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PhyloCodePhyloCode (ger.)

  • A formal set of rules governing phylogenetic nomenclature. It is designed to name the parts of the tree of life by explicit reference to phylogeny. (

    In contrast to the traditional systems, the phylogenetic code of nomenclature proposed by de Queiroz and Gauthier (1990, 1992, 1994) anchors a taxon name by reference not to a rank but to the relationships among taxa on a phylogeny. A formal version of this code of nomenclature (the Phylocode) is in preparation by a group of interested systematists. Once completed, the Phylocode will allow for the registration of phylogenetic names

    Baum, D.A., Alverson, W.S. & Nyffeler, R. (1998). A durian by any other name: taxonomy and nomenclature of the core Malvales. Harvard Papers in Botany 3, 315-330: 321.


    Mishler and others would prefer to name plants according to clade, or genetically related group–a system called the PhyloCode. For example, the herb Prunella vulgaris and hundreds of other plants might simply go by the name vulgaris, with a tag in some master directory that scientists could refer to for phylogenetic data. “When I first heard this, I thought it was crazy,” says Kathleen Kron, a botanist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “But it’s not. A plant’s rank is arbitrary, and naming it by clade is a far more relevant, practical way to go.”

    Brown, K.S. (1999). Deep green rewrites evolutionary history of plants. Science 285, 990-991: 991.



    Eriksson, T. & Alverson, W.S. (1999). The implications of phylogenetic nomenclature for database development. Abstracts XVI International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, USA, August 1-7, 1999, part 1: 32 (4.1.6).