DIVISION II. RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CHAPTER VII. ORTHOGRAPHY AND GENDER OF NAMES
SECTION 1. ORTHOGRAPHY
60.1. The original spelling of a name or epithet is to be retained, except for the correction of typographical or orthographical errors and the standardizations imposed by Art. 60.5
(u/v or i/j used interchangeably), 60.6 (diacritical signs and ligatures), 60.8 (compounding forms), 60.9 (hyphens), 60.10 (apostrophes), 60.11 (terminations; see also
Art. 32.7), and 60.12 (fungal epithets).
Retention of original spelling: The generic names
L. (1753) and Amaranthus
L. (1753) were deliberately so spelled by Linnaeus and the spelling is not to be altered to
respectively, although these latter forms are philologically preferable (see Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1928: 113, 287. 1928). -
Nutt. (1848) is not to be altered to "Phoradendrum"
A. Juss. (1843) is not to be altered to "T. mossambica",
as in Engler (Pflanzenw. Ost-Afrikas C: 232. 1895). -
Wight (1848) is not to be altered to "A. zeylanica",
as in Trimen (Handb. Fl. Ceylon 3: 127. 1895). -
L. (1753) is not to be altered to "F. silvatica"
. The classical spelling
is recommended for adoption in the case of a new name (Rec. 60E), but the mediaeval spelling
is not an orthographical error. - Scirpus cespitosus
L. (1753) is not to be altered to
* Ex. 2.
Typographical errors: Globba "brachycarpa"
Baker (1890) and Hetaeria "alba"
Ridl. (1896) are typographical errors for
Baker and Hetaeria alta
Ridl., respectively (see J. Bot. 59: 349. 1921).
Masam. (in J. Soc. Trop. Agric. 6: 570. 1934)
was a typographical error for Trollius taihasenzanensis
, as noted on the errata slip inserted between pages 4 and 5
of the same volume.
The misspelled Indigofera "longipednnculata"
Y. Y. Fang & C. Z. Zheng (1983) is presumably a typographical error and is to be corrected to
* Ex. 5.
Orthographical error: Gluta "benghas"
L. (1771), being an orthographical error for
is cited as G. renghas
L. (see Engler in Candolle & Candolle, Monogr. Phan. 4: 225. 1883); the vernacular name used as a specific epithet by Linnaeus is "renghas", not "benghas".
Note 1. Art. 14.11
provides for the conservation of an altered spelling of a name of a family, genus, or species.
The words "original spelling" mean the spelling employed when the name was validly published. They do not refer to the use of an initial capital or lower-case letter, this being a matter of typography (see
Art. 20.1 and 21.2,
The liberty of correcting a name is to be used with reserve, especially if the change affects the first syllable and, above all, the first letter of the name.
* Ex. 7.
The spelling of the generic name Lespedeza
Michx. (1803) is not to be altered, although it commemorates Vicente Manuel de Céspedes (see Rhodora 36: 130-132, 390-392. 1934). -
DC. (1828) may not be altered to C. "mandacaru",
is believed to be a corruption of the vernacular name "mandacaru".
The letters w and y, foreign to classical Latin, and
k, rare in that language, are permissible in Latin plant names. Other letters and ligatures foreign to classical Latin that may appear in Latin plant names, such as the German
ß (double s), are to be transcribed.
When a name has been published in a work where the letters
u, v or i, j are used interchangeably or in any other way incompatible with modern practices (e.g. one letter of a pair not being used in capitals, or not at all), those letters are to be transcribed in conformity with modern botanical usage.
Ex. 8. Uffenbachia
Fabr. (1763), not
Zinn (1757), not "Taraxacvm"; Curculigo
Gaertn. (1788), not
of Persoon (1801) are written, respectively, Geastrum hygrometricum
Ex. 10. Brachypodium “iaponicum”
of Miquel (1866) is written Brachypodium japonicum
Diacritical signs are not used in Latin plant names. In names (either new or old) drawn from words in which such signs appear, the signs are to be suppressed with the necessary transcription of the letters so modified; for example
ä, ö, ü become, respectively, ae, oe, ue; é, è, ê become e, or sometimes
ae; ñ becomes n; ø becomes oe; å becomes
ao. The diaeresis, indicating that a vowel is to be pronounced separately from the preceding vowel (as in
Cephaëlis, Isoëtes), is permissible; the ligatures -æ- and -œ-, indicating that the letters are pronounced together, are to be replaced by the separate letters
-ae- and -oe-.
When changes in spelling by authors who adopt personal, geographic, or vernacular names in nomenclature are intentional
latinizations, they are to be preserved, except when they concern (a) only the termination of epithets to which Art. 60.11
applies, or (b) changes to personal names involving (1) omission of a final vowel or final consonant or
(2) conversion of a final vowel to a different vowel, for which the final letter of the name is to be restored.
L. (1753), Gleditsia
L. (1753), and
L. (1753), commemorating Cluyt, Gleditsch, and Vaillant, respectively, are not to be altered
Linnaeus latinized the names of these botanists deliberately as Clutius, Gleditsius, and Valantius.
Ex. 12. Abies alcoquiana
Veitch ex Lindl. (1861), commemorating “Rutherford Alcock Esq.”, implies an intentional latinization of that name to Alcoquius. In transferring the epithet to Picea
, Carrière (1867) deliberately changed the spelling to “alcockiana
”. The resulting combination is nevertheless correctly cited as P. alcoquiana
(Veitch ex Lindl.) Carrière (see Art. 61.4
K. Schum. (1891),
A. Gray (1843), and Rhododendron bureavii
Franch. (1887), commemorating A. F. M. Glaziou, J. Bigelow, and L. E. Bureau, respectively, are not to be changed to
A. "glazioui", D. "bigelowii",
or R. "bureaui"
. In these three cases, the implicit latinizations Glaziovius, Bigelovius, and Bureavius result from conversion of a final consonant and do not affect merely the termination of the names.
Ex. 14. Arnica chamissonis
Less. (1831) and Tragus berteronianus
Schult. (1824), commemorating L. K. A. von Chamisso and C. L. G. Bertero, are not to be changed to A. “chamissoi”
or T. “berteroanus”
. The derivation of these epithets from the third declension genitive, a practice not now recommended in most cases (see Rec. 60C.2), involves the addition of letters to the personal name and does not affect merely the termination.
Acacia “brandegeana”, Blandfordia "backhousii", Cephalotaxus "fortuni", Chenopodium "loureirei", Convolvulus "loureiri", Glochidion "melvilliorum",Hypericum “buckleii”, Solanum “rantonnei”,
were published to commemorate T. S. Brandegee, J. Backhouse, R. Fortune, J. de Loureiro, R. Melville and E. F. Melville, S. B. Buckley, V. Rantonnet, and J. J. H. de Labillardière (de la Billardière). The implicit latinizations are Brandegeus, Backhousius, Fortunus, Loureireus or Loureirus, Melvillius, Buckleius, Rantonneus, and Billardierius, but these are not acceptable under Art. 60.7. The names are correctly cited as
I. M. Johnst. (1925), B. backhousei
Gunn & Lindl. (1845), Cephalotaxus fortunei
Steud. (1840), Convolvulus loureiroi
G. Don (1836),
Airy Shaw (1971), H. buckleyi
M. A. Curtis (1843), S. rantonnetii
Carrière (1859), and Z. billardierei
The provisions of Art. 60.7
, and Rec. 60C
deal with the latinization of names through their modification. This latinization is different from translation of names (e.g. Tabernaemontanus from Bergzabern) and from the use of an adjective indirectly derived from a personal name, which are thus not subject to modification under
In Wollemia nobilis
W. G. Jones & al. (1995), the use of the adjective nobilis
is indirectly derived from the name of the discoverer David Noble. Cladonia abbatiana
S. Steenroose (1991) honours the French lichenologist H. des Abbayes. In both cases the adjective is indirectly derived from a personal name. Since no typographical or orthographical error is present, the original spelling of those names may not be altered.
The use of a compounding form contrary to Rec. 60G in an adjectival epithet is treated as an error to be corrected.
Candolle's Pereskia "opuntiaeflora"
is to be cited as
DC. (1828), and Myrosma "cannaefolia"
of the younger Linnaeus, as
L. f. (1782).
are to be cited as Cacalia napaeifolia
DC. (1838) and
(DC.) Sch. Bip. (1845), respectively; the specific epithet refers to the resemblance of the leaves to those of the genus
L. (not "Napea"
), and the substitute (connecting) vowel
should have been used instead of the genitive singular inflection -ae
However, in Andromeda polifolia
L. (1753), the epithet is a pre-Linnaean plant name
of Buxbaum) used in apposition and not an adjective; it is not to be altered to
The use of a hyphen in a compound epithet is treated as an error to be corrected by deletion of the hyphen, unless the epithet is formed of words that usually stand independently or the letters before and after the hyphen are the same, when a hyphen is permitted (see
Art. 23.1 and 23.3).
Hyphen to be omitted: Acer pseudoplatanus
L. (1753), not
A. "pseudo-platanus"; Eugenia costaricensis
O. Berg (1856), not E.
"costa-ricensis"; Ficus neoëbudarum
Summerh. (1932), not F. "neo-ebudarum"; Lycoperdon atropurpureum
Vittad. (1842), not
L. "atro-purpureum"; Croton ciliatoglandulifer
Ortega (1797), not C. "ciliato-glandulifer"; Scirpus
Jurtzev (in Byull. Moskovsk. Obshch. Isp. Prir., Otd. Biol. 70(1): 132. 1965), not
Hyphen to be maintained: Aster novae-angliae
L. (1753), Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
(L.) Spreng. (1825),
L. (1753; Art.
), Athyrium austro-occidentale
Art. 60.9 refers only to epithets (in combinations), not to names of genera or taxa in higher ranks; a generic name published with a hyphen can be changed only by conservation
Ex. 22. Pseudo-salvinia
Piton (1940) may not be changed to
; whereas by conservation "Pseudo-elephantopus"
was changed to Pseudelephantopus
The use of an apostrophe in an epithet is treated as an error to be corrected by deletion of the apostrophe.
Lycium "o'donellii", Cymbidium "i'ansoni"
and Solanum tuberosum
are to be corrected to
F. A. Barkley (1953), C. iansonii
Rolfe (1900) and S. tuberosum
Ochoa (in Phytologia 65: 112. 1988), respectively.
The use of a termination (for example
-i, -ii, -ae, -iae, -anus, or -ianus) contrary to Rec. 60C.1 is treated as an error to be corrected (see also
Art. 32.7). However, terminations of epithets formed in accordance with
Rec. 60C.2 are not to be corrected.
Ex. 24. Rhododendron “potanini”
Batalin (1892) must be corrected to R. potaninii
since it commemorates G. N. Potanin, to whose name Rec. 60C.1 applies. However, Phoenix theophrasti
Greuter (1967) must not be changed to P. “theophrastii”
since it commemorates Theophrastus, to whose name Rec. 60C.2 applies.
Ex. 25. Rosa "pissarti"
(Carrière in Rev. Hort. 1880: 314. 1880) is a typographical error for
(see Rev. Hort. 1881: 190. 1881), which in its turn is treated as an error for
Carrière (see Rec. 60C.1(b)).
However, Uladendron codesuri
Marc.-Berti (1971) is not to be changed to
(as by Brenan in Index Kew., Suppl. 16. 1981), since the epithet does not commemorate a person but derives from an acronym (CODESUR, Comisión para el Desarrollo del Sur de Venezuela).
Ex. 27. Nigella degenii
Strid and N. degenii
Strid (in Opera Bot. 28: 58, 60. 1970) commemorate the wife and daughter of the author. These spellings are not to be changed since the personal names were not given Latin terminations to form the subspecific epithets.
Ex. 28. Asparagus tamaboki
Yatabe (1893) and Agropyron kamoji
Ohwi (1942) bear the Japanese vernacular names "tamaboki" and (in part) “kamojigusa” as their epithets and are therefore not correctable to
and A. “kamojii”
If the gender and/or number of a substantival epithet derived from a personal name is inappropriate for the sex and/or number of the person(s) whom the name commemorates, the termination is to be corrected in conformity with
Ex. 29. Rosa
was named by Wolley-Dod (in J. Bot. 69, Suppl.: 106. 1931) for "Miss E. S. Todd"; the name is to be corrected to
Ex. 30. Astragalus "matthewsii",
published by Podlech & Kirchhoff (in Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 11: 432. 1974) to commemorate Victoria A. Matthews, is to be corrected to
Podlech & Kirchhoff; it is not therefore a later homonym of
S. Watson (1883) (see Agerer-Kirchhoff & Podlech in Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 12: 375. 1976).
Ex. 31. Codium "geppii"
(Schmidt in Biblioth. Bot. 91: 50. 1923), which commemorates "A. & E. S. Gepp", is to be corrected to
O. C. Schmidt.
Epithets of fungus names derived from the generic name of an associated organism are to be spelled in accordance with the accepted spelling of that organism's name; other spellings are regarded as orthographical variants to be corrected (see
Ex. 32. Phyllachora "anonicola"
(Chardón in Mycologia 32: 190. 1940) is to be altered to
Chardón, since the spelling Annona
is now accepted in preference to
"Anona". - Meliola "albizziae"
(Hansford & Deighton in Mycol. Pap. 23: 26. 1948) is to be altered to
Hansf. & Deighton, since the spelling Albizia
is now accepted in preference to
When a new name or its epithet is to be derived from Greek, the transliteration to Latin should conform to classical usage.
The Greek spiritus asper (rough breathing) should be transcribed in Latin as the letter
Ex. 1. Hyacinthus
When a new generic name, or epithet of a subdivision of a genus, is taken from the name of a person, it should be formed as follows:
When the name of the person ends with a vowel, the letter
-a is added (thus Ottoa after Otto; Sloanea after Sloane), except when the name ends with
-a, when -ea is added (e.g. Collaea after Colla), or with
-ea (as Correa), when no letter is added.
- When the name of the person ends with a consonant, the letters
-ia are added, but when the name ends with -er, either of the terminations
-ia and -a is appropriate (e.g. Sesleria after Sesler and
Kernera after Kerner).
- In latinized personal names ending with -us this termination is dropped (e.g.
Dillenia after Dillenius) before applying the procedure described under (a) and (b).
The syllables not modified by these endings are unaffected unless they contain letters foreign to Latin plant names or diacritical signs (see
More than one generic name, or epithet of a subdivision of a genus, may be based on the same personal name, e.g. by adding a prefix or suffix to that personal name or by using an anagram or abbreviation of it.
Ex. 1. Durvillaea Bory (1826) and Urvillea Kunth (1821);
Lapeirousia Pourr. (1788) and Peyrousea DC. (1838); Engleria O. Hoffm. (1888),
Englerastrum Briq. (1894), and Englerella Pierre (1891); Bouchea Cham. (1832) and
Ubochea Baill. (1891); Gerardia L. (1753) and Graderia Benth. (1846);
Martia Spreng. (1818) and Martiusia Schult. & Schult. f. (1822).
When personal names are given Latin terminations in order to form specific and infraspecific epithets formation of those epithets is as follows (but see Rec. 60C.2):
If the personal name ends with a vowel or -er, substantival epithets are formed by adding the genitive inflection appropriate to the sex and number of the person(s) honoured (e.g.,
scopoli-i for Scopoli (m), fedtschenko-i for Fedtschenko (m),
fedtschenko-ae for Fedtschenko (f), glaziou-i for Glaziou (m),
lace-ae for Lace (f), gray-i for Gray (m), hooker-orum for the Hookers (m)), except when the name ends with
-a, in which case adding -e (singular) or -rum (plural) is appropriate (e.g.
triana-e for Triana (m), pojarkova-e for Pojarkova (f), orlovskaja-e for Orlovskaja (f)).
- If the personal name ends with a consonant (except
-er), substantival epithets are formed by adding -i- (stem augmentation) plus the genitive inflection appropriate to the sex and number of the person(s) honoured (e.g.
lecard-ii for Lecard (m), wilson-iae for Wilson (f), verlot-iorum for the Verlot brothers,
braun-iarum for the Braun sisters, mason-iorum for Mason, father and daughter).
- If the personal name ends with a vowel, adjectival epithets are formed by adding
-an- plus the nominative singular inflection appropriate to the gender of the generic name (e.g.
Cyperus heyne-anus for Heyne, Vanda lindley-ana for Lindley,
Aspidium bertero-anum for Bertero), except when the personal name ends with
-a in which case -n- plus the appropriate inflection is added (e.g.
balansa-nus (m), balansa-na (f), and balansa-num (n) for Balansa).
- If the personal name ends with a consonant, adjectival epithets are formed by adding
-i- (stem augmentation) plus -an- (stem of adjectival suffix) plus the nominative singular inflection appropriate to the gender of the generic name (e.g.
Rosa webb-iana for Webb, Desmodium griffith-ianum for Griffith,
Verbena hassler-iana for Hassler).
The hyphens in the above examples are used only to set off the total appropriate termination.
Personal names already in Greek or Latin, or possessing a well-established latinized form, should be given their appropriate Latin genitive to form new substantival epithets (e.g.
alexandri from Alexander or Alexandre, augusti from Augustus or August or Auguste,
martini from Martinus or Martin, linnaei from Linnaeus, martii from Martius,
wislizeni from Wislizenus, edithae from Editha or Edith, elisabethae from Elisabetha or Elisabeth,
murielae from Muriela or Muriel, conceptionis from Conceptio or Concepción,
beatricis from Beatrix or Béatrice, hectoris from Hector; but not
"cami" from Edmond Camus or Aimée Camus). Treating modern family names, i.e. ones that do not have a well-established latinized form, as if they were in third declension should be avoided (e.g.
munronis from Munro, richardsonis from Richardson).
New epithets based on personal names that have a well-established latinized form should maintain the traditional use of that latinized form.
In addition to the epithets in Rec. 60C.2, the following epithets commemorate personal names already in Latin or possessing a well-established latinized form: (a)
second declension: afzelii
based on Afzelius; allemanii
based on Allemanius (Freire Allemão); bauhini
based on Bauhinus (Bauhin);
based on Clusius; rumphii
based on Rumphius (Rumpf); solandri
based on Solandrus (Solander); (b)
third declension: bellonis
based on Bello; brunonis
based on Bruno (Robert Brown); chamissonis
based on Chamisso; (c)
adjectives (see Art. 23.5
): afzelianus, clusianus, linnaeanus, martianus, rumphianus
and brunonianus, chamissonianus
In forming new epithets based on personal names the customary spelling of the personal name should not be modified unless it contains letters foreign to Latin plant names or diacritical signs (see
Art. 60.4 and 60.6).
In forming new epithets based on personal names prefixes and particles should be treated as follows:
The Scottish patronymic prefix "Mac", "Mc", or "M'", meaning "son of", should be spelled "mac" and united with the rest of the name (e.g.
macfadyenii after Macfadyen, macgillivrayi after MacGillivray,
macnabii after McNab, mackenii after M'Ken).
- The Irish patronymic prefix "O" should be united with the rest of the name or omitted (e.g.
obrienii, brienianus after O'Brien, okellyi after O'Kelly).
- A prefix consisting of an article (e.g. le, la, l', les, el, il, lo), or containing an article (e.g. du, de la, des, del, della), should be united to the name (e.g.
leclercii after Le Clerc, dubuyssonii after DuBuysson, lafarinae after La Farina,
logatoi after Lo Gato).
- A prefix to a family name indicating ennoblement or canonization should be omitted (e.g.
candollei after de Candolle, jussieui after de Jussieu, hilairei after Saint-Hilaire,
remyi after St. Rémy); in geographical epithets, however, "St." is rendered as
sanctus (m) or sancta (f) (e.g. sancti-johannis, of St. John,
sanctae-helenae, of St. Helena).
- A German or Dutch prefix should be omitted (e.g.
iheringii after von Ihering, martii after von Martius, steenisii after van Steenis,
strassenii after zu Strassen, vechtii after van der Vecht), but when it is normally treated as part of the family name it should be included in the epithet (e.g.
vonhausenii after Vonhausen, vanderhoekii after Vanderhoek,
vanbruntiae after Van Brunt).
An epithet derived from a geographical name is preferably an adjective and usually takes the termination
-ensis, -(a)nus, -inus, or -icus.
Rubus quebecensis L. H. Bailey (from Quebec),
Ostrya virginiana (Mill.) K. Koch (from Virginia), Eryngium amorginum Rech. f. (from Amorgos),
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall (from Pennsylvania).
The epithet in a new name should be written in conformity with the customary spelling of the word or words from which it is derived and in accordance with the accepted usage of Latin and latinization (see also
Ex. 1. sinensis
All specific and infraspecific epithets should be written with an initial lower-case letter.
A compound name or an epithet which combines elements derived from two or more Greek or Latin words should be formed, as far as practicable, in accordance with classical usage. This may be stated as follows (see also Note 1):
- In a regular compound, a noun or adjective in non-final position appears as a compounding form generally obtained by
removing the case ending of the genitive singular (Latin
-ae, -i, -us, -is; transliterated Greek -ou, -os, -es, -as, -ous and its equivalent
- before a consonant, adding a connecting vowel
(-i- for Latin elements, -o- for Greek elements).
Exceptions are common, and one should review earlier usages of a particular compounding form.
The following are examples of the formation of a compound epithet derived from a generic name and another Greek or Latin word. The epithet meaning “having leaves like those of Myrica” is myricifolia (Myric-, connecting vowel -i- and ending -folia).
The epithets aquilegifolia and aquilegiaefolia derived from the name Aquilegia must be changed to aquilegiifolia (Aquilegi-, connecting vowel -i- and ending -folia).
In a pseudocompound, a noun or adjective in a non-final position appears as a word with a case ending, not as a modified stem. Examples are:
nidus-avis (nest of bird), Myos-otis (ear of mouse), albo-marginatus (margined with white), etc. In epithets where tingeing is expressed, the modifying initial colour often is in the ablative because the preposition
e, ex, is implicit, e.g., atropurpureus (blackish purple) from
ex atro purpureus (purple tinged with black). Others have been deliberately introduced to reveal etymological differences when different word elements have the same compounding forms, such as
tubi- from tube (tubus, tubi) or from trumpet (tuba, tubae) where
tubaeflorus can only mean trumpet-flowered; also carici- is the compounding form from both papaya
(carica, caricae) and sedge (carex, caricis) where caricaefolius can only mean papaya-leaved. The latter use of the genitive singular of the first declension for pseudocompounding is treated as an error to be corrected unless it makes an etymological distinction (see Art. 60.8).
In forming some other apparently irregular compounds, classical usage is commonly followed.
The compounding forms hydro- and
hydr- (Hydro-phyllum) stem from water (hydor, hydatos); calli-
(Calli-stemon) derive from the adjective beautiful (kalos); and meli-
(Meli-osma, Meli-lotus) stem from honey (mel, melitos).
The hyphens in the above examples are given solely for explanatory reasons. For the use of hyphens in generic names and in epithets see
The etymology of new names or of epithets in new names should be given, especially when their meaning is not
2006, by International Association for Plant Taxonomy. This page last updated