Re: LA: Louisiana name?
Bill Shear wrote:
<<'How Plants Get Their Names' which, by the way, is the title of a neat
little book on the subject (I no longer have it, alas).>>
By Liberty Hyde Bailey---and still in print in paperback, as of the last time
Another good discussion of some of this stuff may be found in The American
Gardener for May/June 1996. There's some bibliography.
I think Bill is right about how it works for plants. The system of botanical
names, regulated by the International Code of Botanic Nomenclature which is
administered by an international commision, is designed to ensure that each
plant has one scientific name that identifies it uniquely.
As I understand it, the valid name of a new species is that given to it, in
Latin, by the person who first "publishes" it. "Publication" means published
the new name in a scientific book or journal. However, the name must be
accompanied by a formal and detailed description of the plant to be a "valid"
publication. The name of the plant then carries the name of the first "valid
publisher." as in Iris typhifolia Kitagawa, wherein, botanically speaking,
"Kitagawa" is the "authority" of the name.There are some other conditions and
requirements to be met as well, but this is the crux of it. Cultivated
plants, like modern hybrid irises, are handled a bit differently, and their
names must be in a modern language, but this is what some of that business
involved in registering an iris is all about.
Botanical names change, to our annoyance, but it helps to remember that the
changes often reflect changes in our understanding of the plants themselves
and how they are related.
Anner Whitehead, Richmond, VA
Henry Hall email@example.com