Reichenbach's unranked and tribal plant names

Sun Feb 21 08:12:00 CST 1999

H.G.L. Reichenbach published several works over his long career in which he
proposed multiple suprageneric names at various ranks. Except for a few
instance, he failed to either provide a validating description or diagnosis,
or he failed to state a rank. In three works, however, published from 1831
until 1841, he gave a statement as to the nature of at least one of his
otherwise seemingly rankless names. As in often true in such instances, the
remarks either were given in the introductory matter or stated in an embedded
comment or footnote. Thus, the casual reader in search of a name may not be
aware of the rank of certain names. In all three works, Reichenback's primary
infrafamilial rank was stated to be tribe. Reichenbach effectively published a
number of names at this rank and as many are important in modern botanical
nomenclature, I am presenting them as a group.

In the hope of preventing the inappropriate use of the rankless names
proposed by Reichenbach, I have assembled a listing of name for which he was
the first author to validly publish the unranked name. Such names are
validly published and typically legitimate but are not available for
purposes of priority until assigned a rank at a later date.

It must be noted that several of the names used by Reichenbach were validly
published by earlier authors and are therefore not listed at the above site.
To date, I have found more than 2000 unranked, but validly published names
proposed from 1753 until 1900. Modern workers must be careful when adopting
suprageneric names to make sure their name is published at a specific rank.
Equally important is to make sure the name is not at a misplaced rank. While
a unranked name can be validly published, names proposed at a misplaced rank
are not validly published (Art. 33.5).

Jim Reveal (MARY)

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