At the very least, Carex leporina
Linnaeus is a nomen confusum. That by itself is not grounds for rejecting a name, but from what I can piece together from several sources (there is a US Dept. of Agriculture website that would probably explain things concisely, but that source is not available for the duration of the shutdown), the situation is this:
It seems that Linnaeus applied the name "Carex leporina
" to one species in 1753 (in Species Plantarum), but then applied the same name "Carex leporina
" to a different species in 1754 (in Flora Anglica) and in all his subsequent publications. The latter (1754) usage of the name is illegitimate since he had already used the name in a different sense in 1753.
It turns out that the 1754 sense of "leporina
" is the species of this proposal that Goodenough named Carex ovalis
in 1794. Nevertheless, those authorities that use "leporina
" for the species other authorities call "ovalis
" cite "leporina
" as having originated in 1753. They shouldn't be doing that, but they do.
The correct citation should be:Carex leporina
Linnaeus et auct., Flora Anglica 23. 1754. non
Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 2: 973. 1753.
The 1753 sense of "leporina
" is actually Schkuhr's Carex lachenalii
, which dates from 1801. See: Siehe auch: hare’s-foot sedge - die Schneehuhnsegge, au...
Technically, since the 1753 sense of "leporina
" is the only legitimate sense of the name, it has seniority over Carex lachenalii
, but there was a proposal approved at the 2005 International Botanical Congress in Vienna to conserve the name Carex lachenalii
and it's now in the published Code.
There maybe should have been a competing proposal at the same time to conserve the 1754 sense of "leporina
" over the 1753 sense (similar action has been taken in other situations where Linnaeus created confusion with differing senses of a name, and it’s the only way an illegitimate name can be made legitimate), but now the issue may be moot.
And if that explanation isn’t confusing enough, Carex lachenalii
is the species known in the UK as “hare’s-foot sedge” while Carex ovalis
is the species known in Germany as “Hasenfußsegge”, and as you probably know, “leporina
” is Latin for “resembling a hare”!
So Hasenfußsegge = oval sedge or eggbract sedge, while hare’s-foot sedge = Schneehuhnsegge! Go figure.