ISSN 1188-603X

No. 228 July 31, 1999 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Adolf Ceska []

The Code of phytosociological nomenclature (Barkman et al. 1986), Article 10, presents the rules for forming names of associations and other syntaxa (alliances, orders and classes):

"The name of an association of a syntaxon of higher rank is formed from the validly published scientific name(s) of one or two of the plant species or infraspecific taxa mentioned in the original diagnosis. This proceeds in such a way that a definite termination indicating the rank is added to the stem of the generic name ... When such a syntaxon is named after two plant taxa then, if they belong to different genera, the termination which indicates the rank is appended to the stem only; a connecting vowel is appended to the stem of the first generic name (the connecting vowel may be missing; see Appendix). When epithets occur, they must be in the genitive, if they are declinable."

Don't despair! If you cannot understand the English version of the Code, read the German version: it is considered to be the "decisive" one.

After you sort out all the genitives and connecting vowels (the Appendix to the Code is a great help, but you will still need a good knowledge of Latin and some Greek), you may come up with names similar to those used by Peinado et al. [see BEN # 213]:

When I showed one European system of community classification to my able assistant, she immediately noticed "Poo compressae-Tussilaginetum", and I could not convince her that "Poo" refers to Poa. She insisted on its more vernacular meaning.

My friend Prof. Marcel Rejmanek teaches plant ecology at the University of California in Davis, and for several years has been trying to explain the rules of naming plant associations as described in the Code. Year after year, his explanations of connecting vowels and genitives of nouns and declinable adjectives fell on deaf ears.

In his article Rejmanek (1997) wrote: "Two or three generations back, it was correct to assume that all people in academia had a reasonable background in, and passion for, Latin. This is no more a valid assumption. ... in this case strict adherence to a complicated Latin nomenclature detracts from the otherwise extremely useful procedures of the Zurich-Montpellier School. It makes for a sort of priesthood which does not encourage its adoption beyond the circle of chosen people. This is why vegetation scientists in many countries are inventing independent, endemic approaches, often ignoring the Zurich-Montpellier School entirely."

How can we simplify phytosociological nomenclature? Rejmanek (1997) proposes using one or two plain Latin plant names (connected by a dash) and an abbreviation to indicate the rank of a syntaxon. In order to facilitate meaningful alphabetic ordering of syntaxa, the name of a dominant species should be the first one.

The example of system by Peinado et al. in this transcription would become:

This form of naming plant associations and other syntaxa has been actually used in older papers of Zurich-Montpelier School. The Code considers them as "orthographic variants" and considers them validly published, but only if they were published before January 1, 1979. According to the Code, they have to be corrected to the regular (i.e., more complicated) form.

Rejmanek gave several examples where authors opted for a simple combination of Latin names of plant species for plant associations and higher syntaxa. He cited Klinka et al. (1996) [see BEN # 151] as the best example of this approach. A simple change of the Code would greatly simplify phytosociological nomenclature and I would not have to argue with Samantha over "Poo" any more.

That example would become

Barkman, J.J., J. Moravec & S. Rauschert. 1986.
Code of phytosociological nomenclature. 2nd edition. Vegetatio 67: 145-195.
Klinka, K., H. Qian, J. Pojar & D.V. Meidinger. 1996.
Classification of natural forest communities of coastal British Columbia. Vegetatio 125: 149-168.
Rejmanek, M. 1997.
Towards simplification of phytosociological nomenclature. Folia Geobot. Phytotax. 32: 419-420.

P.S. I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS on the Code and on Marcel Rejmanek's proposal. - Adolf Ceska


From: Patrick Williston []

Date: Sept 24-26 1999
Location: Edgewood Blue, Clearwater, British Columbia, Canada
Instructor: Trevor Goward
Cost: $60 CDN
Maximum enrollment: 13

This is the third in a series of workshops in which Trevor Goward shares his knowledge of lichens. The workshops include lectures, laboratory study, and field work, and are intended to provide participants with a basic working knowledge of lichen taxonomy, ecology, and indicator value. They are held twice yearly in the Upper Clearwater Valley, near beautiful Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Participants are encouraged to bring warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, a handlens, personal lichen collections, and a copy of Trevor's latest book "The Lichens of British Columbia: Illustrated Keys. Part II -- Fruticose Species" - available after early September from Crown Publications: . Lodges, hotels, B&B's, and camping facilities are available.

For information about how to register, contact:


From: Jan (Suspa) Leps []

Introductory and advanced courses
January 2000, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

We are offering two one-week-long intensive courses for students and researchers interested in use of ordination methods in ecological research. On both courses, there is sufficient time for theory and practice, using the CANOCO for Windows version 4.0 package. Check the following URL for more details: