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Definition of basionym

Categorized under "General"

Definition as written by Terry:

A specific name or epithet that has priority over other names given to the same plant. For additional nomenclature terms and guidelines, see also synonym and tautonym

Definition as written by Monocromatico:

The basionym is the first name ever given to a taxon. Further studies and revisions may reject the basionym as the most correct one, but it still is useful as a nomenclatural refference for that species.

Also, according to the priority rules of the ICBN, after a taxonomic revision that results in a species being reclassified in another genus, the specific epithet must remain the same as the one in the basionym.

A short example: Linnaeus classified the Tea Plant as Thea sinensis. Some decades later, Sweet noticed that the genus Thea wasn´t really different from the genus Camellia, and renamed all the Theas as Camellias. Thea sinensis became Camellia sinensis, because he had to keep the specific epithet the same as the original name (basionym) for that species, given by Linnaeus.


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