Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Communication about economic vascular plants depends directly on accurate scientific names. The scientific names of plants are governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. On occasion the scientific name currently in use conflicts with these rules and technically the names should be changed. However, because the name is widely used, that name is proposed for conservation over the more accurate name. In this paper the scientific name for North American plans blue grama grass is proposed for conservation. The history of the scientific name and the conflict with the Code is delineated as well as an argument for its conservation. This article will be published and discussed among the community of plant taxonomists and, finally, a Committee will determine whether or not this recommendation should be accepted. The conservation of this scientific name will stabilize the use and ease of communication of this plant.
The North American plains grass blue grama has for a long time been treated as a member of the genus Boutelousa Lag., as B. gracilis.The authorship of the combination Boutelous gracilis has generally, but incorrectly, been cited as "(Kunth) Lag. Ex Steud.", but the combination remained invalid until Griffiths inadvertently but validly made it in 1912. In the late 1980s, however, it was realized that the wide usage of the name B. gracilis for the blue grama was threatened by an earlier homonym, B. gracilis Vasey. Although Vasey's 1879 usage of the name B. gracilis has remained obscure, it renders Griffiths' 1912 usage of B. gracilis illegitimate. The usage of the name Boutelous gracilis must be maintained in order to avoid any disadvantageous change in the nomenclature of the blue grama grass.