Formality of Latin description

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr. jkirkbri at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Wed Nov 22 11:08:22 CST 1995

I suspect that Wolgang does not do any systematic work with tropical
organisms, or he has a really tame group of yes-sir collaborators.

In preparation for the last International Botanocal Congress, there were
two committees on registration of journals and on registration of names.
They were supposed to report to the nomenclature section of the Bot.
Congress.  I asked my South American colleagues, whom I consider to be my
equals, in systematic botany for their opinions on registration of journals
and names.  On journal registration they all were absolutely opposed to
it.  One person told me that it was an attempt to stop systematic work in
Latin America and that we, North American and European botanists, should
never plan on visiting his country again if journal registration was
enacted.  Fortunately the "message" was delivered, and the committee on
journal regsitration simply vanished.

For registration of names, it was divided into two parts, old names and
new names.  The committee for old names presented a number of proposals
on establishing lists of names nomenclaturally protected against
everything.  The proposals were defeated.  The committee on registration
of new names made several very modest, conservate proposals.  The heart
of their proposals were that registration would be added to the
conditions for valid publication (availability).  The proposals were
narrowly defeated, principally by Europeans.  It was finally passed on
the condition that it be voted on again at the next International
Botanical Congress in 1999 at St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Registration of journals and names seem like potentially good ideas, but
most botanists see them as mechanisms to give control of systemtics to a
small group of people who will be making the decisions.  Who has the
right to publish new names, and who does not?

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory
Room 304, Building 011A, BARC-West
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2350 USA
Voice telephone: 301-504-9447
FAX: 301-504-5810
Internet: jkirkbri at

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