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How to … Create an autonym

When a name is published for a subdivision of a genus or an infraspecific taxon, an autonym is automatically established for the subdivision or infraspecific taxon that includes the type of the generic or species name.

For example, when the first subgenus was named within Rhododendron, the autonym Rhododendron subg. Rhododendron was automatically established; when the first variety was named within Lobelia spicata, the autonym Lobelia spicata var. spicata was automatically established.

An autonym is not followed by an author citation. Only the authorship of the generic name or species name is cited, e.g.  Rhododendron L. subg. RhododendronLobelia spicata Lam. var. spicata.


If you publish a new name that also establishes an autonym, you should mention that autonym in the publication. Do not cite yourself as the authorship of the autonym.

For more information, see Art. 22, Art. 26, and Art. 27 in the Code and Chapter 2 Basic concepts and terms in The Code Decoded.

Do you have another general nomenclatural question, and want a how-to guide to help?

You can submit questions here.

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