In the scientific name of organisms, basionym or basyonym[1][2] means the original name on which a new name is based; the author citation of the new name should include the authors of the basionym in parentheses. The term original combination or protonym is used in the same way in zoology.[citation needed] Bacteriology uses a similar term, basonym, spelled without an i.[3]

Use in botanyEdit

The term "basionym" is used in botany only for the circumstances where a previous name exists with a useful description, and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants does not require a full description with the new name.[4] A basionym must therefore be legitimate. Basionyms are regulated by the code's articles 6.10, 7.3, 41, and others.[5]

When a current name has a basionym, the author or authors of the basionym are included in parentheses at the start of the author citation. If a basionym is later found to be illegitimate, it becomes a replaced synonym and the current name's author citation must be changed so that the basionym authors do not appear.

Combinatio novaEdit

The basionym of the name Picea abies (the Norway spruce) is Pinus abies. The species was originally named Pinus abies by Carl Linnaeus and so the author citation of the basionym is simply "L." Later on, botanist Gustav Karl Wilhelm Hermann Karsten decided this species should not be grouped in the same genus (Pinus) as the pines, so he transferred it to the genus Picea (the spruces). The new name Picea abies is combinatio nova, a new combination (abbreviated comb. nov.). With author citation, the current name is "Picea abies (L.) Karst."

Status novusEdit

In 1964, the subfamily name Pomoideae, which had been in use for the group within family Rosaceae that have pome fruit like apples, was no longer acceptable under the code of nomenclature because it is not based on a genus name. Claude Weber did not consider the family name Malaceae Small to be taxonomically appropriate, so he created the name Maloideae at the rank of subfamily, referring to the original description of the family, and using the same type.[6] This change of rank from family to subfamily is an example of status novus (abbreviated stat. nov.), also called a "name at new rank".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ WoRMS Notadusta punctata (Linnaeus, 1771)
  2. ^ Heiden, G. (2013). "Two new combinations in Baccharis (Asteraceae: Astereae)" (PDF). Phytoneuron. 2013: Article 78.
  3. ^ Tindall, B. J. (1999). "Misunderstanding the Bacteriological Code". International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology. 49 (3): 1313–1316. doi:10.1099/00207713-49-3-1313. PMID 10425796.
  4. ^ Turland, N. (2013), The Code Decoded: A user's guide to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, vol. Regnum Vegetabile Volume 155, Koeltz Scientific Books, ISBN 978-3-87429-433-1
  5. ^ McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.; Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.; Prud'homme Van Reine, W.F.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J. (2012). "Glossary". International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Vol. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6.
  6. ^ Weber, C. (1964). "The genus Chaenomeles (Rosaceae)". Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 45: 161–205, 302–345. doi:10.5962/p.30865. Page 164, footnote 1