ICBN too

Richard Rabeler rabeler at UMICH.EDU
Mon Jul 16 00:08:07 CDT 2001

I second Mary's comments.  Many folks I have dealt with do want a name, but
they also want a name that will "stay".

An example one of my colleagues provided in the early 80s comes to mind.
This individual asked me what the scientific name was for White Campion.
When I replied that the name she used would depend on her concept of the
genera Lychnis and Silene and that the "correct" name in Silene was still
the subject of some disagreement, she replied:

"Gees. I don't really care why its Lychnis alba, Silene alba, or Silene
pratensis ssp. alba (or now really Silene latifolia ssp. alba), it's still
White Campion"

Rich Rabeler
University of Michigan

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG]On Behalf Of
Mary Barkworth
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: ICBN too

The other group of 'common name' users is that composed of people who
are interested in the entities themselves, not their relationship
(however interpreted) to other entities.  If I want to grow Scarlet
Gilia in my garden, or use it in my landscape business, I really do not
care whether it is called Ipomospis or Gilia, I just want to be able to
know what to look for in references.  Yes, this group probably overlaps
with those who do not care about how names are assigned and why they are
changed, but there is a reason for the 'do not care' attitude. And when
one lives in a country with officially recognized common names (such as
the US), then 'common names' may well be more stable than scientific
names.  Just look at the blasted Triticeae.  It does not seem to bother
English name users that wheatgrasses are simply the old Agropyron and
Ryegrasses the old Elymus.  Classification is irrelevant to a huge body
of people working with plants. Names are not irrelevant, but a stable,
recognized name is worth more than a less stable, less well-accepted


More information about the Taxacom mailing list