Proposal to Establish Rankless Suprageneric Names

Sun Nov 23 05:51:00 CST 1997

An article, "Seventeen proposals to amend the Code on suprageneric names,"
is published electronically in approximately the manner to be presented by
Taxon in early 1998. The proposals are made public at this time to allow
individuals time to send comments to me prior to final page proofs.

One subject not addressed in the article is the concept expressed recently
by Kron (Aliso 15(2). 1997) of using a single termination for all non-ranked
taxa above the rank of genus. Her idea is to establish the termination -ina
as a uniform ending for all names for which a  formal Linnaean rank is
intentionally not given. To accomplish this task, I would like to make the
following  suggestion.

Add to Art. 16 (see proposal 8 below) the following:

h. Rankless: -ina. Restricted to otherwise validly published suprageneric
names published on or after 1 Jan 2000 for which a rank, contrary to Art.
35.1, is purposefully not assigned.

This would accomplish three important goals. For names above the rank of
genus it would be possible to use suprageneric names without rank with
position determined within the classification scheme by whatever means one
might wish (e.g., indentation, adding numbers, etc.). Second, it would
require persons using such names to otherwise follow provisions of the
International Code of Botanical Nomenclature thereby making names available
for transfer to recognized ranks if so desired by other workers. Third, the
use of a single, distinctive termination would make such names instantly
recognizable as purposefully rankless names which are not to be confused
with names otherwise given formal rank according to established tradition.

The above proposal does not prevent one from using a multitude of named
ranks as the Code already permits this (Art. 4.3). The sequence of ranks and
their terminations, however, must conform to those in the Code. Additional
ranks and novel terminations can be used as long as they do not cause
confusion or error. The proposal, therefore, does not prevent the ultimate
establishment of numerous new ranks and terminations, but allows either the
development of them or the total abandonment of them as one wishes.

I would particularly like to hear comments on this point. It is past time to
submit proposals, but perhaps the editors of Taxon would allow an additional
proposal if this can be discussed in a timely fashion.

James L. Reveal

More information about the Taxacom mailing list