Taxonomy and reality

James Waddick
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 13:02:44 PDT
Friends		Excuse my diversion into reality and facts. 	Plant names are governed by the International Society for Horticultual Science (ISHS)  [ <> ] and particularly by an extensive set of guidelines known as the International Code for Botanical Nomenclature (or ICBN) [see the most recent version on line at <> ]

	Plants are not named or changed on an on line list such as this or social media, but through basically these steps

	1	Identification , also called diagnosis, description  and definition. This diferentiates a plant from all similar plants.

	2	Name    A new  name must be distinctive, not duplicate other names and follow a long list of suggestions in the ICBN

	3	Publication   The new name and description must be published in an appropriate place and manner. Naming something in a catalog or price list is NOT appropriate, nor can a new species be named in a newspaper or magazine article or any of many other modern methods of distribution

	Acceptance:  If a name has passed the above 3 steps and a broad range of scientists accept the name and use the new name in further published scientific studies it may eventually make its way to “The Plant List”.  There most generic names can be researched to find what are considered published names and especially Accepted Names. I know that resource is used extensively in keeping up with the PBS web pages. [see <> ]

	For example in the genus Lycoris there have been 54 names published and 24 of these are accepted names. A name may not be accepted for any number of reasons such as it is a synonym of an existing accepted species, it has not been adequately described or validly published  and other reasons. [ <> ]   *

	Unless characters such as  chromosome numbers has been published and are essential for identification they are unrelated. Likewise a plant's fertility or sterility may not limit its accepted status.

	Only valifly published and accepted names make the grade. 

	The above is a very short handed version of the steps need to name or change the name of plant species. There are similar sets of guidelines for International Code for Names of Cultivated Plants, Fungi, Animals etc. 

	One needs to take the taxonomic claims on this list with a healthy skepticism.  	Let the arguments begin				Best		Jim

* You may be surprised to see all the published names for some popular genera such as Hippeastrum and Tulipa or your favorite plant group.

Dr. James Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd
Kansas City, MO 64152-2711
Phone     816-746-1949

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