Some nomenclatorial problems
Much of the difficulty experienced by the modern systematic botanist is nomenclatorial. Though he may have a clear conception of a plant as a taxonomic unit, he is often at a loss to find out what it is as a legitimate nomenclatural entity. If a haphazard use of names is permitted, it will result in different botanists using the same name in a different sense, so that the names themselves, unaccompanied by a description, will give no definite denotation; that is, a name may become applicable to several independent taxonomic units. And if it is attempted to skip over these difficulties by creating a new name every time the legitimacy of a name of a plant is questioned, a usage may be established in virtue of which, on the one hand, very good names may be rejected on insufficient grounds, while, on the other, one and the same taxonomic group of plants will be known by different names to different botanists in different countries. Actually, some such state of affairs as this was common at one time in taxonomic botany, so that it came to be felt that personalities had a great deal to do with popularizing some names, however erroneous, as well as with rejecting quite good ones. In other words, there was a tendency to subordinate the naming of plants, or the validity and legitimacy of plant-names, to personal or national or provincial likes and dislikes, with the result that the scientific names were often less stable and precise in their application than the vernacular names. In order to obviate these drawbacks and to make the nomenclature of plants more precise and international, the new nomenclatorial Rules adopted as their basis the type- and the priority-concepts as the most important guiding principles in such matters. These Rules do not recognize personalities, but they oblige taxonomists to examine the claims of each plant-name for legitimacy on the merits of the names themselves, and not of the authors of the names, or of the authors of the works in which the names have been published. Thus at one stroke these two principles have, in nomenclatorial procedure, attempted to do away with all incentives for botanists to split themselves into different camps on a national basis or according to the sides taken by the heads of the particular institutions to which they belong.
|Rights||Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License|
Furtado, C.X. (1937). Some nomenclatorial problems. Blumea. Supplement, 1(1), 123–132.