[Taxacom] Descriptive suprafamilial names of plants

Jim L. Reveal jlr326 at cornell.edu
Mon Nov 25 07:41:05 CST 2013

Paul van Rijckevorsel, who knows the botanical Code exceedingly well, is correct that a typified name can be emended as long as the type is not changed. However, a name that has no type, but is characterized by a circumscription, is different when that circumscription is altered. Thus, the later use of a name with an altered/emended circumscription is not the same as originally proposed and therefore must, by definition, be a later homonym.

He also stated: "A descriptive name may be used unchanged at different ranks, and, just as names like Magnoliophyta, may be applied to a taxon that is defined however one may wish; no difference here."

What Paul failed to point out is that a descriptive name, like Coniferae, does not itself change when it changes rank. One uses Coniferae, unaltered as to its spelling, at the rank of division, subdivision, class or subclass, whereas the name Magnoliophyta (division) is altered (by a change in termination) when assigned to a different rank (e.g., Magnoliopsida).

Jim Reveal

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