Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Standardising informal names in Australian publications
Informal names have become increasingly prominent over the last 20 or so years in Australian literature on plants, particularly in Censuses, floras and checklists. The major reason for this has been the improvement and expansion of lists of protected plants, now often deemed "plants of conservation significance", which have become an important adjunct to legislation (Barker & Barker 2005).
Informal names have various forms (refer to various State Censuses and Floras in last 20 years):
A major issue for CHAH has been the different informal names that are sometimes applied to the same plant across borders, in State Censuses and Floras, and by specialists.
In an endeavour to stem the confusion, CHAH has agreed to the following standard for their publications:
Genus-name sp. Phrasename (Voucher-specimen identifier) Source
The Voucher-specimen identifier is a combination of:
An example is:
Pterostylis sp. Sandheath (D.Murfet 3190) R.J.Bates
The "sp." functions in databases as a delimiter defining a species phrasename. For infraspecific taxa, no "sp." delimiter is needed as the infraspecific rank does this job.
Latinised epithets, even if cited as manuscript names, and phrasenames for unpublished new genera are to be avoided. Latinised epithets can lead to confusion as to whether they are published by the:
Instead of a generic phrasename being coined, an existing allied genus should be used. The aim of a phrasename is to provide a consistent unique interim name for a taxon that does not have an appropriate formal name, not to express relationships to the finest detail.
In order to avoid additional new phrasenames where informal names have been published previously the following approaches have been adopted in the new South Australian Census (Barker et al. 2005):
Barker, W.R. & R.M. Barker (2005). The Census of South Australian Vascular Plants - a catalogue of changing knowledge. J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. Suppl. 1: 1-17.
Barker, W.R., R.M. Barker, J.P. Jessop & H.P.Vonow (Eds.) (2005). Census of South Australian Vascular Plants. Edition 5.00. J. Adelaide Bot.Gard. Suppl. 1: 19-398.
Entwisle, T.J. & P.H. Weston (2005) Majority rules, when systematists disagree, Australian Systematic Botany 18, 1-6.
State Herbarium of South Australia
Extracted from: Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 122 (March 2005)