From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2008.07.15 at 19:17:03(18162)|
Leland, I could not agree more!
Dr. Croat explained to Janice and I in early June the Missouri Botanical Garden is now installing a new computer program that will allow almost anyone to enter basic information (vein count, blade information, petiole info, node spacing, etc.) on a plant in their possession and be led closer to finding scientific names for a possible species match. All that work has to be done by well trained and experienced field botanists. Once that system is installed I hope Tom will explain more about it to all of us.
I find it regrettable that many collectors appear to prefer to simply accept any name from eBay and then continue trading cuttings of a specimen with an incorrect name. From the mail I receive, I see that happening all the time. I checked eBay just this morning and found many offerings (especially Monstera species) with totally made up names. Some were not even in the genus Monstera but were from Pete's part of the world (Malaysia) and appeared to be Rhaphidophora or Amydrium. But once sold, they will continue for a long time with a Monstera name that simply does not exist. In a few years they will likely be sold again, and again using that bad name.
One collector I exchange mail with prefers only the shape of the leaf and is not concerned about the correct scientific name. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with building a collection based on the beauty of the plant, I simply prefer to understand where my specimens originated in nature and how they grow naturally. To learn that, I need to locate the correct scientific name. So, without the help of good field botanists there won't be journals to read and learn that information. How will a collector ever be able to benefit from gene counts anyway?
As you know, I spend a lot of time trying to learn the correct scientific names for the plants I grow. I find Dr. Croat's journals very helpful since they contain field photos, the entire description of the plant, and to top it off are inexpensive to purchase.
With the help of the experienced field researchers on this forum I can locate the correct name for some of my plant, just not all. Field taxonomists like Pete, Dr. Croat and others make collecting not on enjoyable, but also personally self educational and rewarding. So, thanks to all of the field experts on this forum who freely help all of us!