On 18 Jul 05 at 22:42, Jim McKenney wrote: > Mary Sue wrote: " I think Hippeastrum was once considered > Amaryllis so that may be the source of the confusion." > > That's my recollection, too, Mary Sue. > > I know a bit about the history of this particular > nomenclatural fiasco, but would someone in the group with a > precise knowledge of what happened please post a refresher? > > I've heard, for instance, that among other things someone > purportedly switched or otherwise tampered with one of the > Linnaean types. > > Everyone likes a good story; fill us in on the details, > please. The key issue was "exactly what plant did Linnaeus give the name 'Amaryllis belladonna' to?" The type specimen is extant in the Linnean herbarium, but it wasn't clear what it was because the characters that distinguish Hippeastrum from Amaryllis were not ascertainable -- details of the inner floral parts, I suspect. My understanding is that the Linnean Society finally took the plunge and allowed the specimen to be dissected. It turned out to be (surprise!) what we've been calling Amaryllis belladonna all along. <whew> <wipes worried sweat off brow> It had long since become clear that what is now called Hippeastrum was not the same genus as that represented by the taxon we call "Amaryllis belladonna", but there had been speculation that Linnaeus may have given the name Amaryllis belladonna to a hippeastrum. If this were true, then Hippeastrum would properly be Amaryllis, and what we call Amaryllis would be without a proper name. The dissection answered this question and thus stabilized the nomenclature. The reference to Meerow et al given by Myke Ashley-Cooper in his reply represents a consequence of the dissection and the confirmation that Amaryllis belladonna is, indeed, Amaryllis belladonna. This is all from memory. Confirmations, refutations, corrections, amendments, Bronx cheers, hisses, abusive name-calling, catcalls from the peanut gallery, and wild, unrestrained applause are all equally welcome. -- Rodger Whitlock Victoria, British Columbia, Canada "Without coffee, one has no personality."