Africa to lose Acacia

in bonsai •  last year

After a mail received regarding the possible name change of the Acacia trees in Africa, I jumped onto the internet to do some investigation. I found the following article on the Kruger Park’s website:

Africa to lose Acacia

For more than two and a half centuries Africa has been home to acacia trees, but now nine people have decided for the entire world that only Australia can lay claim to the botanical name Acacia, and everyone else must now call their acacia trees something else.

The Australians, who have about 1,000 species of acacia trees that are indigenous to their continent, approached the botanical naming committee with a crafty appeal that won them the right to the genus name Acacia. That this appeal was not well known anywhere other than Australia is evidenced by the fact that this happened last July without causing so much as a ripple in the rest of the world's media.

Eugene Moll, chairman of the council of the Botanical Society of South Africa, reports in Veld & Flora that the appeal was made "without much, if any official, consultation with all African, South American and Asian citizens." Africa will now have to call its acacias by the name Senegalia. The decision that Australia could annex the title Acacia goes against the normal rules of taxonomy, the science that gives names to all living organisms, both alive and extinct.

In taxonomy, "the accepted rule is that the earliest published name has precedence", but the Australians have waived this rule claiming special circumstances, despite the fact that the first named acacia was an African tree. The tree was described in 1753, and was Acacia scorpoides, now known as Acacia nilotica (scented thorn, lekkerruikpeul).

Thirty-seven taxonomists are currently appealing the decision, but the outcome is not yet known. Moll comments, "We surely cannot allow the Australians to steal the name that is as much a part of Africa as cheetah and the Big Five?"

I recall someone sending me a similar article a few years back. At that stage it seemed to till be in discussion. Now it seems to have been finalised. From the info found it seems the name changes are effective from 2011. This means the end to our beloved Acacia’s. The Autralian Wattle has now taken the genus name of Acacia, while we are left with some changes.

I have listed the changes of the most common ones known to us in South Africa below.

Senegalia burkei ( = Acacia burkei) BLACK MONKEY THORN, SWARTAPIESDORING
Senegalia caffra ( = Acacia caffra) COMMON HOOK THORN, GEWONE HAAKDORING
Vachellia erioloba ( = Acacia erioloba) CAMEL THORN, KAMEELDORING
Senegalia galpinii ( = Acacia galpinii) MONKEY THORN, APIESDORING
Vachellia karroo ( = Acacia karroo) SWEET THORN, KARROO THORN, SOETDORING
Vachellia luederitzii var. retinens. ( = Acacia luederitzii var. retinens) ROOI-WAG-'N-BIETJIE, SWARTHAKKIESDORING
Senegalia mellifera subsp. detinens ( = Acacia mellifera ssp. detinens) BLACK THORN, SWARTHAAK
Senegalia nigrescens ( = Acacia nigrescens) KNOB THORN, KNOPPIESDORING
Vachellia nilotica subsp. kraussiana ( = Acacia nilotica ssp. kraussiana) SCENTED THORN, LEKKERRUIKPEUL
Vachellia tortilis subsp. heteracantha ( = Acacia tortilis ssp. heteracantha) UMBRELLA THORN, HAAK-EN-STEEK
Vachellia xanthophloea ( = Acacia xanthophloea) FEVER TREE, KOORSBOOM

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Hi! I am a robot. I just upvoted you! I found similar content that readers might be interested in:


I have quoted this article in my article in order for the readers to gain some perspective @cheetah


Thank you for this information.
We hope that the appeal succeeds.

It seems most odd the manner in which this "change" took place.