Linnaeus thought about adopting a system for naming the plants and in his Species Plant-arum adopted the binomial system, where the name of a species had two parts, the 1st being the generic name and the 2nd the specific epithet.
He published 2 books, viz., Fundamental Botanical in 1736 and Critical Botanical in 1737 giving his ideas about taxonomy and nomenclature. Later he published another book on the subject, viz., Philosophic Botanical in 1751 amplifying his views expressed in the 2 earlier books.
In 1813 Augustin de Candolle published a book entitled “Theories elementary de la botanique” where among other things he laid down a set of rules on plant-nomenclature, many of them taken from Linnaeus. In 1867 an international meeting was organised in Paris to discuss about framing rules for naming of plants for the guidance of all botanists.
This meeting was the 1st International Botanical Congress. On this occasion Alphonse de Candolle, son of Augustin de Candolle, prepared a set of rules which he called “Lois de la nomenclature botanique” and copies of these laws were circulated to the delegates for discussion. These after slight modifications were adopted at the meetings of the congress and formed what was known as Paris Code.
Although the Paris Code appeared satisfactory, some botanists did not accept it in toto. Particularly in the case of transfer of a species from one genus to another the British botanists did not follow the continental botanists. Some American botanists also followed the British botanists and the rule obeyed was called the Kew Rule.
In America N. L. Britton and a group of botanists worked out a separate set of rules to govern the nomenclature of plants. These were passed at the meeting of the Botanical Club of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in 1892 in Rochester, New York. These rules formed the Rochester Code.
In 1900 the Continental botanists met in Paris again and discussed at length plans for a serious study of the entire nomenclatural problem. This was the 2nd International Botanical Congress and the result of the discussion was known as the Paris Convention. In 1905 a meeting of true international character was held in Vienna which is called the 3rd International Congress.
At this session of the Congress the rules of Paris Code of 1867 were finally adopted with some modification and amplification. The American botanists following the Rochester Code refused to accept the verdict of the Vienna Congress and in 1907 prepared another set of rules which they called the American Code. The American Code did not, however, differ much from the Rochester Code.
The 4th International Congress was held in Brussels in 1910. Here the type concept of the Rochester Code was recognised. Otherwise it was more or less like the Vienna Code.
The Committee on nomenclature of the Botanical Society of America formulated a new Code in 1918 and called it the Type-basis Code, differing from the American Code in minor points.
This code was never popular even in America. Afterwards botanists of different countries tried to bring harmony and accord in the subject and two conferences were held, one in London in 1924, known as the Imperial Botanical Conference and the other in Ithaca, New York in 1926 called the Ithaca Congress.
After this in the 5th International Botanical Congress at Cambridge in 1930 a compromise was arrived at between the British, the continental and the American botanists and a code of nomenclature came into being that was international in nature as well as in function.
It was also decided that henceforth revision or modification of rules should be done only at the meetings of the International Botanical Congress. Since then proposals about plant nomenclature are discussed at such meetings and adopted or rejected by the delegates.
After the 5th session of the International Congress, the 6th was held in Amsterdam in 1935, the 7th in Stockholm in 1950, 8th in Paris in 1955, 9th in Montreal in 1959, 10th in Edinburgh in 1964, 11th in Seattle, New York in 1969, 12th in Leningrad in 1975, 13th in Sidney in 1981 and 14th in Berlin in 1987.