Scientists publish scientific plant names to recognize new entities such as species, subspecies, varieties and forms.

A nomenclatural type specimen is a herbarium sheet(s) or illustration to which the name of a taxon (species, genus, subspecies, variety, etc.) is permanently assigned. The name may be currently accepted as valid and in use for a particular plant entity or treated as a synonymous name. I.e., a name used for the same plant entity that already has a prior name. The type specimen chosen for the name is not necessarily the typical or representative element of a taxon (International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code), 2012). Type specimens coupled with published descriptions may be considered the foundation of botanical nomenclature.

Publication of scientific plant names and the designation of type specimens follows the rules developed at the Internation Botanical Congress. Current rules, International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code), 2012, require that a single type specimen be designated at the time of publication (holotype). Duplicates of the specimen with the same collector and number (from a single gathering at the same location and time) are considered isotypes. Additional specimens cited are called paratypes. However, early in the history of botanical nomenclature, the designation of specific specimens as types was not required and even multiple specimens could be cited (syntypes). Scientific names are evaluated as being validly published based on the applicable rules of the period. When the rules did not require types to be cited and an original author did not cite a type or cited multiple specimens current researchers are authorized to select a lectotype from the material the original author is presumed to have had available.

The number of type specimens at the University of Florida Herbarium is not known. Type specimens were formerly intermingled within the general collections and a list of them was never kept. Furthermore, many of the type specimens do not have any markings on them to indicate that they are types. We are now discovering these specimens through routine collection use and literature review.

This work-in-progress currently enumerates about 953 types. Hundreds of bryophyte and lichen types are currently being researched for addition. Types included are: holotypes, isotypes, lectotypes, isolectotypes, neotypes, isoneotypes, syntypes, isosyntypes, epitypes, isoepitypes, paratypes, “cultivar types”, “clonotypes” and types whose designation has not yet been determined. Definitions for the type terminologies used in our site are below. Guidelines for annotation of type specimens may be found in the UF Herbarium web page, “Annotation of Type Specimens: Recommendations,” by Kent D. Perkins and Wendy B. Zomlefer. High resolution digital images are being linked in as available for all of our type specimens.

Type Terms Used In This Site

(partially based on International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code), 2012, Chapter II, Section 2, Article 9)

* The terms specimen and duplicate are given their usual meaning in herbarium curatorial practice. A specimen and its duplicates are part of a single gathering of a single species or infraspecific taxon made by a collector at one time. Although not specifically stated in ICN, the specimen and its duplicates should all have the same collector number.

** These terms are commonly used but are not officially designated in the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code), 2012.