Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 05 Mar 2004 18:33:59 PST
Dear Cynthia,

What is the botanical name for Roman Hyacinths or French Roman Hyacinths? 
I'm really interested in what you are talking about and hope you will post 
a picture on the wiki. I must confess to a lot of confusion over the genera 
Hyacinthella, Hyacinthoides and Hyacinthus. Because I haven't grown many of 
them I haven't really tried to sort them out. I have some Hyacinthus 
orientalis from Wayne Roderick seed so that makes them special and one of 
those large fragrant hybrids that was one of the few plants the former 
owner of my house left behind in a container that surprises me by blooming 
every year even though it's not supposed to. And I have two Hyacinthoides, 
H. hispanica which I've had for years and H. italica that I got from Jane a 
couple of years ago. The latter is a charming plant which I really like and 
an early bloomer, starting to bloom here in Northern California in February 
and still blooming now. What you are talking about must be something different?

Many of the plants in these genera have moved around from genus to genus.

Speaking of moving around, Julian Slade told us about proposed changes for 
Scilla in December. I see in my IBSA Bulletin which arrived a few days ago 
(and is a first rate read with some stunning photos as usual) a note 
probably from the editor Rachel Saunders that there no longer are any South 
African Scillas. So does this must mean that the proposed changes are now 
something that we should note on our plant tags? How about a show of hands 
here? Shall we create a Merwilla page on the wiki and move all that 
information and pictures of Scilla natalensis to that page and rename them 
Merwilla natalensis (syn. Scilla natalensis)?

It certainly seems like a good idea to link Julian's message of December 17 
to the wiki Scilla page since it explains everything and I'll do that 
tomorrow. I'd like to quote from that post:

"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!"

It's such a challenge to keep up with all of this and be able to 
communicate with each other about the same plant. Soon it will be easier to 
use Common Names because they may be more stable. In the case of Scilla 
natalensis maybe that will be the common name of Merwilla natalensis. So 
for one genus we now have 17?

Mary Sue

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