Janice M. Glime jmglime at
Thu Oct 31 10:44:47 EST 2002

  Although there are clear rules for naming plant phyla, intro textbooks
have been using a variety of names that do not follow the rules.  For
higher classification categories, the type concept is recommended, but not
required.  One has the choice of a valid descriptive name or one based on
the type genus (i.e., the earliest validly published genus in that group).
Hence, Dinoflagellata is descriptive, but has the wrong ending.  
Pyrrhophyta is likewise descriptive; both names have been used
  Unfortunately, I don't know the type genus for this group.  I am unaware
of a genus Pyrrhos or one called Dinos, and I suspect neither is the true
type-based name.  Bold uses Pyrrhophyta.  I cringe at the use of Dinophyta
because it has not been in common usage, is no more descriptive than the
other two names you mention, and does not appear to be based on a type
genus.  If it is indeed based on a type genus, then I am happy to have the
name, but if not, it is superfluous.  Perhaps someone familiar with the
marine members knows of such a genus.  I think it is safe to say the issue
of "accepted" names of higher plant and algae categories has not been
settled and that valid publications typifying the higher categories are
missing in most cases.  Fortunately, the nomenclature committee seems to
be working on the issue.
 Janice M. Glime, Professor  
 Department of Biological Sciences
 Michigan Technological University
 Houghton, MI 49931-1295
 jmglime at
 FAX 906-487-3167 

On 31 Oct 2002, Sandra Johnson wrote:

> plant ed folks.
> i thought that the latest plant taxonomic nomenclature used the suffix
> phyta for plantish phyla (including protists). so i was surprised that
> vodopich & moore lab manual identifies dinoflagellata. the companion
> text by raven & johnson names them pyrrhophyta. raven says dinophyta in
> biol of plants. which is the more standard usage and why?
> thanks for any help you offer.
> sandra


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