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  Re: [aroid-l] Credentials Required for Describing Aroids
From: "Alistair Hay" <ajmhay at hotmail.com> on 2004.08.22 at 14:44:37(12038)
Hello George,

Validly naming a new species requires it to be published - preferably in a
botanical journal including, of course, Aroideana.

That process includes the editor having the paper reviewed or 'refereed' by
an expert, so you may as well get an expert to work with you in the first
place to avoid the embarrassment of having the paper rejected!

The key things you need are a) to know all the species that have been
described in the genus before, since the plant concerned may in fact already
have a name, b) to know all the species epithets than have been used in the
genus before (whether or not they correspond to recognised species now)
since the name you choose may have already been used; and c) to have the
experience and honed judgement to be able to assess whether or not the plant
concerned is a variant of an already named species or something new. This
CANNOT be judged from cultivated plants alone: species are concepts applied
to plants in the wild, as opposed to cultivars which are distinct
horticultural entities.

If you have established that the plant you are looking at is an undescribed
species, there are then rules to follow about how to name it validly - key
technical points are a) to designate a Type specimen which is the object to
which the name is permanently attached. This has to be deposited in a
recognised herbarium; and b) to provide a latin diagnosis - a short
description in botanical latin. This is the technical minimum and it is
desirable to do better than that!

My strong advice is to work with the taxonomic expert for the group of
plants concerned. Most will happily jointly publish new species with a non
expert who has been involved in its discovery - provided they are convinced
the thing is new of course!

Alistair

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