Hi Carol. Names rarely change despite what is written on many garden websites. What happens is a knowledgeable botanist doing research learns that the name currently being used is not the correctly accepted name and verifies the true name, which was the first name published to science that is correct to genus.
But collectors don't always like to accept botanical science. Collectors appear to prefer a different name for anything that does not look alike. Despite beliefs posted on the internet that botanists are perpetually toying with names and are "constantly changing" those names, the scientific fact is botanists are simply following the rules of botany as outlined by Linnaeus and no one has changed anything! These botanical scientists are simply following those rules as defined for centuries in an effort to get back to the first species name published that is correct to the genus.
Here's a great example. Collectors want to put a different tag on many of their collectable Philodendron species if they look even slightly different. But in fact Philodendron acrocardium, Philodendron cuspidatum, Philodendron hoffmannii, Philodendron microphyllum, Philodendron pittier, Philodendron micans, Philodendron oxycardium, and Philodendron scandens are all the same species: Philodendron hederaceum! Just because the blades have a slightly different appearance does not make them different species. The arguement about those names now dates back over 180 years and botanists decided way back then the correct name for all of them was Philodendron hederaceum. But collectors just won't allow those names to go away and continue to claim they a re all different species.
That's why it is important to use a site like TROPICOS and once you find your name check to see if it is the "accepted name". You'll find that right up in the header. Then look to see if there are synonyms. Sometimes you'll find you have a species that has several natural variations and also several names.
It may be confusing, but it worth knowing what you are really growing.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 7:12 AM
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Off-topic info on P. warmingii
I always suggest any collector use the International Aroid Society website http://www.aroid.org/ TROPICOS http://www.tropicos.org/ or the International Plant Names Index http://www.ipni.org/index.html to verify if a name is scientific. If you don't find the spelling just do a search using the genus name and an entire list of species will pop up on TROPICOS. Sometimes you figure out you just have a bad spelling but all too often you'll learn the name (especially from eBay) just doesn't exist in science.
thank you for recommending these sites. I often have plant names that I what to be correct and have not been sure where to find "an authority" to go to when trying to straighten out those times when everyone seems to be giving me a different name, or when the name has changed often or recently and not everyone is up to date. Again, Thank you.
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