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  Why scentists/plant collectors ---- ad nauseatum :-)
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.07.10 at 21:19:36(7013)
Hello all!

I have resisted the HORRIBLE urge to comment on this topic which has gone on
for way too long about a very simple thing, the rules that scientists MUST
follow when naming life forms---come on guys, love it or leave it! If you
folks don`t like the scientific name of a plant, or a correction that
taxonomists MUST make when an error is encountered after new research has
brought a good and pertinant point to light which may necessitate a change
(as in the recent placement of Sauromatum into Typhonium, a really great
article IF you have followed and can understand the VERY clear reasons given
for the change) then you can continue calling it Sauromatum (or even 'John')
if you so choose, but don`t be offended when people try to correct you or
even laugh at you!
Rules are there for a purpose, and they work, so if you can`t abide by them,
then dont, but please do not make light of or make derisive remarks or
belittle the work of dedicated and qualified scientists who labor to make
the world a little more organuised in SOME of our eyes---grow them, love
them, give them whatever names you please (even name one 'George'), and
leave well alone!

Sorry to disagree, Steve, but I personally find the the naming system does a
great job, not perfect by a LONG stretch, but this generally is due to
someone`s error, NOT the system itself---it has worked for a while, and
continues to work today, and is getting better as more dedicated folk like
Tom, Pete, Simon, Josef, Wilbert, Eduardo and many others strive to and make
our knowledge of plant relationships a tad better every year!
Changes in ANY system is inevitable as knowledge is gained on any given
subject on a daily basis, nothing is 'fixed' forever.

Sorry to once more bore some.


From: "Horak, David" davidhorak at bbg.org> on 2001.07.13 at 12:49:52(7033)
I agree Julius. To reiterate what has been pointed out previously, if you
think binomial nomenclature can be confusing and frustrating with "name
changes" and so forth, relying on common names would be a nightmare. Aroids
are not my principle botanical interest, orchids are. In the Orchidaceae
there are so many different species (and hybrids) known as the "Butterfly
Orchid" or the "Bumblebee Orchid" from around the world knowing which genus,
much less species, someone is referring to can be very difficult. In many
cases species are so superficially similar to each other that
differentiation is difficult for the expert much less the layperson. A
common name serves only to clump rather than clarify. Additionally, the same
common names frequently have been applied to species from very different
plants in different families from all over the world. The obverse is also
true some plants with wide distributions have several common names depending
on locality. Certainly, within the Orchidaceae with 20 some thousand plus
species and well over 100,000 registered hybrids, a common name rarely helps
to clarify which plant is being described or discussed. In my experience the
idea that the common person just wants a pretty plant with a simple name is
not generally accurate. I find that when people are just beginning to
develop an interest in plants for the garden or windowsill a common name is
easier and less formidable but as they get into it or acquire more plants,
they want to know the latin names.

Of course there are plenty of problems with the latin binomial system and
its ability to reflect species variation and complexes, etc. but be thankful
there is a system, rules and a process. For a somewhat more entertaining
view of taxonomy and names check out the following link.


Dave Horak

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