Sphaeroides of tuber?

Wilbert Hetterscheid VKC at PBN.AGRO.NL
Wed Dec 18 07:00:50 CST 1996

In a recent message about the subject of Latin diagnoses the
following was posted:

>How about this:

>   Sphaeroides of tuber 5 cm longis in diametre, flowering before the leaves 1
>leafing 3 leaflet decurrent pinnatatus 4-6 cm longis spathe 30 cm longis
>spike brevioribus 20 cm longis floret Aprili; leafing Junio. ... typus ...

>   It seems better not to give the author, publication, taxon, etc.

>JeF Veldkamp

This diagnosis happened to be published in a genus I am revising and just
for completeness I'll mention it is the plant genus Amorphophallus
(fam. Araceae). When I saw this diagnosis for the first time a few years ago,
I decided that with ICBN art. 36.1 "In order to be validly published, a name
of a new taxon of plants, ......, must be accompanied by a Latin description
or diagnosis or......", the name of the species accompanying this diagnosis
was invalidly published. I cannot but interpret that "Latin diagnosis" IS
a diagnosis in LATIN! Wrong! I had this diagnosis examined by a few people
that are professionally very busy with ICBN and its interpretation and I
understood that "There is enough Latin in it to fit ICBN art. 36.1" and
consequently the name of the taxon was e.g. accepted in Index Kewensis.

Up until this day I think that this is a wrong way of using ICBN. It may be
that naturally English speaking colleagues can interpret art. 36.1 in a way
fitting their tradition (it is said that the English think more in concepts
than in definitions) but for a non-naturally-English-speaking person a
translation of "Latin diagnosis" can hardly read "A diagnosis with at
least ...% Latin words in it". That would require an explanatory note.

As a consequence a diagnosis with e.g. hexadecimal computer language in it
but also some Latin words, could satisfy art. 36.1. Discussions about
the interpretation of ICBN are many and now we seem to get presented by
interpreting the LANGUAGE proper that ICBN is published in. I hope that
the wordings of the BIOCODE in the future will be clearer on such matters.

My question remains: does this Amorphophallus taxon seem validly published?


Wilbert Hetterscheid (amorphophallophile)
vkc at pbga.agro.nl or w.hetter at pbga.agro.nl

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