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Title: Proposal to conserve the name Thaspium (Umbelliferae/Apiaceae)

item Wiersema, John

Submitted to: Taxon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2009
Publication Date: 8/28/2009
Citation: Reveal, J.L., Gandhi, K.N., Wiersema, J.H. 2009. Proposal to conserve the name Thaspium (Umbelliferae/Apiaceae). Taxon 58(3): 14.

Interpretive Summary: For nearly 200 years, the three species of meadow parsnip in eastern North America have always been considered to belong to the genus Thaspium, a genus of the carrot family. Although some species of this genus may be used in homoeopathic medicine, Thaspium is not otherwise of economic importance, being nonetheless a common element of woodlands throughout the region. As such, the name Thaspium is familiar to all botanists, and can be found in numerous publications on North American plants. However, there are problems with the use of this name, as it violates the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, the set of rules that govern the scientific names of plants. To remedy these problems, we are proposing this name be "conserved" in the Code. If our proposal is successful, the familiar Thaspium can continue to serve as the correct generic name for the meadow parsnips; if not, an unfamiliar name will replace it.

Technical Abstract: The generic name Thaspium Nutt. has been consistently used in the scientific literature since it was originally published in 1818 by Thomas Nuttall for an eastern North American genus of the Umbelliferae. However, previous authors seem to have overlooked or ignored the fact that Nuttall had originally published this name to replace another generic name, Cnidium Cosson; making Thaspium superfluous and illegitimate under Article 52 of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and thus unavailable for use. To overcome this obstacle to the correct use of the name Thaspium under the rules, we are proposing it for conservation under Art. 14 of the ICBN. If our proposal is successful, the familiar Thaspium can continue to be used for its three species, avoiding the confusion that would result were it to be replaced by another generic name.