unpublished names - narrowing the scope

Guido at Guido at
Wed Oct 22 09:59:33 CDT 2003

Thanks for your contributions on this topic!

It seems however that the expression ‘unpublished names’ does not mean the same to everyone. The preliminary ‘working’ names or the ‘privately used’ names in personal notes, memos, correspondence… and the so called ‘common names’ (already included in some databases) are not a real taxonomic problem. They can ‘scientifically’ be ignored (or they can be switched ‘on or off’ as suggested). But we are faced also with a number of herbarium specimens (this means it concerns a particular plant and not ‘just’ a name), deposited in public herbaria, which were given a new name, often by a ‘real’ authority concerning the genus, who mentions his name (as the ‘future’ author of the new taxon) and the addition sp. nov. / type, while it never came to any published description. I understand very well the thesis ‘Don’t cite these names, we have difficulties enough with the published ones’ but I’m not sure whether ignoring these botanical entities (by not using their names) is a good ‘scientific’ approach. In the genus Peperomia it concerns 7% of the 3000 published taxa and I can assure you, they are worth talking about...

There has been a suggestion to give the kind of unpublished names I’m talking about here, the status of ‘nomen nudum’. 
Dr. Guido Mathieu
Associate researcher
Ghent University
Department of Biology
Research Group Spermatophytes
K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35
B-9000 Gent
www.peperomia.net <http://www.peperomia.net/ <http://www.peperomia.net/> >

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