Nomenclature Authorities

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by Eric La Fountaine, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Plant classification and nomenclature is a work in progress. It can be difficult to keep up for the plant enthusiast as well as the botanist. My work as accessions technician here at UBCBG, requires that I to try to do just that. The work has become easier in recent years due to the increase in good online botanical database resources. I thought forum readers might like to explore some of the websites I use to look up plant information.

    Here is a list of the major websites I use:

    1. International Code of Botanical Nomenclature 2011 Melbourne Code International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants - 2005 Vienna Code INTERNATIONAL CODE OF BOTANICAL NOMENCLATURE online
    2000 - St. Louis Code International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
    These are the rules of nomenclature, spelled out in detail.

    2. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) Advanced Query of Species Data - GRIN-Global Web v 1.9.6.2
    This is usually the first site I check. The nomenclature is usually very up to date and accurate and they have good distribution info.

    3. USDA Plants Profile Plants Profile for Penstemon washingtonensis (Washington beardtongue)
    is a related site that sometimes has extra information. Only has distribution within the USA.

    4. RHS Find a plant Help, advice & tips from the RHS on all kinds of plants / RHS Gardening
    A good site to check names. They include named cultivars in their listings. You can type in the genus and any part of the rest of the name and it will return the full name. This can be very useful. The Brits don't always agree with the Americans so it is good to compare. Very limited info on distribution/origin and no family listing.

    5. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website Angiosperm Phylogeny Website
    This site posts family designations based on the latest DNA research. We generally use this site for family determination.

    6. International Plant Names Index IPNI: Plant Name search
    A strong authority on nomenclature, listing authors and name publication citations.

    7. Tropicos from Missouri Botanical Garden Tropicos - Home
    I don't use this one too much, but it can confirm a choice if there are differing opinions at other sites.

    8. Kew ePIC - Search page
    Will bring up various other sites that have record of the plant you are searching. Useful.

    9. Kemper Center Plant Finder
    This is a site for gardeners to search out cultivars and garden varieties. Can be useful for cultivar descriptions and names.

    10. efloras eFloras.org Home
    Very useful site. You can search all the floras at once. Flora of China and Flora of N. America are very good sites. They give full taxonomic descriptions, distributions, authors, families, synonyms.

    11. E-Flora BC E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia Very good site for information on the plants of British Columbia.

    12. African Plants Database CJB - Search Africa


    Fern Taxonomy


    Table of Genera and Species; Navigation Hub for Checklist of World Ferns.


    This is only a partial list. There are many regional floras and sites dedicated to specific groups or types of plants.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    For conifers, the Kew Checklist by Farjon (a book, not available on the internet) is also very useful, though somewhat conservative in its taxonomy in places
     
  3. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The latest version of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, the Vienna Code, adopted by the Seventeenth International Botanical Congress, Vienna, Austria, July 2005, is now available online.

    http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/main.htm
     
  4. tehol

    tehol Member

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    do you know a good site specifically for cacti and succulents? besides the forum here I have not been able to find one.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Good for sorting out names, or just talking about them generally? Surely there are cactus and succulent societies with web sites.
     
  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    For nomenclature and ID of plants in the Cactaceae, the Flora of N. America is a good online resource, but I consult the book, The Cactus Family by Edward F. Anderson, 2001. (We don't grow too many cactus at UBCBG, Vancouver is not best environment for them, but we have some.)

    A quick search brought up a couple interesting sites and if someone knows of good cactus websites, perhaps they might start a thread in the Cactus and Succulent Forum. The Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall is directed at cactus and succulent enthusiasts of all sorts and is also a reference for people in the trade (site is definitely commercial). I have not had a chance to review it in depth yet, but there is quite an extensive list of links to explore.
     
  7. Kada

    Kada Active Member 10 Years

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    www.cactiguide.com is a great one for cacti. they mostly follow Andersons "system"

    i know the thread is a few years old, but good resources should be known :)
     
  8. Cereusly Steve

    Cereusly Steve Active Member

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    Unfortunately, Anderson's book was already out-of-date by the time it was published. It didn't help that the author passed away around the same time. What really hurts it is that so many of the pictures in it are misidentified.

    Doubt that anybody really takes the "cactus guide" seriously as a reference.

    There are plenty of cactus & succulent websites but they are limited in their usefullness because they are amateur websites.
     
  9. Daiv

    Daiv Member

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    Steve,
    This is the second post where you've mentioned that CactiGuide.com is inaccurate and "out of date". The problem is that you don't list what resource you think is up-to-date.

    The International Cactaceae Systematics Group is a group doing the best they can to sort through cactus taxonomy, but much of their classification is in dispute. The New Cactus Lexicon is the most recent publication attempting to catalogue the entire cactus family, but that varies little from Anderson's Cactus Family. The changes there are almost exlusively just further lumping together genera/species that Anderson recognized as seperate. And Anderson is already considered a "lumper" by many specialists.

    So I have to ask again, where is the superior information? Can you provide a better resource on-line or in print or either one? What part of CactiGuide.com (or these other "amateur" sites) is not useful? What resource do people take seriously?

    Daiv
    CactiGuide.com
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Possibly this is one of those areas where the desire for One Stop Shopping cannot be met, superior information about cactus nomenclature instead being obtained by compiling numerous sources including papers, monographs and web pages.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  12. Daiv

    Daiv Member

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    Ron,
    You are absolutely right. And I have stated that quite clearly on CactiGuide.com from the beginning. See here: http://www.cactiguide.com/nomenclature/

    The more time one spends trying to identify species, the sooner one realizes that it is a never-to-be-realized task. There is no taxonomic authority because taxonomy is not an absolute science. It is fraught with incomplete definitions, varying opinions, and nowhere near enough field work.

    This is why I ask Steve for what he thinks the authority is because he is quick to denounce one resource, but fails to back that up with data. In short, he's acting like a taxonomist! :)

    Daiv
    PS. Michael - I replied to you in the other post: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?p=167979#post167979
     
  13. Cereusly Steve

    Cereusly Steve Active Member

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    Your basic premise is incorrect. No science is the absolute final word. That is not the purpose of science.

    Since daiv has a vested interest in the "CactiGuide because it is his own creation, it is not surprsing that he would defend it to the death no matter what anybody says. I don't take any amateur website seriously no matter how sincere an attempt it may be to list names of plants. Few if any of them follow the ICBN or ICNCP codes properly or cite full references. I don't see him backing anything up with actual data either. This forum is not the appropriate place for citing extensive technical data and references anyway.

    BTW, the proper name should be "CactusGuide" since it is based on the Greek word "Kaktos" which is the same both plural and singular. "Cacti" is the obsolete family name coined by Jussieu and is now correctly Cactaceae!!! The very name of the website is seriously flawed!!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2009
  14. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member

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    Steve I'm an amateur interested in cactus taxonomy, what is the best source for accurate plant ID & taxonomy (a particular book, website, etc.)? Thanks!
     
  15. Daiv

    Daiv Member

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    Wow, I stumbled upon this site again and didn't realize that Steve was so angry. I see his post even had to be edited to remove insults?? This is really sad, but let me respond to Steve anyway for the sake of others who happen along.

    My premise is not flawed and my defense is not rooted in some fear of loss, but because in your first post, you put me on the defensive. However, the thing you fail to realize over and over again is what I am defending. I am not claiming CactiGuide.com is the final say or anything even close to that. I am claiming that despite that fact, it is still very useful. If you could control your rage long enough, you could see that from the very beginning I never claimed that CactiGuide.com was anything you accuse it of trying to be. I've always been up-front with visitors that there is no cut-and-dried system of taxonomy and that CactiGuide.com isn't pretending to be one. Use the "way back machine" and you can see that I've stated the purpose of the site on the home page since the very beginning under the heading "Primary Objective" - it is still there today. If current thinking in taxonomy has placed a given plant under a new name, it does not make the site any less effective because these names can be traced to whatever the latest name is for said plant.

    Tom Hulse - see Ron B's comment. There is no "best source". If you want to really delve into taxonomy, it requires endless hours of digging and researching all sorts of resources. One example would be Dicht and Luthy's book Coryphantha. They set out to better understand one genus - Coryphantha. This took them 15 years and they cite a bibliography as long as your arm! And the book was probably out of date before it was even printed. So I'm sure Steve considers the book useless - I wouldn't be surprised.

    Everyone must first decide what their intentions are. If you simply want to put a label on the plant you just got at a nusery, CactiGuide.com is one of the best places to go. If you want a cursory overview of the history of cactus taxonomy and some of the thinking that went into it, CactiGuide.com is only one possible starting point. If you want to exhaustively study the family or just a part of it, you'll want to use every resource you can get your hands on.

    OK I will address this silly afterthought separately for the sake of those who happen upon this thread.

    Let me point out that there is no such word: "Cereusly". There is a name Cereus. Clearly everyone can see that Steve is only making what he thinks to be a clever username because "Cereus" sounds like the word "serious". And this is just fine because I'm sure his username isn't intened to be some authoritative statement about cactus taxonomy.

    Likewise, the domain "CactiGuide.com" is simply a domain name. (As I type this, I wonder if really need to point this out?) I looked at "CactusGuide.com" back in 2002, but the domain was already taken as were several others that I tried to register. In the end, I found that of the domains that were available, CactiGuide.com would serve the purpose of a domain name. Which most of all needed to be easy to remember.

    If you look under the "Primary Objective" of CactiGuide.com and elsewhere on the site, I use the term "cactaceae" where appropriate. I don't remember if cactaceae.com was available in 2002, but I doubt I would have used it even if it was. Just like Steve's username, the name of my website isn't intened to be anything more than a name.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2009
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: Plant identification

    If a body is going to use Flora of China as the last word then they are sometimes going to be adopting classifications that are not standard in the west - they should be sure to read accompanying discussions for various entries in the Flora which point out that naming being used in those instances are not universal or fully demonstrated to be apt. For instance, western and eastern botanists do not agree on Cotoneaster, Flora of China has Magnolia split up into multiple genera and so on.
     
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I've copied Ron B's posting (that precedes this one) from another thread to here, as I was going to ask if there was a list of references for botanical names, and here it is in this thread. I wanted to ask, if Flora of China is not considered standard in the west, is whatever IS considered standard in the list (in the first posting in this thread)? That discussion belongs here, not in the other thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2015
  18. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Taxonomy is an ongoing process of interpretation. All anyone on any level can do is review the evidence, form their own opinions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015

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