Add a “Hybrid formula” lexicon

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: all

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant:

Description of need:
iNaturalist’s backbone supports hybrids (between species, genera and subspecies) but no harmonized way of adding the hybrid formula currently exists.
Hybrid formulae are useful for readability and internationalization as different regional frameworks and checklists may or may not use the named hybrid notation when it exists.

Adding the hybrid formula with the “Scientific names” lexicon:
Currently, the recommended way to add the hybrid formula is to add it as a unaccepted synonym. However, this method bears varying results as the field validation system behind “Scientific names” is thought for non-hybrid species. It results with infraspecific ranks being removed (var., subsp.) and incorrect capitalization. Capitalization has been an issue for hybrids in iNaturalist for a long time and some of the capitalizations bugs have already been fixed. However, it’s still not the case for all of them.

Here are two examples of these capitalization issues when adding it as “Scientific names”
Scientific name: Antirrhinum × chavannesii
Hybrid formula: Antirrhinum mollisimum × majus subsp. tortuosum
Field validates as: Antirrhinum mollissimum × Majus tortuosum

Scientific name: Salix × brachypurpurea
Hybrid formula: Salix brachycarpa var. psammophila × turnorii
Field validates as: Salix brachycarpa psammophila × Turnorii

Also, when a hybrid formula is added with the current system, it has to be set as not being currently accepted even though it is technically incorrect as it is only an alternative name and not an unaccepted name.

Adding the hybrid formula with the “Scientific names” lexicon:
Sometimes, hybrid formulae have been added with the “English” lexicon to avoid the field validation issues. However, it is far from ideal as it is a scientific name hence not an English name. Also, it may be displayed instead of the correct English name if added that way.

Feature request details:
iNaturalist could add a dedicated lexicon for hybrid formulae. This would allow to have the hybrid formula to be treated as an accepted name (without strikethrough formatting) as well as having a different field validation system. Another advantage would be the possibility to add the hybrid formula under the name in case of a named hybrid.

Displayed in the names list

Displayed in the name addition form

Displayed on the taxon page

this would be highly desirable – indeed the way iNaturalist handles infraspecies in general seems forever animal-centric and deeply clumsy with regards to varieties, formae, etc. – but I really wonder how much willpower there might be to actually implement this…

1 Like