How many synonyms? (fwd)

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr. jkirkbri at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Mon Jun 16 18:16:02 CDT 1997

>From jrc at Jun 16 18:14:12 1997
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 07:22:27 +1000 (EST)
From: Jim Croft <jrc at>
To: jkirkbri at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Subject: Re: How many synonyms? (fwd)

Joe, I sent the the following to you and to taxacom, but for some reason
the list server deemed me an unsuitable person to post messages (I can
relate to that)...  Will you pass the information on for me please...


> One simplified answer to this is the Index Kewensis data base.  I was
> told that the first IK CD-ROM had approximately one million records on
> it.  Assuming approximately 250,000 accepted species of phanerogams,
> there are roughly three synonyms for each accepted name in phanerogams.

>From the Australian Plant Name Index, there are c. 20,100 currently
recognized vascular plant taxa at or below the rank of species.  These
are covered by c. 55,700 published names.  I guess that means we are
dealing with 35,600 synonyms or slightly more than 1.5 synonyms for
every taxon, which would appear to be better (or worse) that the
global average.

--- jim

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