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A History of Botanical Nomenclature

Dan H. Nicolson
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 78, No. 1 (1991), pp. 33-56
DOI: 10.2307/2399589
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2399589
Page Count: 24
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A History of Botanical Nomenclature
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Abstract

I divide botanical nomenclature into three partly overlapping periods: the schismatic period (1840-1930), the dark ages (1915-1950), and the IAPT renaissance (1950-date). The schisms began with the 1843 British Association for the Advancement of Science approval of zoological rules and became manifest with the 1867 Paris Congress approval of Alphonse de Candolle's botanical "laws." Reunification efforts, such as those by Dall (1877.12), failed. The contemporary rise of "Darwinism" added to the divisiveness. By the late 1800s, various botanical centers had or were evolving modified or different Codes from the Candollean, not to mention fully formed Codes from "outsiders" like Saint-Lager (1880.03?, 1881.04) and Kuntze (1891.10). The 1905 Vienna Congress eliminated all but the Brittonian (American) schism, which continued until the 1930 Cambridge Congress compromises. A nomenclatural "dark age" descended when the 1915 London Congress was cancelled because of a subsequent engagement, World War I. The next congress (Ithaca, 1926) declared itself incompetent due to insufficient international representation. The 1930 Cambridge Congress revised the 1912 Brussels Code but, largely because of the death of Briquet in 1931, its Code appeared only a few months before the 1935 Amsterdam Congress that amended it. Again a World War struck and no official Amsterdam Code was ever produced. The 1950 Stockholm Congress saw the establishment of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, its journal, Taxon, in which all Code amendment proposals now appear, and its serial publication, Regnum Vegetabile, in which all subsequent Codes appear at the remorseless six-year pace of the congresses.

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