New mystery bulb

Rodger Whitlock
Fri, 08 Jul 2005 15:30:58 PDT
On  7 Jul 05 at 9:14, John Bryan wrote:

> For what it is worth, my opinion is that molecular differences
> should NOT trump floral form.

On further reflection:

The real problem occurs if two species, say /Veriolitsis 
glomulama/ and /V. sphærioideastrum/ can only be distinguished 
via molecular characteristics. It then becomes impossible for 
anyone outside a properly equipped laboratory to distinguish 
these species.

Rearranging the taxonomic hierarchy on the basis of molecular
evidence does not present the same problem as long as some
chemistry-maddened botanist doesn't write a key that depends on
the chemistry. It would still be possible to slot a given plant 
into the hierarchy on the basis of macroscopic features, since 
keys don't necessarily follow the taxonomic hierarchy.

On yet more reflection: already chemistry must be used to
identify some plants. Fungi present an example. The famous
book on hallucinogenic and poisonous mushrooms makes certain
distinctions on the basis of chemistry, though it's simple
chemistry that can be done in the field if you carry along a
few reagents -- color reaction stuff.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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