Original Research

The handling of the proposal to conserve the name Acacia at the 17th International Botanical Congress—an attempt at minority rule

G. Moore
Bothalia | Vol 37, No 1 | a308 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v37i1.308 | © 2007 G. Moore | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 August 2007 | Published: 18 August 2007

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The handling of controversial Proposal 1584 to conserve the name Acacia with a conserved type for the Australian acacias during the Nomenclature Section meeting at the 17th International Botanical Congress (Vienna) in 2005 is reviewed. Through a simple majority vote, this Section adopted rules requiring a 60% majority of votes to approve any proposal to modify the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and a simple majority to approve all other motions; motions not receiving the required majority were to be rejected. However, for the motion addressing Proposal 1584, 45.1% voted to conserve the type of the name Acacia for Australian acacias, and 54.9% voted to retain the current African type for the name Acacia. Even though this motion failed to get a 60% majority either way as required by the Section’s own rules, Section officials have concluded that the name Acacia is to be conserved for Australian acacias. Treating a motion as approved, even though it received only minority support, also violates the fundamental principle of standard parliamentary procedure—the right of the majority to approve proposals. For Acacia to be formally conserved, the Nomenclature Section needed to approve a motion addressing Proposal 1584 with a majority vote, and this never happened in Vienna. Recommendations are made on how this process might be improved.


<i>Acacia</i>, conservation, International Botanical Congress, International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, nomenclature. Nomenclature Section, Racosperma C.Mart., Senegalia Raf., <i>Vachellia</i> W.F.Wight & Am


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1. Evolutionary and taxonomic relationships of Acacia s.l. (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae)
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doi: 10.1071/SB11042