Botanical name changes – nuisance or a quest for precision?

Bruce G. Cook, Rainer Schultze-Kraft


To understand the need for the seemingly regular changes to plant names applied to many tropical forage species, it is necessary to be aware of the rules that govern botanical nomenclature.  The binomial naming system, first proposed in 1753, is governed by rules defined in the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants (ICN).  These rules have been strengthened as necessary over the years in the interest of providing practitioners with plant names that are unique for each species, and presented in an hierarchical format that shows the evolutionary relationships between plants.  This paper includes a table of name changes accepted by the USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) for species used in tropical forage research and development over the last half century.  The need to use legitimate plant names is emphasized and suggestions are made on how practitioners might best deal with the changes.

Keywords: Taxonomy, nomenclature, tropical forages.

DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(3)34-40

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