The status of Quercus pubescens Willd. in Europe
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Taxonomic and nomenclatural disagreements are still encountered in the study of Quercus pubescens Willd. in Europe and are discussed here. This includes two current antithetical viewpoints on this taxon, i.e. the acceptance of the huge phenotypic variability among and within its populations within a single species vs. the ranking of these phenotypes as distinct species within the subgenus Quercus (the European white oaks sensu Schwarz). Up to now many names have been attributed to the European white oaks, especially to the complex included into section Dascia Kotschy sensu Schwarz (the “downy oaks”), revealing contrasting opinions among taxonomists since the very first subdivision of the genus. While some schools in southern Europe still emphasize the distinctness and the species status of many taxa described during the earliest botanical surveys, the current trend is toward rejecting many names and considering them as synonyms. Our review examines the extremely divergent opinions of specialists on these variations and supports the robustness of the current taxonomical status of Quercus pubescens Willd. as an inclusive taxon.