The International Fossil Plant Names Index (IFPNI) is a pioneering attempt to compile the names of ALL fossil forms whatsoever attributed to the Plant Kingdom and to accumulate a comprehensive bibliographical record of taxonomic literature containing descriptions and illustrations of fossil organisms.

  • Algae
  • Cyanobacteria and allied prokaryotic forms
  • Fungi
  • Plants
  • Problematica
  • Protists related to algal phyla (‘ambiregnal organisms’)

Fossil Generic Names

IFPNI incorporates data from the previously compiled, but now outdated Index of Generic Names of Fossil Plants, 1820–1965 (Andrews, 1955 & 1970), Index of generic names of fossil plants, 1966–1973 (Blazer, 1975), Index of generic names of fossil plants, 1974–1978 (Watt, 1978), and Index of generic names of fossil plants, 1979–2000 (Schultze-Motel, 2003). Generic names were revised and processed as for their validity in accord with the modern revised versions of the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (formerly International Code of Botanical Nomenclature) and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Generic names of extant organisms were uploaded into IFPNI when their extinct members were assigned taxonomically to extant taxa; IFPNI currently does not incorporate fossil record data for the living organisms.

Fossil Infrageneric Names

There is no separate available compilation of infrageneric names of fossil plant organisms; these names were and are used intermittently in the developing taxonomic classifications of fossils. Their input is expected to be done bit by bit when they would be recovered from the available taxonomic literature.

Fossil Suprageneric Names

Suprageneric names of fossil and extant algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, and plants were extracted from Doweld’s Prosyllabus Tracheophytorum (2001) and published volumes of the New Syllabus of Plant Families (2005+). Suprageneric names of extant vascular plants (incomplete record of names when used in IFPNI) were also verified against Indices Nominum Supragenericorum Plantarum Vascularium (http://www.plantsystematics.org/reveal/pbio/fam/allspgnames.html) and International Index of Plant Names (IPNI) (http://ipni.org/), Algae (including fossils) against Index Nominum Algarum (http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/INA.html), and bryophytes and hepatics against Bryophyte Names Authority List (http://www.mobot.org/mobot/tropicos/most/bryolist.shtml).

Fossil Spore and Pollen Names

The fossil spore and pollen taxonomic names are registered including not validly published sporomorph names and distinct Group (Turma) names of the artificial system of classification of spores and pollens. IFPNI incorporates data from the previously compiled, but now outdated Jansonius & Hills’ Genera File of Fossil Spores (1976–2002). IFPNI continued registration of fossil fungal sporomorphs, which were earlier interpreted as spores of non-fungal fossil plant groups.

Fossil Fungal Names

The fossil fungal taxonomic names, published between XIX century—2012, are continued to be added after verification against original taxonomic literature and new provisions of the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (formerly International Code of Botanical Nomenclature).

Fossil Cyanobacteria and Prokaryotic Names

Registration of fossil cyanobacteria and related prokaryotic microorganisms is continued along with registration of fossil algae and related protist-like forms; however, it is planned in further to segregate all names of prokaryotic microorganisms into a separate International Index of Fossil Prokaryotes. At present time the revised version of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes (formerly International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria) does not contain nomenclatural regulations for the fossil prokaryotic taxa.

‘Ambiregnal’ Fossil Microorganisms and Microproblematica

IFPNI registered all previously described fossil taxa, once described or once interpreted as of plant nature, irrespective of their current taxonomic position and reference to the animal (protistan) or prokaryotic taxa. Special groups of fossil algae, which are considered simultaneously as fossil protists and therefore sometimes referred to the Animal Kingdom (Chloromonada, Chrysomonada, Dinoflagellatae, Euglenomonada, Haptomonada, Prasinomonada, etc.), are registered with additional checking of their availability (validity) as for the homonymy and other provisions of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Type Specimens

IFPNI provides registration of lectotypes, neotypes, epitypes and other permissible typification for the fossil plant taxa. Since this type of registration of nomenclatural acts is sensitive as for the correct application of the names in systematics, IFPNI Staff scrupulously evaluated users’ changes and additions to the database; erroneous or superfluous typification actions are not permissible and deleted from the system. IFPNI provides comfortable platform and tools for uploading of photos and inventory numbers of the types specimens which currently housed in Museums and Palaeontological Collections worldwide.

Taxonomic Literature (Palaeobotany)

Formation of the comprehensive Taxonomic Literature (Palaeobotany) as a result of registration of the scientific publications containing nomenclatural acts and scientific names is based on the format used in Taxonomic Literature II (http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/tl-2/index.cfm), including full bibliographic description of publications on the basis of the International Standard Bibliographical Documentation (ISBD) and providing working links to available digitized literature. Retroactive scanning of the principal botanical and geological journals and serials, once registered in IFPNI, as for new fossil plant names and nomenclatural acts, is done regularly by IFPNI Staff. Currently, IFPNI analyzes and registers literature in 45 languages, viz. Abkhazian, Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Byelorussian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Moldavian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tajik, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek, and Vietnamese. Publication titles are abbreviated according to Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum, Supplement (BPH/S) (1991) (http://fmhibd.library.cmu.edu/fmi/iwp/cgi?-db=BPH_Online&-loadframes) and Taxonomic Literature (TL-2) (http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/tl-2/search.cfm) (1976–1988) and its Supplements (TL-2/S) (1992–2000) with a few exceptions. IFPNI Staff continued bibliographic searches for missing precise publication dates of taxonomic literature as well as registration of newly published taxonomic publications beyond the coverage of TL-2 (1753–1940). For the purposes of data standardization, IFPNI accepts only original titles in the native language, not their Latin, Cyrillic or other counterparts or parallel titles. When the alphabet of the language was changed (for example, Azerbaijani alphabet is currently based on Latin, although being originally based on Cyrillic in taxonomic publications), both versions of spelling are registered, but IFPNI accepts the only modern form of the alphabet (Latin in case of Azerbaijani). Pinyin (formally Hanyu Pinyin) is the official IFPNI phonetic system for transcribing the Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet, which is also adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Transliteration of books and serials in Cyrillic and Eastern languages is done in accord with ISO standards. Since from 1 January 2012 electronic materials published online in Portable Document Format (PDF) with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) or an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) constitutes effective publication, the registration of published electronic publications has a priority in IFPNI data processing. Publishers and Authors are welcome to coordinate their publishing activity with pre-publication registration of the scientific names, taxonomic works and authors along with interim verification of the proposed new names as for putative homonymy or isonymy, and fulfillment the requirements of acting versions of the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (formerly International Code of Botanical Nomenclature) and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Authors

Authors of scientific names are standardized against Brummitt and Powell’s Authors of Plant Names (1992) with minor changes and alterations reflected the priority of author’s original spelling used in author's taxonomic publications. Transliteration of the author names in Cyrillic and Eastern languages are mostly done on the basis of the accepted author’s original spelling in his taxonomic works. When the alphabet of the language was changed (for example, Azerbaijani alphabet is currently based on Latin, although being originally based on Cyrillic in taxonomic publications), both versions of spelling are registered, but IFPNI accepts the only modern form of the alphabet (Latin in case of Azerbaijani). Pinyin (formally Hanyu Pinyin) is the official IFPNI phonetic system for transcribing the Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet, which is also adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Geography

The names of counties or their equivalents have been standardized using the Times Atlas of the World (12th ed., 2013) or Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary (3rd ed., 1997). Place names have been converted to their modern country equivalents, but the original name is retained in a comment field.

Palaeogeography

Names of palaeocontinents, terranes, tectonic plates, palaeo oceans and seas, mountain systems, palaeogeographic provinces are extracted from the available geological literature. Palaeogeographic names are used in IFPNI as well as modern geographical names in the correct describing of the distribution of fossil plant taxa in the geological history. A revised Synopsis of Palaeogeographic Names in Palaeobotany is planned to be produced in 2020 as a separate publication and special tool for advanced searches of the taxonomic database and palaeogeographical distribution of extinct plant taxa. Standardization of palaeogeographical names would be a separate subproject of the IFPNI (2015—2020) to allow further mapping of the taxonomic record on the available reconstructed palaeomaps and palaeoatlases; this work is being done in collaboration with the wide geological community.

Stratigraphy

Names of the global stratigraphic units (systems, series and stages) of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart and the subordinate units (periods, epochs, and age) of the International Geologic Time Scale are used when accepted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) (http://www.stratigraphy.org/). When different names of stratigraphic units were used in the protologues of described plant fossils in the past, these are to be changed for the use in IFPNI in accord with modern International Geologic Time Scale (http://www.stratigraphy.org/index.php/ics-chart-timescale). Regional and outdated old stratigraphic units are mostly rejected or mentioned in a comment field when their precise age is still unknown or doubtful.

We invite you to support IFPNI, but also to question our practices if you believe that we could be doing better for the scientific community.