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  The Name Game
From: "Jay Vannini" interbnk at terra.com.gt> on 2001.07.13 at 21:56:15(7036)
Greetings, all!

Wow - as Ron Iles notes, the debate over the flux in botanical nomenclature
has been remarkably civil thus far, given the depth of the "line in the
sand" that has been drawn by the parties.

And, albeit mixing my metaphors - time to muddy the waters...

I tend to side with those who argue for "proper" (given our state of
knowledge at any given time) placement of a species, taxonomically speaking,
even if it does irk the public. Knowing that the Brazilian "Laelia" aren't
"Laelia" at all, but rather Sophronitis sure helps me to sleep better at
night (Note to Lord Wilbert: Please don't have me kicked off the forum for
using a taxonomically-challenged orchid group as an example here). Anyone
who has had the good fortune to meet biologist colleagues who share an
interest, yet not a language, knows that the Latin & Greek binomials really
are the great unifiers. I, for one, would hate to have to learn all the
world's endangered species' common names in the principal languages in order
to enhance a "sign language & smile" conversation with a fellow natural
resources conservation aficionado at a conference!

In all fairness to the Philodendron 'Nice Legs' and Dieffenbachia
'Whoop-de-Doo' crowd, the horticultural trade has to deal with the lowest
common denominator - I can't imagine that you can expect the average
hausfrau in Denver or Leeds to keep abreast of Drs. Boyce & Hetterscheid's
pronouncements when they go to buy something green for that empty space
above the kitchen sink. You know, the one in the faux bay window overlooking
the neighbor's Volvo.

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