ICBN - Lectotypification

Ted Oliver Oliveregh at NBICT.NBI.AC.ZA
Tue Jul 30 14:37:06 CDT 2002

I was brought up with the understanding that lectotypes had to be selected from among the original material cited in the protologue, i.e. seen and used by the author - - perfectly acceptable.  But not so now!

I work on a large genus of plants in which 100 species were described in Flora capensis (1905) by two amateur workers in Cape Town. In many cases they cited syntypes which were in their own herbaria, either their own collections or duplicates given to them by other collectors. In the last full revision of the genus in 1965, Dulfer of Vienna tackled the syntypes and selected duplicates of these 'other collectors' which were given by those collectors themselves or European herbaria to Vienna, as lectotypes, i.e. material never consulted by the authors in Cape Town.

I had hoped to change this selection to the authors' own herbarium material using the 'Guide to determination of types' at the ends of the code and the recommendations up until Sydney Code 1983. But then the Berlin Code 1988 left this guide out and seemed to rely solely on the Recommendation 9A3-"any indication of intent by the author should be given preference  .... manuscript notes, annotations on herb sheets ...."

But then came the shock of the St Louis Code 2000 in which a special new note is appended to explain what the drafters really thought original material, from which to make selections, actually is  "those specimens even if not seen by the author .......  isosyntypes of the name irrespective of whether such specimens were seen by ... the author of the name".  This seems to go totally against the wording of Recommendation 9A3 which is fortunately still retained. 

Well, well, this seems as though the poor authors have been totally overlooked. This is to me a gross injustice to authors and defeats the rest of the code which is supposed to try to respect the original publication and typification of names.

So should I ignore the note and follow the Recommendation!

As my children would so aptly say  .....  the St Louis Code sucks!

Ted Oliver

Dr. E.G.H. Oliver
Compton Herbarium  (NBG)
Kirstenbosch Research Centre
National Botanical Institute

e-mail:  oliveregh at nbict.nbi.ac.za
Tel.  021 799 8724

The NBI accepts no liability for unauthorized use of its e-mail facility nor for corrupted or virus-infected messages.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list