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Our plant then belongs to the Asclepiadaceae Family (race), the Hoya Genus (nationality) and is made up of various species (individual families), some of which have varieties and cultivars (family members). Just as we do not usually refer to Mary Smith as American, Mary Smith, unless she is traveling abroad, so we usually use only two names in referring to our plants. But the naming of plants does not stop there. A third name is absolutely vital to be correct and to avoid confusion. That is the author's name. The plant name is never complete without it. When you say Hoya carnosa, you have only repeated part of the name. The correct name is H. carnosa, Robert Brown (usually written R.Br.). Actually to be absolutely correct you would write it Hoya carnosa (Linnaeus f.) R. Br. That is because Linnaeus first gave the name carnosa to the plant (Asclepias carnosa, Linn.) but Robert Brown saw fit to change the classification to Hoya so it now bears his name too...

When we think of authors, we are naturally lead to publications. Just how does one define being published in the sense of plant naming? To be published does not mean buying space in the local paper or listing it in your catalog. There was a day when INDEX KEWENSIS listed catalog and price list names, but no more. Publication in a popular booklet or magazine is no longer recognized as "being published". To be published, the name must be published in a recognized scientific publication, such as an Agriculture Department Journal, a Botanical Garden Journal or Bulletin, a college text book, etc. And the International Nomenclatural Code requires that the description be in Latin.

INDEX KEWENSIS is simply a record of first publications of plant names. It lists them by family, genus and species, giving the author and the publication in which the name was published, along with the Volume, Page and illustration number (if any). The first INDEX KEWENSIS was published in 1885 and there has been a supplement every five years since except during the middle of World War II... Each volume... is far too expensive for the average individual to own... Most Land Grant Colleges and some Botanical Gardens have them. Few public libraries do... It IS NOT an arbitrator or a last word. If it makes an error, and it often does, it doesn't make any attempt to go back and fix things up. What is there is there.

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