The American Code of Botanical Nomenclature was the brainchild of Nathaniel Lord Britton, the first director of the New York Botanical Gardens. Dissatisfied with certain aspects of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, he just decided to replace it (if you will) from the ground up. This would not have been a big deal if Britton hadn't had the resources of the New York Botanical Gardens at his command: he immediately set its large and industrious staff to work churning out names to populate his system.
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For a while, this did little except make the publications of the New York Botanical Gardens unintelligible to the rest of the world. However, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted it, it began to look like people outside of the NYBG might have to learn it after all. However, there was a happy ending. At the Cambridge conference of 1930, a compromise was reached: the Internationals adopted the American Code's requirement of a single type collection (the older International code allowed multiple type collections, in different locations; this was a bad idea: even today, there are situations where the type collection of a "species" turns out to contain more than one species of mushroom. Obviously if more than one type collection is allowed, that danger increases) and the Americans readopted the International system (with all its names). The USDA, being a government agency, plowed ahead with the American Code for over another decade; but eventually it came round, too.
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