new names for already described taxon

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed May 13 06:47:11 CDT 1998

At 10:55 AM 05-13-98 MET-1METDST, METZING DETLEV wrote:
>In a small botanical journal I found several new names for taxa of
>Cactaceae. In some cases these new species names were used for taxa,
>which were already described as varieties of other species. But the
>author did not make a new combination, eg. he transferred Planta
>mirabilis var. neglecta L. to Planta neglecta (L.) Miller, but he
>choosed a new name (e.g. Planta viridis) although the former variety
>is listed as basionym.
>Is this a correct way in the sense of the ICBN? I know, that a nomen
>novum may be choosed, when a transfer from one species to another
>genus would result in an illegitime name, but may a nomen novum also
>used for the example mentioned above?

Yes, because names only have priority *in their rank*.   Once you change the
rank of the taxon, a whole new set of priorities may be established.

E.g., Syst. Bot. 13: 505 (1988).  In elevating Delissea laciniata var.
parvifolia Rock (1919) to species rank, I coined a new name, Delissea
lauliiana Lammers (1988).  If I had made the new combination Delissea
parvifolia (Rock) Lammers, I felt it would be confused with Delissea
parviflora Hillebr. (1888).  These two names would NOT have been homonyms
under the Code, but it seemed best, as long as the Code left me an option,
to avoid any confusion.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:    tlammers at
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home:     630-759-4280
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