Nomenclature vs botanical tradition

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Sun Feb 23 14:11:05 CST 1997

Athanasios Athanasiadis, University of Goeteborg, writes:

>Here is another problem with...

>The generic name Platoma (Rhodophyta) first appeared in the literature
>with neuter gender (Montagne 1841), but as a nomen nudum. It was
>later validated with feminine gender (Schmitz 1894 ?). Since then
>most have treated it as a feminine word. However, Platoma is a Greek
>word with neuter gender, apparently based on the classical word
>Platyma (also of neuter gender and with about the same meaning).
>The question is which AUTHOR should be accredited with the correct
>orthography. Montagne (1841) who first published it correctly but as
>a nomen nudum, or Schmitz (1894) who first validated it apparently
>not being aware of the correct orthography ?

As previously noted by Joseph Kirkbride, the relevant Article of the
Code is 62.1, which says: "A generic name retains the gender assigned
by botanical tradition, irrespective of classical usage or the
author's original usage.  A generic name without a botanical tradition
retains the gender assigned by the author".

>From the information given by Athanosios Athanasiadis, _Platoma_
appears to have a botanical tradition of feminine gender, but even if
it did not, it has only one author, namely Schmitz (1894), who treated
it as feminine.

The bases for this statement are to be found in Arts. 32.1 and 6.6.
If it was a "nomen nudum" in the work of Montagne (1841), Montagne did
NOT validly publish the name (Art. 32.1 (c)).  Art. 6.6  states: "In
this _Code_, unless otherwise indicated, the word "name" means a name
that has been validly published ,,,".  There is no contrary indication
in Art. 62.1, so Montagne did not publish a generic "name"; this was,
apparently, first done by Schmitz.

John McNeill

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

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