Name Changes For Carex Species of San Jacinto Mountain Over Time

Harvey Monroe Hall, 1902

Harvey Monroe Hall produced a flora of San Jacinto Mountain for the pine belt and higher elevations (above roughly 5000 - 7000 feet elevation) in 1902. I began updating that flora to species names used in the Jepson Manual with the Carex genus because I was interested in the Carex distribution.

I was very surprised at how much work it was to update the flora for that genus. It was not just a straightforward job of updating species names, since it was in general impossible to divine the current species names attached to a given name in Hall. This page details the changes in the species names with time.

This work could not have done without the online access provided to the Hall vouchers by SMASCH. I thank Richard Moe for investigating the missing vouchers, and providing some of the field notes from Hall.

The following table gives the species names from Hall, and the current JM names of each of Hall's vouchers. Author names are given for Hall's names; author names for the JM names are in the JM.

Hall NameVoucher
JM NameCollection Location
C. festiva Dewey2250C. subfuscaFuller's mill, 5800 feet
2492C. multicostataLake Surprise, 9000 feet
C. feta Bailey2459C. fractaTahquitz Valley, 7000 feet
2561C. nebrascensis (should be C. senta?1)Fuller's Mill, 5800 feet
2665C. fractaStrawberry Valley, 5300 feet
C. hallii Bailey2338C. nebrascensis (should be C. senta?1)Deer Springs, 9000 feet
2483* (probably C. senta1)Round Valley, 9000 feet
C. marcida Boott.2664C. praegracilisWest end Fullers Ridge, 5200 feet
C. nebraskensis Dewey2484C. nebrascensisRound Valley (printed flora) / Tamarack Valley (voucher label), 9000 feet
C. nudata W. Boott2461^ (probably C. senta1)Tahquitz Creek, 7000 feet
C. preslii Steud.2416C. subfuscaSan Jacinto Peak summit

* Voucher not present in SMASCH

^ Voucher in SMASCH is of Helenium bigelovii, which was Hall 2469 in his notebook.

1 The speculative assignments of these taxa to C. senta comes from Hall's words in his printed flora. Hall identifies only one specimen himself from a single location as C. nebraskensis, and says:

collected in Round Valley with the last, from which it is readily distinguished in the field by its ashy-gray color. It is not so abundant as C. hallii, being restricted to the half-boggy portions of the meadow.
Hall's reference to the "last (species)" is probably to C. Hallii, which may have been the previous taxa when he wrote those words, but later added C. marcida, which then became the "last" taxa. It doesn't make sense that he is referring to C. marcida since C. marcida was found only at Fullers Ridge at 5200 feet, whereas C. hallii was "the dominant plant in the Carex meadow of Round Valley, 9000 feet". This last sentence of Hall's dovetails perfectly with that reference from his C. nebraskensis words.

This indicates to me that the specimen of C. hallii determined later as "C. nebrascensis" is very likely to be C. senta, since Hall easily recognized C. nebrascensis by its color. C. senta is green, far from ashy-gray.

Note the very surprising split of Hall's C. festiva vouchers into two different species. The similar split of Hall's C. feta vouchers is even more surprising, since the two split taxa are from different JM groups! Clearly, it must have been difficult to sort out Carex species in 1902. Interestingly, Hall himself punted on both of these; the determinations were made by C.F. Wheeler.

C. feta, C. nudata and C. preslii survive as current taxa. C. feta is found in SnBr north in both Munz and the JM; C. nudata and C. preslii are found only north of Southern California. Hence a na´ve updating of the printed Hall flora would have kept these names and been incorrect.

It is remarkable that only a single taxon name (C. nebrascensis) for these San Jacinto Mountain plants, out of the seven taxa in Hall, has survived to the 1993 JM. Two other names (C. marcida, C. preslii) have apparently just been changed, and are synonyms of 1993 names. Four names (C. festiva, C. feta, C. hallii, C. nudata) were apparently amalgamations of taxa that were separate in 1993.

Anstruther Davidson, 1923

Anstruther Davidson produced a Flora of Southern California in 1923, and gave the following species as being present in the San Jacinto Mountains:

JM NameLocation
C. abrupta Mack(C. abrupta, C. fracta, C. multicostata, and/or C. subfusca)?1"At high altitudes in the San Jacinto Mountains"
C. alma BaileyC. alma"Growing along most of our coast and mountain streams" (no specific mention of the San Jacinto Mountains)
C. feta Bailey(C. fracta and C. nebrascensis)?2San Jacinto Mountains
C. heteroneura Boott.C. heteroneuraTahquitz and Round Valley
C. multicaulis BaileyC. multicaulis"Common in the pine belt" (no specific mention of the San Jacinto Mountains)
C. nebraskensis Dew.C. nebrascensisSan Jacinto Mountain
C. praegracilis Boott.C. praegracilis"Mountain meadows from Santa Barbara to San Diego"
C. yosemitana BaileyC. sartwellianaSan Jacinto Mountains

1 C. abrupta probably also includes one or more of C. fracta, C. multicostata, and C. subfusca, since all of these are present in the San Jacinto Mountains and all are group 9 in the JM classification.

2C. feta probably becomes C. fracta and C. nebrascensis as it did for the Hall vouchers.

The survival rate of these names is markedly better; five of the eight names were the same in the 1993 JM; one name was just changed; two names are not listed as synonyms of current names and thus probably were amalgamations of taxa that were separate in 1993.

See Carex Species of San Jacinto Mountain for the current list of species present here.

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Copyright © 2004 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 14 October 2004.