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Feb 11, 2008
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Madison, Wisconsin USA
There are certain traits that are very particular to each taxon that are important horticulturally and until the hybridization records indicate parentage at the subspecific rank, things that breed this different should be named different- HOWEVER, where do we draw the line???

Good point. In terms of what is horticulturally significant about the plants and the hybrids produced from them it is useful to maintain the distinctions even if prevailing taxonomy doesn't agree. Taxonomy and horticulture are distinct endeavors that do not need to agree on what is important.

'Species' is a concept we try to impose on the real world because humans like to put things into neat categories, and a valid species is whatever someone wants to define it as, within the formal requirements, and does it persuasively enough that others agree. There's no way it can reflect the real world diversity of all the related plant populations out there. There are almost always several levels of lumping or splitting that could make sense and be defended. No scheme is inherently right or wrong, but is it useful?


Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2006
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Leiper's Fork, TN
Yep, you seem to have the basics of the argument down.


I have just as much fun with other taxa. NOT!! At work we were trying to pin down the correct name of a finger clam species that was used in toxicity testing. The clam and mussel taxonomists are just as crazy as the orchid taxos. My boss was freaking out "Isn't there a central governing body?!?!" To which I replied to his dismay "NO, its just a matter of publishing somebodies last research project". He can't believe it.:p

Leo Schordje

wilted blossom
Aug 22, 2006
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NE Illinois
Hey Ernie,
I didn't get back on this because I was off doing bonsai this weekend. Swing by and see what I did to my pine one of these days on your way up to or down from Milwaukee. I also tricked out that Ficus grove I have been fooling around wth.
*(1.) You and I both know that scientifically there is no central authority for taxonomy. The Kew check list is only that, and it is not the 'ultimate authority' in the scientific community. There is no ultimate authority - peer review is the standard.
*(2.) I agree that neither description would stand up today, both would be inadequate descriptions. The standard then required much less detail.
*(3.) But I also recognize the fact that when you wear your AOS JUDGE Hat, you are stuck with the AOS assertion that anything the RHS decreeds must be treated as the ultimate authority. The interesting thing us that when horticulturists ignore the RHS, eventually the RHS modifies what it does to catch up with the horticulturists. So if we go with Braem, whom we think is right, eventually the Kew list will be updated to the 'more correct' name.

SO I am not changing my tags, but when I exhibit I will include what ever Kew requires in order get it AOS judged, recognizing that the RHS occasionally has it wrong.


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