Echinochloa Notes

Echinochloa crus-pavonis var. macera:   In Flora North America volume 25, it was stated that the spelling of the varietal epithet for one of the varieties of Echinochloa crus-pavonis should be 'macra' rather than 'macera'.

Kathryn Mauz, John and Charlotte Reeder, and Mark Damen have subsequently argued convincingly against this decision. They noted that Wiegand spelled the epithet ‘macera’, and describes its spikelets as 'awnless, soft-tipped', whereas 'macra' would mean 'large' or 'long'; nowhere does Wiegand suggest that the variety is longer or larger than Echinochloa crus-pavonis var. crus-pavonis. Damen, who is a Latin scholar, commented that, in classical Latin, the adjective 'macera' means 'thin' or 'lean', with a sense of having been attenuated. That leads to the English word 'macerate', one meaning of which is 'chew up', that is, to soften as part of the digestive process. He continued, "So 'macer' can imply 'soft'. Why, however, other more obvious words for 'soft' were not used ('mollis', 'elicata', 'tenera') is puzzling."

After reviewing the comments, Dr. Kanchi Gandhi, nomenclatural editor, concluded that correct spelling of Wiegand’s varietal epithet is 'macera'.