Class Ascomycetes

David H. Griffin griffin at
Mon Dec 19 10:11:15 EST 1994

Concerning the use of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, I 
have quite a different understanding from that of Dave Brayford
who wrote:

 "Sorry to stir things up, but the replies concerning classification of 
Xylaria hypoxylon
were slightly up the creek, or at least out of date.  The class"Ascomycetes"
was got
rid of many moons ago and replaced by the subdivision "Ascomycotina".   More
the Ascomycotina have been got rid of too - and elevated to the rank of
Phylum (= Division).
There are no classes, just orders and families.  So now we have:
Kingdom:  Fungi
Phylum:  Ascomycota
Order:  Xylariales
Family:  Xylariaceae
Genus:  Xylaria
Species:  hypoxylon

These changes are enshrined in the latest version of the International Code
of Botanical
 Nomenclature and will be reflected in the forthcoming edition of The
Dictionary of the

Hope that's of some help.

Dave Brayford
International Mycological Institute
d.brayford at"

According to the 1988 edition of the code, Division II, Article 3 states:

"3.1. The principal ranks of taxa in ascending sequence are : species 
(species), genus (genus), family (familia), order (ordo), class 
(classis), division (divisio), and kingdom (regnum)."

There is no statement in the code that I can find that "classes" of fungi 
are not recognized, nor any that states what the names of recognized 
divisions shall be. There is no recognition of the term "phyllum".

It is my understanding that the code treats naming of taxa and does not 
treat the development or acceptance of any particular taxonomic systems 
involving the use of these names. Thus, the code specifically does not 
legislate that the Ascomycetes shall not be treated as a class, but must 
be treated as a Division called Ascomycota. This kind of decision is a 
matter of taxonomic opinion, left to the individual "taxonomist"; there 
are many of these.

David H. Griffin
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Syracuse NY 13210
griffin at

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