Indices Nominum Supragenericorum Plantarum Vascularium

Sun Sep 24 16:36:00 CDT 1995

An introduction to a database of scientific names above the rank of genus
for extant vascular plants available through the Department of Plant Biology

                            * * * * *


           International Association for Plant Taxonomy
       Norton-Brown Herbarium at the University of Maryland

With the cooperation of the National Agricultural Library the Indices Nominum
Supragenericorum Plantarum Vascularium are made available publicly via the
Internet. The project is a joint effort between the International Association
for Plant Taxonomy and the Norton-Brown Herbarium at the University of
Maryland. Its purpose is to capture all valid and legitimate extant vascular
plants names proposed above the rank of genus. These data are dynamic and
constantly being updated. At this time, the listing of a name means only that
it is the earliest, valid place of publication found so far.

The database works well with Netscape Navigator Version 1.1N. This runs on
a number of platforms, and may be obtained from Netscape Communications

At present, only a small portion of the database is available online: valid
and legitimate names, or those names made admissable by the International Code
of Botanical Nomenclature. Access is limited to searching on a single generic
name. As a full listing of all names will be published, this restriction is
imposed to (a) make the final work attractive to a publisher and (b) to hinder
the wholesale downloading of admittedly preliminary data. In time, the entire
database will be made available and searchable by several different means.
Individuals wishing more information should contact the compiler.

The goal here is merely to find and evaluate names, not to make taxonomic
judgments. Names at the ranks of subfamily, tribe and subtribe are governed by
strict priority. Above the rank of family, priority is not an issue. Only
family names can be conserved. Three aspects of the Code are critical. First,
many names currently accepted as validly published were published with a
misplaced rank; for example, names proposed as sections above the rank of
genus are not validly published (Art. 33.5). Second, names not published in
Latin are not validly published (Art. 18.4). Third, names above the rank of
family, after 1 Jan 1935, must have a diagnosis or description in Latin, or a
reference to a diagnosis or description in Latin (Art. 36.1). Mere citation of
a validly published name may not be sufficient to validate a name above the
rank of family.

The initial data are names published mainly prior to 1850, except for a
listing of family and ordinal names which essentially is complete as of 15 Sep
1995. The data will be updated approximately every three months. Additional
information will be available in the near future dealing exclusively with
family names.

In any effort of this size, help and comments are much appreciated. Anyone
aware of a name validly published before that reported here is urged to send a
copy of the appropriate pages for review to the compiler. Just finding the
literature takes time. Anything to expedite the effort will be appreciated.

James L. Reveal
Department of Plant Biology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-5815, U.S.A.
jr19 at

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