The binomial system of botanical nomenclature has existed for almost 250 years, the principle of a taxon having a single correct name determined on the basis of priority of publication was formalized almost 150 years ago, and the type method for the application of scientific names of plants has had international acceptance for almost 75 years. In this historic time-frame, do the next 50 years hold any prospect of change, and indeed is any change possible or even desirable? The requirement of botanical nomenclature to provide a stable, unambiguous reference system for plant information implies an inherent conservatism of rules and procedures even the smallest change to the Code, however beneficial it may be in general, is virtually certain to have some destabilizing effect. Despite this truism, it is suggested that the next few years will see quite major change. Bionomenclature provides the mechanism for communication about the elements of taxonomy and for those who perceive these solely, or even primarily, in terms of phyletic lineages, a more or less revolutionary phyletic nomenclature is probably indicated. But when the elements of taxonomy seek to reflect the greatest information on patterns of biodiversity, bionomenclature will continue to communicate the general information content of taxa effectively, only if it evolves to take fuller advantage of the opportunities of the electronic age. The historical tendency to improve the rules of nomenclature by continuous "tinkering" with the Code needs to give way to a recognition that stability and simplicity are key requirements of users of names (amongst whom professional biologists are a relatively small minority), and that web access to authoritative lists will generally be their preferred approach to answering the nomenclatural questions that arise in their study and use of plants, animals and micro-organisms.

Key words: bionomenclature, communication, information, International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, nomenclature, taxonomy