Weirdness of ICBN

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Thu Jan 4 11:02:34 CST 1996

At 10:47 AM 1/4/96 -0700, Joe Laferriere wrote:
>   There are also a lot of things assumed but not spelled out. I was
>stunned last year when I submitted a paper to Taxon using the format I
>was taught to use for citation of authors of infraspecific taxa, i.e.:
>Planta hypothetica Smith var. erotica Jones.
>I was told by the editors of Taxon that the "Smith" in the above example
>is a violation of the ICBN. It took quite a bit of searching and
>correspondence to convince me that they were right. The ICBN says that a
>trinomial consists of a species name plus the abbreviation of the rank
>(i.e. "var.") plus the infraspecific epithet. Jones, in the above
>example, coined the entire trinomial not just the epithet. Smith had
>nothing to do with the varietal name and the ICBN does not support
>sticking his name in the middle of it. This practice is very common and
>very useful, and I would support changing the ICBN to allow it. The fact
>that it currently does not takes quite a bit of study to understand.

I find this astonishing.  Is it new?  I've always done it the other way (as
your example), and seen it done the other way.

Curtis Clark
Biological Sciences Department                     Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona    FAX:   (909) 869-4396
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at

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