1. Botany requires a precise and simple system of nomenclature used by botanists in all
countries, dealing on the one hand with the terms which denote the ranks of taxonomic groups or
units, and on the other hand with the scientific names which are applied to the individual taxonomic groups of
plants. The purpose of giving a name to a taxonomic group is not to indicate its characters or
history, but to supply a means of referring to it and to indicate its taxonomic rank. This
Code aims at the provision of a stable method of naming taxonomic groups, avoiding and rejecting the use of names which may cause error or ambiguity or throw science into
confusion. Next in importance is the avoidance of the useless creation of names. Other
considerations, such as absolute grammatical correctness, regularity or euphony of
names, more or less prevailing custom, regard for persons, etc., notwithstanding their undeniable
importance, are relatively accessory.
2. The Principles form the basis of the system of botanical
3. The detailed Provisions are divided into
Rules, set out in the Articles, and Recommendations. Examples (Ex.) are added to the rules and recommendations to illustrate them.
4. The object of the Rules is to put the nomenclature of the past into order and to provide for that of the
future; names contrary to a rule cannot be maintained.
5. The Recommendations deal with subsidiary
points, their object being to bring about greater uniformity and clarity, especially in future
nomenclature; names contrary to a recommendation cannot, on that account, be
rejected, but they are not examples to be followed.
6. The provisions regulating the governance of this Code form its last
7. The rules and recommendations apply to all organisms traditionally treated as
plants, whether fossil or non-fossil, e.g., blue-green algae
(Cyanobacteria; fungi, including chytrids, oomycetes, and slime moulds; photosynthetic protists and taxonomically related non-photosynthetic
groups. Provisions for the names of hybrids appear in
8. The International code of nomenclature for cultivated plants is prepared under the authority of the International Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants and deals with the use and formation of names for special plant categories in
agricultural, forestry, and horticultural nomenclature.
9. The only proper reasons for changing a name are either a more profound knowledge of the facts resulting from adequate taxonomic study or the necessity of giving up a nomenclature that is contrary to the
10. In the absence of a relevant rule or where the consequences of rules are
doubtful, established custom is followed.
11. This edition of the Code supersedes all previous editions.
Subject index | Index to scientific names
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(c) by International Association for Plant Taxonomy. This page last updated Feb. 12, 2001.