A zoologist asks: botanical names practice

Nico Mario Franz nmf2 at CORNELL.EDU
Thu Jun 17 01:35:11 CDT 2004

There's an article:

Berendsohn, W. G. 1995. The concept of "potential taxa" in databases.
Taxon 44: 207-212,

in which the author suggests something like P. triseriata (Weid) "SEC."
(secundum, meaning "according to"), e.g., Weid (year); versus P.
triseriata (Weid) sec. Platz, 1989.

That way it's clear whose notion (Weid's or Platz's) of what the name P.
triseriata entails (in terms of perceived natural entities) you are
following in your current use of the name.

Those familiar with TDWG developments will know that most of the fancier
taxonomic databases - those that can accommodate multiple overlapping
views, not just the current one - use the "sec." to denote "taxonomic

The following authors have pioneered this approach in a "concept"
checklist of German mosses. A somewhat obscure, but intriguing work.
Leider nur in Deutsch.

Koperski, M., Sauer, M., Braun, W. & Gradstein, S. R. 2000. Referenzliste
der Moose Deutschlands. Schriftenreihe fuer Vegetationskunde 34: 1-519.


Mary Barkworth wrote:

> 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.

* amen. It's always seemed to me that it would be a more useful practice
to cite the authority you're following for the application and extent of
a name, rather than a ritual account of the original authorship, which
doesn't directly point the reader to a particular publication and isn't
necessarily related to the species limits that are meant to be
associated with the name and its type specimen. Pseudacris triseriata
(Weid) - does this mean I include P. maculata in the same species or
not? Who can tell - but surely that's the contemporary question about
any use of this name? P. triseriata (Platz, 1989) on the other hand,
states explicitly what species limits you endorse.

           Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
Frederick W. Schueler, Aleta Karstad, Jennifer Helene Schueler
      RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
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