Report 2 of the Committee for Change and Conservation of Names (CCCN)
expand article infoWolfgang Willner, Andraž Čarni§|, Federico Fernández-González, Jens Pallas#, Jean Paul Theurillat¤«
‡ University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
§ University of Nova Gorica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
| Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
¶ University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
# Münster Univ., Münster, Germany
¤ Fondation J.-M. Aubert, Champex-Lac, Switzerland
« University of Geneva, Chambésy, Switzerland
Open Access


In this Report, three previously published nomenclatural proposals are discussed, and recommendations on acceptance or rejection of these proposals are provided. The proposals concern the following syntaxa: Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950, Aceretalia pseudoplatani Moor 1976 and Festucetalia valesiacae Braun-Blanquet et Tüxen ex Braun-Blanquet 1950.

Abbreviations: CCCN = Committee for the Change and Conservation of Names; GPN = Working Group for Phytosociological Nomenclature; ICPN = International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature.


nomenclature, nomen conservandum, phytosociology, syntaxonomy


The Committee for the Change and Conservation of Names (CCCN) is the successor of the Committee for Nomina Conservanda, Ambigua, Inversa and Mutata (CNC) established by the 3rd edition of the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature (ICPN) (Weber et al. 2000; Willner et al. 2015). A first Report was published in 2011, containing recommendations on 19 proposals submitted to the Committee (Willner et al. 2011). In 2015, the Assembly of the Working Group for Phytosociological Nomenclature (GPN) voted on three of these proposals (Gigante et al. 2019), and the accepted ones were published in appendix 3 and 4 of the ICPN, 4th edition (Theurillat et al. 2021). One proposal – which has not been submitted to vote yet – is re-evaluated here with some modifications (see proposal 17* below). The other proposals discussed in Willner et al. (2011), all of them referring to nomina mutata, are obsolete since the adaptation of syntaxon names to changes in the names of the name-giving taxa does no longer require submission of a proposal (see Art. 44 and Art. 45 in the 4th edition of the ICPN).

Following the publication of the new edition of the ICPN, the CCCN resumed its activity. Federico Fernández-González was elected as a member to replace Heinrich Weber who passed away in 2020. Therefore, the current members are: Wolfgang Willner (chair), Andraž Čarni, Federico Fernández-González, Jens Pallas and Jean-Paul Theurillat.

Some nomenclatural cases turned out to be quite complicated, so the progress in the Committee was slower than expected. In the following, we discuss three proposals and present our recommendations. Some published proposals (Theurillat et al. 2017; Novák 2019; Fernández-González et al. 2021) are still pending and will be treated in the next Report, which is scheduled for 2022. The Committee will also discuss the submitted requests for a binding decision (Silva and Molina 2021), a procedure newly introduced in the 4th edition of the ICPN.

Authors who wish to submit a proposal are asked to consult appendix 2 of the ICPN and the recently published proposals in Vegetation Classification and Survey (Fernández-González et al. 2021). Authors who wish to request a binding decision should consult appendix 6 and the request by Silva and Molina (2021).

Recommendations on published proposals

Note: An asterisk (*) after the number of the proposal indicates that the recommended version of the proposal differs from the original one.

(17*) Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950 [Braun-Blanquet 1948–1950, part 6: 349].

Typus cons. propos.: Berberido-Rosetum Braun-Blanquet 1961: 189.

(=) Prunion spinosae Soó 1931: 294.

Typus: Crataego monogynae-Prunetum spinosae Soó 1931: 312 (holotypus).

The original diagnosis of the alliance Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950 includes two associations: “Rosetum rhamnosum Braun-Blanquet 1918” and “Coryleto-Populetum Braun-Blanquet (1919) 1938”. Most authors, including Willner et al. (2011), have regarded the “Rosetum rhamnosum” as invalidly published, considering the “Coryleto-Populetum” (recte: Corylo-Populetum) as the holotype of the alliance. A closer look to the original diagnosis of the Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950 revealed that the previous evaluations were partly wrong. First, the name Rosetum rhamnosum is not invalid according to Art. 3e since the epithet “rhamnosum” does not have the termination -etosum indicating a subassociation. Instead, it should be interpreted as an epithet in the nominative case that indicates a morphological or other property (Art. 34a). In Braun-Blanquet (1918), the Rosetum rhamnosum was proposed as a subassociation of the “Corylus-Assoziation”, so the name was indeed invalidly published in 1918 (Art. 3e). In Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950), the association Rosetum rhamnosum could be interpreted as validly published because there is a reference to Braun-Blanquet (1918: 19) where the Rosetum rhamnosum is synonymised with the “Muschnaformation von Hager” (“Muschna” is a Romansh name for a clearance cairn) and accompanied with a reference to Hager (1916). Indeed, Hager (l.c.: 211–212) published a species list with three semi-quantitative categories of frequency which can be considered as sufficient original diagnosis (Art. 7). However, Braun-Blanquet (1918) specifically referred to p. 212 of Hager, where there is a species list of one particular example of a “Muschnaformation” without quantitative indications. The chapter where both species lists are provided is titled “Die Assoziationen der Muschna-Hügel” (the associations of the Muschna hills) which in turn is part of the chapter on the “Formation von Prunus padus” (Formation of Prunus padus). While it is clear that Hager (1916) considered both species lists as belonging to the same abstract vegetation unit (the Formation of Prunus padus growing on Muschna hills), it is not clear whether Braun-Blanquet intended to refer specifically to the species list on p. 212 or to the whole formation described by Hager. To make things even more complicated, Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950) did not directly cite the “Muschnaformation” but a different page (p. 220) in Hager (1916) where another community with Berberis is described (“alluviale Berberis-Strauchheide”), which lacks a sufficient original diagnosis. Given this problematic situation, opinions about the validity of the name Rosetum rhamnosum Braun-Blanquet 1950 were not unanimous among the members of the CCCN.

The second association in the original diagnosis of the alliance Berberidion, the Corylo-Populetum Braun-Blanquet 1950, was also not correctly evaluated in previous nomenclatural analyses. The only element in the original diagnosis of the Corylo-Populetum arguably meeting the prescriptions of Art. 7 is the reference to Brockmann-Jerosch (1907) who published a single relevé of the “Haselstrauch-Formation” on page 265, although this relevé only contains the woody species, among which are both Corylus avellana and Berberis vulgaris. [The same reference to Brockmann-Jerosch (1907) was indicated by Braun-Blanquet (1918: 18–19, 80) for his “Assoziation von Corylus avellana”. Hence the Corylo-Populetum Braun-Blanquet 1950 is a nomenclatural synonym of the Coryletum avellanae Braun-Blanquet 1918.] The other references given by Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950) contain only species lists or nomina nuda, including the species list of the Coryletum in Beger (1922) in which abundance values are indicated for less than half of the species.

Since the Corylo-Populetum has often been excluded from the Berberidion and classified within a separate alliance Corylo-Populion (see, e.g., Braun-Blanquet 1961), it is not a suitable type for the name Berberidion. Even if the Rosetum rhamnosum might be considered as validly published, choosing a neotype for this illegitimate name and then selecting this association as lectotype for the Berberidion does not appear the best solution to serve the goal of nomenclatural stability. Willner et al. (2011) recommended conserving the next valid publication of the name Berberidion, which appeared in Tüxen (1952), with the Pruno-Ligustretum Tüxen 1952 as lectotype. However, the 4th edition of the ICPN (Theurillat et al. 2021) offers a more elegant solution, namely a conserved type (Art. 53). The best choice for a conserved type of the Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950 is obviously the Berberido-Rosetum Braun-Blanquet 1961, which is the correct name for the “Rosetum rhamnosum”.

Therefore, we recommend to conserve the name Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950 with a conserved type, as outlined above. As the original diagnosis of the Berberido-Rosetum Braun-Blanquet 1961 contains no direct reference to the Rosetum rhamnosum, it must be considered as a new association. Willner and Grabherr (2007: 224) selected the following lectotype for the Berberido-Rosetum: Braun-Blanquet (1961), table 40, relevé 6.

Another point that emerged during the discussion of this proposal is the name Prunion spinosae Soó 1931. Sádlo et al. (2013: 87, 92–93) considered it as a synonym of the Berberidion and proposed its rejection as nomen ambiguum. Indeed, the name Prunion spinosae has mostly been used in a sense that excludes its type, often with a wrong year (Wirth 1993; Borhidi et al. 2012). We refrain here from commenting on this proposal, that has not been officially submitted to the CCCN yet. However, it is clear that the name Prunion spinosae Soó 1931 poses a potential threat to the well-established name Berberidion Braun-Blanquet 1950, so we recommend to conserve the latter against this older name. Nevertheless, the adoption of this proposal would still allow to use the name Prunion spinosae if its type association (Crataego monogynae-Prunetum spinosae Soó 1931) is considered as not belonging to the Berberidion.

This proposal (Willner 2015) means to conserve the name Aceretalia pseudoplatani (Moor 1976: 336) against the name Tilietalia (Moor 1973: 129) when European maple and lime forests are united within a single order. If the lime forests are treated as a separate order, the name Tilietalia Moor 1973 would still be available. The name Aceretalia pseudoplatani is widely accepted in the literature (e.g., Mucina et al. 2016), and the CCCN also agrees that Acer pseudoplatanus is a better name giving taxon for the united order. Therefore, acceptance of the proposal is recommended.

The name Festucetalia valesiacae is generally accepted for the order of continental grass steppes of western Eurasia. However, there is disagreement on the correct author citation of this name. Mucina et al. (2016) attribute it to Soó (1947), but as showed by Terzi et al. (2017), Soó (1947) simply emended and renamed his earlier, validly published order Festucetalia Soó 1940. The original diagnosis of this order is very heterogeneous, including communities that are currently placed in at least three orders belonging to two different classes. Even more problematic, Festuca valesiaca is absent from the original diagnosis of the type alliance “Festucion sulcatae” Soó 1930 (recte: Festucion rupicolae Soó 1930 nom. corr.). The name Festucetalia valesiacae was coined by Braun-Blanquet and Tüxen (1943), but not validly published due to the lack of bibliographical references. Indeed, even Soó (1964) accepted Braun-Blanquet’s and Tüxen’s name, putting his own Festucetalia Soó 1940 into the synonymy. Therefore, the majority of the CCCN agreed with the general proposal to conserve the later validation of the name Festucetalia valesiacae by Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950) against Soó’s Festucetalia. However, there is a problem with the type of the order. Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950) did not provide a reference to the alliance Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931, which is included in the order in Braun-Blanquet and Tüxen (1943), and from which the order name obviously is derived. The holotype of the Festucetalia valesiacae Br.-Bl. et Tx. ex Br.-Bl. 1950 is the alliance Stipo-Poion xerophilae Br.-Bl. et Tx. ex Br.-Bl. 1950, as this is the only alliance mentioned by Braun-Blanquet (1948–1950) within the order. It is an illegitimate, heterotypic homonym of the Stipo-Poion xerophilae Br.-Bl. et Richard 1950 (Braun-Blanquet and Richard 1950: 127). The type association of the Stipo-Poion xerophilae Br.-Bl. et Tx. ex Br.-Bl. 1950 is the Astragalo onobrychidis-Brometum erecti Br.-Bl. 1950, which – according to Willner et al. (2019) – belongs to the order Brachypodietalia pinnati (semi-dry grasslands of western Eurasia). Therefore, the conservation of the name Festucetalia valesiacae Br.-Bl. et Tx. ex Br.-Bl. 1950 only makes sense if it is, at the same time, conserved with a conserved type reflecting the current use of the order name (see proposal 21*).

(21*) Festucetalia valesiacae Braun-Blanquet et Tüxen ex Braun-Blanquet 1950 [Braun-Blanquet 1948–1950, part 3: 312].

Typus cons. propos.: Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931: 376.

(=) Festucetalia Soó 1940: 32.

Typus: Festucion rupicolae Soó 1930 nom. corr. (lectotypus; Terzi et al. 2016).

As discussed above, the strict application of the ICPN leads to the conclusion that the name Festucetalia valesiacae Br.-Bl. et Tx. ex Br.-Bl. 1950 is based on an association most likely not belonging to the order as it is currently understood. Therefore, a conserved type has to be chosen. While the authors of the original proposal suggested the legitimate name Stipo-Poion xerophilae Br.-Bl. et Richard 1950, based on the Festuco valesiacae-Caricetum supinae Br.-Bl. 1936 (lectotypus selected by Terzi et al. 2016), the majority of the CCCN felt that the Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931 would be more suitable as conserved type of the order Festucetalia valesiacae. The following arguments are put forward for this decision: (1) Braun-Blanquet and Tüxen (1943) obviously derived the order name Festucetalia valesiacae from the Festucion valesiacae (in fact, the content of that order is identical with the previous, broader concept of the alliance); (2) everyone would expect the Festucion valesiacae being the type of the Festucetalia valesiacae by looking at the names (indeed, the Festucion valesiacae would be the automatic type of the order according to Art. 20 if there were a proper reference to Klika, either in Braun-Blanquet and Tüxen 1943 or in Braun-Blanquet 1948–1950); (3) the name Festucetalia valesiacae is attributed to Soó 1947 in the EuroVegChecklist (Mucina et al. 2016), and Soó (1947) referred to Klika’s Festucion valesiacae as a corresponding name of his Festucetalia valesiacae; (4) the remote possibility that the alliance Festucion valesiacae ends up in a different order than the Festucetalia valesiacae should be excluded.

The alliance names Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931 and Festucion rupicolae Soó 1930 nom. corr. are currently considered as syntaxonomic synonyms (Mucina et al. 2016: 85). In the same publication it has been suggested that the name Festucion rupicolae Soó 1930 nom. corr. should be rejected as nomen ambiguum, but no such proposal has been submitted to the CCCN yet. However, conserving the name Festucetalia valesiacae with the Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931 as conserved type does not necessarily mean that the name Festucion valesiacae must be conserved as well or be accepted as the correct name of an alliance. The Festucion valesiacae Klika 1931 was lectotypified by Toman (1975) with the Ranunculo illyrici-Festucetum valesiacae Klika 1931, and he also selected a type relevé for the latter association (rel. 45).

Author contributions

All authors are members of the CCCN and participated in the evaluation and discussion of the proposals. W.W. planned the Report and wrote the first draft, which was commented and revised by all authors.


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