Re: Carnivorous Plants.

Jan Schlauer (
Wed, 6 Apr 1994 19:59:34 +0100

Joe (M),

>I've just read and deleted a message which referred to the plural of
>Sarracenia as Sarraceniae - my latin isn't! - is this the correct because
>somehow I always feel that there's something wrong with Sarracenias.

Nothing is wrong with Sarracenias (or Sarracenia species, but this is a
little ambiguous, isn't it, Barry?) on this list. Either the people do know
what you mean, or they won't understand any plural form anyway.

If you want to write a protologue, you should use Latin declension, e.g.:
"Haec Sarraceniarum pulcherrima _S.purpurea ssp.purpurea var.purpurea
f.purpurea_ peraffinis, sed differt...". But I guess you won't describe a
new taxon on this list, will you?

>What about some of the other genera?

The rule (TNX, Shane)

>In general, if the name ends in an "a" it will become an "ae" in it's
>plural. If it is a "um" it becomes an "a." A "us" plural will be a "i."

is applicable in most cases:

_Cephaloti_ (or _Cephalotus_? Maybe better: _C.folliculares_)
(_Roridulae_) (non-carnivorous in any amount)
(looks somewhat repetitive, or as Barry would express it:
> (...) a dreadful mess!
) ;-)
_Nepenthes_ (one or several)
>Now, let's not get into a similar discussion over "nepenthes",
>because that comes from Greek and Greek was even harder to
Perry, certainly it is *derived* from Greek (Homer,
Odyssey!), but
all plant names are *Latin* words, if that does reassure you.
_Genliseae_ (Barry, why is this so messy? Remember Lentibulariaceae)

In this context it's a pity that the Polypompholyces have been lumped with
the _Utriculariae_ (it was doubtlessly necessary from the taxonomic point
of view), the Biovulariae on the other hand are so similar that they could
not be kept apart, anyway. You see, I prefer these Latin forms even in my
colloquial texts (additionally, I use to _underscore_ valid generic and
specific names, but normally not taxa above generic rank or infrageneric
taxa above specific rank).

It is a serious objection, however, that these forms may be mistaken for
1.(old) family names (like Labiatae = Lamiaceae)
2.ranks below genus (especially series, which do often end with the Latin
plural form).

1.the (still valid, but not recommended) old family names are never derived
from a generic name, and they are conserved, all of which being listed in
an appendix to the ICBN,
2.the typical series (and any other typical infrageneric taxon) has to be
the autonym, i.e. _Sarracenia subgen.Sarracenia sect.Sarracenia
ser.Sarracenia_, repeating the genus name.

Thus, a reader sufficiently educated to "parse" _Sarraceniae_ as a family
name or an infrageneric taxon should at least be as informed about the ICBN
that he/she can identify a violation of these rules, and therefore, try to
restart the parsing process...

If you *want* to denominate an infrageneric taxon, you should do it with
the appropriate rank, e.g. _ser.Sarracenia_. However, even in my own
correspondence, I do often omit/forget this myself (everybody out there
does know that Oligocista is a sect. of _Utricularia_...).

BTW, a cheap solution are of course abbreviations like:
"Some _U._ do grow very well, but I have not yet tried _N._."
In the last case, the abbreviation does not even effect a loss of precision

Kind regards