Recommended English names for trees of Southern AfricaSAPPI & JEEP SPONSORED WORKGROUP
A day long event was held at the Avis Center in Johannesburg and was in association with the National Botanical Institute. Invitations to the conference were sent out to representatives of a wide spectrum of interested people and organizations. Essentially these included: academics; artists; publishers; tree authors; botanical specialists; media; National, provincial and municipal Parks; nursery men; training institutions; Tourism industry; Tree societies and wild life organizations.
At the conference a number of speakers presented their views on the feasibility and necessity for name changes. Lively debate and discussion followed. Early on, the central role played by the Dendrological Foundation and Fried and Jutta von Breitenbach in particular was acknowledged. It was unanimously agreed that without their initial contribution the state of our naming would be significantly less efficient today, than in fact it is. The day was dedicated to Fried von Breitenbach.
Within a few hours the general feeling reflected a concerted opinion that it was in South Africa's long term interests to improve the existing names where necessary. A list of principles were drawn up to guide decisions about these changes, and small workgroups discussed the principles, prioritized them and presented their findings to the larger audience. These priorities were statistically evaluated and weighted by Prof Kevin Balkwill. After the conference each participant was given the opportunity of prioritizing the principles individually on a questionnaire, which was then included in a second statistical evaluation.
From 11 August to 8 October the elected work group met regularly to apply
the principles and below is a summary of the prioritized principles and
how they were applied and the suggested new names. We would like to emphasize
that this project centers on Recommended English names. There is the need
to distinguish between what is meant by a recommended name as opposed
to a common name. A recommended name is a name recommended as the wider
South African choice for publishers, the nursery and eco-tourism industries.
Common names are variable: a tree may have more than one common name,
depending on the area where it is found. Some common names will remain
in use locally and this is how heritage is retained.
Below are a number of important summaries and comments
At the end of this introductory document see the discussion of linguistic
considerations by J. O. Hendry, an English editor who has worked in conservation
publishing for many years. The English standards used by the group were
generally in keeping with his recommendations - although he was not part
of the discussion for each and every tree and cannot be held responsible
for any inconsistencies!
Principles / criteria generated during workshop applied by the Workgroup - more or less in this order of priority
Is there currently an accepted common name for this genus?
Is this name accurate, acceptable and consistently applied?
Yes, thus it is not necessary to change the common name of the genus.
Do all the species descriptors conform to the principles or do any need to
Some need to be changed: P. Falcatus, currently known as the Outeniqua Yellowwood, occurs more widely than only in the Outeniqua region, and therefore the name Narrow-leaved Yellowwood / Sickle-leaved Yellowwood has been proposed for this species. It has been proposed that the common name for P. latifolius, Real Yellowwood, be changed to Broad-leaved Yellowwood in order to match the change made to the name of P. falcatus. This brings about better consistency, even though the name Real Yellowwood has some historical significance as being the superior species to use for lumber.
The genus Celtis
The genus Ficus
The genus Protea
The genus Cadaba
The genera Acacia and Albizia
The genus Pittosporum
The genus Rhus
However, these sub-groups clearly belong within the genus Rhus. Rhus
is a short name that has been recognized and used world-wide for over
two thousand years, being mentioned by Pliny in Latin writings and appearing
in modern English dictionaries. As a compromise between recognising the
infra-generic (within) and showing the relationship of all the members
of the genus, we opted for Karree-rhus, Kuni-rhus and Currant-rhus. A
few people have responded that this is cumbersome and unnecessary, but
the group still feel there is merit and invite specific feedback please.
The following notes are generally much briefer and NOT a complete list of all alterations and changes - but are useful. The number is the accepted SA Tree numberThis section gives an idea of how the working group arrived at some of their decisions.
1. Grassland describes the difference in habitat of the Tree-ferns.
10. Natal is politically incorrect and Kwazulu-Natal is cumbersome. Giant is the best name we could think of for it, but it may not be the biggest cycad.
19 & 21. The Widdringtonias are closer to cypresses than cedars. Wood has the smell and texture of cypress.
23 & 24. The common names of the Hyphaenes did not reflect their relationship. They become Lala-palms and Northern and Southern separates them on distribution.
28.3. Aloe alooides is not confined to Graskop. The group is split on Drooping-leaves vs. Weeping.
29.1. Aloe dolomitica is not restricted to the Wolkberg.
36.1. Natal is politically incorrect. Flute comes from the Afrikaans name.
72.1 & 2. Bottlebrush is misleading because of the commonly grown garden plant. Pagoda comes from the shape of the inflorescence.
83-85.1. Leucospermums: " tree" has been dropped because all those which qualify for the tree list attain tree size.
117.1. Dahlgrenodendron is made a Wild-laurel to differentiate it from the Cryptocarya, which are Wild-quinces. Relic refers to its rarity, while Natal is politically incorrect.
142-144. These all become Witch-hazels as this is what other members of the family are know as internationally. The Green could be replaced by Splendid - far more apt for a stunning tree than Green.
147. Becomes the African Almond. Almond because it is in the genus Prunus, the only species in Africa. Stinkwood leads to confusion with Celtis and Ocotea.
191. Wattle leads to confusion with the alien invader Acacias. Lebombo is inappropriate as it is common on the sandy flats rather than the mountains. It also occurs north of the Lebombo Mountains.
213. Senna is preferred rather than pod because lots of plants in Fabaceae have pod in the name.
219. Calpurnia is preferred over laburnum as it does not belong to the same genus. Calpurnius copied the works of Virgil. Showy Calpurnia is suggested for Calpurnia aurea due to its beauty.
229. Sandforest Peawood to separate it from Craibia brevicaudata - Mountain Peawood.
248-250. "Tree" is dropped to avoid confusion with the Koko-tree in Maytenus.
262. Wild-mandarin: the fruit looks like a small mandarin. Wart-berry is the Zimbabwean name, but there is a concern that this may be a denigrating name.
307. Coastal Coalwood, descriptive of the distribution, to separate it from the Rock Coalwood.
311-312. Potato-bush Phyllanthus, Woody Phyllanthus, Forest Phyllanthus - all show the genus relationship.
397. Cape Holly, distribution is wider. Suggest African Holly.
421. Has no thorns. Suggest Thornless Cassinopsis and Spiny Cassinopsis.
425. Suggest African False-currant because is it more widespread and because the fruit is not black.
423. Small False-currant referring to the fact that the leaflets (and leaves) are smaller than in 425.
429. Natal is politically incorrect. Suggest Forest Krantz-ash.
430. Suggest Coastal because not restricted to dunes.
430.1. Suggest Northern because Transvaal is not politically correct.
130 & 131.1. Caper instead of Caper-bush as capers come from plants of the same genus.
68.1 Looking for a name because it seems that mature leaves do not have velvet hairs. Also nigropunctata (blackspots) may only apply to dry specimens.
93. There are other white Proteas therefore we suggest looking for an additional descriptor.
93.1. Suggest Narrow-leaved Protea as per Rebelo.
94. Bredasdorp vs. Limestone (as per Rebelo)?
86 Waboom Protea. Waboom is the name it is well known as. See discussion on Proteas and sugarbushes covered above
129.2. Grey-leaves to distinguish from Cadaba natalensis.
160. It is the pods that are red, therefore Flame-pod is suggested.
209. African Camel's Foot to differentiate between this tree and those exotic Bauhinias called Camel's Foot. Some of these escape from cultivation.
236. Wild Teak is wrong. Suggest Bloodwood because the cut wood has a red sap; or suggest Real because this is THE Kiaat. Mukwa is widely used in Africa and will be the Zimbabwean name.
283. Sweet-root Corkwood is suggested because many Commiphoras have green stems.
371. Weeping Resin-tree refers to the drooping foliage.
479. Plane Ochna refers to the bark, which bears some resemblance to Platanus, the true Plane.
581. Transvaal is not politically correct. Suggest Stamvrug with or without Milkplum. Milkplum shows the relationship with 582.
602-611. Diospyros are separated into Jackal-berries and Star-apples on the basis of their fruits.
606. Added Ebony as a descriptor with reference to its wood.
314. Golden-haired Ironplum is preferred to Forest as it is not the only Ironplum which grows in the forest.
315. Suggest Blue-leaved and Lowveld should be considered instead of Sand.
313. Water is incorrect. The group struggled to find a name and eventually came up with Small, referring to the small size of the tree.
314.1. Rare or Tonga were preferred to False Forest.
317. Sand Red-heart is suggested to describe where the tree grows and to differentiate it from H. acida, which grows mainly in Miombo.
320. Umzithi is preferred to False Tamboti, which we think is the name used both in SE Zimbabwe and Maputaland.
322. This is not a hickory, which are Carya. We felt that Cavacoa is quite easy and shouldn't present problems as this is an uncommon tree.
332.2. False Bead-string is preferred to Common bead-string. False refers to the fact that the true Bead-strings are Alchornea.
333. Zulu does not describe the full distribution of this species. Due to the fact that it is confined to only a few forests, Relic is suggested.
335. River Macaranga describes the habitat and gets away from the incorrect association with the poplars.
338. Pigskin refers to the leaf surface and is preferred to Common.
339. Large is suggested as an option because all 3 species do occur in forest, whilst S. procera is the largest.
341.2. Southern is preferred to Coastal as this more accurately describes its distribution relative to bussei.
342. Sapium sebiferum is the Chinese tallow tree from which a wax is extracted. Suggest that tallow replaces tree.
365. Loxostylis is suggested as Tarwood is probably an incorrect translation.
367. Pain-bush is suggested in reference to the sap, which causes severe skin irritation.
437. The Sand-olives can be separated on broad and narrow leaves.
452. Dogwood is Cornus of a different family. Suggest Shiny-leaf or African-dogwood.
456.3,4 & 5. Suggest drop forest as revoilii is probably not a true forest creeper and digitata does occur in forest. By dropping forest, the name is shortened.
456.5. Suggest Heart-leaved instead of Common. This is the only one with simple, heart-shaped leaves.
456. Green is added to separate the plant from C. juttae.
444-446. Suggests Greyia to distinguish from the Australian Bottle-brushes, which are widely grown. Glossy and Woolly are suggested over Natal and Transvaal.
464. Lagoon Hibiscus is suggested as the tree is restricted to such habitat.
465. Small-leaved is preferred to Wild. It has smaller leaves than T. populnea, which occurs in Mozambique.
478. Cola instead of Coshwood is an alternative suggestion. The Coshwoods are used for sticks, but Cola is easy to remember. Southern could be used as a descriptor for natalensis.
484. Small-leaved is useful to separate H. revolutum from H. roeperianum.
486. African is preferred as it is not confined to Lowveld.
489.1. Pocketed Violet-bush refers to the hairy pockets in the vein axils. An alternative is to use Sandstone. This refers to the fact that it is a sandstone endemic.
505. Albino-berry more accurately describes the fruit.
507-511. Sourberry is probably not accurate as many have sweet fruit. Apricot is also wrong, so Kei-apple is suggested to hold the genus together.
511. Oval refers to the fruit shape or sour to the taste of the fruit.
509. Small refers to small leaves and the general small size of the shrub.
491. Not a peach because the fruit is a capsule. Rawsonia was used in Palgrave.
494. Wild Peach is a concern because it in no way resembles a peach. The group struggled to find an alternative, although the suggestion Caterpillar Food was made.
495-498. Thorn-pear is suggested as a better name to describe the genus, as they mostly all have spines. Waxy is suggested as a descriptor for 498.
496.1. It is felt that Wakkerstroom is more descriptive as it is unclear what Pongola refers to.
496. The group got stuck on S. mundii for some time, and decided to call it Tuesdii Red-pear.
499. False Thorn-pear as the suggested name for Scolopia is Thorn-pear.
501. Add Giant to Brown-ironwood to separate from the other Homaliums.
503. Round-leaved Wild-mulberry adds a useful descriptor to the name.
521. The group felt that Pompom is the more widely used spelling.
523.1. This is not a Privet as it is in its own endemic family. Suggest Nicholson's Tree to honour Hugh Nicholson who rediscovered the tree more than 80 years after it was last collected.
525. Indian is not correct. Suggest Tagal which is the Tamil name for the tree.
529. Layered or Forest Onionwood. Layered refers to growth habit, while Forest describes the habitat.
559. Suggest create the name Cape-gum as there are many plants called Myrtle. Cape Myrtle could not be used because it is used for Myrsine.
560. Natal can't be used, so Small-leaved separates it from bachmannii.
571. This is not a Cranberry, which has red fruit. The proper Blueberry is Vaccinium. There is only one Vaccinium in Africa. Suggest use Blueberry.
572. Suggest Tree-erica instead of Tree Heath. Tree Heath is Erica arborea which is European.
612. There are Jasmines in SA so Wooden-pear is preferred.
621. Replace Transvaal with Narrow-leaved and Real with Broad-leaved to assist in differentiating the species.
57. F. natalensis is not restricted to KwaZulu-Natal.
161. Black Monkey Acacia refers originally to the black faces of Vervet Monkeys. Refer to CA Smith.
301. Natal Mahogany is very well known so we make an exception and use Natal here.
362. Kanniedood is used for Commiphora as well.
438. The label on the original specimen of Hippobromus referred to the smell of horse urine. The label had presumably been misplaced from Clausena.
448. pubescens is also thornless and riverine in habitat.
623. The Monkey-oranges are large with hard skins, while the Bitter-berries are small and soft-skinned.
640. Suggest Sandpaper Poison-bush as an option.
639. Spine-tipped describes a feature, which may be used to separate the tree from oblongifolia.
640.4. Suggest simple-spined as it is the only species with single thorns.
640.2. Lowveld describes the distribution of this species and Forest the habitat of 640.1. Carissa is also suggested as a possible alternative common name for the genus.
640.3. Suggest Amatungulu Num-num as the tree is well known as this.
644. Warty as a descriptor .
647.2. Forest describes the habitat and is more useful than common.
649. Halfmens is well known.
651-655. Suggest Saucer-berry as the name for the genus.
681.9-723.1. Rubiaceae a difficult family to learn, so start off with opposite leaves and inter-petiolar stipules then go on to fruits. Three types of fruits: Gardenia, Coffee, Vanqueria.
656.1. Stamperwood - the wood is hard and used for assegaai and grain stamps.
668. Very descriptive of flowers and in line with the name of the cultivated plants.
669.4. Bitter-apple genus name. Healing leaf - medicinal uses.
674. Pomegranate Rhigozen fruit. Doesn't look like pomegranate Rhigozen has been in Palgrave for 22 years.
681. Well known as Mackaya in Nurseries.
688. Wild-pomegranate - Buffalo horns? Mabberly gives as Buffalo wood.
696.1. Hatpins - False-loquat: the leaves do somewhat resemble the cultivated loquat, descriptive of the flowers.
706. C. spinosum can't be coastal, spiny or thorny because several species have spines.
711. Quar old name for P. obovatum used as generic name for Psydrax.
714. Keetia need a descriptor.
719.1. Brides-bush: all Pavettas have glands so P. edentula cannot be gland-leaf tree.
723.3. Bitter-tear is a contrived name derived from the earlier name Blue-tea. Veronica is better known.
723.3. Not the most likely riverine species of this genus.
736. Too many daisy-bushes. Salad-bush is an older name.
737. Not confined to the Suurberg. Donkey-ears is an old name.
439-443. Too many "white", and it is not an Ash. Bersama is easy
to use and say and is an Ethiopian vernacular name for a species of Bersama.
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RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE USE OF INITIAL CAPITALIZATION AND THE HYPHEN
H.W. Fowler in Modern English Usage makes the following general comments:
In the matter of the hyphen its infinite variety defies description. No two sets of style rules give consistently the same advice.
Capital letters their present use is almost as anarchic as hyphens. Uniformity is lacking - no two sets of style rules would agree in every respect.
These comments make it clear that there is considerable flexibility in the range of 'correct' usages, and that (within the limits of certain agreed broad principles) usage can be determined by the user to meet specific needs.
THE USE OF INITIAL CAPITAL LETTERS
J.O. HENDRY B.A. M.Ed. - Additional comments at a meeting with the Workgroup 21 September 1999
Richard Boon, Conservation Ecologist, KwaZulu-Natal. Tel: (031) 201-0909 email@example.com
Gael Campbell-Young, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and Tree Society, Wits University. Tel: (011) 716-4006.
Meg Coates Palgrave, author and tree expert. Tel: (015) 296-3080. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugh Glen, National Herbarium, National Botanical Institute and Tree Society. Tel: (012) 804-3200. email: email@example.com
Marie Jordaan, National Herbarium, National Botanical Institute. Tel:(012)804-3200. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mervyn Lotter, Mpumalanga Parks Board, Mpumalanga Plant Specialist Group. Tel: (013) 235-2395. email: email@example.com
Ernst Schmidt, Mpumalanga Plant Specialist Group. Tel: (013) 737-8749. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Val Thomas, co-author of Sappi Tree Spotting Series. Tel: (011) 648-1157.
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Updated 31 January 2002