In taxonomy (especially in zoological and botanical nomenclature), a nomen nudum ("naked name"; plural nomina nuda) is a designation which looks exactly like a scientific name of an organism, and may have originally been intended to be a scientific name, but fails to be one because it has not (or has not yet) been published with an adequate description (or a reference to such a description). This makes it a "bare" or "naked" name, one which cannot be accepted as it stands. A largely equivalent but much less frequently used term is nomen tantum ("name only").
nomen nudum (pl. nomina nuda), n.
A Latin term referring to a name that, if published before 1931, fails to conform to Article 12; or, if published after 1930, fails to conform to Article 13. […]
And among the rules of that same Zoological Code:
12.1. To be available, every new name published before 1931 must … be accompanied by a description or a definition of the taxon that it denotes, or by an indication [that is, a reference to such a description or definition]. …
13.1. To be available, every new name published after 1930 must … be accompanied by a description or definition that states in words characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon, or be accompanied by a bibliographic reference to such a published statement.
According to the rules of botanical nomenclature a nomen nudum is not validly published. The glossary of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants gives this definition:
A designation of a new taxon published without a description or diagnosis or reference to a description or diagnosis.
Nomina nuda that were published before 1 January 1959 can be used to establish a cultivar name. For example, Veronica sutherlandii, a nomen nudum, has been used as the basis for Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherlandii'.
- Turland, N. (2013). The Code Decoded: A user's guide to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants. Regnum Vegetabile Volume 155. Koeltz Scientific Books. ISBN 978-3-87429-433-1.
- "What is a nomen nudum?". International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. "Glossary". International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.; Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.; Prud'homme Van Reine, W.F.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J. (2012). International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6.
- Brickell, C.D.; Alexander, C.; David, J.C.; Hetterscheid, W.L.A.; Leslie, A.C.; Malecot, V.; Jin, X.; Cubey, J.J. (2009), International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP or Cultivated Plant Code) incorporating the Rules and Recommendations for naming plants in cultivation, Eighth Edition, Adopted by the International Union of Biological Sciences International Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants (PDF), International Association for Plant Taxonomy and International Society for Horticultural Science, ISBN 978-90-6605-662-6 Article 21.6