family name use

Hubert Turner turner at BIO.UVA.NL
Fri Jun 21 16:15:16 CDT 1996

>On Fri 21 Jun 0810h John B. Nelson wrote:
>Dear Colleagues:
>    Which of the following statements is preferable:
>    1) "Most herbaceous Lamiaceae are strongly square-stemmed."
>    2) "Most herbaceous members of the Lamiaceae are strongly square-
>        stemmed."

IMHO statement 1), for the following reason:

Family names such as Lamiaceae are plurals, equivalent to e.g. 'Americans'
or 'Kennedys', and can be used in the same way, as in :"Most Americans like
hamburgers' or 'Most Kennedys are democrats' rather than 'Most members of
....'. Generic names, on the other hand, are singular, so the equivalent
statement can then be either 'Most members of Lamium are ....' or 'Most
Lamiums are ....'.

Just my penny's worth.

Hubert Turner

ISP/ZMA, Dept. Entomology, Plantage Middenlaan 64,
1018 DH  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: +-31-20-5256245        Fax: +-31-20-5256528
E-mail: turner at

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