John Bryan
Tue, 23 Dec 2003 10:41:46 PST
Dear All:

The points raised by Mark McDonough Pepperell in his posting of December
22nd, is most deserving of comment. I too feel the proposed Scilla ultra
breakup is splitting to an unnecessarily excessive level. But such seems
to be taking place with many other genera.

Several questions need to be raised. No doubt as the science ( falsely
so called perhaps) of DNA advances, we will hear about other radical
changes, not, repeat not, to the benefit of all. I am reminded of the
division of Narcissus some years ago, when after a few years, the
divisions were found to be not valid. Heaven knows what happened to
those who, upon reading of the changes, mixed the various species only
to find they had to return, in a large degree, to the way things were.

I do not doubt the value of examination of the DNA of species. But it
seems to me, as I have mentioned in various writings, that it is time
for a compilation of such information in a separate list, this being
available to those hybridizing and other such work on the species

The destruction, for that is surely what it is, of the established means
of identification of species, should be considered in light of the need
for identification of species by those without means of examining the
DNA. In my opinion differences which can be determined by a hand-held 10
power lens, should be the limit of and the reason for splitting.

Is it not time to continue with the established and seen differences,
and devise a classification of such genera, as a supplement to such
established practices? This "new" classification, based on DNA, being
supplementary information, to be used by those whose field of endeavor
would be aided by such.

Constant changes, will, in my opinion, destroy the established and for
so long, accepted classifications. Such will become so complicated that
the average horticulturist, will find it difficult if not impossible, to
correctly identify a plant. 

It is, again in my opinion, to place under scrutiny, the entire question
of identification. Yes keep the information obtained by DNA in a
separate table, but allow the established format for identification
based on those characteristics visible with a hand lens, to remain.

Great advances have been made, but it seems in their making, recognized
and essential and accepted means of identification will fall by the
wayside and we will in effect, be the losers. How to achieve this? Good
question, but upon examination of this question, which can and should be
done, an effort should be made to marry the two systems without the
destruction of established methods of identification. Cheers, John E.

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