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Full text of "Laws of botanical nomenclature adopted by the International Botanical Congress, held at Paris in August 1867; together with an historical introduction and a commentary"






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LAWS 



BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE 



ADOPTED BY THE 



Knternattonal iSotautcal Congress 

HELD AT PAEIS IN AF&UST, 1867; 



TOQ-ETHEB WITH AN 



HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION AND A COMMENTARY. 



J, BT 



ALPHf DE CANDOLLE, 

EDITOB AND PAETLT AUTHOE OF THE ' PEODEOMITS BTSTEMATIB 
SATtTEALIS VEG-ETABILIUM;.' 



(TRANSLATED FEOM THE FRENCH,) 




LONDON : 

L. EEEVE & CO., 5, HENRIETTA STEEET, COVENT GARDEN, 

1868. 



FEINTED BT J. E. TAYLOB ANU CO., 
LITTLE QUEEN SIEEST, LINCOLN'S INN EIELDS. 



NOTE BY THE TRANSLATOE. 



In the following, translation of M. de Candolle's ' Lois de la 
Nomenclature Botanique/ precision has been my chief ob- 
ject. I have, on this account, adhered as Hterally as I could 
to the original text, only departing from it where the idioms 
of the French language did not admit of a close rendering 
into English. It may not be superfluous to add, that in 
complying with the request of the author that I should 
undertake the translation, I was actuated rather by a desire 
to oblige him, than by the hope of being able to do full jus- 
tice to his work. For the revision of the MS. and proofs, 
I have to oflfer my sincere thanks to some kind friends at 

Kew. 

H. A. WBDDELL, M.D., 

Foreign Member of the Linnean Society of London. 
PoiTiEES, Decemher, 1867. 



A 2 



PEELIMINAEY NOTICE. 



The International Botanical CongresSj held in Paris from 
August 16tlL to August 26tli, under the auspices of the 
Botanical Society of France, was attended by about a hun- 
dred and fifty botanists of different European nations, and 
even by some few from America. 

I had the honour to lay before it a body of ' Laws of Bo- 
tanical Nomenclature/ drawn up with the view of promoting 
a systematic discussion, and printed a few days before in 
Geneva. This wort, of which the Botanical Society had 
taken a certain number of copies for distribution among the 
members present, consisted of an introduction, of the laws 
proposed for the regulation of nomenclature, and, lastly, of 
a commentary, elucidating obscure points, or such as are 
frequently subjects of debate amongst botanists and zoolo- 
gists. 

The Congress decided on referring my project to a com- 
mittee consisting of MM. Dumortier, President of the Bo- 
tanical Society of Belgium, Cosson, Planchon senior, Eichler, 
Bureau, Weddell, and myself. M. Boreau, of Angers, who 
had likewise been nominated, was only able to attend the 
fourth and last sitting. The articles were examined one by 
one and I am happy to say that we agreed on almost all of 
them. Where there was a divergence of opinion, which did 



6 



LAWS OF NOMBNCLATUEB. 



not, however, occur on points of importance, it was decided 
tliat less stringent rules should be proposed to the Congress ; 
that authors might be left at liberty to adopt what course 
they may think most suitable, and the way might remain 
open to further improvement. 

The discussion in congress was remarkably well conducted 
by M. Dumortier, one of our honorary Vice-Presidents, whilst 
the President himself, author of the scheme, acted as re- 
porter. In the course of the debates, carried on through 
several sittings, some useful modifications were introduced 
into the original text ; but no article of primary importance 
underwent any essential change. Generally speaking, when 
it was found necessary to vote, a large majority showed how 
much opinions had been conciliated by discussion. Finally, 
after a long sitting, on the 23rd of August, at 11 o'clock at 
night, the following decision was carried all but unanimously, 
and with manifest satisfaction, by about a hundred botanists 
of all countries. 

The Botanists assembled, at Paris, in International Con- 
gress, in August, 1867, ha/uing examined the collection of 
' Laws of Botanical Nomenclature,' laid down hy M. Alph. de 
Candolle, upon the Report of a Committee appointed hy them, 
resolve : — 

" That these Laws, as adopted hy this Assembly, shall he 
recommended as the hest Guide for Nomenclature in the 
Vegetable Kingdom." 
The account of the discussions will be published in extenso 
in the 'Actes du Congres,'^ together with the text of the 
laws that have been adopted; but it would have been diffi- 
cult, on account of the number and length of other scientific 
papers presented, to reproduce the Introduction and the 
Commentary, which are, nevertheless, of evident importance 
for the better understanding of the articles. Besides which, 
to ensure a somewhat general application of the adopted 
rules, it has appeared very necessary, not only that they 
should be translated into several languages, but also that 

' 1 vol. 8vo, Paris, 1867, at the office of tlie Botanical Society, Eue 
de Grenelle Saint-Germain, n. 84. 



PEELIMINAEY NOTICE. 7 

they should be published in a shape that will place them 
within everybody's reach. The volume of ' Proceedings/ 
edited in French only, and entirely made up of papers on 
special matters, could not serve this purpose. I have con- 
sequently made up my mind to publish, with the assent 
of the Committee, this second edition of my pamphlet, in 
French, in German, and in English. 

The Introduction does not differ from that of the first 
edition. The text of the articles is the one adopted by the 
Congress. The Commentary has been modified in accord- 
ance with the changes made in the text of the articles, and 
completed by the addition of fresh information, or of con- 
siderations that have suggested themsdves since the sittings. 
Those who wish to examine the different questions more 
particularly will do well to consult the volume of ' Proceed- 
ings,' together with the present treatise. The details of the 
discussion, published in the ' Proceedings,' necessarily com- 
plete my work, in which, On the other hand, are to be found 
the Introduction and the Commentary, that do not appear 
in the official volume. Moreover, the two works being of 
the same form, it will be easy, for any one so disposed, to 
annex this pamphlet, printed in any one of the three lan- 
guages above mentioned, to the volume of the ' Proceed- 
ings.' 

Geneva, October 15, 1867. 



INTKODUCTION. 



The system of nomenclature of organized beingSj founded 
by LinnBeua, was looked upon, till the middle of tMs cen- 
tury, as extremely ingenious, and has been thougbt, by 
some authors, a most admirable one. It was quoted in phi- 
losophical lectures, and found superior to that of chemical 
nomenclature, on account of its adapting itself more readily 
to changes necessitated by the progress of discovery. 
Botanists professed for it the greatest veneration. They 
boasted of having developed a better nomenclature than 
zoologists, which was not surprising, as the most illustrious 
botanists, thirty or forty years ago, gave infinitely more at- 
tention to this subject than zoologists. 

Nevertheless, of late years, a change has been perceptible; 
opinion is wavering, enthusiasm abated. Here and there, 
in different countries, doubts have arisen and complaints 
have been made regarding the system of botanical nomen- 
clature. Horticulturists are oftentimes at a loss to find their 
way in the midst of new names and accumulated synonyms, 
or are eager to get out of the chaos they have themselves 
created in the nomenclature of cultivated varieties. Bota- 
nists, on the other hand, alarmed at the increase of names 
proceeding from the difierent views taken of genera and 
species, are on the look-out for a nomenclature that shall be 



INTRODUCTION. y 

independent of tlie constant changes in known facts^ and 
modes of viewing them. Botanists and horticulturists ex- 
change jokes on the oddity of garden names, and on the in- 
stability of a nomenclature which might well be deemed to 
possess fixity, having been said to be positive and logical. 
Happily, they likewise exchange polite and serious requests, 
with a view of being useful, if possible, or at any rate not 
hurtful, to one another. I have myself appealed to horticul- 
turists^ not to give to simple cultivated varieties or sub- 
varieties, Latin names, similar in form to those of genuine 
species, in order to avoid a source of error in botanical 
works ; while M. Charles Koch, taking advantage of the In- 
ternational Botanical Congress, held in London, in 1866, 
proposed that such meetings should be utilized for the ex- 
amination of doubtful questions of nomenclature, and for 
the introduction of such . reforms as should reduce syno- 
nymy.2 

In London, we had only two meetings at our disposal, the 
programmes of which were already very full ; besides which, 
there was no text of propositions to form the basis of a dis- 
cussion. We separated, in consequence, without having even 
touched upon the subject. But the words of M. Koch were 
not lost. He who had then the honour of presiding at the 
sittings has frequently reflected on the matter since ; and 
when he made known to the Committee for the Organiza- 
tion of the Botanical Congress in Paris his desire specially 
to treat questions relating to nomenclature, the Committee 
engaged him to prepare a " code " of laws, so as to facilitate 
the discussion of those points which might more particularly 
engage the attention of the meeting. 

1 have attempted to comply with this desire. Long prac- 
tice in systematic botany, continuous intercourse with many 
able men who assist me in working out the ' Prodromus,' 
and added to this, the valued recollection of the tendencies 
imparted to me in my youth, made the, task more easy, per- 
haps for me than for many others. The subject is so fami- 

• Bulletin du Congrfes hortioole a Bruxelles, 1864, p. 171. 

2 E/Oport of the Proceedings of the Botanical Congress, 1866, p. 188. 



10 LAWS OF NOMENCLATUEE. 

liar to me, that I have been able to take a very direct course. 
Without imitating or copying any author, I began by laying 
down the laws and customs, such as they are followed, or 
ought, according to me, to be followed in botany, distri- 
buting my matter into chapters and sections^ so as to put the 
leading principles in relief, and to bring together closely 
connected articles. I then read attentively Linnseus's 'Pun- 
damenta ' and ' Philosophia Botanica ;' the criticism of the 
first of those works by Heisterj^ Linnseus's contemporary ; 
the chapter on nomenclature in De Candolle's ' Theorie Ele- 
mentaire;' Lindley's chapters on nomenclature and syno- 
nymy, in his ^Introduction to Botany;' the repertory of 
laws on zoological nomenclature, presented to the British 
Association, in 1842, by some very distinguished naturalists, 
chiefly zoologists, — Strickland, Owen, Darwin, Phillips, 
Waterhouse, Westwood, etc. ;^ the remarkable preface on 
the nomenclature of genera in Agassiz' ' Nomenclator Zoo- 
logicus;'^ and, finally, the chapter " De Denominatione Ani- 
malium," in Van der Hoeven's 'Philosophia Zoological* 
purposing, besides, to consult other authors on special points 
more or less subject to controversy. Their perusal enabled 
me to make some additions, but, to my great satisfaction, 
it seemed to me I had obtained certain advantages over ana- 
logous works of my predecessors. Linnaeus and Heister 
hardly advert to anything but generic names, for all they 
say in reference to the specific phrases formerly in use is 
now inapplicable.* The English Committee had principally 

' Systema Plantarum, etc., cui annectuntur regulse de nominibus 
Plantarum a eel. Linnsei longe diversse, 1 vol. in 8to, 48 pages, 1748. 

" Report of a Committee, etc., in Eeport of the British Association 
for 1842, p. 105. 

2 One vol. in 4to, Soloduri, 1842-46. 

* One vol. in 870, Lugduni-Batav. 1864. 

" Linnseus's ' Fundamenta ' appeared in 1736 ; his ' Philosophia ' in 
1751. The first edition of the ' Species' was published in 1753 ; but 
Linnaeus had already made use of specific names, systematically reduced 
to a single word, as far back as June, 1745, in his dissertation on Am- 
phibia Gyllenhorgiana (Amcen. Acad. i. p. 107), and in botany ; and 
again, in December, 1745, in his dissertation on Paasijlorm (Amoen. 
Acad. i. p. 211). What appears to us, to-day, to be the happiest and 



INTRODUCTION. 11 

zoology in view. M. Agassiz likewise ; and lie had notj be- 
sideSj to deal witli species. Lindleyj and especially De Can- 
dolle, are very explicit, considering the period when they 
wrote j but many questions have arisen since then. Every 
author is necessarily led by certain tendencies, by certain 
exigencies of the times in which he lives ; whence it follows 
that it is useful — every twenty years, for instance — to revise 
the ensemble of received rules. Advantage is taken of this 
revision to abandon useless rules, and to replace them by 
more suitable ones. Without going far back, it is easy to 
see that, since the end of the eighteenth century, botanists 
have endeavoured to free themselves from many useless 
shackles put on by Linnaeus, and tightened by his disciples ; 
above aU, with relation to the choice of generic names. De 
CandoUe was ruled by the idea of having the law of priority 
properly respected, — a law which, fifty years ago, was often 
unscrupulously infringed. Authors next aimed at greater 
precision, and at making nomenclature answer to the grow- 
ing necessity of dividing the vegetable kingdom iato more 
numerous groups, comprehended one within another. 

In the present day, the nomenclature of cultivated species, 
and of their innumerable modifications, requires special at- 
tention. I do not propose any serious innovations in this 
respect, only recommending botanists to choose, among the 
various courses in use, those which seem most appropriate, 
and to establish as close a correspondence as possible be- 

moat important of Linnseus' ideas, was, for a long time, deemed by him to 
be of secondary importance ; and thus it is that, in the difierent editions 
of the ' Philosophia,' all anterior to 1745, he expatiates on the phrase 
nomina speciflca, and only mentions what we, to-day, call specific 
names (his nomina trwialia). Among the 186 dissertations of Linnsens, 
there is not a single one on the names now termed specific. In his disser- 
tation of June, 1753, ' Incrementa Botanices ' (Amoen. Acad. iii. p. 377), 
where he takes the title of reformer of science, and where his works, 
even the ' Species ' that had just appeared, are referred to, he does not 
advert to the use ofthe binominal nomenclature. He speaks of it, at last, 
in his dissertation, ' Eeformatio Botanices ' (Amoen. Acad. vi. p. 315), 
in December, 1762, but not to lay down any rules for these names, and 
merely to insist on the very great advantages oflFered by them. 



12 LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 

tween those variations of species that interest botanists as 
well as horticulturists^ and their more minute subdivisions 
that interest horticulturists only. The quotation of authors' 
names after generic and specific nameSj when changes have 
taken placBj has become an important question, arisen within 
the last twenty years ; and I have even been obliged to turn 
my attention to the manner in which authors' names are 
abridged. This detail may appear puerile^ but as there are 
botanists who have fallen into the way of abridging names 
in an unintelligible manner, it is needful to warn them of 
it, and to remind them how words are abridged in all dic- 
tionaries. 

My work consists of a text, followed by a commentary, in 
which will be found explanations, examples, or reasons ia 
support of the several articles. 

I said that some perplexity is arising from the ever-in- 
creasing complication of synonymy. Of course, experienced 
botanists do not feel very anxious on this score. They 
adopt no new names without having themselves discovered 
the necessity for so doing, — or, at least, without being sure 
that they have been approved of, after due examination, by 
competent men. Moreover, they do not consider synonymy 
to be without merit. It constitutes the history of the sci- 
ence. Given fully and according to date, it is both curious 
and instructive. But it must be acknowledged that many 
people are alarmed at the increase of synonyms, and that, 
in practice, a multiplicity of names is inconvenient. Some 
improvements in the system of nomenclature may have a 
certain influence in this respect. We must, however^ learn 
to face the evil, and to understand that the causes from which 
it proceeds are very numerous, and partly inevitable. Here 
are a few comparisons that have not been made before. 

In the first four volumes of the ' Prodromus,' published 
from 1824 to 1830, the proportion between accepted genera 
and synonymous ones was, approximately,' 100 to 56. This 

' The calculation has been made on the letters A and B of Buck's 
tables, comprising 277 genera and 154 synonyms, belonging to several 
distinct Orders, not including synonyms anterior to Linnaeus. 



INTEODUCTION. 13 

amounts to saying tliatj at that time, about half the number 
were synonyms. In the ' Genera Plantarum ' of Bentham 
and Hooker, fascicles 1 and 2, published in 1862 and 1865, 
comprising almost the same series of Orders, I found, by 
making the same approximative calculation,' 117 synonyms 
for 100 accepted genera. It would seem, then, that the 
proportion of generic synonyms has been doubled in thirty- 
six years. 

That this increase will long continue in the same ratio 
does not seem at all probable. As we become acquainted 
■v?ith a larger number of species, it is found more easy to 
group them naturally, to say nothing of our resources for 
analysis, which are better than they were formerly, nor of 
the general improvement of descriptions. For the last forty 
years a great number of genera have been made from defec- 
tive materials, but this will be less common henceforth ; be- 
sides which, we are drawing near the limits of discovery in 
point of genera. In every fresh volume of the ' Prodromus,' 
I remark a decrease in the proportion of new genera. There 
are Orders in which the number of genera hardly varies. 
Lindley, in 1853, estimated the number of genera of Ewphor- 
hiacecB at 191 ; and it so happens that, in the recent mono- 
graph of M. Boissier and Dr. Miiller (Prodr. xv, sect. 2), it 
is precisely 191. I have shown elsewhere^ that the mean 
geographical area of genera is about ^-f „■ of the solid surface 
of the globe. Notwithstanding the exceptional smallness 
of certain areas, it may be supposed that collectors have 
now crossed most of the countries occupied by each genus, 
and that we are thus pretty nearly acquainted with aU ex- 
isting genera. Surely nothing is more uncommon nowa- 
days than the proposal — and, above all, the admission — of 
a new genus in the floras of the northern hemisphere, with- 
out the tropics. For some time longer we shall see genera 
remodelled, — genera will frequently be formed into sections, 
or vice versa ; but, if we may judge from European floras, 

' Taking letters A and B of the same index, comprising pretty nearly 
the same Orders. 

' ' G^ographie botanique raisonnee,' p. 1142. 



14 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

there will be a limit even to these changes. A plentiful 
source of synonyms will thus be exhausted. 

I just said that we are fast approaching the epoch when 
all genera will be known. Here is a proof of this, taken 
from the volumes of the ' Prodromus ' that have appeared 
since 1844, and in which I have taken a special part as au- 
thor or editor. I divided these into series of three volumes, 
according to the date of publication, and then counted 
how many accepted genera there were in each series, and 
how many of these were new.' I computed also the num- 
ber of accepted and of new species, considering only as new 
such as had not been described before. I next calculated 
the percentage of new genera and of new species. The 
figures show a regular decrease in the proportion of new 
genera, and a sHght increase in that of new species. 

Volumes of the Dateof the ^__5Sf!L__^ ^P°?"°- 

' Prodromus.' volumes. ' total, new. percent, total. new. percent. 

VIII., IX., X 1844-46 840 130 15-4 8495 1636 19-1 

XL, XII., XIII. 1847-52 602 65 107 8308 1783 21-4 

XIV., XV., XVI., 1857-66 476 35 7-3 7832 1864 23-7 

sect. 2, faso. 1. 

Totals . 1918 230 24,635 5283 

As regards species, the ' Nomenclator ' of Steudel, first 
edition, of 1821, had about 55 synonyms for every 100 ad- 
mitted species.^ The second edition, of 1840, gives the pro- 
portion of 75 to 100.* There is no third edition, to allow of 
the comparison being continued. The indexes of the ' Pro- 
dromus ' published by Dr. Buck, for volumes vii. part 2, to 

' A genus detached from anotlier ia looked upon as new, but not so 
that of which the name only has been changed. The same for species. 
Genera and species described for the first time had often received names 
in lists or herbaria. I have considered as new genera and species de- 
scribed for the ' Prodromus,' though sometimes published a short while 
before in journals, for the sake of priority. 

^ The calculation has been made on the left column of pages 10, 20, 
30, etc., to 400, comprising 893 accepted species and 451 synonyms, 
belonging to a very large number of genera taken at random. 

^ Calculating in like manner, the forty columns comprise 927 ac- 
cepted species and 702 synonyms. 



INTEODUOTION. 15 

xiii., wliich appeared (taking tlie mean of the years of pub- 
lication) in 1845, give the proportion of 102 synonyms for 
100 accepted species.' This divergency from Steudel, in 
so short a period, may be explained by the circumstance 
that Steudel did not examiae his species one by one, and 
laid down as admissible aU those that had not been done 
away with by other authors; whereas the Writers of the 
' Prodromus,' having treated their subject monographically, 
have been able to revise every species, and have reduced 
many to the rank of simple synonyms. The detailed in- 
"^exes of Dr. Buck for the last volume have not yet appeared, 
but I have no doubt that the proportion of synonyms will 
be very considerable. Accordiug as the volumes of the 
' Prodromus ' appear, the proportion of synonyms increases. 
This may contiaue for a long time yet. The settlement of 
genera will certainly do away with an important source of 
synonyms, but there will still be published many carelessly- 
made species ; some botanists will still need the necessary 
materials for sound work ; the conception of species wiU long 
vary j and there wiU always be but few authors that wiU 
give themselves the trouble to study every form of a spe- 
cies, or every species of a genus, in the principal herbaria 
of Europe, — ^which is indispensable for the avoidance of 
errors. Works got up in special localities, or devoted to 
isolated species or small groups of species, or from herbo- 
rization over limited tracts, or founded upon details from in- 
sufficient herbaria ; and more general works by iacompetent 
authors, will still continue to be sources of synonyms. 

In all this it is clear that nomenclature plays a very se- 
condary part. It facilitates working,, by establishing order 
in facts and ideas, but it does not prevent diversity of 
opinion as to the limits of genera and species, nor does it 
place obstacles in the way of superficial, fragmentary works, 
where the author, shut up in a single country or in a single 
herbarium, accumulates a number of Hi-made genera, and 

' Calculating in a similar way on pages 10, 20, 30, etc., to 400. They 
include 816 accepted species and 831 synonyms. 



16 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

especially of ill-made species^ whicli subsequently fall to the 
ground. 

The time must, however, come when, actually existing ve- 
getable forms having all been described, herbaria containing 
undoubted types of them, — botanists having made, unmade, 
or oftentimes remade, elevated or lowered, and, above all, 
modified somie hundred thousand groups, from Orders. down- 
wards to simple varieties of species, — ^the number of syno- 
nyms having become infinitely greater than that of admitted 
groups, — it wiU become necessary to effect some great re- 
volution in the formulae of science. This nomenclature that 
we are striving to improve will then have the appearance of 
an old scafi'olding, made up of parts laboriously renewed 
one by one, and surrounded by a heap of more or less em- 
barrassing rubbish, arising from the accumulation of pieces 
successively rejected. The edifice of Science will have been 
constructed, but it will not be sufficiently clear -of all that 
has served to raise it. Perhaps there will then come to light 
something very difierent from the Liunaean nomenclature, — 
something will have been devised for giving definite names 
to definite groups. 

This is the secret of futurity, of a yet very distant period. 

In the meanwhile, let us improve the system of binominal 
nomenclature iutroduced by Linnreus. Let us endeavour 
to accommodate it to the continual and necessary altera- 
tions that take place in science, and, for this purpose, let 
us diffuse, as well as we can, the principles of the method ; 
let us attack slight abuses, slight negligence, and let us 
come, if possible, to an understanding on debated points. 
We shall thus have prepared, for some years to come, the 
way for better carrying out works on systematic botany. 



LAWS OF BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE 

ADOPTED BY THE CONGEESS. 



CHAPTEE I. 

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS AND LEADING PRINCIPLES. 

Article 1. Natural History can make no real progress 
without a regular system of nomenclature, acknow- 
ledged and used by a large majority of naturalists of 
all countries. 

Art. 2. The rules of nomenclature should neither 
be arbitrary, nor imposed by authority. They must be 
founded on considerations clear and forcible enough for 
eyery one to comprehend and be disposed to accept. 

Art. 3. The essential point in nomenclature is to 
avoid or to reject the use of forms, or names, that 
may create error or ambiguity, or throw confusion into 
science. 

Next in importance is the avoidance of any useless 
introduction of new names. 

Other considerations, such as absolute grammatical 
correctness, regularity or euphony of names, a more or 
less prevailing custom, respect for persons, etc., not- 

B 



18 LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 

withstanding their undeniable importance, are rela- 
tively accessory. 

Art. 4. No custom contrary to rule can be main- 
tairied if it leads to confusion or error. When a custom 
offers no serious inconvenience of this Had, it may be 
a motive for exceptions, wbicb we must, however, ab- 
stain from extending or imitating. In the absence 
of rule, or where the consequences of rules are ques- 
tionable, established custom becomes law. 

Art. 5. The principles and forms of nomenclature 
should be as similar as possible in botany and in 
zoology. 

Art. 6. Scientific names should be in Latin. When 
taken from another language, a Latin termination is 
given to them, 'except in cases sanctioned by custom. 
If translated into a modern language, it is desirable 
that they should preserve as great a resemblance as 
possible to the original Latin names. 

Art. 7. Nomenclature comprises two categories of 
names: — 1. Names, or rather terms, expressing the 
nature of the groups comprehended one within an- 
other. 2. Names particular to each of the groups of 
plants or animals that observation has made known 
to us. 



CHAPTEE II. 



ON THE MANNER OE DESIGNATING THE NATURE AND SUB- 
ORDINATION OF THE GROUPS THAT CONSTITUTE THE 
VEGETABLE EINGDOM. 

Art. 8. Every individual plant belongs to a species 
[species), every species to a genus [genus), eyerj genus 



LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 19 

to an order {ordo, famiMa), every order to a coliort 
(cohors), every coliort to a class (classis), every class to 
a division (divisio). 

Art. 9. In many species we distinguish, likewise 
varieties and variations, and in some cultivated species, 
modifications still more numerous ; ia many genera 
sections, in many orders tribes. 

Art. 10. Finally, if circumstances require us to 
distinguish a greater number of intermediate groups, 
it is easy, by putting the syllable sub before the 
name of the group, to form subdivisions of that group ; 
in this manner suborder (subordo) designates a group 
between an order and a tribe, subtribe (subtribus), 
a group between a tribe and a genus, etc. The ensem- 
ble of subordinate groups may thus be carried, for un- 
cultivated or spontaneous plants only, to twenty de- 
grees, in the following order : — 

Eegnum vegetabile. 
Divisio. 

Subdivisio. 
\ Classis. 
Subclassis. 
Cohors. 

Subcohors. 
■^ Ordo. 
Subordo. 
^ Tribus. 
Subtribus. 
\ Genus. 
Subgenus. 
Sectio. 

Subsectio. 
V Species. 

B 2 



20 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

Subspecies (vel Proles, Angl. Race.) 
Yarietas. 
Subvarietas. 
Variatio. 
Subvariatio. 
Planta. 

Art. 11. Tbe definition of each of tbese names of 
groups may vary, in a certain degree, according to in- 
dividual opinion and tbe state of science, but tbeir 
relative rank, sanctioned by custom, must not be in- 
verted. Any classification containing inversions, sucb 
as tbe division of genera into Orders, or of species into 
genera, is inadmissible. 

Art. 12. Tbe fertilization of one species by another 
gives rise to a hybrid Qiyhridus) ; that of a modifi- 
cation or subdivision of a species by another modi- 
fication of the same species produces a half-breed 
[mistus, mule of florists). 

Art. 13. The arrangement of species in a genus or 
in a subdivision is made by means of typographical 
signs, letters, or figures. Hybrids are classed after 
one of the species from which they originate, with the 
sign X prefixed to the generic name. 

The rank of subspecies under species is marked by 
letters or figures; that of varieties by the series of 
Greek letters a, yS, 7, etc. Groups below varieties and 
half-breeds (mule of florists) are indicated by letters, 
figures or typographical signs, according to the will of 
the author. 

Art. 14. Modifications of cultivated species should, 
where possible, be classed under the wild or spon- 
taneous species from which they are derived. 



LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 21 

For this purpose the most striking are treated as 
subspecies, and when constant from seed, they are 
called races [proles). 

Modifications of a secondary order take the name of 
varieties, and if there be no doubt as to their almost 
constant heredity by seed, they are termed subraces 
[subproles). 

Modifications of minor importance, more or less 
comparable to subvarieties, variations or subvariations 
of uncultivated species, are indicated according to 
their origin iathe following manner : — 1. Satus (seed- 
ling ; Gall, semis ; Germ. Samling), for a form obtained 
from seed. 2. Mistus (blending ;' Gall, metis ; Germ. 
Blendlinge), for a form arising from cross-fertilization 
in a species. 3. Lusus (sport; Germ. Spielart), for a 
form originating from a leaf-bud or from any other 
organ, and propagated by division. 



CHAPTEE III. 

on the manner of designating each group or 
association of plants. 

Section 1. 

deneral Principles. 

Art. 15. Each natural group of plants can bear in 
science but one valid designation, namely, the most 
ancient, whether adopted or given by Linnaeus, or 

' Since tlie meeting of the Congress, the author of this pamphlet 
has, together with the translator, turned his attention to the choice of a 
significant English term for the French metis". The word blending does 
not perhaps indicate quite clearly enough the existence of a mixture, and 
does not allude to its nature. The term half-hreed, used by agriculturists, 



22 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

since Liimseus, provided it be consistent with, tlie 
essential rules of nomenclature. 

Art. 16. No one ought to change a name or a com- 
bination of names without serious motives, derived 
from a more profound knowledge of facts, or from the 
necessity of relinquishing a nomenclature that is iu op- 
position to essential rales (art. 3, first paragraph, 4, 
11, 16, etc. : see sect. 6). 

Art. 17. The form, the number, and the arrange- 
ment of names depend upon the nature of each group, 
according to the following rules. 

Section 2. 

Nomenclature of the different hinds of Groups. 
§ 1. Names of Divisions and Subdivisions, of Classes and Subclasses. 

Art. 18. The names of divisions and subdivisions, 
of classes and subclasses, are drawn from their principal 
characters. They are expressed by words of Greek 
or Latin origin, some similarity of form and termina- 
tion being given to those that designate groups of the 
same nature (Phanerogams, Cryptogams; Monocoty- 
ledons, Dicotyledons, etc.). 

Art. 19. Among Cryptogams, the old family names, 
such as Filices, Musci, Fungi^ Lichenes^ Algcs, may be 
used for names of classes and subclasses. 

appears to answer much, better to the sense of mStis ; breed precisely 
implying a race, and half-breed the mixture of two races. It may, 
however, likewise be suggested that the shortness of the French word 
metis, analogous to the Spanish mestizo, and evidently derived from 
the Latin mistus, or mixtus, wiU. perhaps induce English botanists to 
adopt it, together with the word half-breed. The latter is undoubtedly 
more expressive, but metis has over it the advantage of being intelli- 
gible in several tongues. The term mule, as applied to the mixture of va- 
rieties or races, is in constant use amongst English florists ; but is too ob- 
viously erroneous to be sanctioned by scientific writers. (Translator.) 



LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 23 

§ 2. Namea of Cohorts and Subcohorts. 

Art. 20. Cohorts are designated preferably by the 
name of one of their principal Orders, and as far as 
possible with a uniform termination. 

Subcohorts (rarely used) may be designated in the 
same manner. 

§ 3. Names of Orders and Suborders, of Tribes and Subtribes. 

Art. 21. Orders {Or dines, Familice) are designated 
by the name of one of their genera, with the final 
acece {Rosacea, from Rosa ; Ranunculacece, from Ra- 
nunculus, etc.). 

Art. 22. Custom warrants the following excep- 
tions : — 

(1.) When the Latin name of the genus from which 
is taken that of the Order ends in -ix or -is (genitive 
-ids or -idis\ the termination -iceoe, or -ineoe, or -ideoe is 
admitted (^Balicinece, from Salix ; Tamariscinem, from 
Tamarix ; Berheridece, from Berheris). 

(2.) When the genus from which the name is derived 
has an unusually long name, no tribe in the Order 
taking its appellation after the same genus, the termi- 
nation in -ece is admitted {Dipterocarpece, from Dipte- 
rocarpus). 

(3.) Some large Orders, named long since, have re- 
tained the exceptional names under which they are 
generally known {CrucifercB, Leguminosce, Guttifera, 
UmbellifercB, CompositcB, LaBiatcB, Cupuliferce, Coniferce, 
Pahnea, Graminece, etc.). 

(4.) An old generic name, which has become that of 
a section or of a species, may be preserved as the foun- 
dation of that of the Order {LentibulariecB, from Len- 
tihularia ; Sippocastanece, from Msculus Hippocasta- 
num ; Caryophyllece, from Dianthus Caryophyllus, etc.). 



24 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

Art. 23. The names of suborders (subordmes, sub- 
familice) are derived from the name of one of the 
genera that form part of them, with the final -ecB. 

Art. 24. The names of tribes and subtribes are 
taken from that of one of the genera included in the 
group, with the final -ece or -inece. 

§ 4. Names of Genera and of Divisions of Genera. 

Art. 25. Genera, subgenera, and sections, receive 
names, commonly substantive, which may be compared 
to our own. proper family names. 

These names may be derived from any source what- 
soever, and may even be arbitrarily imposed, under 
the restrictions mentioned farther on. 

Art. 26. A name may be given to subsections, as 
well as to inferior generic subdivisions ; or these may 
simply be indicated by a number, or by a letter. 

Art. 27. When the name of a genus, subgenus, or 
section is taken from the name of a person, it is com- 
posed in the following manner : — 

The name cleared of titles or of any accessory par- 
ticle, takes the final -a or -ia. 

The spelling of the syllables unaffected by this final, 
is preserved without alteration, even with letters or 
diphthongs now employed in certain languages, but 
not in Latin. Nevertheless «, o, and u, of the German 
language become <?, «, and ue, whilst e and e of the 
French language become e. 

/^RT. 28. Botanists who have generic names to pub- 
lish show judgment and taste by attending to the fol- 
lowing recommendations : — 

, (1.) Not to make names too long or difficult to pro- 
nounce. 

(2.) To give the etymology of each name. 



LAWS OF NOMBNCLATUEE. 25 

(3.) If they have formerly made a name that has not 
been accepted, not to establish another genus under 
the same name, particularly in the same Order, or in a 
neighbouring one. 

(4.) Not to dedicate genera to persons ia all respects 
strangers to botany, or at least to natural history, nor 
to persons quite unknown. 

(5.) Not to draw names from barbarous tongues, un- 
less those names be frequently quoted in books of 
travel, and have an agreeable form that adapts itself 
readily to the Latin tongue, and to the tongues of 
civilized countries. 

(6.) If possible, by the composition or the termina- 
tion of the word, to call to mind the affinities or the 
analogies of the genus. 

(7.) To avoid adjective nouns. 

(8.) Not to give to a genus a name whose form is 
more properly that of a section {Eusideroxylon, for 
example). 

(9.) To avoid taking up names that have already 
been used, but have not been approved, and applying 
them to genera different from the former, unless it be 
wished again to dedicate a genus to a botanist ; but, 
even in this case, it is desirable — 1 , that the nullity 
of the first genus should be unquestionable; 2, that the 
order in which it is proposed to re-establish the name 
be quite distinct from the former one. 

(10.) To avoid making choice of names used in 
zoology^ 

Art. 29. Botanists constructing names for sub- 
genera or for sections will do well to attend to the re- 
commendations of the foregoing article, as well as to 
these : — 



26 LAWS OF NOMENCLATTJKE. 

(1.) Give, where possible, to tlie principal division of 
a genus a name that, by some modification or addition, 
may call the name of the genus to mind (for instance, 
eu at the beginning of the name, when it is of Greek 
origin; -astrum, -ella, at the end of a name, wheii Latin, 
or any other modification consistent with the rules of 
grammar and the usages of the Latin language). 

(2.) Avoid calling a section by the name of the genus 
it belongs to, with the final -oides or -opsis ; give, on the 
contrary, the preference to this final for a section 
having some resemblance to another genus, by adding, 
in that case, -oides or -opsis to the name of that other 
genus, if it be of Greek derivation, so as to form the 
name of the section. 

(3.) Avoid taking, as a sectional name, one already 
in use as such, in another genus, or which is that of a 
genus. 

Aet. 30. When it is required to express the name 
of a section, together with a generic name and that of 
a species, the name of the section is put between the 
two others in a parenthesis. 

§ 5. Names of Species, of Hybrids, and of Subdivisions of Species, 
either spontaneous or cultivated. 

Art. 31. All species, even those that singly consti- 
tute a genus, are designated by the name of the genus 
to which they belong, followed by a name termed 
specific, more commonly of the adjective kind. 

Aet. 32. The specific name ought, in general, to in- 
dicate something of the appearance, the characters, the 
origin, the history, or the properties of the species. If 
derived from the name of a person, it usually calls to 
mind the name of him who discovered or described 
it, or who may have been otherwise concerned 
with it. 



LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 27 

Art. 33. Names of persons used as specific names 
have a genitive or an adjective form (Chsii or Ciu' 
siana). The first is used when the species has been 
described or distinguished by the botanist whose 
name it takes ; in other cases the second form is pre- 
ferred. Whatever be the form chosen, every specific 
name derived from the name of a person should begin 
with a capital letter. 

Art. 34. A specific name may be an old generic 
name, or a substantive proper name. It then takes a 
capital, and does not agree with the generic name 
{Digitalis Sceptrum, Coronilla Emerus). 

Art. 35. No two species of the same genus can 
bear the same specific name, but the same specific 
name may be given in several genera. 

Art. 36. In constructing specific names, botanists 
will do well to give attention to the following recom- 
mendations : — 

(1.) Avoid very long names, as well as those that are 
difficult to articulate. 

(2.) Avoid names that express a character common 
to all, or to almost all the species of a genus. 

(3.) Avoid names designating little known or very 
limited localities, unless the species be very local. 

(4.) Avoid, in the same genus, names too similar in 
form, — above all, those that only differ in their last 
letters. 

(5.) Eeadily adopt unpublished names found in tra- 
vellers' notes or in herbaria, unless they be more or 
less defective (see Art. 17). 

(6.) Avoid names that have been already used in the 
genus, or in some nearly allied genus, and have be- 
come synonyms. 



28 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

(7.) Name no species after any one who has neither 
discovered, nor described, nor figured, nor studied it in 
any way. 

(8.) Avoid specific names composed of two words. 

(9.) Avoid specific names having, etymologically, the 
same meaning as the generic name. 

Art. 37. Hybrids whose origin has been experi- 
mentally demonstrated are designated by the generic 
name, to which is added a combination of the specific 
names of the two species from which they are derived, 
the name of the species that has supplied the pollen 
being placed first with the final i or o, and that of the 
species that has supplied the ovulum comiag next, 
with a hyphen between {Amaryllis vittato-regincB^ for 
the Amaryllis proceeding from A. reginee, fertilized 
by A. vittata). 

Hybrids of doubtful origin are named in the same 
manner as species. They are distiaguished by the 
absence of a number, and by the sign X being pre- 
fixed to the generic name (X Salix capreola, Kern.). 

Art. 38. Names of subspecies and varieties are 
formed in the same way as specific names, and are 
added to them according to relative value, beginning 
by those of the highest rank. Half-breeds {mules of 
florists) of doubtful origin are named and ranked in 
the same manner. 

Subvarieties, variations, and subvariations of un- 
cultivated plants may receive names analogous to the 
foregoing, or merely numbers or letters, for facilitating 
their arrangement. 

Art. 39. Half-breeds (wwfes of florists) of undoubted 
origia are designated by a combination of the two 
names of the subspecies, varieties, subvarieties, etc.. 



LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 29 

that have given birth to them, the same rules being 
observed as in the case of hybrids. 

Art. 40. Seedlings, half-breeds of uncertain origin, 
and sports should receive from horticulturists fancy 
names in common language, as distinct as possible from 
the Latin names of species or varieties. When they 
can be traced back to a botanical species, subspecies, 
or variety, this is indicated by a succession of names 
{Pelargonium sonale, Mrs. Pollock). 

Section 3. 

On the Publication of Naines, and on the Date of each Name 
or Combination of Names. 

Art. 41. The date of a name or of a combination 
of names is that of its actual and irrevocable publica- 
tion. 

Art. 42. Publication consists in the sale or the 
distribution among the public of printed matter, plates, 
or autographs. It consists, likewise, in the sale or 
the distribution, among the leading public collections, 
of numbered specimens, accompanied by printed or 
autograph tickets, bearing the date of the sale or 
distribution. 

Art. 43. The communication of new names in a 
public meeting, and the placing of names in collections 
or in gardens open to the public, do not constitute 
publication. 

Art. 44. The date put to a work is presumed to be 
correct, till there is evidence to the contrary. 

Art. 45. A species is not looked upon as named 
unless it has a generic name as well as a specific one. 

Art. 46. A species announced in a work under 
generic and specific names, but without any inforraa- 



30 LAWS OF NOMENCLATUEE. 

tion as to its chai'acters, cannot be considered as being 
published. The same may be said of a genus an- 
nounced without being characterized. 

Art. 47. Botanists will do well to conform to the 
following recommendations : — 

(1.) To give accurately the date of publication of 
their works or portions of works, and that of the sale 
or the distribution of named and numbered plants. 

(2.) To publish no name without clearly indicating 
whether it is that of an Order or of a tribe, of a genus 
or of a section, of a species or of a variety, — in short, 
without giving an opinion as to the nature of the 
group to which the name is given. 

(3.) To avoid publishing or mentioning in their 
works unpublished names which they themselves do 
not accept, especially if the authors of such names 
have not expressly authorized them to do so. (See 
Art. 36, 6.) 

Section 4. 

On the Precision to he given to Names by the Quotation of the 
Author who first published them. 

Art. 48. For the indication of the name or names 
of any group to be accurate and complete, it is neces- 
sary to quote the author who first published the 
name or combination of names in question. 

Art. 49. An alteration of the constituent characters, 
or of the circumscription of a group, does not warrant 
the quotation of another author than the one that first 
published the name or combination of names. 

"When the alteration is considerable, the words : 
mutatis charaet., or pro parte, or excl. syn., excl. sp., 
excl. var., or any other abridged indication, are added 



LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 31 

to tke quotation of the original author, aceording to 
the nature of the changes that have been made, and 
of that of the group that is dealt with. 

Art. 50. Names published from a private docu- 
ment, such as an herbarium, a non-distributed collec- 
tion, etc., are individualized by the addition of the 
name of the author who publishes them, notwith- 
standing the contrary indication that he may have 
given. In Kke manner names used in gardens are 
individualized by the mention of the author who first 
publishes them. 

The herbarium, the collection, or the garden, should 
be fully quoted in the text. {Lam. ex Commers. ms. 
in Herb. Par.; lAndl. ex horto Lodd.) 

Art. 51. When a group is moved, without altera- 
tion of name, to a higher or lower rank than that 
which it held before, the change is considered equiva- 
lent to the creation of an entirely new group, and the 
author who has effected the change is the one to be 
quoted. 

Art. 52. Authors' names put after those of plants 
are abbreviated, unless they be very short. 

For this purpose, preliminary particles or letters 
that do not, strictly speaking, form part of the name, 
are suppressed, and the first letters are given without 
any omission whatsoever. If a name of one syllable 
is long enough to make it worth while to abridge 
it^ the first consonants only are given {Br. for Brown); 
if the name has two or more syllables, the first 
syllable and the first letter of the following one are 
taken ; or, the two first, if they are both consonants 
{Juss. for De Jussieu ; Rich, for Eichard). 

When it is found necessary to give more of a name. 



32 LAWS or NOMENCLATURE. 

for the sake of avoiding confusion between names 
begianing with the same syllables, the same system is 
to be followed. For instance, two syllables are given, 
together with the one or two first consonants of the 
third ; or else one of the last characteristic consonants 
of the name is added {JBertol. for Bertoloni, so that 
it may be distinguished from.Bertero; or Michx. for 
Michaux, to prevent confusion with Micheli). Chris- 
tian names or accessory designations, serving to distin- 
guish two botanists of the" same name, are abridged 
in the same way {Adr. Juss. for Adrien de Jussieu, 
Greertn. fil. or Gmrtn. f. for Geertner son). 

When it is a settled custom to abridge a name in 
another manner, it is best to' conform to it {L. for 
Linnaeus, St.-Hil. for Saint-Hilaire) . 

Section 5. 

On Names that a/re to he retained where a Group is divided, 
remodelled, transferred, or moved from one rank to another, 
or when two Groups of the sa/me ranh are united. 

Art. 53. An alteration of characters, or a revi- 
sion carrying with it the exclusion of certaia ele- 
ments of a group or the addition of fresh ones, does 
not warrant a change in the name or names of a 
group. 

Art. 54. When a genus is divided into two or more 
genera, its name must be retained, and given to one of 
the chief divisions. If the genus contains a section 
or some other division which, judging by its name or 
by its species, is the type or the origin of the group, 
the name is reserved for that part of it. If there is 
no such section or subdivision, but one of the parts 
detached contains, however, a great many more spe- 



LAWS or NOMENCLATURE. 33 

^es than the others, it is to that part that the original 
name is to be applied. 

Aet. 55. In case two or more groups of the same 
nature are united into one, the name of the oldest is 
preserved. If the names are of the same date, the 
author chooses. 

Art. 56. When a species is divided into two or 
more species, if one of the forms happens to have been 
distinguished earlier than the others, the name is re- 
tained for that form. 

Art. 57. When a section or a species is moved into 
another genus, when a variety or some other division 
of a species . is given as such to another species, the 
name of the section, the specific name or that of the 
division of the species, is maintained, unless there 
arise one of the obstacles mentioned in Articles 62 
and 63. 

Art; 58. When a tribe is made into an Order, when 
a subgenus or a section becomes a genus, or a division 
of a species becomes a species, or vice versd^ the old 
names are maintained, provided the result be not 
the existence of two genera of the same name in the 
Vegetable Kingdom, two divisions of a genus, or two 
species of the same name in the same genus, or two 
divisions of the same name in the same species. 

Section 6. 

On Names that^are to be rejected, changed, or altered. 

Art. 59. Nobody is authorized to change a name 
because it is badly chosen or disagreeable, or another 
is preferable or better known, or for any other motive, 
either contestable or of little import. 



34 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

Aet. 60. Every one is bound to reject a name in 
the following cases : — 

(1.) "When the name is applied, in the Vegetable 
Kingdom, to a group that has before received a name 
in due form. 

(2.) When it is already in use for a class or for a 
genus, or is applied to a division or to a species of the 
same genus, or to a subdivision of the same species. 

(3.) "When it expresses a character or an attribute 
that is positively wanting in the whole of the group 
in question, or at least in the greater part of the ele- 
ments it is composed of. 

(4.) "When it is formed by the combination of two 
languages. 

(5.) "When it is in opposition to the rules laid down 
in Section 5. 

Aet. 61. The name of a cohort, subcohort, Order, 
suborder, tribe, or subtribe, must be changed if taken 
from a genus found not to belong to the group in 
question. 

Aet. 62. When a subgenus, a section, or a subsec- 
tion passes as such into another genus, the name must 
be changed if there is already, in that genus, a group 
of the same rank, under the same name. 

When a species is moved from one genus into 
another, its specific name must be changed if it is al- 
ready borne by one of the species of that genus. So 
likewise when a subspecies, a variety, or some other 
subdivision of a species is placed under another spe- 
cies, its name must be changed if borne already by a 
form of like rank of that species. 

Aet, 63, When a group is transferred to another, 
keeping there the same rank, its name will have to be 
changed if it leads to misconception. 



LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 35 

Art. 64. In the cases foreseen in Articles 60, 61, 
62, 63, the name to be rejected or changed is replaced 
by the oldest admissible one existing for the group 
in question ; in the absence of this, a new one is to be 
made. 

Art. 65. The name of a class, of a tribe, or of any 
other group above the genus, may have its termination 
altered so as to suit rule or custom. 

Art. 66. When a name derived from Latin or 
Greek has been badly written or badly constructed, 
when a name derived from that of a person has not 
been written consistently with the true spellLiig of 
that name, or when a fault of gender has carried with 
it incorrect terminations of the names of species or of 
their modifications, every botanist is authorized to 
rectify the faulty names or terminations, unless it be 
a question of a very ancient name current under its 
incorrect form. This right must be used reservedly, 
especially if the change is to bear upon the first 
syllable, and, above all, upon the first letter of the 
name. 

Wlien a name is drawn from a modern language, it 
is to be maintained just as it was made, even in the 
case of the spelUng having been misunderstood by the 
author, and justly deserving to be criticized. 

Section 7. 

On Names of Plants in Modern Languages. 

Art. 67. Latin scientific names, or those that are 
immediately derived from them, are used by botanists 
preferably to names of another kind, or having another 
origin, unless these are very intelligible and in common 

use. 

c 2 



36 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

Aet. 68. Every friend of science ought to be op- 
posed to the introduction into a modern language of 
names of plants that are not already there, unless they 
are derived from a Latin botanical name that has 
undergone but a slight alteration. 



COMMENTAEY. 



1. The object of Axticle 1 is to egtablisk the principle of 
universality for botanical nomenclature. Article 6 is a con- 
sequence of it. 

2. The rules laid down by Linn^us were quite arbitrary, 
and he did not even seek to justify them. (See Phil. Bot. 
§§ 225, 226, 229, 230, 231.) His antagonist, Heister, fol- 
lowed the same course. Nowadays no one likes to submit 
to the will even of a man of genius, while many might feel in- 
clined to side with the majority. Article 2 intimates, among 
other things, that a congress of scientific men may throw 
light upon a question, or may express an opinion by vote, 
but cannot impose a rule or prohibit a method. 

3. In nomenclature, as in all other branches of science, it 
is impossible to accept that which impHes anything equivocal 
or false. All rules, or at least all necessary rules, may be 
considered a development of this fundamental principle. 
If a doubt arises on a question of nomenclature, the way to 
clear it is generally to ask oneself whether, by taking one 
course rather than another, there might result from it am- 
biguity, false assertions, immediate or possible error. The 
answer indicates what is or is not allowed. 

4. It is impossible to deny a certain right of custom ; the 
maintenance of well-known names, of forms ia frequent use, 
often gives clearness or precision, and does away with the 
necessity of new ones. It would not, however, be right to 



38 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

sanction any gross error merely for the sake of adhering to 
habit. It must likewise be borne in mind that exceptions 
established by custom^ being exceptions after all, must neither 
be imitated nor extended. This is one of the common prin- 
ciples of law. 

8. The word family has been found a happy onej the 
genus is, however, that which bears most analogy to a human 
family, all the individuals that compose it bearing the same 
name, each of them having, besides, a Christian name ana- 
logous to a specific one. Linnaeus used the word familia, 
which has the fault of not being very good Latin. The 
generality of botanists have preferred the term ordo, though, 
in ordinary language, the French and the Germans saj family. 
The English alone commonly employ the word order. The 
objection that may be made to it is its double signification 
in all languages. In French, at least, where style and pre- 
cision of terms are so much attended to, a phrase such as 
this, " Le jardin de . . . est arrange dans I'ordre des Ordres 
de Jussieu," would appear somewhat ridiculous. A more 
serious objection has been made to the use of the word ^order' 
as a synonym of ' family,' namely, that zoologists apply it 
to a group superior in rank to families. Orders, in zoo- 
logy, answer to what some botanists call cohorts ; to what 
Lindley termed alliances. This divergency was clearly 
pointed out by M. Gustav Planchon,i and the word ordo had 
been previously employed by M. Dumortier" in the same 
sense as it is used by zoologists ; but nevertheless the custom 
of assimilating thewords order and family, especially the Latin 
word ordo to the word 'family' in French and in German, has 

» G. Planchon, ' Les Principes de la M^thode Naturelle," Thesis, 
8vo. Montpellier, 1860. 

» Dumortier, ' Analyse des Families des Plantes,' Svo, Tournay, 
1829. See likewise a note of the same in the Proceedings of the Con- 
gress, on occasion of the discussion on this point. Independently of 
what is relative to the use of the word Order, this able author sets 
forth ideas on the manner of characterizing groups of families by 
means of what he terms synthesis; but this is a question quite inde. 
pendent of nomenclature. 



COMMENTARY. 89 

prevailed among botanists. The works of Hooker, De Can- 
doUe, Endlicher, Martius, E. Brown, etc., being habitually 
consulted, inconvenience would arise from any change in 
the signification of the names applied by them to the groups, 
supposing that a change could be effected, which appears 
very doubtful. In general, it is easier to introduce a new 
name than to alter the meaning of old ones. From these 
different motives the majority in the Committee, and after- 
wards the Congress itself, maintained the proposal to give 
to associations of Orders the name of Cohorts, and to apply 
to Orders the names of Ordines or Familise, indifferently. 

The word Cohort, OoAors, unquestionably good Latin, was 
employed in this sense as far back as 1818, by De Can- 
doUe ('Systenia,' i. p. 125), and in 1836 by Von Martius 
(Conspectus Eegni Veget.). Messrs. Bentham and Hooker 
have adopted it in their ' Genera Plantarum.' We think it 
preferable to the word class, usually taken for divisions of 
greater importance, and to the word allicmce,, of Lindley, 
which cannot be so conveniently translated by an analogous 
word in Latin, foedus having quite another form. Oohors is of 
easy introduction into modern languages, without alteration 
or with a slight change in the final. 

9. Division of species acquires every day more import- 
ance. Some botanists call in question the characters at- 
tributed to the Species by others, but no one can deny the 
existence of collective groups of the nature of those callea 
species by Linnaeus; and they cannot but allow, at the same 
time, that there are many other inferior groups, especially 
among cultivated plants. If the heredity of the forms 
was always clear and well determined, the division of 
species would be easy. We should have, firstly, races 
that might likewise be termed chief varieties, or sub- 
species J and secondly, non-hereditary varieties. But there 
is a tendency to heredity in all the forms, only it may be 
more or less constant, more or less complete. When a modi- 
fication of a species is habitually hereditary, it becomes, 
properly speaking, a subspecies, in other words, there may 
be hesitation as to whether it ought not to be called a 



40 LAWS OF NOMENCLATUKE. 

species, and many would call it so. If its characters be less 
striking, and transmission by seed less frequent, every one 
would tben call it a variety. A slighter degree in character 
and in heredity constitute divisions of varieties or subvarie- 
ties. Lastly, there are variations proceeding from one and the 
same individual, variations which have a certain tendency 
to propagate themselves by seed, as may be seen by collecting 
seed from the branch that produced them. From this step 
we descend, among cultivated plants, to modifications so 
numerous and so complicated, that there is no possibility of 
denomiaating them, unless we employ peculiar processes, 
such as we shall mention further on (Article 14). 

9, 10. The introduction of the terms divisio and subdi- 
visio, made by the Congress, has improved the original 
text. The Committee sought for a Latin word answering 
to the word emhranchement used in French by zoologists. 
No better one was found than divisio, which has the advan- 
tage of admitting the addition of the particle sub for a fur- 
ther degree of distinction. In the actual state of science it 
is difficult to ascertain whether the scheme indicated in 
Article 10 will be quite suitable to Cryptogams, but it 
adapts itself satisfactorily to the ideas generally entertained 
of Phanerogams. Considering the vegetable kingdom to be 
formed of two divisions (Phanerogams and Cryptogams), 
the first would comprise two subdivisions (Monocotyledons 
and Dicotyledons) . Dicotyledons would be divided into two 
classes [Angiospermce and Gymnospermoe) ; Angiospermm into 
several subclasses (Thalamiflorce, Calycifloroe, etc., or Poly- 
petaloe, etc, according to the author) ; these into Cohorts, 
and the Cohorts into Orders. 

There may be some hesitation between the terms -sectio 
and subgenus, as designating the natural divisions of some 
genera. Subgenus is more expressive, but sectio has the 
advantage of allowing a double degree of division, which is 
sometimes necessary; for subgenus can readily be placed 
between genus and sectio, so that, by making use be- 
sides of the word subsectio, genera rich in species or of 
varied organization, may be subdivided, with great clear- 



COMMENTAEY. 41 

nesSj according to the importance of their characters. It may- 
be added that the word sectio, in the sense of subgenuSj has 
become famiUar on account of its being adopted in the 
' Prodromus.' 

The numerous subdivisions indicated in Article 10 may, 
in many obscure or contestable cases, prevent making new 
generic and specific names. You scruple to create a genus ? 
make a subgenus or a section. You hesitate about making 
a species ? let it be a subspecies, or a variety. These are 
general terms, on which all botanists are likely to agree, both 
those who are inclined to attach importance to slight differ- 
ences, and those who are not. By this means a multitude of 
new names, above all of species, that would be contested are 
avoided. 

11 . This Article will appear too absolute if we consider the 
variety of significations given to some words, such as sec- 
tion, class, tribe, in different botanical works ; but it is im- 
possible not to admit the pre-eminence of certain works 
as regards the use of words and forms. A botanist may 
have ideas in nomenclature preferable, in certain points, 
to those of Linnffius, Jussieu, De CandoUe, Bndlicher, etc. ; 
but if he has published no general works to which every- 
body is obliged to have recourse, the forms that he has used 
will scarcely be resorted to. This can neither be called in- 
justice nor voluntary exclusion, — it is inevitable. Had Lin- 
nffius proposed his binomiual method in ephemeral treatises, 
instead of in his ' Species Plantarum,' it is probable that it 
would have attracted little attention. The arrangement of 
the groups which we have given, is very nearly the same as 
that followed in all the large works that are in botanists' 
hands. The closer we keep to this unity, the better, how- 
ever conventional it may be. 

12. We have tried to find a Latin word for the well- 
known and very precise French word metis. Dictionaries 
indicate bigener, but the word ' genus ' having in natural 
history a peculiar acceptation, to apply higener to a hybrid, 
and a fortiori to a metis, would produce error and confasion. 
The word mistus exists ; it answers almost literallj- to metis. 



42 LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 

The word has not, it is true, in Latin, the precise sense 
that we propose to give it, but the same may be said of 
genus and species. It is a necessity in science to limit the 
sense of Latin words, in order to render ideas clearer and 
more precise. 

14. When botanists give their attention to cultivated 
species, they find no difficulty in designating certain 
leading forms as races or sub-species, and others less 
important as varieties or sub -varieties. As a case of this 
we may mention the paper on Brassica, by De CandoUfe 
(Trans, of the Hort. Soc, vol. v.), rewarded, in 1821, by 
the Horticultural Society of London, and recapitulated, 
under a strictly botanical form, in the ' Systema,' vol. ii., 
p. 583. In this work races are named in Latin stirps, 
but the word proles appears to us better to indicate 
propagation by heredity. It conforms itself likewise more 
readily to the addition of sub, which has the advantage of 
designatiug a sub-race. 

Another very remarkable work is that on wheats, by Louis 
Vilmorin (' Essai d'un Catalogue des Froments,'' pamphlet, 
8vo, 1850.) Its value as to essential points is evident; but 
the author has designated the principal forms of Triticum 
vulgare, first by the term varieties, and then by that of sec- 
tions. Would it not have been better to call these essen- 
tially hereditary forms races and subraees, the word section 
having already another signification in botanical works ? 

The important work of Dochmal on fruit-trees^ offers a still 
stronger example of this kind of mistake. Genera are there 
divided into tribes, and species into genera. What would 
be said of an army having its cpmpanies divided into regi- 
ments or battalions ? or of a country, if certain parishes 
were to think proper to divide themselves into provinces or 
counties ? of a town if its streets were to be called quarters ? 

Matters would evidently be improved were agriculturists 
and horticulturists to adopt the terms used in botany for the 

1 ' Der sichere FiiKrer in d. Obstkunde,' 4 vols. 8ro. Nuremberg, 
1855-60. See vol. iv. p. 201, 213, etc. 



COMMENTARY. 43 

chief subdivisions of species. With respect to extreme forms 
of cultivated plants they do not require to be limited. In 
many cases they are so numerous, so slight, so uncertain as 
regards origin, and so often complicated by hybridization, 
that a regular and satisfactory arrangement cannot be 
expected. Certain species are sought after by amateurs on 
account of the infinite variety of their shades, spots, size of 
petals, etc. Many forms spoken of are ephemeral, or very 
nearly so. They either pass away of themselves, or because 
fashion changes. To regulate the nomenclature of these 
many thousand garden productions, would be as impossible 
as to classify the stuffs that manufacturers produce and name 
every year. The words seedling and sport, used in horticulture, 
have the advantage, first, of being known ; secondly, of de- 
signating the important fact of their origin ; thirdly, of not 
being too precise as to the degree of fixity and import- 
ance of their characters, which are always slight. The 
words alluded to are easily translated into Latin by satvs 
and lusus, found in all dictionaries. The English word sport 
{lusus) can easily be introduced into the French tongue, 
where it is already more or less known, its shortness, more- 
over rendering it convenient. Spielart in German corre- 
sponds to lusus. 

It may be further observed that sports and seedlings 
sometimes become hereditary, and then take the name of 
race, or subrace. Sports and seedlings may be crossed, 
their half-breeds propagated by grafts, cuttings, etc., having 
all the appearance of sports. There results an almost in- 
extricable complication, interesting in a physiological point 
of view, but which cannot possibly be subjected to a regular 
method of classification. Let us then do what we can to have 
the chief divisions of cultivated species assimilated to those 
of spontaneous ones. This would be gaining a great step, 
in the present state of things ; and one of which horticul- 
turists would be quite as sensible as botanists. 

15. In the time of Linn^us, some naturalists of great 
merit blamed, and not without reason, the arbitrary manner 
in which he changed the names of existing genera. These 



44: LAWS OP NOMEXCLATURE. 

abuses are now legitimized by the custom of a century. 
There is what jurists term prescription. As to specific 
names, Linnaeus being the first to use them, he has an 
undeniable right to those he has made — that of priority. 

Article 15 must not be an impediment to quoting Tour- 
nefort, or any other, for a generic name made by him before 
Linnaeus, and adopted by the last-named author, nor to 
quoting Lobel for a specific single-worded name adopted by 
Linnaeus ; but in cases where Linnffius, by ain arbitrary act, 
has adopted other names, these must remain ; this usurpation 
being, as it were, legitimized by habit and by general asselit, 
and admitted, besides, on account of the evil consequences 
of a further change. 

20. The final -ales for cohorts was first proposed in 1835 
by Lindley.^ That in -inecB, employed somewhat later in 
several works, has the defect of wanting boldness, of having 
been already made use of for several Orders, and of being 
rather like a diminutive. In this point of view, it is more 
adapted to suborders than to agglomerations of Orders. 
The form in -ales is adopted by Messrs. Bentham and Hooker 
in the ' Genera Plantarum.' 

Our proposed scheme formally recommended the final 
-ales; but the Committee not being unanimous on this 
point, asked the Congress not to restrict authors in this 
matter. 

22. The derivation in -acecB is in perfect conformity with 
the genius of the Latin tongue ; but that in -inece was used 
in an analogous sense, as has been explained to me by an 
able professor of ancient tongues; in, in Latin radicals, 
being used in the same sense as ac. Euphony decided 
sometimes for one form, sometimes for another, and botanists 
have done the same. 

Exceptions to the use of these two finals are warranted in 
some Orders by a long-standing custom, and sometimes by 
custom and euphony together. The leading principle of chan- 
ging names as little as possible is applicable here. Added 

' ' A Key to Botany.' 



COMMENTARY. 45 

to thiSj in some largOj very conspicuous, old OrderSj bear- 
ing names of quite another fornix the difficulty of choosing 
one genus among many hundreds^ and making it, as it were, 
the standard of the Order, is a real obstacle. Why should 
LeguminoscB be called Fahacece rather than Trifoliaceoe or 
Astragalacece, or by fifty other names ? In thinking of most 
Orders, one of their genera frequently offers itself alone 
to the mind; but if we be thinking of Leguminosce, a mul- 
titude immediately come to memory, not Faha rather than 
any other. The objection, that some Leguminosce have no 
legumes, that certain Componitce have isolated flowers, is 
not a very strong one, when compared to the advantage 
attached to old and well-known names. Fixity of names is 
a principle of superior order (Art. .3) . 

26. What is said of our patronymic names may be said 
equally of the names of genera or of sections. Certainly 
many names of persons are inconvenient, or even ridiculous, 
either because they have an adjective form with some par- 
ticular meaning, or because they are difficult to pronounce, 
or for some other reason j but when they do exist, why 
change them ? The aim of Science is not making names. 
Names are used by her to distinguish things. If a name is 
sufficiently distinct from others, that is the essential point. 

Generic names are drawn from certain characters, from 
certain appearances, from localities, from the names of 
persons, from vulgar names, and even from combinations 
of letters that are quite arbitrary. All that is required 
of a name is that it shall lead neither to confusion nor to 
error. As long as this very general principle was over- 
looked, the rules laid down had the defect of being accepted 
• by some and rejected by others. 

It has sometimes happened that very distinct generic 
names have been made in honour of the same person, or of 
persons bearing similar names, when those names allowed 
it, as Pittonia and Tournefortia for Pitton de Toumefort, 
Brownea and Brunonia for Browne and Brown, etc. We think 
these names are to be preserved, for they cannot be con- 
founded in an index ; nor can they be so in conversation. 



46 LAWS OP NOMENCLATTJEE. 

Assuredly ifj since Brownea was madej there had appeared 
a botanist of the name of Brunon, no one would have criti- 
cized a genus called Brunonia ; the generic name Brunonia 
iS; consequently, admissible. 

28. (3.) Nothing can be more inconvenient, in synonymy, 
than to have to explain why such a genus of such an 
author is not such another genus under the same name of 
the same author at another period. If this occurs in the 
same Order the difficulty is still greater, and confusion is to 
be apprehended. 

28. (4.) By dedicating genera to grand personages 
who are strangers to botany, even to illustrious learned men 
who have taken no interest in natural sciences, you flatter 
persons who are oftentimps in no way obliged to you for 
your attention ; you do not encourage young botanists, who 
are pleased at a distinction reserved for botanists ; and, per- 
chance, you may shock national or religious susceptibilities 
that have surely nothing to do with science. Thus the idea 
of naming the greatest of trees Wellingtonia is doubly to be 
regretted. In the first place, it has been found that the 
genus cannot be distinguished from Sequoia, which has ne- 
cessarily been retained ; and then the name of Wellingtonia 
has called forth a useless synonym — WasMngtonia ; in imi- 
tation of which every nation might have set to framing a 
name from that of its favourite hero. 

28. (6.) We find it advantageous to have several genera 
of Ferns with names ending in -'pteris ; several among fossil 
plants in -ites ; several of the Order of Lauracece in -da'phne, 
etc. 

29. (3.) Sectional names have sometimes been formed 
by the addition of -aides or -opsis to the name of the genus • 
itself. Such a pleonasm may be considered rather weak, as 
the characters of the section being included in those of the 
genus, their resemblance is implied. To annul names of 
this kind would, however, ofier more inconvenience than 
advantage ; for, on the one hand, the names of sections are 
seldom quoted ; and, on the other, by changing them, you 
create fresh synonyms. 



COMMENTARY. 47 

29. (3.) Repeating tlie same sectional name in several 
genera gives rise to no great inconvenience, especially in dif- 
ferenb Orders, the name of a section not being quoted inde- 
pendently of that of the genus. It is nevertheless better to 
avoid so doiag, on account of the embarrassment that it 
might occasion if, at a later period, the sections had to be 
made into genera. 

33. This article has been added by the Congress, at the 
request of several members. When the last paragraph of 
Article 60 came afterwards to be discussed, the inconve- 
nience of having to change all the specific names that have 
been made, up to this day, regardless of the rules there 
given, was not thought of. I think it would have been 
better merely to recommend observing the forms indicated 
in Article 33 ; pr rather to have placed these rules under 
Article 36. I am inclined to believe there was, at that 
moment, some inattention on the part of the assembly, as 
sometimes happens in public bodies, and in cases of much 
more importance. As reporter, the blame must fall upon 
me before any one else. The spirit of our code lies in the 
maiatenance of existing names, unless there be capital objec- 
tions to it (Art. 1 6) . Starting from this principle, and notwith- 
standing our vote, I confess that I should hardly dare change 
or modify a specific name, and especially a name of long 
standing, because it is formed in opposition to Article 33. 

34 to 38. The numbers of these articles were different in 
the draft, on account of the addition of Article 33 ; but 
the ancient Art. 38 having been annexed to Art. 37, the 
numbers that follow, beginning by 39, have remained the 
same. 

36. (6). By "nearly alhed genus," I wished to imply a 
genus so nearly allied to another that it might one day be 
annexed to it. In fact, when this takes place, the duplicate 
specific names render changes obligatory, and complicate 
synonymy. 

37. The article in our original text differed considerably 
from this. The manner of combining the names of the 
male and female parents, so as to designate their hybrid off- 



48 LAWS OP NOMEXCLATTJEE. 

spring, has been long since called into question ; and this was 
one of the motives for which De CandoUe (Physiol. Bot.p. 719), 
in 1832j was averse to that system of nomenclature. I 
fancied I could do no better than propose the mode recom- 
mended by Gsertner fil., in his classical work on cross fer- 
tilization ('Versuche iiber die Bastarderzeugung/ 1849, p. 
600) . There is frequently less difficulty in ascertaining the 
female parent; whence it seemed natural to mention it 
first. The name becomes thus a simple contraction of the 
common phrase : such a species fertilized by such another. 
On my arrival in Paris, several botanists, especially French 
and German, conversant with questions of hybridization, 
assured me that the contrary usage, that of mentioning 
the male parent first, had generally prevailed. As, after 
all, much of this is mere convention, I, and all of us, 
sided with the method in common use. On my return 
home, I wished to ascertain whether the authors, who have 
described a great many hybrid plants, had really followed 
the custom of placing the name of the male parent first. I was 
astonished to see that many of them had said nothing about 
it. Perhaps this may be attributed to their having been 
oftentimes ignorant of the real parentage of the hybrids, 
especially among wild plants. Some, perchance, may have 
supposed that the male parent ought to be the species with 
which the ofispring had most points of resemblance ; other 
botanists appear rather to suppose the contrary, and the de 
gree of similitude is, besides, often questionable. 

This showed the wisdom of another modification of my 
original text made by the Congress. It requires that the 
combiuation of the two names shall be only employed when 
the origin of the hybrid has been experimentally demon- 
strated ; that is to say, when both parents are known. In 
all other cases, and these are undoubtedly the most 
numerous, the name must be analogous to ordinary specific 
names. This will tend to reduce the number of double names, 
of which the application is, moreover, inconvenient, and 
the resemblance too great to certain specific names belong- 
ing to plants that are not hybrid, such as Lithospermum 



COMMENTART. 49 

purpureo-emruleum. In another point of view the motive 
which prompted this decision is an excellent one : too much 
cannot be done to oblige authors to, be accurate; now, to 
assert that an offspring is of such or such a parentage, when 
no evidence can be produced, is anything but accuracy. 

40. The system we recommend for cultivated plants (Art. 
14 and 40) may be recapitulated as follows : — 

(1.) Adopt for the principal modifications of species the 
names and forms in use for uncultivated species, that is, 
class subspecies, varieties and subvarieties according to im- 
portance ; say, where possible, which are habitually heredi- 
tary (races, comparable to subspecies), which are less con- 
stantly so (subraces, varieties), which are rarely so (sub- 
varieties) : employ for all these degrees, as well as for their 
half-breeds, Latin adjectives, as in the case of ordinary 
species. 

(2.) For modifications of a lower kind, the number of which 
is unlimited (seedlings, half-breeds of low degree, sports), 
take names from modern tongues, entirely different from 
Latin ones, such as horticulturists are in the habit of apply- 
ing. 

By means of this double combination the chief modifica- 
tions, interesting to general natural history, are brought into 
connection with scientific forms, whilst at the same time the 
innumerable unimportant modifications produced in gardens 
bear distinctive names. In books there will be no longer 
a possibility of confounding them with botanical species. 
This is a necessary precaution ; horticulturists, for the sake 
of abridging, being wont to drop the names intervening be- 
tween the generic name and that of the seedling or sport. 
Instead of saying, Brassica oleracea, aeephala, vulgaris, 
viridiis, Cavalier, expressing thus completely the relations of 
the cavalier-cabbage with other species of Brassiaa, they 
must needs say Cavalier cabbage. If, instead of CavaUer, 
there was such a name as grandis, they would infallibly call 
it Brassioa grandds, and it might then very well be taken for 
a spontaneous species. 

This source of ambiguity must be avoided henceforth. 

D 



50 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

There are, however, already such unlucky names as Rhodo- 
dendron papilionaceum, Gamiellia planipetala, etc., that seem 
as if they belonged to species, and that will insinuate them- 
selves into botanical works. What they represent would 
be vainly sought either in nature or in herbaria. These 
garden products are factitious j let them be treated as such, 
and do not let us be exposed any more to confound plants 
of this kind with those that are spontaneous. Moreover, 
after a few years fashion changes. No one then cares any- 
thing about these innumerable horticultural creations that 
have been the delight of amateurs. Where are the tw;o or 
three thousand Dahlias of this or that catalogue issued thirty 
years since ? Most of them no longer exist ; their names 
are forgotten. It is fortunate that the greater number 
were named after some celebrated General or lady, rather than 
by a Latin name that would have been preserved in books. 

43. Communications made in pubUo meetings, until they 
have been followed by the publication of a report, may be 
but imperfectly remembered. Commonly, the author is at 
.liberty to make alterations in his manuscript before it is 
printed, or in the proofs. If the communication has been a 
verbal one, it may be modified when the author prepares 
it for the press. Persons with good memories, or who have 
taken notes, may find fault ; the first publicity may conse- 
quently be accounted insufficient for conferring rights. 
Labels in public collections or in gardens may be transposed 
or removed at any moment. In all these cases the fact of 
publication is not sufficiently undeniable.' 

45, 46. A specific name without that of the genus, a com- 
bination of a generic and a specific name without any kind 
of explanatory matter, are tantamount to nothing. They 
are words without meaning. They acquire value only from 
the day that some one gives them meaning by completing 
them. It may, perhaps, be said that some specific phrases 
are so short, so badly made out, that they are almost void 
of sense ; that, in consequence, all such inaomplete publica- 
tions ought to be looked upon as nuU; else, if it was 
' See Bentham, Address to tke Linn. Soc. 1867. 



COMMENTAET. 51 

thouglit proper to accept them, mere names ought to be 
accepted as well. It must be remarked, however, that these 
cases differ. The fact of the absence of any kind of character 
added to a name is a well-defined and positive fact, whereas 
the insufficiency of a description is something vague, and 
that can be called into question ; besides, does it not some- 
times occur that an apparently insignificant word is pre- 
cisely that which allows you to hit upon a species ? 

47. (1.) It would be very useful to publish in journals and 
in bibliographical works the exact date of several books and 
plates, respecting which we are misled by the title-pages, or 
left in doubt on account of there being no date given. 
This is particularly the case with works published ia num- 
bers. In well-kept herbaria the labels of the collections 
that have been distributed bear the date of their reception, 
which generally indicates that of their distribution. 

47. (3.) Publishing a name that cannot be adopted is use- 
lessly throwing a synonym into circulation ; at least, in in- 
dexes and dictionaries. SteudePs ' Nomenclator ' would be 
as bulky again if all names existing in gardens, in herbaria or 
in travellers' notes, even those that are known to be of no 
value, were added to it. Names of this kind, when pub- 
lished, are stillborn. Why increase their number, unless in 
exceptional cases, when, for instance, an author requires 
that they should be made known ? 

48. For a long time it was the universal custom among 
botanists to quote for a combination of two names, generic 
and specific, the author who had first appUed it to a 
species. Som.e zoologists have followed another method, 
recommended in 1842 by a committee consisting of Messrs. 
Strickland, Owen, etc., at the British Association (Report, 
§ D.), but strongly combated from the beginning by M. 
Agassiz (' Nomenclator,' p. xxvi) . Various botanists, MM. 
Fries, Fr. Schultz, Kirschleger, etc., having introduced the 
same method into botany, .have likewise met with a brisk op- 
position, and the Publishiug Committee of the Botanical So- 
ciety of France even issued on the question an explanatory 
note, which produced some sensation. (Bull. 1860, p. 438.) 

D 2 



52 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

The newly-proposed method consists in always quoting 
for a species the name of the author who first named and 
described it^ laying aside^ as it were, the name of the genus 
to which that species has been referred by the botanists that 
have followed. Among the advocates of this method, some 
are satisfied with quoting the author of the species, without 
any explanation whatsoever ; others, especially zoologists, 
add (sp.) to the name, implying that the author has made 
the species only ; and others, more conscientious, suh such a 
genus. Thus, MattMola tristis (L. sub Gh&irantho) implies 
the species that Linnseus named Gheiranthus tristis, and 
that another (the synonymy tells us that it was Brown) 
called MattMola tristis. Let us take the method under this 
last form, evidently the most perfected, and let us see in 
what way it has been supported and attacked. We will 
afterwards give our own opinion. 

The Committee of the British Association expressed itself 
in the following manner, through the medium of Mr. Strick- 
land 1 : — " We conceive that the author who first describes 
and names a species which forms the groundwork of later 
generalizations, possesses a higher claim to have his name 
recorded than he who afterwards defines a genus which is 
found to embrace that species, or who may be the mere ac- 
cidental means of bringing the generic and specific names 
into contact. By giving the authority for the specific name 
in preference to all others, the inquirer is referred directly 
to the original description, habitat, etc., of the species, and 
is at the same time reminded of the date of its discovery." 
According to this, Muscicarpa cri/nita L., since referred to 
the genus Tyrannus, ought to be indicated thus, Tyrannus 
crinitus L. (sp.), and, says a note at the foot of the page, 
Tyrannus crinitus L. would perhaps be preferable, from its 
brevity. 

In the preface of his ' Nomenclator Zoologicus' (p. xxv), 

M. Agassiz strenuously resisted this. He first praises Linnaeus 

for having said, " Nomen specificum nil est nisi distinctio 

specierum sub suo genere. Nulla dari potest difi'erentia 

' Eeport of the Brit. Assoc, for 1842, p. 120. 



COMMENTARY. 53 

specifica ubi nullum genus." " This evidently showSj" says 
M. Agassiz, " the importance that was attached by Linnaeus 
to the union of the specific with the generic name. For no 
one to be harmedj as desired by the learned Bnglishmenj a 
new authority ought to be quoted for every new combination 
of names. Now, I do not hesitate saying that Linnaeus 
would have formally rejected the expression Tyrdnnus cri- 
nitus L. (sp.). He had put this species in his genus Musci- 
carpa, and he would have kept it there as long as no doubts 
had arisen." ..." The method proposed by the learned 
Englishmen," says again M. Agassizj " suggests the idea 
that works undertaken with a view of constituting genera 
are less valuable than those undertaken for the sake of dis- 
tinguishing species, which would not advance science." . . . 
" An excessive inconvenience would likewise result from 
this : we could not turn back to the original sources without 
much fastidious labour. How are we, in effect, to find out 
in Linnaeus's works what he says oiMusdcarpa crinita, with- 
out being told under what genus he has spoken of it ?^ And 
how inextricable will the synonymy become if we have, some 
time afterwards, a Tyrannus crinitus L. (sp.), according to 
Swainson, and a Tyrannus crinitus L. (sp.), according to an- 
other author, -who will have confounded some new species with 
the old crinita ! We must then say, Tyrannus crinitus, L. 
{sp.) Swains., and Tyrannus crinitus, L. (sp.) x." Agassiz 
concludes by begging the authors of the new method, in 
behalf of the interests of science, which they have at heart 
as much as he has himself, "ut propositum deserant, schisma 
novum in scientiam non introducant, systema vero Linneei 
simplicissimum illud, et erroribus babylonicaeque in nomen- 
clatura confusioni omnium minime obnoxium aequo animo 

' The advocates of the method would perhaps say to this that Lin- 
naean tables might be drawn up by species. Thus, at the word crinitus 
would be found references to all the pages of zoological and botanical 
works in which Linnaeus has made a species bearing the name oi crini- 
tus, in much the same way as if, in a directory, iudividuals were to be 
classed under their Christian names. We admit that such a thing 
might be done, but it would be very inconvenient. 



54 LAWS OP NOMENCLATURE. 

repetant." Mr. Shuttleworth, in a work on Malacology,^ de- 
votes a chapter to the support and development of the 
same ideas. »■ 

Let us now pass from zoologists to botanists, their opinion 
being to us of greater importance. 

M. Kirschleger, in 1852, after mentioning the genera 
Ranunculus and Batrachium, in the preamble to his ' Flora 
of Alsace,' expresses himself as follows : — 

" A very simple process has enabled us to render unto every 
one the honour that he is entitled to. To the author of the new 
genus detached from the old one we have left the merit (if 
there be any) of having raised an ancient subgenus to the 
rank of a genus, by appending his name to it. But we let 
the specific name be followed by that of the author who 
made it, or who first applied it, taking care to place it in a 
parenthesis: thus, Qephalaria pilosa (L. sub Dipsaoo). We 
are aware that this may offend the conceit of some authors, 
but we like better not to fail in sentiments of justice and 
gratitude towards our elders.'' 

In 1858, M. Questier, addressing himself to the Botanical 
Society of Prance (Bull., vol. v. p. 37), protested against this 
new method. He cites M. Billot as having written, Mul- 
gedium aVpinum L. Sp. 1117 (sub Sonehus) ; Less. Syn. 142> 
etc. " Axe we not immediately shocked," says M. Questier, 
" to see the genus Mulgedium attributed to Linnaeus ? True 
it is that the corrective is to be found in the parenthesis, 
but did not the nomenclature in general use until now tell 
us the same thiug more clearly, and with less risk of error ? 
If now you wish to learn, and natural enough it is that you 
should, to whom belongs MulgedAum alpinum, you may 
perhaps guess, or perhaps, by dint of researches in books, if 
you have them, you may find out that it is to the author first 
quoted after the parenthesis. Suppose that, suitably to the 
works where the new system is followed, it be necessary to 
make an index, a list, a catalogue, a local flora, a synopsis, 
a compendium, in which little room can be given to the de- 
velopment of synonymy, is it not to be feared that both 

' Shuttleworth, ' Notitise malacologicse,' Hefti. Berne, 1856, p. 21. 



COMMENTARY. 65 

parenthesis and anything that may follow will be neglected, 
and that! -we should merely have Mulgediwm alpinum L., 
Asterothrix Hispanioa WiUd., etc. ? What becomes then of 
the history of botany ? Is it not altered and violated ? And 
on whom can the fault be thrown but on those who have 
introduced this dangerous system ? 

M. Kirschleger again takes up the pen in 1860, and says, 
in the ' Bulletin de la Societe Botanique ' (vol. vii. p. 437) : — 

" I believe in the necessity of restoring a multitude of 
species to their true authors and owners. Botanists write, 
Cota altissima Gay, and not Linnaeus. What merit has M. 
Gay in this case ? He has established the genus Cota (good 
or bad, no matter) . Let him, then, enjoy the whole honour 
that the genus may shed upon him. But what pretensions 
can he have to the epithet altissima, which belongs to Lin- 
nffius or to Tournefort ? It is of the species that I am 
speaking, not of the genus ; and if I write, "Cota Gray ; altis- 
sirtia L. (sub Anthemide) ," I have at once given to each his 
due of justice, glory, and merit. If this notation be found 
too long, — ^in a catalogue, for instance, — ^the name of the au- 
thor of the new genus may be left out, and that of the au- 
thor of the species put into a parenthesis." M. Kirschleger 
adds ironically, " The orthodox notation has the immense 
advantage of encouraging authorities," by which he impHes 
fwihis and nohises added to long-standing names, or the sa^ 
tisfaction of seeing one's name in print. 

The Publishuig Committee of the Botanical Society 
answered in the following article of the ' Bulletin ' "(vol. vii. 
p. 438) :— _ 

" The Committee^ think it right to preserve without any 
alteration whatsoever in the Society's publications the nota- 
tion to which M. Kirschleger gives the name of orthodox (that 
is, the ancient notation). This regular manner of iadicat.' 
ing the name of the authors of Orders, genera, species, 
or varieties, consecrated by its adoption, in the two most 

' This consisted of MM. Cdsson, Duchartre, and Prillieux. M. de 
SchcBnefeld, Secretary of the Society, took likewise an active part in 
the declaration of the Committee. 



56 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

important works of systematic botany of thiB century^ the 
'Prodromus'' of De Candolle and the 'Genera' of Bndlicher, 
is at the same time the most simple, the shortest,! and the 
clearest. Every other system, however equitable it may 
seem to be as regards the first author of each group of 
vegetable forms, will always have the great inconvenience of 
throwing a fresh element of doubt and confusion into the 
already too intricate labyrinth of synonymy. 

" There is, moreover, according to our way of thinking, 
either error or exaggeration in the idea that this kind of sig- 
nature habitually placed after the name of any group that 
has been established, restricted, extended, subdivided, or 
transposed, is solely a homage paid to the merit and to the 
glory of its author. The author's name thus placed is not 
only the acknowledgment of a right exercised by that au- 
thor, it is also the recognition on his part of a responsibility 
that he is to undergo. The improvement of the natural 
gystem is (as Linnaeus himself has said) the supreme aim of 
systematic botany. This being so, every change in taxo- 
nomy (creation, restriction, extension, subdivision, transposi- 
tion of Orders, genera, species, or varieties) is true or false, 
good or bad. If it be good, it perfects the method in some 
way or other, and it is but just that the author should have 
the merit of it. If it be bad, the method is more or less 
impaired, and its author must suffer for it. In both cases 
the author's name, regularly placed, indicates, for each in- 
novation, the share of merit and the share of responsibility 
belonging to each ; nothing more, nothing less." 

Finally, we may cite M. Boissier, who, in the preface re- 
cently published of the first volume of his ' Flora Orien- 
talis,'^ supports the new system. " Two motives," he says, 
" have led me to this mode of nomenclature, already adopted 
by several authors, — one of justice, the other of utility. There 
are, in effect, two kinds of characters in a plant ; some, that 
are individual, constitute, as it were, the essence of the 
species, and allow of its being distinguished from neigh- 
bouring species ; they are as constant as the species itself, 
' One vol. 8vo, Geneva, 1867. 



COMMENTAET. 57 

-^they are termed specific characters. Then we have other 
characters that are collective, common to several specieSj 
frequently expressing some real relation between organized 
beings, when we have to do with natural genera, but also 
frequently understood in a very different way and in a very 
variable one by botanists, according to their particular turn 
of mind, and to the relative importance given to this relation ; 
these are generic characters. It seems to me that in the 
name of a species, specific characters stand higher than ge- 
neric ones, and that it is both just and logical to append as an 
authority to the specific name (which expresses the first and 
is not subject to change), the name of the author who first 
made the plant known, rather than that of the botanist who 
has understood its generic affinities in such or such a manner. 
This method relieves the memory and, at the same time, 
strengthens the immutability of names, while it allows serious 
botanists to make changes, if they think proper, in the clas- 
sification of species for the sole benefit of science, without 
running the risk of beiug confounded with those authors 
who let themselves be led into interested innovations, in 
which vanity has a greater share than the love of truth.'' 

After these quotations, which, for impartiality's sake, we 
have made in extenso, we have to give our own opinion, 
which has never varied on this question. 

The custom of quoting an author's name immediately after 
the names of plants has not arisen, as some think, from a 
desire to do homage or to exercise an act of justice. Of 
course we must not be unjust in attributing, for instance, to 
an author a name he has not made, an idea that is not his 
own ; but the process of quoting authors' names is, above 
all, an orderly measure. Its end is, 1st, to distinguish two 
or more genera, two or more species which have perhaps, 
unfortunately, received in science the same name ; 2ndly, to 
facilitate the research of an exceedingly important detail : 
the date of the publication of a name, or of a combination 
of names, one generic, the other specific. 

Wlien it is wished to do homage to a botanist, a genus 
may be dedicated to him. If he is to be praised or to be 



58 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

blamed on account of a species or a genus, his opinions . may- 
be mentioned and appreciated either in the text of a de- 
scription, or by means of a parenthesis in the synonymy ; but 
the citation of a name after the name or names belonging 
to a plant expresses in itself neither merit nor demerit. It 
is the mere laying down of a fact, namely, that such an au- 
thor was the first to give such a name to a genus, or was the 
first to refer such a species to such a genus. In continua- 
tion it may be mentioned that another author has made such 
another combination of the specific and generic names. 
Bach of them may be right or wrong ; the question is not 
there. We want, before anythiug else) to know when a 
name has been made, or when a combination of names has 
been made, so as not to propose similar ones. Now to get 
at the date we must know who the author is. The date 
might have been given instead of the name, but this would 
not be so explicit, as two persons might, in the same year, ac- 
cidentally give the same name to two different genera or to 
two different species. It is on this account that the custom 
of quoting the name of the author rather than the date has 
prevailed, this name being in itself no more than the ex- 
pression of a fact. 

But, it will be said, there are oftentimes two facts to set 
down; the species has been referred first to one genus, then 
to another. In this case, we think it is clearer to tell the 
things in succession : author A has made such a combination 
of names; author B another. Generally speaking, to be 
perfectly understood, each idea must be expressed in a dis- 
tinct phrase or in a distinct member of a phrase. For two 
things to be clearly expressed, they must be separated, 
Linnaeus made a species called Cheiramthus tridis, out of 
which Brown afterwards made Matthiola tristis. To express 
this it is more intelligible to say, Cheiranthus tristis, L.,and 
then, in the next line, or after a stop, Matthiola tristis, Br., 
than to say, by way of condensation, Matthiola tristis (L., 
sub Cheirantho). With this over- contracted style, 
" Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio." 

In the example above, it has been wished to say all in few 



COMMENTARY. 59 

words, and a very important fact lias been omitted in so 
doing, that of Brown's having created the combination 
Matthiola tristis, which allows you to turn back to the date, 
and to "the motives which led Brown to refer the species to 
his new genus Matthiola. The expression L. sub Cheirantho, 
has a double and even a triple sense. It either conveys the 
sense that is intended, or signifies that Linnaeus, in some 
note under the genus Cheiranthus, has spoken of the genus 
Matthiola, or, again, that he has mentioned a species called 
by hijn Matthiola tristis. 

' The indication under the form L. sub Cheirantho, ofiers, at 
any rate, this advantage, that every one knowing two words 
of Latin may translate it, and try to understand what it is 
intended to imply. Whereas if, instead of this, we have 
"Matthiola tristis L. {sp.)," the unversed will necessarily 
want to have explained to them that Linnapus did not make 
a Matthiola tristis, that the parenthesis signifies that he 
made the species only, and furthermore that ' sp.' is no allu- 
sion to Linnseus's classical work, ' Species Plantarum.'' If 
we have "Matthiola tristis (L.), Brown," the parenthesis has 
first to be explained; and the reader, having learnt that 
Linnasus only made the specific name, wishes to know 
under what generic name. Finally, if it be "Matthiola Br.; 
tristis L.," the quotation, although very complicated, does 
not enlighten us the more as to the generic name under 
which the species is to be met with in Linnaeus ; nor does it 
tell us that, in creating the genus Matthiola, Brown referred 
to it the species tristis, — an essential poiut nevertheless as 
regards both precision and date. 

The partisans of the proposed method ask for just deal- 
ing ; but, in our opinion, they are mistaken in the applica- 
tion of this excellent principle. 

Nothing can be more unjust than to attribute to Linnaeus, 
for instance, a combination of names that he did not make, 
that he had no idea of, and that he would perhaps have 
blamed had he been acquainted with it. It may be said 
that the expression Matthiola tristis (L. sub Cheirantho) does 
not attribute the combination of names to Linnaeus. That 



60 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

is true when the sense of the parenthesis is perfectly under- 
stood, and when it is copied or uttered textuallytj but then 
there are ellipses and forced abbreviations^ alluded to above 
by M. Questier. As the parentheses cannot be put entire 
into indexes, as they cannot be employed in conversation, 
nor in the text of discussions on species, they are omitted. 
There is a proof of this in the index of the ' Flora Orien- 
talis ' of M. Boissier, where we find Matthiola tristis, L. ; 
Gypsofhila acerosa, Boiss. ; TiMiica proKfera, L., etc. ; al- 
though Linnaeus never made a Matthiola tristis, nor a Tunica 
prolifera ; nor M. Boissier a Gypsophila acerosa. So many 
inaccuracies, or perhaps injustices ! For who can affirm that 
Linnaeus would have approved of the genera Matthiola and 
Tunica, or that acknowledging the genera to be good, he 
would have referred there the above-named species ? 

If we hold, above all, to being just, we ought to do a great 
deal more than is proposed. We ought not to be looking 
out for the author who first named a genus or a species, or 
who first referred a species to a genus, but for the one who 
has given the best description of the genus or of the species, 
who has best made their affinities known, etc. When a bo- 
tanist creates a perfectly natural genus on characters that 
had been before overlooked, it is to him that ought by right 
to be attributed all the species that are annexed to the 
genus at a later period, he having been the intelligent cause 
of what was done after him. Tell a scholar that such a 
plant is called grata, what does that teach him ? Nothing. 
Tell him that it belongs to the genus Clematis ; that will be 
going a great way, as he may then easily find the species in 
books, and he may perhaps know already to what Order the 
genus belongs. Tracing a variety to a species is oftentimes a 
work of more merit than was the description of the variety 
by the first who spoke of it. If merit is the chief point, it 
must be made out everywhere and in every case ; and this 
being acknowledged once for all, then it would be time 
enough that the name of the author might be cited, even 
if it were necessary to turn as far back as Theophrastus ; and 
if it happened that some one else afterwards rendered still 



COMMENTARY. 61 

greater services, then the name of the genus or species 
wotddhave to be transferred to another claimant. Intermin- 
able and contestable inquiries, impracticable for any one who 
has not given himself up specially to the history of science ! 
The partisans of the new method cannot but be thoroughly 
averse to quoting the first author of a species when he has 
misunderstood it and described it wrong, as it irequently 
occurs. The fact is, that neither the new nor the old method 
are equal to do sufficient justice in the quotation of authors. 
But the old method is at least exact ; aU that is expected 
from the quotation of authors' names, it gives with preci- 
sion. On this account we give it the preference. 

Some persons are grieved to see the masters of science — 
Linnaeus, for example — ^less often quoted, since certain ge- 
nera established by them have been divided. "Think," 
says a Bblgian botanist, " of the great name of Linn^us dis- 
appearing from our lists of species ! Think of our no 
longer seeing the name of any plant followed by that fa- 
mous L., that venerated sign," etc' Our opinion is that 
Linnseus's ideas of species and genera were generally so just, 
that, after many divisions and subdivisions, we are obliged 
to return to them. Besides this, the reputation of a man 
does not depend upon the number of citations that are made 
of him. Theophrastus, Aristotle, Caesalpinius, are rarely 
quoted, but are not the less considered very great natu- 
ralists. Among modern authors, some could be mentioned 
who are perhaps cited more often than Linnaeus, but com- 
monly for their blunders. Great botanists will always main- 
tain their place in lists of synonyms, and especially in the 
history of science. The same may be said of great chemists, 
of great astronomers, though their names are not put after 
every terrestrial or celestial body that they have discovered. 

It may be asserted that the method in common use en- 
courages amateurs of glorification, such as are pleased to see 
their name in print. This is but a low view of the question. 
We have only to say that the very character of these ama- 

' Cr6pin in Bull. Soc. Bot. de Belgique, iii. p. 223. 



63 LAWS OP NOMEKCLATURB. 

teurs must needs render them somewhat apprehensive of 
ridicule ; now, the making of names that are immediately to 
be reduced to the rank of synonyms, the letting oneself be 
called a species-monger by serious botanists, — ^is not this 
ridiculous enough, and more likely to touch self-love than 
any other process ? 

We cannot, however, but admit that there are naturalists 
who have the weakness to demand that their names be aflBxed 
for ever to the species that they have described, or referred to 
their genera. Their desire is complied with by citing syno- 
nyms. To go farther : to quote the name of the author who, 
you think, has improperly referred a species to a genus, is to 
encourage superficial people to describe and to name without 
troubhng themselves about the genus, — that is, to overlook 
much more important characters than those of species, and to 
neglect the study of affinities.' 

Another word on an argument brought forward by one of 
the last authors we have quoted. 

It is to be regretted that genera should not all be self- 
evident, and that, by their not having been distinguished 
from the very first, we should frequently be obliged to hesi- 
tate, to create, or to overthrow such or such a genus, to move 
species from one to another, etc. But, may we ask, are 
species immutable ? Not in any way. They are diversely 
understood ; they are divided, they are united, etc., as are 
genera, perhaps more so than genera. The characters given 
of them in books are not determined. They have to be 
altered when a species is transferred to another genus, 
as it has then to be compared with other species. Of 
these two things, the species and the genus, neither of 
which unhappily is well determined, the genus is neverthe- 
less to be considered as the stand-point, because the charac- 
ters on which it is founded are more apparent, more import- 
ant, and less variable, and because the number of genera 
being less considerable than that of species, we are nearer 
knowing all those that exist ; we mean, of course, all natural 
genera, for we do not allow of any others. 
' Shuttleworth, 1. c. 



COMMENTAET. 63 

This discussion was agaia taken up in Congress (see 
Proceedings), but, when votiag was resorted to, an immense 
majority stood in favour of the old system, as supported 
by us. 

49. It is not quite correct to say that a genus or a 
species is of such an author, when the signification at- 
tributed to such groups by that author has been altered. 
It is on this account that Robert Brown, as well as several 
other authors after him, and still more recently Dr. Miiller, 
of Argovia,^ have considered as being made by them 
groups whose name was ancient, — of Liunseus, for instance, 
— but whose characters or composition they had sensibly 
modified. Thus R. Brown (Prodr. Fl. Novse HoU., p. 494) 
gives a genus Myosotis, without any author's name (which 
signifies in this work that the genus is his own; see, p. 495, 
Hxarrhena, and elsewhere), and adds, as a synonym, Myoso- 
Udis sp., L. In like manner, he makes a genus Oynoglossum 
(p. 495), which has for synonym Cynoglossi sp., L. He attri- 
butes Convolvulus to Jacquin (p. 482), with the synoiiym 
Oonvolvuli sp., L., because he takes the genus such as it 
was after being modified by Jacquin. In Hke maim.er, De 
Candolle (Prodr. iii. p. 121) attributes his genus Bhexia to 
Brown, because he comprehends it as Brown did ; and as 
a synonym he gives BhexicB sp., L. Thus, too, he says 
Crassula, Haw. (see Prodr. iu. p. 383), and gives as a syno- 
nym Orassulce sp., L. Dunal, in the 'Prodromus,' writes 
Solanwm, Sendtn. Such examples could easily be multiplied. 

It must be allowed that the process is rigorously exact. 
The genus Myosotis of Brown is not precisely that of Lin- 
naeus. Linnaeus would, perhaps, not have understood it in 
the same way as Brown ; consequently, it is neither exact 
nor proper to attribute it to him. On the other hand, this 
system has the great defect of acknowledging a multitude 
of genera bearing the same name, but scarcely difi'ering one 
from another, — an encumbrance to. synonymy, and still more 
so to indexes ! In the course of fifty years or a century, 
botanists would be quite lost in the midst of so many names ; 
' In the Euphorhiacea of the ' Prodrorans,' xv. sectio 2. 



64 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

in Borraginacece, for example, there would be as many geinera 
Myosotis or Oynoglossum as of authors having rather differ- 
ently defined those genera. The same as regards species. 
Every author who has limited a species somewhat otherwise 
than his predecessors, so as to exclude or include a form more 
or a form less, may be considered to have destroyed the 
ancient species, and to have created another under the same 
name. In a few years the indication of authors would no 
longer signify anything, and works such as that of Steudel 
would be so full of similar names that there would be no 
clue to them. We must not pretend, then, to such absolute 
exactness. There is a simple means, and one in frequent 
use, of obtaining the greatest part of the desired precision ; 
to this we cannot do better than resort. It consists in add- 
ing to the name of the author of the genus or of the species 
something indicating a restriction, an extension, or a modi- 
fication of the primitive sense. The words pro parte, refor- 
matis characteribus, exelusis speeiebus, eseclusa varietate, etc., 
which may be abridged, are quite sufficient to advise the 
reader of the change. By using them the writer is not ex- 
posed to affirm that a group is of such an author when it is 
not rigorously true. After all, what is of most importance 
is the name, because of the authenticity of that name, which 
must be justified by a date. You may change what you like 
in the genus Xerotes, Br., for example, but what cannot be 
changed is the fact of Brown's having made, in 1 810, a genus 
under that name. In this point of view, which is the most 
important one. Brown must always be cited for Xerotes. 

50. The publication of the name is the essential fact, 
for it is that which prevents the name being changed 
without good cause. He who publishes has acted the prin- 
cipal part. The traveller who gathered the plant, who 
perhaps gave it a provisional name in his herbarium, is no 
doubt indebted to the gratitude of botanists. He is oftentimes 
more deserving of this gratitude than the publisher of the 
name ; it is on this account very proper to cite him for the 
native place or for the herbarium; but it is not he who 
gave pubHcity to the name. Had he been consulted, he 
might perhaps have published it under another name. 



COMMENTARY. 65 

The consequences of the Article are not^ however, so great 
as might' be thought, many travellers or collectors publishing 
their names when they distribute their plants (Art. 42). 
Spruce, Kotschy, Wallich, and a number of others, have 
published their names by means of labels or catalogues, which 
are to be cited. Others have put no names, or have not distri- 
buted their plants ; ia those cases, the only names to be cited 
are those of the authors who have published them. It is 
proper, for instance, to cite Spruce for a species named and 
published by him, and then described by Bentham, and to 
quote Bentham for one of Hartweg^s plants, distributed by 
him without a name, but afterwards named by Bentham. 
To act otherwise would be incorrect, and, as regards ancient 
travellers, it would not be equitable. Commerson, for in- 
stance, has left names of plants iu herbaria, without publish- 
ing them. Those who publish them now cannot conscien- 
tiously attribute them to Commerson; for, botany having 
undergone many changes since the time of that zealous col- 
lector, he would not, in the present day, give his plants the 
names he gave them formerly ; and who knows whether he 
himself had not already discovered that some of his names 
were erroneous ? 

61. A rather common error, but not the less to be re- 
gretted, is to quote, as the author of a sectional name, the 
botanist who applied that same name to a genus, or vice 
versd; or, agaiu, to quote as the author of a species him 
who had named the variety that is raised to that rank. 
Through this negligence the opinion of the original author 
is -wrongly represented, and the reader is deceived as to the 
date of the section or of the genus, or of the collective names 
of the species or varieties. 

52. The rule laid down was followed by Liunseus, Jussieu, 
De Candolle, Bndlicher, Steudel, and all other botanists till 
of late years. Many botanists have now, for some time, got 
into the habit of abridging by the suppression of vowels, 
even in the first syllable, the result being — 1st, that many 
of these abbreviations are unintelligible ; 2ndly, that if it be 
required to search for the name in an alphabetical list of 

E 



66 LAWS OP NOMENCLATXJEE. 

authorSj or in the classical work of Pritzel, which comprises 
all botanists anterior to 1841^ one is obliged to read over all 
the names that begin by the first letter of the abbreviation, 
there being frequent hesitation between this or that, or even 
impossibility to arrive at finding out the true one. 

Here are, for instance, some unguessable abbreviations 
taken from recent works : ' — 

Ktzsch. H. Bn. Brm. 
Brghtw. Brn. Btt. 

HK. Hsch. Spng. 

We know by experience that in certain works Ord. signi- 
fies Orsted; that Bth. signifies Bentham, rather than 
Booth; that Sz. signifies Schultz rather than Steetz or 
Szovics J but that a young botanist should know this by in- 
tuition is out of the question. 

If, at least, the last letter of the name were to be placed 
above, as Or*, we should understand the abbreviation much 
better ; but between r and d, in Ord., you may imagine that 
there are several vowels or diphthongs, and it may be thought 
there are more vowels after the d. 

In an abbreviation such as Krst. (for Karsten ?), nothing 
can lead you to suppose that there is a vowel after the first 
letter; it might, with just as much probability, be after the 
second. 

What renders this mode of abbreviation so enigmatical, 
is the great number of vowels or diphthongs employed in 
difierent tongues. We are not only obliged to look among 
Latin names, or among those belonging to Latin tongues, 
but also among German, Danish, Hungarian, Bohemian, 
Eussian names, etc., which have different letters and 
different combinations of vowels. If you write Hook, for 
Hooker, any beginner will understand you; the signifi- 
cation will easily; be found by referring to Pritzel, as few 
botanists^ names begin by those four letters. But only 

1 We could easily say what works and at what pages, but out of 
respect for the authors, we think the citation of these hieroglyphics 
quite sufficient. 



COMMENTARY. 67 

let an innovator take it into his head to write Hkr, nothing 
is to prevent you supposing that the name begins by one of 
the following combinations, even laying aside some of the 
most unlikely :— Ha, Hae, Ha, He, Hi, Ho, Ho, Hoe, Hu, Hii, 
Hy, Haa, Hae, Hai, Hao, Hau, Hea, Hee, Hei, Heo, Heu, 
Hey, Hii, Hia, Hie, Hi», Hio, Hies, Hiu, Hoo, Hoa, Hoe, 
Hoi, Hou, Hoy, Hua, Huae, Hue, Hui, Huu, Huy, Hya, Hyse, 
Hye, Hyo, Hyo, Hyu (total 47). Between the h and the r, 
you may hesitate between the same vowels ; and finally after 
the r, there might likewise be found some one of the 47 
kinds of vowels or diphthongs. If, however, there is no stop 
after the r it will be thought that the name ends there. 4il x^sl 
= 2209., - There may then be 2209 names hidden under the 
abbreviation Hkr. The process of quoting completely the 
first syllable and the beginning of the second is decidedly 
the clearest, and is not sensibly longer. 

In a compound abbreviation, the omission of a stop where 
letters are left out is always a fault j to put, for instance, 
EBr., for Robert Brown; HBK., for Humboldt, Bonpland, 
Kunth. 

Some defective abbreviations introduced into books have 
become so common that there is hardly any one unacquainted 
with them ; it would, consequently, be both difficult and use- 
less to give them up. The name I bear, for example, ought 
to be abridged either DeO., or D.C., or more regularly Cand., 
instead of DC. which has prevailed. If any one were to 
think of abbreviating Du Petit- Thenars by DP., he would 
not be understood. 

The rules of abbreviation, as well as most others, suffer 
exceptions which we are obHged to admit for the sake of 
perspicuity, or of avoiding certain inconveniences that might 
offer. It is customary, for instance, to abridge the word Saint 
by S', Sanctus by S"' ; consequently, it is natural that the 
name of Saint-Hilaire should be abridged by S* Hii. When 
a name has been abridged thousands of times in an excep- 
tional manner, beginners must be made acquainted with it. 
Using a correct method would not undo what already exists, 
and the same author would thus be designated in two dif- 



68 LAWS OF NOMENCLATUEE. 

ferent ways, which had better be avoided. There are also 
some scarce combinations of letters which wouldJ render an 
abbreviation incommodious and almost null, were 4ihe rule 
to be followed strictly. The name of Decaisne, for instance, 
would not be sufficiently designated by Dec; while it is 
very clearly so if you write Decsne, especially if in the 
series of synonyms care is taken not to put a stop after the 
final e. In effect, a very frequent cause of obscurity in 
books is the typographical fault of puttitig a stop after the 
final letter of a name, when puttiag one is not rendered 
obligatory by the termination of a phrase, or by the sup- 
pression of letters. Compositors in printing-offices are not 
aware that the names of Ee, Blume, Don, Ker, Blytt and 
others are not abridged; that in Michx the x is the final 
letter ; consequently, that those names ought not to be fol- 
lowed by a stop implying an abbreviation. Some botanists 
abridge when it is unnecessary. Blume does not take up 
more place ia a text than Blum.; and very little time is 
gained by skipping a letter or two in names of a siagle 
syllable. 

Precise rules have sometimes been proposed for abbrevia- 
tions, which would be identical were they to be made in the 
ordinary form ; for instance, in the case of two botanists of 
the same family, or bearing the same name, or names begin- 
ning by the same letters ; but there can be no harm in letting 
each author do what he pleases in each particular case. That 
Geertner son, or filius, should be abridged by Gsertn. f., and 
Jussieu son, by Adr. Juss., is tolerably indifferent, both ab- 
breviations beiag clear enough. If, to distinguish Michaus 
from Micheli, you put Michx, or better, Mich''; if, to avoid 
the hesitation that might result from the many names that 
begin by Eeich, you abridge Eeichenbach by Eeichb. ; if, to 
prevent Marschall von Bieberstein from being confounded 
with other Marschalls, it be indicated by M. Bieb. or even 
by Bieb., — something is gained in the way of clearness, and 
the value of the principal rule is in no way lessened. 

54. According to Liunseus, the name of a genus that has 
been divided must remain with the most common species. 



COMMENTARY. 69 

or.witli that whicli is officinal {vulgatissimce et officinali), — an 
ambiguous expression in all cases -vfhere there is one of the 
species that- is very common and another officinal. Subse- 
quent authors say that, in general, the name ought to be 
left to the oldest species, to those that constitute the most 
ancient type, etc. ; but it is impossible not to take into con- 
sideration the relative number of the species. Convolvulus 
sepium and Erica vulgaris were very common species, and 
veiy anciently named, when Brown made out of one of them 
his genus Calystegia ; and De CandoUe, out of the other, his 
genus Galluna. In so doing they surely acted more wisely 
than if they had changed the names of a hundred Convolvuli 
and two hundred Ericoe. 

57, 58. The contents of these Articles will appear new 
to some botanists, at least so far as modifications of species 
are concerned. They are, however, useful for preventing 
the multiplication of names, as well as for assistiag the 
memory in cases where there is a change of place or of rank. 
Several exact authors have observed them for some time. 

59. May an author change a name that he regrets having 
published ? Yes, but only in the cases in which any other 
botanist may do so. In short, publication is a fact that the 
author cannot annul. 

See also the Commentary on Article 25. 

60. (1.) We say m the vegetable hingdom ; thus, accord- 
ing to us, the same name maybe employed in both kingdoms. 
This is contrary to one of the rules of Linnaeus (Plul. Bot. 
230); but in this question we must turn back to the funda- 
mental principle (Art. 3) of every nomenclature, which is to 
avoid error, ambiguity, confusion. Is it possible now for 
confusion to arise from a group of plants bearing the same 
name as a group of animals ? Evidently not. If a group 
of plants was by chance to receive the name of Psittacus, 
nobody would ever take the species for parrots. Strictly 
speaking, there might be some doubts in certain obscure 
categories of beings which have been rejected from one king- 
dom to another. . But the only conclusion to be drawn from 
this is that, in these doubtful classes, a naturalist does well 
to avoid names that are common to the two kingdoms. 



70 LAWS 01' NOMENCLATURE. 

60. (3.) Applies to names tliat are flagrantly, completely- 
false, whose falsity no interpretation can ameliorate ; "for 
instance, in the case of a species called annita, biit whicli 
is perennial, or of a species bearing the name of a coun- 
try where it does not grow, of a genus whos0 name ex- 
presses a character that is wanting in all, or almost all the 
species, especially a character opposed to those which dis- 
tinguish the genus from neighbouring ones. The incon- 
venience of changing names is, however] so evident, that 
the application of this rule is avoided wherever it is possible. 
For instance, Plantago major is not the largest of all, but it 
is larger than such a one ; — that is enough ; Oircma I/utetiana 
is found over the greater part of Europe, but it grows round 
about Paris; — that is enough; all Ch/rysanthema have not 
yellow flowers, but almost all have ; — that is enough. Many 
species of the Andes, or of Himalaya, have been called 
al/pina, but the word ' alps' has been improperly taken in 
the sense of lofty mountains ; so alpina may pass, etc. 

60. (4.) We may hardly think ourselves authorized to do 
away with names of sections made out of a personal name with 
eu, -aides or -opsis, notwithstanding names of persons being 
Latinized and not Grecified. They are not of Latin origin ; 
that must be considered sufBcient, as we must avoid changing 
names : only an attentive botanist will avoid making such 
uncouth names. Mi placed before a genuine Latin name is 
a barbarism; -ides or -opsis at the end of the word are 
scarcely more tolerable. I do not know whether I would 
dare change those faulty names where they exist, because of 
the essential principles of Article 3, second paragraph, and 
of Article 16; I hope, at any rate, I have none to reproach 
myself with. In botany we ought to aim at some correct- 
ness in Greek and Latin names, and try to avoid making 
such ill-constructed words as millimetres, centimetres, bu- 
reaucracy, panslavism, pom,- Anglican, etc., of our modern 
languages, and which all have the defect alluded to. 

60. (5.) See the commentary on Article 33. 

66. Changing the first letters, especially the first letter of 
a name, may occasion much inconvenience, on accoimt of 



COMMENTARY. 71 

tajt^ljes,, ca(tp,logueSj and dictionaries arranged according to 
alphabeibi^al order. It is very inconvenient, for instancCj 
that several generic names beginning by E should have been 
altered into He, on account of a hard accent in Greek. 
Such names must be looked for in two different partft 
of the tables. Greek accents varying with the dialectj 
we do not see why we should be more rigorous than the 
Greeks themselves. Changing names that are well known 
under a certaia autograph offers inconvenience likewise. 
At the Botanical Congress held in London in 1866, it was 
proposed to mo^dify the name of Cinchona on the ground 
that the genus , had been dedicated to Countess Chinchon, 
but the majority of the botanists present were of opinion 
that the already established custom was to be maintained. 
Gundelia is very far from Gundelsheimer ; but as ancient 
botanists have allowed themselves this licence, which is now 
consecrated by a hundred years' habitual use, why change 
it ? Purists have only to forget Gundelsheimer, and to ac- 
cept the name of GwndeUa for an arbitrary one. In these 
kinds of questions, it must be borne in mind, first, that the 
fixity, of names is of superior importance ; secondly, that a 
botanist has the right to construct a name in any way he 
pleases, something in the form of a man's name, for in- 
stance. 

Vulgar names, above all in barbarous tongues, are fre- 
quently uncertain, and the manner of spelling them is often- 
tim.es doubtful. When turned into scientific names, no- 
thing can be easier than to subject them to alteration under 
pretence of rigorous precision. Coffea, for instance, might 
become Oovea, . Oavea, Caufea, etc., according to the idea 
you may have of the spelling of the Arab word. It fre- 
quently happens that the same property exists- in several 
nearly allied species, whence the same name has been given 
to them by different tribes. A botanist attributes the name 
to one of those species ; no matter, else we might be per- 
petually contending and changing. 

67. It is desirable that the use of Latin should be main- 
tained in botany for descriptions, and more especially for 



72 LAWS OF NOMENCLATURE. 

names. ThesOj like our proper names, are to serve in all 
languages. No doubt some names of cultivated plants, 
or of such, as are very well known, are found more current 
in common language than botanical names ; and it would be 
ridiculous, for instance, in an English text, always to say 
' quercus' instead of ' oak.' Laying aside such cases, nothing 
can be naore convenient than Latin names, used with or 
without some slight modification. The public adopts them 
promptly, even if they be eccentric. It is a matter of habit. 
No one can object to names such as Fuchsia, Rhododen- 
dron, etc., now in common use in all countries. 

There are in every language names of plants the mean- 
ing of which is not very precise, or which are so seldom used, 
that the greater part of the inhabitants of the country are 
unacquainted with them. It is best not to make use of 
them in books, but rather to habituate the public to names 
taken from the universal tongue. 

68. With still greater reason ought the fabrication of 
names termed vulgar names, totally different from Latin 
ones, to be proscribed. The public to whom they are ad- 
dressed derive no advantage from them, because they are 
novelties. Lindley^'s work, ' The Vegetable Kingdom,' would 
have been better relished in England had not the author 
introduced into it so many new English names, that are to 
be found in no dictionary, and that do not preclude the 
necessity of learning with what Latin names they are syno- 
nymous. A tolerable idea may be given of the danger of too 
great a multiplicity of vulgar names, by imagining what 
geography would be, or, for instance, the Post-office admi- 
nistration, supposing every town had a totally different name 
in every language. 






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