Botanical Author Names

Arthur Chapman arthur at ERIN.GOV.AU
Mon Nov 22 08:46:26 CST 1993

Zhaoran Xu states:

IN>>ABOUT "Author(s) ex Author(s)":
IN>>Arthur believes that the "pre-ex" author does not mean anything, or very
IN>>little. It seems not fair in many cases, especially in many "old" practises:
IN>>1. C. Y. Wu, a Chinese floristic authority, collected a huge number of
IN>>from Yunnan and Tibet. In dealing with the flora, he literally identified
IN>>of the collections. Among those, several thousands are Gesneriaceae.
IN>>    Wu named a lot of new species of Gesneriaceae, literally wrote down
IN>>the new names, identified the type, and filed the collections according to
IN>>such identifications.
IN>>    He is not a monographer of Gesneriaceae. He discovered too many species
IN>>new, and he cannot have enough time to publish them. Maybe, for the reason
IN>>he was somehow conservative to his own justification. So, he did not publish
IN>>those new Gesneriaceae.
IN>>    More than 30 years later, his student, LI Xi-wen (X. W. Li) wrote
IN>>the Gesneriaceae Flora of Yunnan. He treated those specimens annotated by
IN>>and published most of new species already named by Wu, with "C. Y. Wu ex
IN>>X. W. Li".
IN>>    In this case, Wu's identifications made a tremendous sense to Li's
IN>>later work. To recognize Wu's work, this "pre-ex" author is reasonably

I continue to disagree that it is reasonably justified in OTHER than purely
taxonomic works such as revisions.  I again ask the question of "why do we
append author names to the name of a plant or animal?"  As pointed out earlier
I believe that it is to make clear which plant we are talking about if there
are two that have been given the same name by different authors.  The 'pre-ex'
part of the citation adds absolutely nothing to that purpose.  Xu's statement
further supports my argument taht it is included to "thank, pay homage to, or
give respect to" a previous worker.  That is all very good and that is one
we have Acknowledgements in scientific papers, but I reiterate - it does not add
extra value to the name itself.  Particularly in non-taxonomic papers I say -
them off!

IN>>2. Some excellent works have been accomplished by certain authors. The
IN>>may have completed a hand-written document for certain treatments, including
IN>>some new species or new combinations. But for some reasons, the author
IN>>publish the treatments before someone' help, e.g., he/she may suddenly
IN>>away. His/her remaining work is later handled by his friends, and the treat-
IN>>ments become "pre-ex" treatments in a legitimate publications.
IN>>    I have done a revision on Paraboea (84 species), and I have made new
IN>>combinations and named new species, in my rough manuscript and in the
IN>>tions of specimens. I don't know when I can publish the document. I may not
IN>>be able to afford the expensive publication fee. If I die tomorrow without
IN>>seeing my manuscript published, I certainly wish that someone will put me
IN>>in the list of "pre-ex" authors.
IN>>Conclusion: In many cases, "pre-ex" authors embed scientific value.

Only to a purely taxonomic works, otherwise they just add confusion!  Too often
taxonomists write floras etc. with ONLY taxonomic users in mind.  Taxonomists
only a very small percentage of users of a flora and the non taxonomists need
to be given more consideration when floras are written.  Redundancies, of use
to taxonomists, should be left out and saved for revisions.

The work that this discussion started over did not have even the taxonomic
of a Flora - it was purely an ecological publication.  I have yet to be
that there is any value in adding the 'pre-ex' authors in works such as that.
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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