Botanical Nomenclature

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Abstract

THE letter from Mr. R. A. Inglis in NATURE of Feb. 8, p. 204, calls for a reply, and the following is sent on behalf of the British Sub-Committee on Nomenclature, which has since 1923 been engaged in examining proposals for the revision of the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature. Mr. Inglis is mistaken in supposing that Art. 57 is concerned with anything other than spelling. The only Article which bears, even indirectly, on gender is Article 7, which states—albeit erroneously—that “Scientific names are in Latin for all groups”. It follows that they are subject to the rules of Latin grammar, and that adjectival specific epithets necessarily agree in gender with the generic names to which they are attached. The only problem is the correct gender of certain generic names. The real difficulty lies in the fact that Latin as used in botany has changed continuously from classical times down to the present, and that the same name, for example, Atriplex, may have had more than one gender even in ancient Rome. It seemed to the Sub-Committee that an Article dealing specifically with the gender of generic names was required, and the following new Article has been submitted by them, along with other proposals, for the consideration of the International Botanical Congress (1930).

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