Jane McGary
Wed, 17 Dec 2003 09:39:44 PST
Julian Slade has presented a synopsis of a new view of the genus Scilla, 
some of which is unsurprising and some of which is bound to induce 
splitting headaches. Julian, would you please provide us with the 
literature citations for this information? Or if not published, Internet 
citations or at least the names of those proposing the new classification.

One would hope that the new groups of genera proposed might eventually 
settle out as genera, despite the reasons Julian mentions against this, and 
the new genera themselves as subgenera or sections. My mind is willing to 
entertain Scilla, Section Schnarfia, but not Schnarfia messeniaca.

With best wishes for the season,
Jane McGary

At 06:54 PM 12/17/2003 +1030, you wrote:
>Recent scientific studies using DNA sequencing technology have shown that
>what we know as Scilla actually appear to have multiple evolutionary
>origins. Therefore it seemed reasonable to recognise each coherent group as
>separate genera. The following lists these new or resurrected genera that
>have been proposed.
>Firstly, Scilla lazulina from Zimbabwe appears to be the most primitive
>'Scilla'. Was put into Merwilla (see below) before DNA sequencing showed
>otherwise. No genus name has yet been proposed.
>Pseudoprospero: only 1 species, P. firmifolium. Instantly recognisable in
>frequently having a side branch on the flower scape. Summer-growing.
>Apparently the second-most primitive of the 'Scillas'.
>The remaining 'Scillas' belong to 2 geographical groups: sub-Saharan
>African/Indian (which also includes Lachenalia, Ledebouria, Massonia,
>Daubenya, Drimiopsis, etc.) and North African/European/Asian (also including
>Hyacinthus, Bellevalia, Hyacinthella, Muscari, etc.).

>The differences between these genera may seem minor, but the only thing they
>all have in common is the bluish, star-shaped flowers (which appears to be a
>primitive characteristic). Any attempt to reduce the number of genera (by
>coalescing related ones) would cause the disappearance of many
>well-established ones, as well as making these new super-genera difficult if
>not impossible to define.
>Definitely controversial!
>Julian Slade

More information about the pbs mailing list