How to Write One-Species Family and
One-Species Genus Descriptions for BFNA
Richard H. Zander

November 25, 2001

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How to Write One-Species Family and
One-Species Genus Descriptions for BFNA

Suppose you are responsible for a FAMILY DESCRIPTION and there is only one genus in the family or only one genus in the family in the range of the flora?

Check out family descriptions already on the BFNA Web site that are of taxa similar to yours--such as those in the same taxonomic order. (Or check out recent family descriptions in recent publications.) Write a family description that ONLY includes characters that help distinguish your family from related families, say those in the same order. In other words, write a parallel description, and put anything else you think must be mentioned at the family level in your discussion of the family (not the description). Any other characters go into the genus description.

If there are several genera in the world but only one genus in the range of the flora, put any character states not in the range of the flora in square brackets: [           ].

 

Suppose you are responsible for a GENUS DESCRIPTION and there is only one species in the genus or only one species in the range of the flora?

Check out genus descriptions already on the Web that are of taxa similar to yours--particularly those in the same family. Write a genus description including ONLY those characters that help separate your genus from related genera, especially those in the same family. In other words, write a parallel description, and put anything else you think must be mentioned at the genus level in your discussion of the genus (not the description) in the text. Any other characters left over go into the description of the single species.

If there are several species in the world but only one species in the range of the flora, put any character states not in the range of the flora in square brackets: [           ].

 

I did not devise these rules, but you can see that FNA has been successfully working this way if you check the past several volumes. If you use square brackets for character states that are found only in taxa outside the range of the flora, it is a logical way to do things, and should work well. If you are uncomfortable with having just a very few characters states under the genus description, don't be.