Short Communication
Short Communication
Lectotypification of Chamaecyparis hodginsii of the Cupressaceae
expand article infoZhi Yang, Yong Yang, Keith Rushforth§
‡ Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, China
§ The Shippen, Ashill, Devon, United Kingdom
Open Access


Recent phylogenetic studies have suggested that the monotypic Fokienia A.Henry & H.H.Thomas is nested within Chamaecyparis Spach, which is in agreement with separate morphological studies. Here the authors confirm a previous taxonomic treatment that incorporated Fokienia hodginsii (Dunn) A.Henry & H.H.Thomas into Chamaecyparis based on the monophyly requirement of taxonomy, i.e. Chamaecyparis hodginsii (Dunn) Rushforth. In addition, the type collection of the basionym Cupressus hodginsii Dunn was found to contain three sheets of specimens, one in K including a vegetative branch (K000088294) and a separate ovulate cone (K001090486), a second one in A (A00022477), and a third one in IBSC (IBSC0016081). All three specimens are marked with Hongkong Herbarium No. 3505, but only the two specimens in K and IBSC possess similar handwriting of “Cupressus hodginsii Dunn”. The two specimens should be considered as syntypes according to the Shenzhen Code. The specimen in K is better preserved but it is a mixture according to the collection label: cones from Foochow (Fuzhou) and foliage from Yenping (Nanping). We lectotypified the name Cupressus hodginsii with K000088294 because the specimen is well preserved and has enough characters for identification. Moreover, an ovulate cone (K001090486) is on the same sheet.


Chamaecyparis hodginsii, lectotypification, nomenclature, taxonomy


Dunn (1908) described a new conifer species from Fujian of China, Cupressus hodginsii Dunn. Henry and Thomas (1911) believed that this species is different from Cupressus L. in the cone scale having only two seeds with two very unequal lateral wings, and should be classified into a separate genus, establishing Fokienia A.Henry & H.H.Thomas (generic name is after the provincial name Fujian where the type was collected) and transferred the species into this monotypic genus, i.e. F. hodginsii (Dunn) A.Henry & H.H.Thomas. Subsequently this monotypic genus was widely accepted and well known in botanical literature. Both Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae (vol. 7, Wang et al. 1978) and Flora of China (vol. 4, Fu et al. 1999) treated it as a monotypic genus.

Since 2000, molecular systematic studies have consistently suggested that Fokienia is close to Chamaecyparis (Gadek et al. 2000; Yang et al. 2012; Qu et al. 2017; Stull et al. 2021). Based on a morphological study, Rushforth (2007) thought that the morphological variation of the genus Fokienia overlaps or falls within the range of Chamaecyparis including ovule number per cone scale, seed wing symmetry, and time duration for cone ripening, and thus reduced the genus to synonymy with Chamaecyparis, and made the combination Chamaecyparis hodginsii (Dunn) Rushforth. This morphological taxonomy was supported by a few subsequent phylogenetic studies (Mao et al. 2010, 2012; Jagel and Dörken 2015). Mao et al. (2012) sampled all extant five species of Chamaecyparis and the only species of Fokienia, assembled a sequence data including chloroplast, mitochondrial, and nuclear ribosomal DNA, and reconstructed a robust phylogeny of Cupressaceae; they demonstrated that Fokienia is nested within Chamaecyparis, with Fokienia hodginsii as sister to a subclade of Chamaecyparis including C. obtusa and C. lawsoniana, which received high bootstrap supports. The taxonomic treatment of Rushforth is acceptable if the monophyly principle is applied, and Chamaecyparis hodginsii should be the correct scientific name of the species.

Chamaecyparis hodginsii is a flag species of conservation. Fu (1992) recorded Fokienia hodginsii (≡Chamaecyparis hodginsii) in his China Plant Red Data Book: Rare and Endangered Plants; Qin et al. (2017) listed this species as threatened (VU). Chamaecyparis hodginsii is widely but sporadically distributed in southern China, Laos, and Vietnam. It has become a vulnerable species for a number of reasons, e.g. habitat loss, over exploitation, many old trees died of diseases, and difficult population regeneration (Chen et al. 2018). The recently released List of National Key Protected Wild Plants of China (ver. 2021) follows the treatment of the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants of China (Batch 1, ver. 1999), and lists the protection status of Fokienia hodginsii (≡Chamaecyparis hodginsii) as Grade II of protection.

In the protologue of Cupressus hodginsii Dunn, Dunn (1908) indicated a single collection, i.e. Hongkong Herbarium No. 3505, which should be considered as the type though he did not designate the herbarium where he deposited the type specimen. We found three duplicates of the collection: one is deposited in the Kew Herbarium (Royal Botanical Garden, Kew) (Fig. 1) and includes a vegetative branch (K000088294) and a separate ovulate cone (K001090486); the label says “cones from large trees at Foochow, foliage from Yenping, Province of Fokien, China”; a second is in the Herbarium of South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBSC0016081), and a third is in Harvard University Herbaria (A00022477). Farjon (2010) considered the specimen in K is the holotype, which is obviously a mistake. The two duplicates in K and IBSC should be considered as syntypes under Art. 9.6 and 40.2 Note 1 of the Shenzhen Code (Turland et al. 2018), both were studied by Dunn because the identification label is marked with his handwriting while the sheet in A should be considered as an isosyntype because it lacks any handwriting label. A lectotype should be designated under Art. 9.11 and 9.12. The specimen in Kew is better preserved, and should be considered as the lectotype. However, that specimen is a mixture according to the collection note that the vegetative branch was collected from “Yenping (Nanping)” and the ovulate cone was from “large trees at Foochow (Fuzhou)”. Here we designate the vegetative branch (K000088294) as the lectotype. This lectotype specimen clearly displays a few morphological characters of the species, i.e. dimorphic leaves 4–10 mm long, decussate, facial pairs closely appressed, lateral pairs boat-shaped and having two white depressed stomatal bands abaxially.

Figure 1. 

Lectotype of Chamaecyparis hodginsii: Hongkong Herbarium No. 3505 (K000088294).


Chamaecyparis hodginsii (Dunn) Rushforth, J. Biol. (Vietnam) 29(3): 38 (2007)

Fig. 1

Cupressus hodginsii Dunn, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 38: 367 (1908); Fokienia hodginsii (Dunn) A.Henry & H.H.Thomas, Gard. Chron. ser. 3, 49: 67 (1911).


China. Fujian (福建, as “Fokien”): Nanping (南平, as “Yenping” in the protologue), April to June 1905, A.E.N. Hodgins, Hong Kong Herb. 3505 (lectotype: K000088294, designated here; isolectotypes: IBSC0016081, A00022477).


China: Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; Laos; Vietnam.


Images of the type collection of Chamaecyparis hodginsii were obtained from the Chinese Virtual Herbarium (CVH,, and Kew Herbarium ( This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [No. 31970205 & 31770211], and a Metasequoia funding from the Nanjing Forestry University to Y.Yang.


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