To B. Daydon Jackson1    25 December 1891

Christmas 1891


Kindly say, dear Mr Jackson, whether Lamarck in the illustrations des genres” gave specific names? That work is not in my library here. On this question, which I put, rests the validity or invalidity of the genus Vahea.2

I do not agree with Dr. Kuntze and some other phytographers in falling back on genera unsupported by specific names. Thus for instance in combining Cladium and Gahnia, for which measure the necessity is indubitable, the finally admissible name for Cladium Mariscus can only be Gahnia Mariscus.3 I also hold that whenever an author combines two genera, he becomes the only authority for the additionally admitted species, so far as well known up to that time though he may not have mentioned the species distinctly — otherwise we get for authorship the shadow instead of the substance and in this respect no favoritism should be exercised.

with best Festive greeting your

Ferd. von Mueller


Alph. D. C. distinctly quotes the specific name of gummifera for Lamarck in the prodromus4.

For Coronopus Ruelli Ges[ne]r5 was already the author.6


Cladium Mariscus

Coronopus Ruelli

Gahnia Mariscus

Vahea gummifera


Reply see letter book [Letter book does not survive in the Linnean Society archives].

Vahea m.t. 169 [Lamarck (1791-1823), plate 169. The volume with plates 1–250 is dated 1823 on the title page].

tabl ii 292 (“1793”)—vol comp in 1800 [Lamarck (1791-1823), vol. 2, p. 292].


Poir Ency Supp v. 409 (1817) [Poiret (1810-17), vol. 5, p. 409].

M had been concerned with this example of priority for some time. See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 10 September 1881 and notes thereto; see also B82.09.01.
M combined Cladium and Gahniawithout explanation in B88.11.02. p. 104.
A. de Candolle (1823--73), vol. 8, p. 327, citing Lamarck’s plate 169.
End of name obscured by ink-blot.

For Coronopus … author. Is a marginal note on the front of the folio.

Jackson, as compiler, in Index Kewensis(vol. 1, part 1, p. 620) attributed Coronopus ruellii to Allioni (1785), vol.1, p. 256; Coronopus was listed in Cordus et al. (1561), p. 45 (of which Conrad von Gesner was the editor of Cordus' annotations on Diocorides' plants: see TL2 under Valerius Cordus).

Please cite as “FVM-91-12-25b,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 21 September 2021,