obscure publications

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Fri Apr 4 09:52:21 CST 1997


On 4 April, Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere, Herbario, CEAMISH, Universidad
Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico  wrote:

>I know of numerous examples of 18th- and 19th-Century names
>contained in publications so obscure that there are now
>only 2 or 3 extant copies. Does anyone know of an
>example of a validly published sceintific name for which
>it is reasonably certain no extant copies exist anywhere on the
>planet? This is very relevant to recent discussions
>concerning electronic publication.

Coincidentally, a query that I received just yesterday concerning a
1981 paper has reminded me of a possible example.

It is N.M. von Wolf's _Genera Plantarum_, about which I note in 1981
(_Naturaliste canadien_ 108: 239): "was probably published as a
separate work in 1776, but certainly in 1780 when it was bound along
with the author's _Concordatia_; only the 1780 printing has survived."
This comment was almost certainly derived entirely from the analysis
by Bob Ross (former Keeper of Botany at the BM) in _Acta botanica
neerlandica_ 15: 147-161. 1966 (though it could have been complemented
by comments by Bullock in _Kew Bulletin_ 21: 351-353. 1967).

For my purpose at the time (the precedence (priority) of
_Vincetoxicum_ Wolf over _Vincetoxicum_ Walter 1788), the
effectiveness of publication of the supposed 1776 edition that had not
apparently survived was not relevant, though it may well be in other
circumstances (i.e. for other names).  I don't have Ross's paper
immediately to hand, nor have I checked whether TL-2 has more to say
about Wolf's _Genera Plantarum_ than was known to me in 1981, but
these are both easy to check.

John McNeill

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From: John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum,
      100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
      Tel. and fax # 416-586-5744  e-mail: johnm at rom.on.ca
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