botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in th ...

, an infraspecific name is the
scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
for any
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
below the rank of
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...
, i.e. an infraspecific taxon. (A "taxon", plural "taxa", is a group of organisms to be given a particular name.) The scientific names of botanical taxa are regulated by the '' International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN). This specifies a 'three part name' for infraspecific taxa, plus a 'connecting term' to indicate the rank of the name., Art. 24 An example of such a name is ''Astrophytum myriostigma'' subvar. ''glabrum'', the name of a subvariety of the species ''
Astrophytum myriostigma
Astrophytum myriostigma
'' (bishop's hat cactus). Names below the rank of species of cultivated kinds of plants and of animals are regulated by different codes of nomenclature and are formed somewhat differently.

Construction of infraspecific names

Article 24 of the ICN describes how infraspecific names are constructed. The order of the three parts of an infraspecific name is: :genus name, specific epithet, connecting term indicating the rank (not part of the name, but required), infraspecific epithet. It is customary to italicize all three parts of such a name, but not the connecting term. For example: * ''Acanthocalycium klimpelianum'' var. ''macranthum'' :genus name = ''Acanthocalycium'', specific epithet = ''klimpelianum'', connecting term = var. (short for "varietas" or variety), infraspecific epithet = ''macranthum'' *''Astrophytum myriostigma'' subvar. ''glabrum'' :genus name = ''Astrophytum'', specific epithet = ''myriostigma'', connecting term = subvar. (short for "subvarietas" or subvariety), infraspecific epithet = ''glabrum'' The recommended abbreviations for ranks below species are: *
subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisions of the species' range and varying from one another by Morphology (biology), morphologi ...
- recommended abbreviation: subsp. (but "ssp." is also in use although not recognised by Art 26) * varietas ( variety) - recommended abbreviation: var. * subvarietas ( subvariety) - recommended abbreviation: subvar. * forma ( form) - recommended abbreviation: f. * subforma (subform) - recommended abbreviation: subf. Although the "connecting terms" mentioned above to indicate rank, such as "var.", are the recommended ones, the ICN allows for other connecting terms in validly published infraspecific taxa. It specifically mentions that Greek letters α, β, γ, etc. can be used in this way in the original document, Note 1 to Art. 32.1 and further ranks may be added without limit., Art. 4.3 and Art. 2 Names which use these connecting terms are now deprecated (though still legal), but they have an importance because they can be basionyms of current species. The commonest cases use "β" and "b"; examples mentioned in the ICN are ''Cynoglossum cheirifolium'' β Anchusa (''lanata''), Art. 24.4 Ex. 9 and ''Polyporus fomentarius'' β ''applanatus'', entry ''Boletus applanatus'' of Appendix III whilst other examples (coming from the fungus database Index Fungorum) are ''Agaricus plexipes'' b ''fuliginaria'' and ''Peziza capula'' ß ''cernua''. The ICN allows the possibility that a validly published name could have no defined rank and uses " nranked as the connecting term in such cases., for instance ''Agaricus compactus'' nranked''sarcocephalus'' in Art. 50E.Ex 7, or ''Geranium andicola'' nranked''longipedicellatum'' in Art. 37.3.Ex. 5

Abbreviation of infraspecific names

Like specific epithets, infraspecific epithets cannot be used in isolation as names., Art. 24.1 Thus the name of a particular species of '' Acanthocalycium'' is '''', which can be abbreviated to ''A. klimpelianum'' where the context makes the genus clear. The species cannot be referred to as just ''klimpelianum''. In the same way, the name of a particular variety of ''Acanthocalycium klimpelianum'' is ''Acanthocalycium klimpelianum'' var. ''macranthum'', which can be abbreviated to ''A. k.'' var. ''macranthum'' where the context makes the species clear. The variety cannot be referred to as just ''macranthum''. Sometimes more than three parts will be given; strictly speaking, this is not a name, but a Scientific classification, classification. The ICN gives the example of ''Saxifraga aizoon'' var. ''aizoon'' subvar. ''brevifolia'' f. ''multicaulis'' subf. ''surculosa''; the name of the subform would be ''Saxifraga aizoon'' subf. ''surculosa''.

Legitimate infraspecific names

For a proposed infraspecific name to be legitimate it must be in accordance with all the rules of the ICN. Only some of the main points are described here. A key concept in botanical names is that of a type (biology), type. In many cases the type will be a particular preserved specimen stored in a herbarium, although there are other kinds of type. Like other names, an infraspecific name is attached to a type. Whether a plant should be given a particular infraspecific name can then be decided by comparing it to the type. There is no requirement for a species to be divided into infraspecific taxa, of whatever rank; in other words, a species does not have to have subspecies, varieties, forms, etc. However, if infraspecific ranks are created, then the name of the type of the species must repeat the specific epithet as its infraspecific epithet. The type acquires this name automatically as soon as any infraspecific rank is created., Art. 26 As an example, consider ''Poa secunda'' J.Presl, whose type specimen is in the Wisconsin State Herbarium. * As soon as a subspecies of ''Poa secunda'' was created, then the type specimen of ''P. secunda'' immediately became the type specimen of ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''secunda''. The name "''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''secunda''" was automatically created (it is an "autonym"). Soreng created the subspecies ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''juncifolia'' (whose type specimen is also in the Wisconsin State Herbarium), thereby making the type specimen of ''P. secunda'' also the type specimen of ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''secunda''. * If in addition to the subspecies any variety of ''Poa secunda'' were to be created, then the type specimen of ''P. secunda'' would automatically become the type specimen of ''Poa secunda'' var. ''secunda''. The type specimen would then have the classification ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''secunda'' var. ''secunda''. The same epithet can be used again within a species, at whatever level, only if the names with the re-used epithet are attached to the same type. Thus there can be a form called ''Poa secunda'' f. ''juncifolia'' as well as the subspecies ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''juncifolia'' if, and only if, the type specimen of ''Poa secunda'' f. ''juncifolia'' is the same as the type specimen of ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''juncifolia'' (in other words, if there is a single type specimen whose classification is ''Poa secunda'' subsp. ''juncifolia'' f. ''juncifolia''). If two infraspecific taxa which have different types are accidentally given the same epithet, then a Homonym (biology), homonym has been created. The earliest published name is the legitimate one and the other must be changed., Art. 53.3

Specifying authors

When indicating authors for infraspecific names, it is possible to show either just the author(s) of the final, infraspecific epithet, or the authors of both the specific and the infraspecific epithets. Examples: *''Adenia aculeata'' subsp. ''inermis'' de Wilde :This identifies de Wilde as the author who published this name for the subspecies (i.e. who created the epithet ''inermis''). Note that here it was decided not to indicate authority for the species. *''Pinus nigra'' J.F.Arnold subsp. ''salzmannii'' (Dunal) Franco :Here, J.F.Arnold is the author who gave the species, European black pine, its botanical name ''Pinus nigra''; Dunal is the author who was the first to publish the epithet ''salzmanii'' for this taxon (as the species ''Pinus salzmanii''); Franco is the author who reduced the taxon to a subspecies of ''Pinus nigra''.

Difference from zoological nomenclature

In International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, zoological nomenclature, names of taxa below species rank are formed somewhat differently, using a trinomen or 'trinomial name'. No connecting term is required as there is only one rank below species, the
subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisions of the species' range and varying from one another by Morphology (biology), morphologi ...

Cultivated plants

The ''ICN'' does not regulate the names of cultivated plants, of cultivars, i.e. plants specifically created for use in agriculture or horticulture. Such names are regulated by the ''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' (ICNCP). Although logically below the rank of species (and hence "infraspecific"), a cultivar name may be attached to any scientific name at the genus level or below. The minimum requirement is to specify a genus name. For example, ''Achillea'' 'Cerise Queen' is a cultivar; ''Pinus nigra'' 'Arnold Sentinel' is a cultivar of the species ''P. nigra'' (which is propagated vegetatively, by cloning).

See also

*''International Code of Zoological Nomenclature'' *''International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants'' *Cultivar *''Forma specialis'', an informal naming system for parasites that is included in the botanical code of nomenclature *Pathovar, a system for naming parasitic bacteria



* {{DEFAULTSORT:Infraspecific Name Botanical nomenclature Plant taxonomy, 1rank26 Biology terminology Biological classification