanensis Cunjevoi Alocasia macrorrhizos  
Alocasia macrorrhizos Cunjevoi   Alocasia brisbanensis
Anetholea anisata Aniseed myrtle Backhousia anisata  
Asteromyrtus brassii   Melaleuca brassii  
Auranticarpa rhombifolium Diamond-leaf pittosporum Pittosporum rhombifolium  
Austromyrtus inophloia Thready-barked myrtle   Gossia inophloia
Backhousia anisata Aniseed myrtle   Anetholea anisata
Baeckea sp. Mt Tozer     Sannantha tozerensis
Baeckea ramosissima Rosy baeckea   Euryomyrtus ramosissima
Baeckea virgata (10) Tall Baeckea   Various genera (10)
Banksia aemula Wallum banksia Banksia serratifolia  
Banksia aquilonia   Banksia integrifolia
Banksia asplenifolia     Banksia oblongifolia
Banksia gardneri   Banksia prostrata  
Banksia integrifolia var.aquilonia     Banksia aquilonia
Banksia oblongifolia   Banksia asplenifolia  
Banksia prostrata     Banksia gardneri
Banksia serratifolia Wallum banksia   Banksia aemula
Billardiera erubescens Red billardiera   Marianthus erubescens
Billardiera heterophylla Bluebell climber Sollya heterophylla  
Brachyscome sp. aff. melanocarpa "Pilliga Posy"   Brachyscome formosa
Brachyscome formosa "Pilliga Posy" Brachyscome sp. aff. melanocarpa  
Brachysema celsianum (14) Swan River pea   Gastrolobium celsianum
Brachysema lanceolatum (14) Swan River pea   Gastrolobium celsianum
Bracteantha bracteata (11) Golden everlasting   Xerochrysum bracteatum
Bracteantha subundulata (11) Orange everlasting   Xerochrysum subundulatum
Callistemon macropunctatus Scarlet Bottlebrush   Callistemon rugulosus
Callistemon paludosus (2) River bottlebrush   Callistemon sieberi
Callistemon pityoides (2) Alpine bottlebrush Callistemon sieberi  
Callistemon rugulosus Scarlet Bottlebrush Callistemon macropunctatus  
Callistemon sieberi (2) River Bottlebrush Callistemon paludosus  
Callistemon sieberi (2) Alpine bottlebrush   Callistemon pityoides
Calytrix sullivanii (3) Fringe Myrtle   Calytrix tetragona
Calytrix tetragona Fringe Myrtle Calytrix sullivanii (3)  
Cassia artemisioides Silver cassia   Senna artemisioides
Cassia odorata     Senna odorata
Casuarina littoralis Black she-oak   Allocasuarina littoralis
Casuarina stricta Drooping she-oak   Allocasuarina verticillata
Casuarina torulosa Forest oak   Allocasuarina torulosa
Chionogentias spp. (9) Mountain gentian Gentianella diemensis  
Chrysocephalum apiculatum Common everlasting Helichrysum apiculatum/H.ramosissimum  
Citrus australasica Finger lime Microcitrus australasica  
Citrus glauca Wild lime Eremocitrus glauca  
Clianthus formosus Sturt's desert pea   Swainsona formosa
Coronidium elatum   Helichrysum elatum  
Coronidium scorpioides Button Everlasting Helichrysum scorpioides  
Corymbia calophylla (4) Marri Eucalyptus calophylla  
Corymbia citriodora (4) Lemon-scented gum Eucalyptus citriodora  
Corymbia ficifolia (4) Red flowering gum Eucalyptus ficifolia  
Corymbia maculata (4) Spotted gum Eucalyptus maculata  
Dendrobium bigibbum f. phalaenopsis (17) Cooktown orchid   Vappodes phalaenopsis
Dendrobium cucumerinum Cucumber orchid   Dockrillia cucumerina
Dendrobium linguiforme Tongue orchid   Dockrillia linguiformis
Dendrobium pugioniforme Dagger orchid   Dockrillia pugioniformis
Derwentia perfoliata   Parahebe perfoliata  
Dianella laevis (15) Smooth flax lily   Dianella longifolia
Dianella longifolia (15) Smooth flax lily Dianella laevis  
Dockrillia cucumerina Cucumber orchid Dendrobium cucumerinum  
Dockrillia linguiformis Tongue orchid Dendrobium linguiforme  
Dockrillia pugioniformis Dagger orchid Dendrobium pugioniforme  
Dryandra sp. (16)   Dryandra sp. Banksia sp.
Eremocitrus glauca Wild lime   Citrus glauca
Eremophila debilis Winter apple Myoporum debile  
Eriostemon myoporoides Long-leaf wax flower   Philotheca myoporoides
Eucalyptus calophylla (4) Marri   Corymbia calophylla
Eucalyptus citriodora (4) Lemon-scented gum   Corymbia citriodora
Eucalyptus ficifolia (4) Red flowering gum   Corymbia ficifolia
Eucalyptus maculata (4) Spotted gum   Corymbia maculata
Eugenia australis Scrub or magenta cherry   Syzygium australe/
Syzygium paniculatum
Eugenia cyanocarpa Blue lilly-pilly   Syzygium oleosum
Eugenia floribunda Weeping lilly-pilly   Waterhousea floribunda
Eugenia luehmannii Small leaved lilly-pilly   Syzygium luehmannii
Eugenia smithii Lilly-pilly   Acmena smithii
Euodia elleryana Corkwood   Melicope elleryana
Euryomyrtus ramosissima Rosy baeckea Baeckea ramosissima  
Evodiella muelleri Little Evodia   Melicope rubra
Gastrolobium celsianum (14) Swan River pea Brachysema celsianum  
Gentianella diemensis (9) Mountain gentian   Chionogentias spp.
Gossia inophloia Thready-barked myrtle Austromyrtus inophloia  
Grevillea biternata (6)     Grevillea curviloba subsp.
Grevillea curviloba subsp incurva   Grevillea biternata (6)  
Hakea archaeoides Hakea Hakea trineura (southern form)  
Hakea coriacea Hakea   Now included in Hakea francisiana
Hakea drupacea Sweet hakea Hakea suaveolens  
Hakea salicifolia Willow-leaved hakea Hakea saligna  
Hakea saligna Willow-leaved hakea   Hakea salicifolia
Hakea suaveolens Sweet hakea   Hakea drupacea
Hakea trineura (southern form) Hakea   Hakea archaeoides
Helichrysum acuminatum (11) Orange everlasting   Xerochrysum subundulatum
Helichrysum apiculatum Common everlasting   Chrysocephalum apiculatum
Helichrysum bracteatum (11) Golden everlasting   Xerochrysum bracteatum
Helichrysum diosmifolium Riceflower   Ozothamnus diosmifolius
Helichrysum elatum     Coronidium elatum
Helichrysum ramosissimum Yellow buttons   Chrysocephalum apiculatum
Helichrysum scorpioides Button Everlasting   Coronidium scorpioides
Helichrysum subulifolium Showy everlasting   Schoenia filifolia
Helipterum anthemoides     Rhodanthe anthemoides
Helipterum manglesii Pink everlasting   Rhodanthe manglesii
Helipterum roseum Pink paper daisy   Rhodanthe chlorocephala
Hibiscus rhodopetalus Native rosella   Abelmoschus moschatus ssp.tuberosus
Kreysigia multiflora Bush lily   Tripladenia cunninghamii
Kunzea ericoides Burgan Leptospermum ericoides  
Leionema ambiens (7)   Phebalium ambiens  
Leionema dentatum (7)   Phebalium dentatum  
Leionema phylicifolium (7)   Phebalium phylicifolium  
Leptospermum ericoides Burgan   Kunzea ericoides
Leptospermum flavescens Yellow tea tree   Leptospermum polygalifolium
Leptospermum lanigerum
    Leptospermum macrocarpum
Leptospermum macrocarpum   Leptospermum lanigerum
Leptospermum polygalifolium Yellow tea tree Leptospermum flavescens  
Leptospermum rotundifolium   Leptospermum scoparium
Leptospermum scoparium
    Leptospermum rotundifolium
Lophostemon confertus Brush box Tristania conferta  
Marianthus erubescens Red billardiera Billardiera erubescens  
Melaleuca brassii     Asteromyrtus brassii
Melaleuca diosmatifolia   Melaleuca erubescens  
Melaleuca erubescens     Melaleuca diosmatifolia
Melicope elleryana Corkwood Euodia elleryana  
Melicope rubra Little Evodia Evodiella muelleri  
Microcitrus australasica Finger lime   Citrus australasica
Microstrobos fitzgeraldii Dwarf mountain pine   Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii
Myoporum debile Winter apple   Eremophila debilis
Nematolepis squamea (7)   Phebalium squameum  
Omalanthus nutans Bleeding heart Omalanthus populifolius  
Omalanthus populifolius Bleeding heart   Omalanthus nutans
Oreocallis pinnata Dorrigo waratah   Alloxylon pinnatum
Oreocallis "wickhamii" (1) Tree waratah   Alloxylon flammeum
Oxylobium scandens     Podolobium scandens
Ozothamnus diosmifolius Riceflower Helichrysum diosmifolium  
Parahebe perfoliata     Derwentia perfoliata
Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii Dwarf mountain pine Microstrobos fitzgeraldii  
Phebalium ambiens (7)     Leionema ambiens
Phebalium dentatum (7)     Leionema dentatum
Phebalium phylicifolium (7)     Leionema phylicifolium
Phebalium squameum (7)     Nematolepis squamea
Philotheca myoporoides Long-leaf wax flower Eriostemon myoporoides  
Pittosporum rhombifolium Diamond-leaf pittosporum   Auranticarpa rhombifolium
Podolobium scandens   Oxylobium scandens  
Ptilotus exaltatus Pink mulla mulla   Ptilotus nobilis
Rhodanthe anthemoides   Helipterum anthemoides  
Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp.rosea Pink paper daisy Helipterum roseum  
Rhodanthe manglesii Pink everlasting Helipterum manglesii  
Sannantha tozerensis   Baeckea sp. Mt Tozer  
Senna artemisioides Silver cassia Cassia artemisioides  
Senna odorata   Cassia odorata  
Schoenia filifolia ssp.subulifera Showy everlasting Helichrysum subulifolium  
Sollya heterophylla Bluebell climber   Billardiera heterophylla
Stypandra caespitosum Tufted blue-lily   Thelionema caespitosum
Swainsona formosa (8) Sturt's desert pea Clianthus formosus  
Syncarpia glomulifera Turpentine Syncarpia laurifolia  
Syncarpia laurifolia Turpentine   Syncarpia glomulifera
Syzygium australe (5) Scrub or magenta cherry Eugenia australis  
Syzygium coolminianum Blue lilly-pilly   Syzygium oleosum
Syzygium floribundum Weeping lilly-pilly Waterhousea floribunda
Eugenia floribunda
Syzygium luehmannii Small leaved lilly-pilly Eugenia luehmannii  
Syzygium oleosum Blue lilly-pilly Eugenia cyanocarpa/
Syzygium coolminianum
Syzygium paniculatum (5) Scrub or magenta cherry Eugenia australis  
Syzygium unipunctatum Roly poly satinash Waterhousea unipunctata  
Thelionema caespitosum Tufted blue-lily Stypandra caespitosum  
Toona australis Red cedar   Toona ciliata
Toona ciliata Red cedar Toona australis  
Tripladenia cunninghamii Bush lily Kreysigia multiflora  
Tristania conferta Brush box   Lophostemon confertus
Tristania laurina Water gum   Tristaniopsis laurina
Tristaniopsis laurina Water gum Tristania laurina  
Vappodes phalaenopsis (17) Cooktown Orchid Dendrobium bigibbum f. phalaenopsis  
Viola banksii (13) Native violet Viola hederacea  
Viola hederacea (13) Native violet   Viola banksii
Xerochrysum bracteatum (11) Golden everlasting Bracteantha bracteata/Helichrysum bracteatum  
Xerochrysum subundulatum (11) Orange everlasting Bracteantha subundulata/Helichrysum acuminatum  

Table 2: Some Re-classified Plant Families.
Currently accepted names are shown in bold

Superseded Family Name
Common Genera New Family Name
Caesalpiniaceae Cassia, Senna Now included in Fabaceae as sub-family Caesalpinioideae
Epracidaceae Epacris, Leucopogon, Styphelia Now included in Ericaceae as sub-family Styphelioideae
Mimosaceae Acacia, Parachidendron Now included in Fabaceae as sub-family Mimosoideae
Myoporaceae Eremophila, Myoporum Now included in Scrophulariaceae
Sterculeaceae Brachychiton, Guichenotia, Thomasia Now included in Malvaceae as sub-family Sterculioideae

  1. The plant commonly cultivated as Oreocallis wickhamii was not, in fact, the true O.wickhamii (now known as Alloxylon wickhamii)

  2. The Callistemon paludosus/pityoides/sieberi changes are confusing. Apparently research has shown that the plant previously referred to as C.paludosus was attributable to the original description of C.sieberi, thus requiring the reinstatement of the original name. As a result a new name (C.pityoides) has been applied to the plant previously known as C.sieberi.

  3. Calytrix sullivanii has been incorporated into the existing species, C.tetragona.

  4. In 1995 the genus Corymbia, of 113 species, was created by K.Hill and L.Johnson (Telopea, Volume 6(2-3)). In addition to 33 new species, Hill and Johnson transferred the four Eucalyptus species listed here, plus another 76, to the new genus. More recently, Ian Brooker absorbed both Corymbia and Angophora into Eucalyptus (Australian Systematic Botany 13, 79-148.) but this work does not appear to have gained wide acceptance and most authorities retain Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora as separate genera.

  5. Eugenia australis is now regarded as two separate species, Syzygium australe and S.paniculatum.

  6. The popular garden plant commonly known as Grevillea biternata is incorrectly named. The correct name is G.curviloba subsp incurva. The true G.biternata is not widely cultivated.

  7. Extensive revision of the genus Phebalium by Paul Wilson has seen 21 species transferred to the genus Leionema, 6 species transferred to Nematolepis and 3 species transferred to Rhadinothamnus. 25 species remain in Phebalium.

  8. Alex George (well known to many for his work in the revision of Banksia and Dryandra and for his work on the Flora Of Australia project) published a name change for Sturt's desert pea in the 'Western Australian Naturalist' in 1999. He has called the plant Willdampia formosa in honour of the explorer William Dampier. This proposal, however, does not seem to have received general acceptance.

  9. Until 1995, all Australian gentians were considered to be included under Gentianella diemensis. They have now been transferred to the genus Chionogentias and split into 14 separate species. The genus Chionogentias also occurs outside of Australia.

  10. The species formerly known as Baeckea virgata is now considered to be restricted to New Caledonia and does not occur in Australia. Australian plants formerly referred to Baeckea virgata are now considered to belong to a number of different genera including Sannantha, Kardomia and Harmogia.

  11. Several species formerly included in the genus Helichrysum were transferred to the new genus Bracteantha in 1991. However, it has recently (2001) been discovered that the name Xerochrysum, published by a Russian botanist in 1990, must take precedence under the rules of botanical nomenclature. This means that Bracteantha bracteatum and B.subundulata (and several other species) are now reclassified under the genus Xerochrysum.

  12. The name Acacia aulacocarpa is still current but has been widely misapplied and a number of forms previously referred to as A.aulacocarpa have now been transferred to other species. The form from coastal and near coastal areas of south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales (and the one most commonly referred to as A.aulacocarpa in the past) is now A.disparrima.

  13. The name Viola hederacea is still current but research has indicated that the form commonly cultivated is sufficiently distinct from the type form of that species to warrant re-classification.

  14. All species in the genus Brachysema have been transferred to the genus Gastrolobium.

  15. Dianella laevis is now recognised as D.longifolia in WA, NT, Qld, NSW and the ACT. Victorian populations are regarded as distinct and the name D.laevis is still current in that State.

  16. A paper published by A R Mast and K Thiele (The transfer of Dryandra R.Br. to Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae); Australian Systematic Botany, 26 February 2007), proposed that the genus Dryandra be subsumed into Banksia. This revised classification has been accepted by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria and the new Banksia names now appear on Florabase (the website for the Western Australian Herbarium) and in the Australian Plant Census. The new classification has come in for some criticism but, as the Australian Plant Census has been adopted as the authority on plant names by ANPSA, the revised classifiation has been accepted on the ANPSA website.

  17. Dendrobium bigibbum has been re-classified as Vappodes bigibba. However, the well known Cooktown Orchid, formerly classified as a form of D. bigibbum has been placed in Vappodes phalaenopsis.

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Thanks to John Wrigley, Cas Liber, John Atkinson and Angus McLeod for providing comments and suggestions.