Article 32

32.1. In order to be validly published, a name of a taxon (autonyms excepted) must: (a) be effectively published see Art. 29, 30, 31) on or after the starting-point date of the respective group (Art. 13.1); (b) be composed only of letters of the Latin alphabet, except as provided in Art. 23.3 and Art. 60.4, 60.6, 60.9, and 60.10; (c) have a form which complies with the provisions of Art. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 (but see 21.4 and 24.4), and Art. H.6 and H.7; (d) be accompanied by a description or diagnosis or by a reference to a previously and effectively published description or diagnosis (except as provided in Art. 42.3, 44.1, and H.9); and (e) comply with the special provisions of Art. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 (see also Art. 61).

32.2. A diagnosis of a taxon is a statement of that which in the opinion of its author distinguishes the taxon from other taxa.

Ex. 1. "Egeria" (Néraud in Gaudichaud, Voy. Uranie, Bot.: 25, 28. 1826), published without a description or a diagnosis or a reference to a former one, was not validly published.
Ex. 2. "Loranthus macrosolen Steud." originally appeared without a description or diagnosis on the printed labels issued about the year 1843 with Sect. II, No. 529, 1288, of Schimper's herbarium specimens of Abyssinian plants; the name was not validly published, however, until Richard (Tent. Fl. Abyss. 1: 340. 1847) supplied a description.
* Ex. 3. In Don, Sweet's Hortus britannicus, ed. 3 (1839), for each listed species the flower colour, the duration of the plant, and a translation into English of the specific epithet are given in tabular form. In many genera the flower colour and duration may be identical for all species and clearly their mention is not intended as a validating description or diagnosis. New names appearing in that work are therefore not validly published, except in some cases where reference is made to earlier descriptions or diagnoses or to validly published basionyms.
Ex 4. "Crepis praemorsa subsp. tatrensis" (Dvořák & Dadáková in Biológia (Bratislava) 32: 755. 1977) appeared with "a subsp. praemorsa karyotypo achaeniorumque longitudine praecipue differt". This statement specifies the features by which the two taxa differ but not how these features differ and so it does not satisfy the requirement of Art. 32.1(d) for a "description or diagnosis".
Ex. 5. The generic name Epilichen Clem. (Gen. Fungi 174. 1909) is validly published with the two-word diagnosis "Karschia lichenicola", referring to the ability of the included species formerly included in Karschia to grow on lichens. This statement, in the opinion of Clements, distinguished the genus from others although provision of such a diagnosis would not be considered good practice today.

32.3. The requirements of Art. 32.1(d) are not met by statements describing properties such as purely aesthetic features, economic, medicinal or culinary usage, cultural significance, cultivation techniques, geographical origin, or geological age.

Ex. 6. "Musa basjoo" (Siebold in Verh. Bat. Genootsch. Kunsten 12: 18. 1830) appeared with "Ex insulis Luikiu introducta, vix asperitati hiemis resistens. Ex foliis linteum, praesertim in insulis Luikiu ac quibusdam insulis provinciae Satzuma conficitur. Est haud dubie linteum, quod Philippinis incolis audit Nippis". This statement gives information about the economic use (linen is made from the leaves), horticultural attribute (scarcely survives the winter), and on its origin (introduced from the Ryukyu Islands), but since there is no descriptive information given for the "leaves", the only descriptive feature mentioned, it does not satisfy the requirement of Art. 32.1(d) for a "description or diagnosis". Musa basjoo Siebold & Zucc. ex Iinuma was later validly published in Iinuma, Sintei Somoku Dzusetsu [Illustrated Flora of Japan], ed. 2, 3: pl. 1. 1874 with floral details and an extensive description in Japanese on the page facing the plate.

32.4. When it is doubtful whether a descriptive statement satisfies the requirement of Art. 32.1(d) for a "description or diagnosis", a request for a decision may be submitted to the General Committee (see Div. III), which will refer it for examination to the committee for the appropriate taxonomic group. A recommendation whether or not to treat the name concerned as validly published may then be put forward to an International Botanical Congress, and if ratified will become a binding decision.

32.5. For the purpose of valid publication of a name, reference to a previously and effectively published description or diagnosis may be direct or indirect (Art. 32.6). For names published on or after 1 January 1953 it must, however, be full and direct as specified in Art. 33.4.

32.6. An indirect reference is a clear (if cryptic) indication, by an author citation or in some other way, that a previously and effectively published description or diagnosis applies.

Ex. 7. "Kratzmannia" (Opiz in Berchtold & Opiz, Oekon.-Techn. Fl. Böhm. 1: 398. 1836) was published with a diagnosis but was not definitely accepted by the author and therefore was not validly published. Kratzmannia Opiz (Seznam: 56. 1852), lacking description or diagnosis, is however definitely accepted, and its citation as "Kratzmannia O." constitutes indirect reference to the diagnosis published in 1836.
Ex. 8. Opiz published the name of the genus Hemisphace (Benth.) Opiz (1852) without a description or diagnosis, but as he wrote "Hemisphace Benth." he indirectly referred to the previously effectively published description by Bentham (Labiat. Gen. Spec.: 193. 1833) of Salvia sect. Hemisphace.
Ex. 9. The new combination Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Will. Watson (1882) is validly published through the cryptic notation "309", which, as explained at the top of the same page, is the running-number of the species (Andropogon martini Roxb.) in Steudel (Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 388. 1854). Although the reference to the basionym Andropogon martini is indirect, it is unambiguous (but see Art. 45 Ex. 1; see also Rec. 60C.2).
Ex. 10. Miller (1768), in the preface to The gardeners dictionary, ed. 8, stated that he had "now applied Linnaeus's method entirely except in such particulars ...", of which he gave examples. In the main text, he often referred to Linnaean genera under his own generic headings, e.g., to Cactus L. [pro parte] under Opuntia Mill. Therefore an implicit reference to a Linnaean binomial may be assumed when this is appropriate, and Miller's binomials are then accepted as new combinations (e.g., O. ficus-indica (L.) Mill., based on C. ficus-indica L.) or nomina nova (e.g., O. vulgaris Mill., based on C. opuntia L.: both names have the reference to "Opuntia vulgo herbariorum" of Bauhin & Cherler in common).
Ex. 11. Although no authors are cited for the names in Kummer's Führer in die Pilzkunde (1871) statements therein allow implicit reference to earlier authors such as Fries (see Art. 33 Ex. 7 and Pennycook in Mycotaxon 84: 163-219, 2002).

32.7. Names or epithets published with an improper Latin termination but otherwise in accordance with this Code are regarded as validly published; they are to be changed to accord with Art. 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, and 24, without change of the author citation or date of publication (see also Art. 60.11).

32.8. Autonyms (Art. 6.8) are accepted as validly published names, dating from the publication in which they were established (see Art. 22.3 and 26.3), whether or not they appear in print in that publication.

32.9. Names in specified ranks included in publications listed as suppressed works (opera utique oppressa; App. VI) are not validly published. Proposals for the addition of publications to App.VI must be submitted to the General Committee (see Div. III), which will refer them for examination to the committees for the various taxonomic groups (see Rec. 32F; see also Art. 14.14).

32.10. When a proposal for the suppression of a publication has been approved by the General Committee after study by the committees for the taxonomic groups concerned, suppression of that publication is authorized subject to the decision of a later International Botanical Congress.

Note 1. For valid publication of names of plant taxa that were originally not treated as plants, see Art. 45.4.

Recommendation 32A

32A.1. A name should not be validated solely by a reference to a description or diagnosis published before 1753.

Recommendation 32B

32B.1. The description or diagnosis of any new taxon should mention the points in which the taxon differs from its allies.

Recommendation 32C

32C.1. When naming a new taxon, authors should not adopt a name that has been previously but not validly published for a different taxon.

Recommendation 32D

32D.1. In describing or diagnosing new taxa, authors should, when possible, supply figures with details of structure as an aid to identification.

32D.2. In the explanation of the figures, authors should indicate the specimen(s) on which they are based (see also Rec. 8A.2).

32D.3. Authors should indicate clearly and precisely the scale of the figures which they publish.

Recommendation 32E

32E.1. Descriptions or diagnoses of parasitic plants should always be followed by indication of the hosts, especially those of parasitic fungi. The hosts should be designated by their scientific names and not solely by names in modern languages, the applications of which are often doubtful.

Recommendation 32F

32F.1. When a proposal for the suppression of a publication under Art. 32.9 has been referred to the appropriate committees for study, authors should follow existing usage of names as far as possible pending the General Committee's recommendation on the proposal.


(c) 2006, by International Association for Plant Taxonomy. This page last updated  13.03.2007 .