The International Botanical Congress decided in 2011 that the future of plant nomenclature would be published electronically and named using English. In April of this year in PhytoKeys, Christina Flann from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Nicholas Turland of the Botanic Garden and Botanic Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Germany, and Anna Monro of the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research in Canberra described the weeklong deliberations that went into this decision. This interesting news was brought to our attention by The Scientist in their article, “Deciding to Ditch Latin.”

Delegate Peter Wilson of Australia told the group he “believed that English now occupied a place in scientific communication that Latin occupied in Linnaeus’s day,” according to the authors.

The International Botanical Congress’s decision was a big change for the botanical world. Makes one wonder to what extent non-biological taxonomies will be predominantly English, or whether they already are.

Melody K. Smith

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