Shakespeare on Taxonomy

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:36 am

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Plant taxonomy today appears to be a comedy of errors and may not be as you like it. Logical science is only a midsummer night's dream. Let us hope the current controversies are much ado about nothing. In the future, let there be orderly reasoning in every hamlet, and let's hope all's well that ends well.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:09 pm

Did a committee rename something you're fond of, Iris? <g>

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:37 pm

Not at all. But there are some funny things going on. The RHS, which is in charge of orchid hybrid registration, is a private society, with its own governing orchid nomenclature council. The Royal Botanical Garden at Kew is a government agency, and the Vatican of plant species taxonomy. The net result is that there are a slew of orchid species running around at the moment with two legitimate names. Last I heard, some years ago, there are cacti with three legal names. The Plant List, http://www.theplantlist.org, a supreme Internet database of botanical names, does not always agree with the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/home.do, which is my ultimate authority for the families they include. However, if I tell you that Syzygium paniculatum is absolutely the correct name for Australian brush cherry, you can believe me. That is why I keep a 175 species glossary of botanical names for bonsai species, and that is why I update it periodically.
The advent of DNA testing turned taxonomy on its head. The fallout will continue for some time to come, but the dust will eventually settle.
Another reason for name changes is when it turns out that somebody didn't do his homework. A botanist in the Nineteenth Century found what he thought was a new species and published a name for it. A botanist in the Twenty-first Century pores over old records & old herbarium sheets, and discovers that this species already had a name in the Eighteenth Century, perhaps in a different genus or even a different family. The Law of Priority rules that the first name is the correct name. That is why we now have Serissa japonica. There are several other reasons.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add URLs)

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  Twisted Trees on Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:15 pm

bonsaisr wrote:Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Plant taxonomy today appears to be a comedy of errors and may not be as you like it. Logical science is only a midsummer night's dream. Let us hope the current controversies are much ado about nothing. In the future, let there be orderly reasoning in every hamlet, and let's hope all's well that ends well.
Iris
You go girl!

Twisted Trees
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  John Quinn on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:22 am

Lay on, Iris...

_________________
"Eschew obfuscation"

John Quinn
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:32 am




It would be nice if they could come to a consensus and stick with it for more than 20 minutes. It's a constant war between the splitters and the lumpers.

Russell Coker
Member


Back to top Go down

Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:01 am

It's not that simple. There really is no war between lumpers & splitters. As new information is uncovered, sometimes what were thought to be two separate species become one because the visible differences are not significant. In other cases, further research shows that two varieties are actually two separate species. In many cases, evolution proceeds under our very noses as new species are formed.
An interesting case is the Black Hills spruce. For a long time it was considered a geographical variant of white spruce, Picea glauca var. depressa. Then for some reason the taxonomists decided there wasn't enough difference & the variety name disappeared. But some dedicated researchers kept digging. Like the bonsai collectors, they felt Black Hills spruce was not just regular Picea glauca. Finally the truth came out. Black Hills spruce is now Picea xalbertiana, a natural hybrid between white spruce and Engelmann spruce, the same cross as dwarf Alberta spruce. Taxonomic changes are so rapid because we are in the Information Age, where new facts bombard us daily.
Write your plant labels in indelible ink, but keep some lacquer thinner on hand just in case.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Appreciated Ms. Iris,
appreciated.

And I am getting tired of having to unlearn names. Bah humbug!!!
Later.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Look at all the other new words we have to learn nowadays: schadenfreude, unfriend, transponder. Keeps one on one's toes. That's why I put out the glossary.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Shakespeare on Taxonomy

Post  Sponsored content Today at 7:56 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum