Rodger Whitlock totototo@pacificcoast.net
Wed, 31 Mar 2004 13:02:13 PST
On 28 Mar 04 at 12:11, johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk wrote:

> AYcis or A cis ( a as in apple). A cis is probably more correct in
> classical terms, but probably most people will use Aycis, as they do
> when referring to Handel's opera, 'Acis and Galatea'. Acis was a
> shepherd in Greek mythology.

Is that "c" a "k" or an "s"? Are we to say assis or akkis?

> The work I am quoting from is an excellent, model study of a group
> of closely related plants Galanthus and Leucojum, carried out at RBG
> Kew by Dolores Lledo, Aaron Davis, Manuel Crespo, Mark Chase and
> Michael Fay, entitled:
> 'Phylogenetic analysis of Leucojum and Galanthus (Amaryllidaceae)
> based on plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal spacer (ITS) DNA
> sequences and morphology.'

> They used three different DNA sequences, plus an analysis of 46
> physical characters to arrive at a cladogram (in effect a family
> tree showing evolutionary relationships) that shows that Galanthus
> is most closely related to Leucojum, and that Acis is a clearly
> defined group of its own. In consequence their division follows
> these groups, and makes total sense when one looks at the living
> plants.

In saying that Acis is "a clearly defined group of its own", is the 
implication that it is as distinct from Leucojum sensu strictu as 
Galanthus? Or could Acis be a cousin of Leucojum?

Let me restate that: does the study conclude that Galanthus and 
Leucoum sensu strictu are more closely related than either is to 

One thing: one must be cautious in accepting cladistic results. The 
method is very popular, but it must be remembered that the algorithms 
do not guarantee best fit, as it were, but only close-to-best.

The arguments over the phylogenetic tree behind genus Homo is an 
example of the uncertainties implicit in cladistic analysis. I will 
admit, however, that the study you refer to had a great deal more 
data at hand than just a few fossilized bones.

To change the subject, slightly in anticipation of April first:

> ...Most good gardeners only refer to things by their specific name
> anyway!

As do the bagged bulbs and perennials supplied by the wholesale 
nursery industry. There are some amusing gaffes visible at this time 
of year. Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is labelled "Canadensis" 
for example. Jack in the pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum, is labelled 

The mind, she boggleth.

Rodger Whitlock

"Outside of dogs, books are man's best friend;
   inside dogs, it's too dark to read."
               -----Groucho Marx

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