A zoologist asks: botanical names practice

Mary Barkworth Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU
Wed Jun 16 08:12:49 CDT 2004

The request seems to reflect a common unfounded assumption that
displaying author names and publication information means that the work
is more scientific. If it were me, I would grumble a lot, do it, cross
the journal off the list of those I submit to, and send the editor the
following excerpt from the current version of the International Code of
Botanical Nomenclature

"Among the non-mandatory (explanatory or advisory) matter added or
modified at St Louis, let us point out the reworded Art. 46.1, which
downgrades author citation after scientific names, from a necessary
condition for a name to be "accurate and complete" to a mere complement
that "may be desirable", *particularly in taxonomic and nomenclatural
publications* [emphasis added]. Authors and editors should be made aware
of this change, as past editorial policy has sometimes enforced the
uncritical addition of author citations in non-taxonomic papers, where
they are of little use." (see

I know of no good reason for citing the date of publication. I do see a
good reason to state what references you used for identifying the plants
(even if you just knew the plants you could cite some work that others
less knowledgeable could use.


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