Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #154638


item Wiersema, John

Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2004
Publication Date: 2/27/2004
Citation: Nicolson, D.H., Wiersema, J.H. 2004. Proposal to conserve sesamum indicum against sesamum orientale (pedaliaceae). Taxon. v. 53 pp. 210-211.

Interpretive Summary: Accurate scientific names of economically important plants are essential for international trade, management of plant germplasm, and agriculture in general. Two scientific names are used for sesame, an important food source in Middle Eastern and Asian parts of the world. The scientific name applied to sesame has varied depending on botanists' interpretation of the literature. This paper proposes that Sesame indicum be considered the correct name for sesame rather than any other name. The proposal agrees with the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature. In addition, Sesame indicum is the most commonly used scientific name for sesame as determined by a search on the Internet. Once this proposal is accepted the scientific name for sesame will remain the same in perpetuity. This research provides plant breeders, agronomists, and botanists with an accurate, stable scientific name for this important crop.

Technical Abstract: Linnaeus (1753) separated Sesamum orientale L. with entire leaves from Sesamum indicum L. with trifid lower leaves. These taxa represent a single species. These two scientific names were published on different pages in the same article, thus, according to the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature, are considered to have been published simultaneously. Because the correct scientific name has not been determined, there has been considerable confusion in the literature. The historic general usage of Sesamum indicum or S. orientale has varied considerably over time. Non-botanists, particularly those dealing with the crop and its pests, overwhelmingly favor S. indicum. In addition, a check on the Google website reveals 8530 hits for Sesamum indicum while Sesamum orientale received only 461 hits. Given that the two scientific names have equal status, it is proposed that Sesamum indicum be conserved as the accepted scientific name for this taxon.