Botanical Authors

Arthur Chapman arthur at ERIN.GOV.AU
Fri Nov 19 16:34:30 CST 1993

Firstly it seems odd (but maybe refreshing) that the first we hear of the Royal
Botanic Gardens in Sydney as being on the email is via Harvard and Taxacom.

Welcome Ken and all those in Sydney!

What you say is indeed true; and Eucalyptus baxteri was a bad example to pick -
it being the one that arose as a result of the Murray-Darling Basin report.
 Most of
what I said was generalised, however, and I believe still applies.

Yes, for sure, the knbowledge that it was Maiden's description published by
could very well be important for you and other Eucalyptus taxonomists, but is
completely irrelevant to the ecologists preparing or using the MDB list.  They
go to all sorts of trouble chasing up the citation, which could, in the end,
take more time than was spent on the identification of the beast in the first

Sure, wherever possible, chase up the original publication - but if you think
you can convince ecologists, physiologists, etc. to chase up the original
publication of a name everytime they use a name then you must like tackling
the impossible!  That is one of the reasons why we publish Indexes like the
Australian Plant Name Index.  Taxonomists and taxonomic uses are but one (minor
respect of total numbers) use of such indexes.  Perhaps the greatest use, and
perhaps even one of the most important is to achieve some form of consistency in
citation by non-taxonomists and save the endless questions like:

"I want to use this name, what is the author, and how should I cite it"
like this have taken up hours of otherwise productive taxonomists time.  If the
publication of the APNI doesn't help to reduce this "waste of time", then maybe
have wasted some of mine!

There are exceptions to everycase one wishes to make in taxonomy and
however, I still stick by my major premise that the use of 'pre-ex' author names
in other than revisionary works is wasteful of time & paper, of little value and
indeed, sometimes misleading!

Arthur D. Chapman  [Scientific Coordinator, Biogeographic Information, ERIN]

Environmental Resources Information Network     internet: arthur at
GPO Box 636, Canberra,                             voice: +61-6-2500 376
ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA                                  fax: +61-6-2500 360

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