[Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names

Richard Jensen rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Sun Aug 2 19:56:39 CDT 2015


But only when they know them or, as is the case for many plants, part or
all of the common name is the same as the latin name, e.g., Aster, Daphne,
etc.  It is truly unfortunate that those writing floras (and, I presume,
faunas) feel compelled (or are expected) to develop a "common name", where
none has existed before.

Many plant common names simply are derivatives of the latin names, e.g.,
Shumard's oak or Nuttall's oak for Quercus shumardii and Quercus
nuttallii.  This practice becomes even more confusing when the latin name
is changed, in keeping with nomenclatorial rules, but the common name
isn't: Quercus nuttallii is now Quercus buckleyi, but it is still referred
to by almost everyone as Nuttall's oak, not Buckley's oak (and, thank
goodness, not as Texas red oak, a common name that enjoys a bit of
notoriety among those familiar with oaks).

Unfortunately, getting John Q. Public (as designated in an earlier post) to
learn and use latin names will be as difficult, if not more so, as getting
the US to adopt the metric system (although this seems to have worked quite
well for certain items of commerce - virtually all wines come in 0.75 or
1.5 liter bottles!).

Cheers,

Dick J

On Sun, Aug 2, 2015 at 2:06 PM, Fautin, Daphne G. <fautin at ku.edu> wrote:

> But people use scientific names for plants all the time -- especially
> gardeners.  So this obscurity seems to apply only to animals.
>
>
> Daphne G. Fautin
> Professor Emerita, University of Kansas
>
> skype: daphne.fautin
>
> database of sea anemones
> hercules.kgs.ku.edu/Hexacoral/Anemone2/index.cfm
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] on behalf of Mary
> Barkworth [Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu]
> Sent: Sunday, August 02, 2015 11:53 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Herpetological Common Names
>
> I am with Fred on this but the question was about establishing them. I
> suggest that students be required to memorize an use them in all their
> classes, with it being explained that J.Q. Public is incapable of learning
> unfamiliar names, at least not once they get to their teens. Then require
> all government agencies and their employees to use them and make the
> manufactured name more conspicuous in all books and documents. This will
> help ensure that scientific names are considered difficult, obscure,
> abstruse, a (pick your term) - fit only for people that live in ivory
> towers.
>
> Mary
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> Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.
>



-- 
Richard Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556



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