In biological classification, a type genus is a representative genus, with regard to a biological family. The term and concept are used much more often and much more formally in zoology than in botany, and the definition is dependent on the nomenclatural Code that applies.
According to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, "The name-bearing type of a nominal family-group taxon is a nominal genus called the 'type genus'; the family-group name is based upon that of the type genus."1
Any family-group name must have a type genus (and any genus-group name must have a type species, but any species-group name may, but need not, have one or more type specimens). The type genus for a family-group name is simply the genus that provided the stem to which was added the ending -idae (for families).
In botanical nomenclature, the phrase "type genus" is used, unofficially, as a term of convenience. In the ICN this phrase has no status. The code uses type specimens for ranks up to family, and types are optional for higher ranks.2 The Code does not refer to the genus containing that type as a "type genus".
- Example: "Poa is the type genus of the family Poaceae and of the order Poales" is another way of saying that the names Poaceae and Poales are based on the generic name Poa.
- ICZN Code Art. 63. "Name-bearing types."
- 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.