Over the last week I’ve uploaded many of my observations of cacti in Bolivia. In particular those for Oreocereus pseudofossulatus. As part of that process I decided to provide identifications to other observations of Oreocereus. I noticed that most of the observations for Oreocereus celsianus were, in fact, wrongly identified: they are Oreocereus pseudofossulatus. It seems this arose through a Taxon Swap in which Oreocereus fossulatus, an “inactive taxon” and original observer ID for these records, was replaced with Oreocereus celsianus. Here arises the inconsistency. iNat states that its taxonomic reference for Plantae is The Catalogue of Life Annual Checklist yet in that source (version 2018, accessed just now) Oreocereus fossulatus is given as a synonym of Oreocereus pseudofossulatus, not of Oreocereus celsianus. I’m curious as to how this inconsistency happened but perhaps more importantly there are still many records of Oreocereus celsianus that are not that species and they will no doubt continue to appear as Oreocereus (pseudo)fossulatus is frequently observed around La Paz. The wrong identification gives a false impression of the distribution of both species and could lead to inaccuracies in scientific works based on the data.
Searching through The Catalogue of Life Annual Checklist (for Cactaceae it draws its information from ITIS as unfortunately POWO doesn’t yet cover Cactaceae) I found many other errors in synonymy, for example, see Echinopsis cinnabarina which includes many synonyms of Echinopsis oligotricha. Is there a process in iNat whereby these errors can be resolved?
Sorry for the long-winded post but I’ve spent many hours this week trying to put this right before realising it would be a never ending task.