Botanical nomenclature

Last updated

Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classifying plants; botanical nomenclature then provides names for the results of this process. The starting point for modern botanical nomenclature is Linnaeus' Species Plantarum of 1753. Botanical nomenclature is governed by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN), which replaces the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). Fossil plants are also covered by the code of nomenclature.

Contents

Within the limits set by that code there is another set of rules, the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) which applies to plant cultivars that have been deliberately altered or selected by humans (see cultigen).

History and scope

Botanical nomenclature has a long history, going back beyond the period when Latin was the scientific language throughout Europe, to Theophrastus (c. 370–287 BC), Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90 AD) and other Greek writers. Many of these works have come down to us in Latin translations. The principal Latin writer on botany was Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD). From Mediaeval times, Latin became the universal scientific language (lingua franca) in Europe. Most written plant knowledge was the property of monks, particularly Benedictine, and the purpose of those early herbals was primarily medicinal rather than plant science per se. It would require the invention of the printing press (1450) to make such information more widely available. [1] [2] [3]

Leonhart Fuchs, a German physician and botanist is often considered the originator of Latin names for the rapidly increasing number of plants known to science. For instance he coined the name Digitalis in his De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes (1542).

A key event was Linnaeus’ adoption of binomial names for plant species in his Species Plantarum (1753). [4]

In the nineteenth century it became increasingly clear that there was a need for rules to govern scientific nomenclature, and initiatives were taken to refine the body of laws initiated by Linnaeus. These were published in successively more sophisticated editions. For plants, key dates are 1867 (lois de Candolle) and 1906 (International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature, 'Vienna Rules'). The most recent is the Shenzhen Code, adopted in 2018.

Another development was the insight into the delimitation of the concept of 'plant'. Gradually more and more groups of organisms are being recognised as being independent of plants. Nevertheless, the formal names of most of these organisms are governed by the (ICN), even today. Some protists that do not fit easily into either plant or animal categories are treated under either or both of the ICN and the ICZN. A separate Code was adopted to govern the nomenclature of Bacteria, the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria .

Relationship to taxonomy

Botanical nomenclature is closely linked to plant taxonomy, and botanical nomenclature serves plant taxonomy, but nevertheless botanical nomenclature is separate from plant taxonomy. Botanical nomenclature is merely the body of rules prescribing which name applies to that taxon (see correct name) and if a new name may (or must) be coined.

Plant taxonomy is an empirical science, a science that determines what constitutes a particular taxon (taxonomic grouping, plural: taxa): e.g. "What plants belong to this species?" and "What species belong to this genus?". The definition of the limits of a taxon is called its 'circumscription'. For a particular taxon, if two taxonomists agree exactly on its circumscription, rank and position (i.e. the higher rank in which it is included) then there is only one name which can apply under the ICN. [5] Where they differ in opinion on any of these issues, one and the same plant may be placed in taxa with different names. As an example, consider Siehe's Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa siehei :

Flowers of Chionodoxa siehei, which can also be called Scilla siehei, or included in Chionodoxa forbesii or in Scilla forbesii Chionodoxa siehei closeup.jpg
Flowers of Chionodoxa siehei, which can also be called Scilla siehei, or included in Chionodoxa forbesii or in Scilla forbesii

In summary, if a plant has different names or is placed in differently named taxa:

Accepted names

Various botanical databases such as Plants of the World Online and World Flora Online make determinations as to whether a name is accepted, eg accepted species. If a name is not accepted, it may be because the name is a synonym for a name that is already accepted, and is listed as such. Another term is ambiguous to denote a name that is not accepted because its separate existence cannot be reliably determined. For instance, specimens that are damaged, immature or the necessary information or expertise ids not available. This can lead to abundances, multiple published names for the same entity. [12]

See also

General

Botany

Related Research Articles

Asparagales Order of monocot flowering plants

Asparagales is an order of plants in modern classification systems such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web. The order takes its name from the type family Asparagaceae and is placed in the monocots amongst the lilioid monocots. The order has only recently been recognized in classification systems. It was first put forward by Huber in 1977 and later taken up in the Dahlgren system of 1985 and then the APG in 1998, 2003 and 2009. Before this, many of its families were assigned to the old order Liliales, a very large order containing almost all monocots with colorful tepals and lacking starch in their endosperm. DNA sequence analysis indicated that many of the taxa previously included in Liliales should actually be redistributed over three orders, Liliales, Asparagales, and Dioscoreales. The boundaries of the Asparagales and of its families have undergone a series of changes in recent years; future research may lead to further changes and ultimately greater stability. In the APG circumscription, Asparagales is the largest order of monocots with 14 families, 1,122 genera, and about 36,000 species.

Under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN), Rosidae is a botanical name at the rank of subclass. Circumscription of the subclass will vary with the taxonomic system being used; the only requirement being that it includes the family Rosaceae.

In biological classification, the order is

  1. a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family. An immediately higher rank, superorder, may be added directly above order, while suborder would be a lower rank.
  2. a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. In that case the plural is orders.
Taxon Group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms which have distinguishing characteristics in common

In biology, a taxon is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit. Although neither is required, a taxon is usually known by a particular name and given a particular ranking, especially if and when it is accepted or becomes established. It is very common, however, for taxonomists to remain at odds over what belongs to a taxon and the criteria used for inclusion. If a taxon is given a formal scientific name, its use is then governed by one of the nomenclature codes specifying which scientific name is correct for a particular grouping.

Geraniales Order of flowering plants in the rosid subclade of eudicots

Geraniales are a small order of flowering plants, included within the rosid subclade of eudicots. The largest family in the order is Geraniaceae with over 800 species. In addition, the order includes the smaller Francoaceae with about 40 species. Most Geraniales are herbaceous, but there are also shrubs and small trees.

<i>International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants</i> Code of scientific nomenclature

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical names that are given to plants, fungi and a few other groups of organisms, all those "traditionally treated as algae, fungi, or plants". It was formerly called the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN); the name was changed at the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne in July 2011 as part of the Melbourne Code which replaced the Vienna Code of 2005.

<i>Scilla</i>

Scilla is a genus of about 50 to 80 bulb-forming perennial herbaceous plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, native to woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. A few species are also naturalized in Australia, New Zealand and North America. Their flowers are usually blue, but white, pink, and purple types are known; most flower in early spring, but a few are autumn-flowering. Several Scilla species are valued as ornamental garden plants.

Type (biology) Specimen(s) to which a scientific name is formally attached

In biology, a type is a particular specimen of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, a type is an example that serves to anchor or centralize the defining features of that particular taxon. In older usage, a type was a taxon rather than a specimen.

Scilloideae Subfamily of bulbous monocot plants

Scilloideae is a subfamily of bulbous plants within the family Asparagaceae. Scilloideae is sometimes treated as a separate family Hyacinthaceae, named after the genus Hyacinthus. Scilloideae or Hyacinthaceae include many familiar garden plants such as Hyacinthus (hyacinths), Hyacinthoides (bluebells), Muscari and Scilla and Puschkinia. Some are important as cut flowers.

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group A collaborative research group for the classification of flowering plants

The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, is an informal international group of systematic botanists who collaborate to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants (angiosperms) that reflects new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies.

Asphodelaceae Family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales

Asphodelaceae is a family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales. Such a family has been recognized by most taxonomists, but the circumscription has varied widely. In its current circumscription in the APG IV system, it includes about 40 genera and 900 known species. The type genus is Asphodelus.

Botanical name Scientific name for a plant, alga or fungus

A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) and, if it concerns a plant cultigen, the additional cultivar or Group epithets must conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). The code of nomenclature covers "all organisms traditionally treated as algae, fungi, or plants, whether fossil or non-fossil, including blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), chytrids, oomycetes, slime moulds and photosynthetic protists with their taxonomically related non-photosynthetic groups ."

In botany, the correct name according to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) is the one and only botanical name that is to be used for a particular taxon, when that taxon has a particular circumscription, position and rank. Determining whether a name is correct is a complex procedure. The name must be validly published, a process which is defined in no less than 16 Articles of the ICN. It must also be "legitimate", which imposes some further requirements. If there are two or more legitimate names for the same taxon, then the correct name is the one which has priority, i.e. it was published earliest, although names may be conserved if they have been very widely used. Validly published names other than the correct name are called synonyms. Since taxonomists may disagree as to the circumscription, position or rank of a taxon, there can be more than one correct name for a particular plant. These may also be called synonyms.

Asparagaceae Family of plants

Asparagaceae is a family of flowering plants, placed in the order Asparagales of the monocots. Its best known member is Asparagus officinalis, garden asparagus.

Plant taxonomy is the science that finds, identifies, describes, classifies, and names plants. It is one of the main branches of taxonomy.

James L. Reveal American botanist

James Lauritz Reveal was a U.S. botanist best known for his contributions to the genus Eriogonum and for his work on suprageneric names. His website, at PlantSystematics.org, also presents material on plant taxonomy including the Reveal system. He published extensively on North American flora, was a member of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, and was one of the authors of the APG II and APG III classifications.

The Botanical and Zoological Codes of nomenclature treat the concept of synonymy differently. In botanical nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that applies to a taxon that (now) goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies. This name is no longer in use: it is now a synonym of the current scientific name, Picea abies. In zoology, moving a species from one genus to another results in a different binomen, but the name is considered an alternative combination, rather than a synonym. The concept of synonymy in zoology is reserved for two names at the same rank that refer to a taxon at that rank - for example, the name Papilio prorsaLinnaeus, 1758 is a junior synonym of Papilio levanaLinnaeus, 1758, being names for different seasonal forms of the species now referred to as Araschnia levana(Linnaeus, 1758), the map butterfly. However, Araschnia levana is not a synonym of Papilio levana in the taxonomic sense employed by the Zoological code.

<i>Scilla</i> sect. <i>Chionodoxa</i> Section of plants in the genus Scilla

Scilla section Chionodoxa, known as glory-of-the-snow, is a small group of bulbous perennial flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae. Formerly treated as the separate genus Chionodoxa, they are now included in Scilla as a section. The section is endemic to the eastern Mediterranean, specifically Crete, Cyprus and Turkey. The blue, white or pink flowers appear early in the year making them valuable garden ornamentals. The common name of the group is based on the habit of flowering in high alpine zones when the snow melts in spring.

Taxonomic rank Level in a taxonomic hierarchy

In biological classification, taxonomic rank is the relative level of a group of organisms in a taxonomic hierarchy. Examples of taxonomic ranks are species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain, etc.

Families of Asparagales

The Asparagales are an order of plants, and on this page the structure of the order is used according to the APG III system. The order takes its name from the family Asparagaceae and is placed in the monocots. The order is clearly circumscribed on the basis of DNA sequence analysis, but is difficult to define morphologically, since its members are structurally diverse. The APG III system is used in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. With this circumscription, the order consists of 14 families with approximately 1120 genera and 26000 species.

References

  1. Stearn 1992.
  2. Stearn 2002.
  3. Pavord 2005.
  4. Barkworth, M. (2004), Botanical Nomenclature (Nomenclature, Names, and Taxonomy), University of Utah, archived from the original on 2011-02-20, retrieved 2011-02-20
  5. McNeill et al. 2012, Principle IV
  6. 1 2 Dashwood, Melanie & Mathew, Brian (2005), Hyacinthaceae – little blue bulbs (RHS Plant Trials and Awards, Bulletin Number 11), Royal Horticultural Society, archived from the original on 20 February 2011, retrieved 19 February 2011, p. 5
  7. 1 2 McNeill et al. 2012, Principle III
  8. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (1998), "An ordinal classification for the families of flowering plants" (PDF), Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 85 (4): 531–553, doi:10.2307/2992015, JSTOR   2992015 , retrieved 2011-02-19
  9. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (2009), "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161 (2): 105–121, doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x
  10. 1 2 Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009), "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161 (2): 132–136, doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00999.x
  11. McNeill et al. 2012, Article 19.1
  12. Cuffney et al 2007.

Bibliography