Weirdness of ICBN

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Thu Jan 4 12:24:19 CST 1996

At 10:52 AM 1/4/96 -0800, Barbara Ertter wrote:
>On the useful side, this answers a question that has puzzled me.  Namely,
>in 1945 John Thomas Howell published as new combinations Potentilla
>lycopodioides (Gray) Baill. var. megalopetala (Rydb.) J. T. Howell and
>Potentilla lycopodioides (Gray) Baill. var. scandularis (Rydb.) J. T.
>Howell.  As it happens, Baillon suggested but did not formally make the
>combination Potentilla lycopodioides, which is accordingly a nomen nudum.
>From the interpretation of the code as reported by Laferriere, it would
>appear that Potentilla lycopodioides var. megalopetala and Potentilla
>lycopodioides var. scandularis are valid combinations, even though
>Potentilla lycopodioides and the corresponding autonym are not!

I find this astonishing, too, that a name could be validated by establishing
a taxon that specifically, by definition, excludes the type of the
originally invalid species.  Has the code changed that much recently?

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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