[Taxacom] Organism names in the news - Plant name housekeeping

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Wed Sep 22 19:02:23 CDT 2010

Dear all,

Apart from the Guardian missing the point in the main (perhaps the article should be entitled "Guardian reporter discovers synonyms"), the main part of the article appears to be drawn from this press release: 


This states that a version of "The Plant List" will aim to be published in the last quarter of 2010 i.e. presumably some time in the next 3+ months and also:

"the result will be far from perfect but it will be the most comprehensive list to date, will include almost all scientific names at species level that have been published for plants. At least 80% of the names in the list will be clearly flagged either as accepted (the correct name for a known plant species) or as a synonym with a pointer to the correct name."

To me this is much more significant than the headline "Scientists prune list of world's plants" which according to Google already has been reproduced over 18,000 times in 3 days...

Also of interest is the quotation reportedly from Alan Paton that the number of valid species names for flowering plants is likely to be around 400,000. If this figure is reliable then this is an increase of some 48,000 on the value provided by Paton et al. (2008) and used in producing estimates of total named extant species such as Arthur Chapman's revised (2009) document, bringing his previous total from just under 1.9m to close to 1.95m.

Now all we need is "The Animal List" and we will all be happy :) (as bacteria and maybe also viruses already have their house/s in order)


Tony Rees
Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
GPO Box 1538,
Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
Biodiversity informatics research activities: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
Personal info: http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of ICZN-EM
> Sent: Wednesday, 22 September 2010 4:39 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] Organism names in the news - Plant name housekeeping
> Somewhat surprisingly, an article on plant taxonomy and nomenclature
> landed
> on the front page of The Guardian yesterday (this is arguably the UK's
> best
> newspaper, parallel to the New York Times). You can read it here:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/19/scientists-prune-world-
> plant-l
> ist?
> with this linking to all the comments:
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/19/scientists-prune-world-
> plant-l
> ist?showallcomments=true#comment-fold
> These make some interesting reading, as of course a few people take this
> in
> flaming, incendiary directions, and a few commentators put a more accurate
> spin on this story. Some of you might like to fight the good fight here,
> as
> the Guardian readership is very large.
> Overall, the message I think we should take from this is the timeliness of
> getting our global names house in order and on-line. We finally have the
> tools to do it and it needs to be done in very short order. The world is
> beginning to expect it.
> Bring on ZooBank.
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