Plants No Longer To Be Given Latin-only Names

December 28, 2011 Gardening Gals Uncategorized

chart showing latin names of plantsBotanists will no longer be required to provide Latin descriptions to new species of plants. The move is part of a major effort to speed up the process of naming new plants – because in many cases it is feared they might die out before they are officially recognised.

The rules, which were approved at a nomenclature conference held in conjunction with the International Botanical Congress in July, become effective January 1, 2012.

Eliminating the Latin requirement and moving to electronic publication will expedite and simplify the process of describing the diversity that’s out there.

Botanists name about 2,000 new species of plants, algae, and fungi every year, an important initial step in assessing and ultimately conserving the biodiversity of a habitat.

Scientists are concerned as they believe that many more plants remain to be discovered and named—if environmental problems such as climate change and deforestation do not drive them to extinction first.

As part of the process of establishing the scientific foundation for a new species, botanists must describe the species in exacting detail, focusing on the attributes that make a species unique.

With the new nomenclature rules, the binomial scientific names for new species will still be latinised, but a Latin description of the plant will no longer be mandatory.

Beginning in 2012, the description must be in either Latin or English. Botanists hope that an additional benefit of electronic publication of new species will be that more researchers will have easy access to the information.

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