A discussion on phytolith nomenclature arose during the 3rd International Meeting on Phytolith Research (IMPR) in Bruxelles (August 2000) and the majority of the delegates felt the necessity of an harmonisation in naming and describing phytoliths. This was viewed as a means to increase communication between researchers and to facilitate the comparison of phytolith types and analysis results. Presently, anyone studying phytoliths is faced with a considerable volume of names, including countless numbers of synonyms and homonyms. To further complicate the situation, there are often inconsistencies in the application of these names. The number of people working in phytolith analysis is growing fast as is the exchange of data and communication between research groups. Nomenclature stability is therefore urgently required to avoid further confusion and allow easy and correct usage of phytolith names. Such stability can only be achieved by the uniform application of generally accepted (international) nomenclature rules.
For this purpose, during the 3rd IMPR and with the sponsorship of the Society for Phytolith Research, a committee in charge of developing an International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature (ICPN) was created.
The first ICPN committee was formed by:
Marco Madella (Chairman, then at University of Cambridge, UK)
Anne Alexandre (CNRS, France)
Terry Ball (Brigham Young University, USA)
The first ICPN committee developed a standard protocol to be used during the process of naming and describing a new (or already known) phytolith type and a glossary of descriptors (nouns and adjectives) to be used in naming and describing a phytolith type. The results have now been published as the International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature 1.0.
The ICPN is an ongoing committee appointed by the SPR that will refine and improve at regular intervals of time both the protocol and the glossary. The new ICPN Committee in charge of this task was elected in Barcelona in 2006 and it is formed by:
Luc Vrydaghs (Chairman, ROOTS)
Caroline Stromberg (Washington University)
Laurent Bremond (Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes - Montpellier)
Marco Madella (former Chairman)
You can download here a Working Paper of the 1st version of the International Code for Phytolith Nomenclature, including the illustrations.