Latin names versus scientific names [ reverting to "common names"? ]

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at FREELER.NL
Thu Mar 10 10:01:55 CST 2005

From: Adolf Ceska <aceska at TELUS.NET>
> International Code of Botanical Nomenclature states:

Principle V

Scientific names of taxonomic groups are treated as Latin regardless of
their derivation.

Not too much difference.

Yes, I know, we are dealing with Scientific names that are treated as Latin
regardless, if are originally Greek (e.g. Aphanizomenon, Japanese (e.g.,
Tsuga) or even Czech (e.g., Svida).

The difference here is between the official term for a scientific name and
the form it takes. Rather like a Chinese publication might say:

    "scientific names are not written in proper Chinese characters but in
      what is called a "english alphabet" or a "roman alphabet"."

Note that this point is apart from the "treated as Latin". After all there
might have been a Rule: "scientific names must be grammatically correct
Latin" or "scientific names must be formed from meaningful Latin
components", a whole different kettle of fish :-).

Of course it is so that colloquially "Latin names" is often used for what
officially are "scientific names". Actually these two relate rather like
"common names" to "scientific names". And, as we will all agree, there is no
accounting for common names ...

Perhaps the phrase "Latin names" is a remnant of pre-Linnaean times? Then,
scientific names indeed were grammatical correct, meaningful Latin!


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