Honorific -i or -ii

Robert Mill R.Mill at RBGE.ORG.UK
Tue Dec 5 15:45:10 CST 1995

Dear Taxacomers

Art. 60.11 and Rec. 60C. 1(a) and (b) of the ICBN, which must be read
and applied together, are very clear about the rules of -i versus -ii
in botanical nomenclature --

If a modern masculine personal name ends with a vowel or -er, the
ending is a mandatory -i: Laborde yields Labordei, Hooker yields
hookeri. If the man's name ends in a consonant (but not -er), the
epithet is formed by adding a stem augmentation -i- which is
then followed by the genitive ending appropriate to the person's sex,
which for a male means -i, a total of -ii. Thus Mill would become
millii, Wilt would become wiltii. Any epithets originally spelled
wilti or milli HAVE to be corrected to -ii. The only exceptions to
this rule are where the person's name is already in Latin or
Greek, or has a well-established latinized form: thus Martin or
Martinus both give martini (not martinii). The two examples being
discussed on Taxacom just now do not fall into this category and so
if they were plants their epithets would require correcting to -ii
regardless of original spelling.

If it is really true that the ICZN is treating the OPPOSITE change
as mandatory, i.e -ii must be changed to -i, it would suggest that
the ICBN and ICZN are in serious conflict on this point. This in
turn could have implications for the names of organisms in
'borderline phyla', which would apparently have to be spelled -ii if
treated as a plant ruled by the ICBN but -i if treated as an
organism whose nomenclature falls under the rules of the ICZN. I am
pretty good on my ICBN but have never read the ICZN so cannot give a
specific answer to the enquirers about the spelling of their
organisms' names. I simply raise the point of apparent conflict
because, if it is true that such a conflict does exist between the
two Codes, it is something that ought to be standardized.

Best wishes

Robert Mill

      (Dr) ROBERT R MILL
      Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
      20a Inverleith Row, EDINBURGH EH3 5LR, SCOTLAND, U.K.

      Electronic Mail:   R.Mill at rbge.org.uk OR robert at rbge.org.uk
      Telephone:         + 44 131 552 7171 exts. 240 or 449
      Facsimile:         + 44 131 552 0382


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