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Free Content Latin diagnosis: Time to let go

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Article 36.1 of the International code of botanical nomenclature (McNeill & al., 2006) requires that, as from 1 January 1935, all names of new plant taxa (algae and fossils excepted) can be validly published only if they are accompanied by a Latin description or diagnosis or by a reference to an effectively published Latin diagnosis or description. Although several past Nomenclature Section meetings have voted on proposals to have this requirement lifted, the liberation of plant nomenclature, and by implication plant taxonomy, from this impediment remains elusive. We argue that the Latin requirement must be removed now as it represents a relict that does not serve the purposes for which it was originally intended. Previous proposals to delete the requirement of a Latin description or diagnosis for the valid publication of a plant name have all had strings attached. We propose (Figueiredo & al. in Taxon 59: 659–660, this issue) that, as from the effective date of the Melbourne Code (a suitable date after the Melbourne Congress), a diagnosis or description in any language would suffice to effect valid publication of a plant name, the algae and fossils excepted, provided all of the other provisions for valid publication have been satisfied.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002 South Africa;, Email: 2: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11225, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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