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Re: [aroid-l] Credentials Required for Describing Aroids

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Credentials Required for Describing Aroids
  • From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 12:40:56 +0000

>From: "Alistair Hay" <ajmhay@hotmail.com>
>Reply-To: aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu
>To: <aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu>
>Subject: Re: [aroid-l] Credentials Required for Describing Aroids
>Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 07:44:37 +1000

Hello George!

How goes the Caladium picturatum??

To add my 'two cents' as an 'aroid layman' to the GOOD advice both Pete and Alistair have given, the most difficult thing that a lay-person will need to do in researching a possible new species of plant, is to locate and read EVERYTHING ever published on the genus that the plant he will be describing as the new species belongs to,  and to get to examine at least a paratype specimen of all the species described by all authors that are assigned to that particular genus.   This is NOT an easy task for most genera, especially those with many species.   Some localized genera with only a few described species which may have been done by only one or a few authors, and whose type/paratypes may be in several herbariums MAY be a bit easier.    One does NOT want to describe as being new a plant that has been already described years before by someone else, it does happen but one wants to avoid this!   Alistair`s advice! to have the current expert on the genus involved is GOOD advice, your friend may be granted senior authorship depending on the amount of work/effort he may put into the work involved in describing it, and also depending on WHO the present expert on the genus may be!   You can see examples of joint efforts by an expert (Dr. Croat) and students being joint authors in the latest Aroideana.

Good luck,


>Hello George,

>Validly naming a new species requires it to be published - preferably in a
>botanical journal including, of course, Aroideana.
>That process includes the editor having the paper reviewed or 'refereed' by
>an expert, so you may as well get an expert to work with you in the first
>place to avoid the embarrassment of having the paper rejected!
>The key things you need are a) to know all the species that have been
>described in the genus before, since the plant concerned may in fact already
>have a name, b) to know all the species epithets than have been used in the
>genus before (whether or not they correspond to recognised species now)
>since the name you choose may have already been used; and c) to have the
>experience and honed judgement to be able to assess whether or not the plant
>concerned is a variant of an already named species or something new. This
>CANNOT be judged from cultivated plants alone: species are concepts applied
>to plants in the wild, as opposed to cultivars which are distinct
>horticultural entities.
>If you have established that the plant you are looking at is an undescribed
>species, there are then rules to follow about how to name it validly - key
>technical points are a) to designate a Type specimen which is the object to
>which the name is permanently attached. This has to be deposited in a
>recognised herbarium; and b) to provide a latin diagnosis - a short
>description in botanical latin. This is the technical minimum and it is
>desirable to do better than that!
>My strong advice is to work with the taxonomic expert for the group of
>plants concerned. Most will happily jointly publish new species with a non
>expert who has been involved in its discovery - provided they are convinced
>the thing is new of course!
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "George Yao" <gcyao@mydestiny.net>
>To: <aroid-l@lists.ncsu.edu>
>Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 2:55 PM
>Subject: [aroid-l] Credentials Required for Describing Aroids
> > Hello Aroiders,
> >
> > What credentials or qualifications are required for someone to validly
> > describe an aroid species? Is an aroid expert needed? Does he need to have
> > a proper academic background? A friend is thinking of having a new species
> > described and wants me to help.
> >
> > George Yao
> > Metro-Manila
> > Philippines
> >
> >
> >

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