Author citation (botany)

In botanical nomenclature, author citation refers to citing the person or group of people who validly published a botanical name, i.e. who first published the name while fulfilling the formal requirements as specified by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN).[1] In cases where a species is no longer in its original generic placement (i.e. a new combination of genus and specific epithet), both the author(s) of the original genus placement and those of the new combination are given (the former in parentheses).

In botany, it is customary (though not obligatory) to abbreviate author names according to a recognised list of standard abbreviations.

There are differences between the botanical code and the normal practice in zoology. In zoology, the publication year is given following the author name(s) and the authorship of a new combination is normally omitted. A small number of more specialized practices also vary between the recommendations of the botanical and zoological codes.

Introduction

In biological works, particularly those dealing with taxonomy and nomenclature but also in ecological surveys, it has long been the custom that full citations to the place where a scientific name was published are omitted, but a short-hand is used to cite the author of the name, at least the first time this is mentioned. The author name is frequently not sufficient information, but can help to resolve some difficulties. Problems include:

  • The name of a taxon being referred to is ambiguous, as in the case of homonyms such as Ficus L., the fig tree genus, vs. Ficus Röding, 1798, a genus of molluscs.
  • The publication of the name may be in a little-known journal or book. The author name may sometimes help to resolve this.
  • The name may not have been validly published, but the supposed author name may be helpful to locate the publication or manuscript in which it was listed.

Rules and recommendations for author citations in botany are covered by Articles 46-50 of the International Code of Nomenclature (ICN).[1] As stated in Article 46 of the botanical Code, in botany it is normal to cite only the author of the taxon name as indicated in the published work, even though this may differ from the stated authorship of the publication itself.