need for neotype

Tue Dec 31 09:12:43 CST 1996

31 Dec 0855h


    I have a situation for which I welcome your thoughts. Here goes:

    "Author 1" provides a name and description in French and in
English (pre-1935) for a common, rather widely distributed, weedy
plant. The description is adequate, but not exhaustive. There are no
specimens indicated. Author 1 was known to have a personal herbarium,
but this plant has never been found within any of his surviving
specimens. For convenience, we can call this plant "Name 1".

    "Author 2" comes along later and provides a name ("Name 2") and
description for the SAME plant, apparently unaware of Author 1's
work. A proper description is provided, and clear reference is
made to an existing specimen which serves as the holotype.

    Both names are thrown around in modern literature, within guides,
manuals, etc. This is a reasonably important agricultural weed. It
is easily recognized, and unlikely to be confused with other taxa
in the genus wiythin its range.

    Should we maintain Name 1 (because it has priority) and designate
a neotype? Or should Name 1 be treated as a synonym of Name 2?

    Happy New Year---   John Nelson

John B. Nelson
Curator of the Herbarium (USCH)
Department of Biological Sciences
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208

nelson at
803-777-8196 phone
803-777-4002 fax

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