Location: National Germplasm Resources LaboratoryTitle: Validation of the name Wolffia borealis (Lemnaceae)) Author
Submitted to: Harvard Papers in Botany
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/3/2011
Publication Date: 6/29/2012
Citation: Gandhi, K., Wiersema, J.H., Brouillet, L. 2012. Validation of the name Wolffia borealis (Lemnaceae). Harvard Papers in Botany. 17:47-50. Interpretive Summary: Accurate scientific names of plants are essential for communication about them. A North American aquatic plant species in the duckweed family that has been recognized for over thirty years lacks an acceptable name. The one commonly used for it violates the rules that govern scientific names of plants, the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, and cannot be properly used. The problems with this scientific name are resolved here, thus making it available to scientists who need to communicate about this aquatic plant.
Technical Abstract: Problems with the valid publication of the species name Wolffia borealis, thought to have been published in 1977 for a duckweed from the United States and Canada, are discussed. The varietal name upon which W. borealis was presumably based, “W. brasiliensis var. borealis Engelm.”, did not exist in the place from where it was cited, and since the authors of this species consequently failed to provide a Latin description or diagnosis or indicate a type for their name, it also does not exist under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. We have corrected these errors to preserve usage of this name in its intended sense.