The Code Decoded - New Guide

“The Code” (in my case, the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, which is equivalent to, but different from the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature), governs how folks go about naming species, and how the names of species change after new research determines that their relationships are in some way different from what we previously believed.

It has always been a source of extreme frustration for me. It is byzantine, archaic, and extraordinarily finicky. I understand the need for its existence, but I hate it. So far, that has not changed.

However! A serious attempt to “decode the code” has been made, and I will be reading it, in the hopes that my hatred and frustration will be attenuated by achieving a better, more fluent understanding of the code’s inner workings.

I imagine that this document will also be of interest to many other iNaturalist users as well!

Very best, and good luck,


Definitely intrigued. Thanks!


Thank you @leptonia! For those who want to geek out even more on the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi and Plants (ICN), I can suggest the following free web resources:

About the ICN (Wikipedia article)
Short Review of The Code Decoded
Melbourne Code (2011) Online (this is the version covered in The Code Decoded version linked above)
Shenzhen Code (2018) Online (the most recent revisions to the ICN)

There are a few plant taxonomists on iNaturalist who may be able to respond to specific questions if posted in this thread.

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Many thanks for this suggestion.
It seems that there is a downloadable version from the publisher’s site:


Thank you for finding that version @blue_celery! It seems to be updated for the newest (Shenzhen) code.

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