Minding your PPQs – Some Quick Basic Biology

Before we look at the Lacey declaration requirement, let’s review some basic biology. As people may remember from high school science, the biology nomenclature is structured like this:

Let’s consider the Pecan/Hickory in more detail. “illinoinensis” is just one possible species. There are many more mixed under the common commercial name of Pecan/Hickory. Here’s a list of possible species within the genus “Carya” and I am sure even this isn’t complete:

Carya alba, Carya dunbarii, Carya illinoinensis, Carya myristiciformis, Carya tomentosa, Carya floridana, Carya oliviformis, Carya nussbaumeri. Carya aquatica, Carya glabra, Carya pecan, Carya ovata, Carya brownie, Carya leiodermis, Carya laciniosa, Carya pallida, Carya cordiformis, Carya microcarpa, Carya lecontei, Carya texana. Carya demareei, Carya ovalis, Carya ludoviciana, Carya buckleyi

Boy, that’s a lot. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could shorten that list? We can in Latin—we can say “Carya spp.” indicating a plural—a whole lot of mixed species of Carya. (The abbreviation “sp.” is used when a singular specific name is unknown/unspecified.) And that’s how you’ll find it listed almost anywhere—on phytosanitary certifications, in NHLA descriptions, in many texts, etc. But you can’t do that on a Lacey declaration and next week we’ll discuss why.

But before we end this one, a few more notes on naming—sometimes you’ll see a third word after the first two. That’s the name of the classifier/scientist. For example we have Populus tomentosa Carrière. The word “Carrière” is not part of the scientific name but is an author citation or the name of a scientist who first published the botanical name. You don’t need to worry about that on a Lacey Declaration. Just write Populus tomentosa.

Also, don’t abbreviate the genus. Sometimes you’ll see people getting, well, lazy, and they abbreviate the genus. For example you might see a type of Birch written as B. platyphylla where it should be spelled out as Betula platyphylla. You don’t want to have any excuse for confusion. B. excelsa is NOT an excellent form of Birch. Rather Bertholletia excelsa, (which, I just discovered to my surprise, is a distant cousin of blueberries!), offers up nutty goodness.

Elizabeth Baldwin is Environmental Compliance Officer for Metropolitan Hardwood Floors. In her 25 plus year career in the wood industry has visited over 70 countries and hundreds of facilities of all sizes and types. She describes herself as a “jack of all wood trades.” Familiar with jungles of all sorts–having camped out along the Amazon and walked the halls of Congress–she blogs for the NWFA on both environmental and regulatory issues for educational and informational purposes only. Her blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice on compliance with CARB, TSCA, the U.S. Lacey Act or any other law, regulation, or compliance requirement/claim should consult with the regulatory agency directly and/or a qualified legal professional.

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