Thu, 07 Jul 2005 22:04:28 PDT
Dear all,

A brief observation on the question of identification.  The names of plants and animals for that matter, are a tool of convenience for the user in order to communicate with others accurately as to what is being discussed.  The level of accuracy can vary with the conversant's needs.  I once new a man of limited formal education that described all animals as either critters or varmints.  Critters were either good or benign, and varmints were "no dern good at all".  This is a perfectly good system for identification suited to the user, but had limited usage outside of his immediate group of like thinkers.  

We need not classify plants that simply - all the red flowers lumped together- but need to use a lexicon that allows us to know what the other person is thinking about and describing.  If we are unclear, others can ask for more detailed (and presumably more accurate) descriptions.  The other extreme will always be with us as illustrated by a knowledgeable correspondent on another plant group who recently witnessed workers placing the same label on many different fern genera and species even after it was pointed out to the manager that this was in error.  Dollars rule.

Gary in Hilo, HI  where I am constantly amused by the pronunciation of the Latinized binomials by those who's Latin teachers were from different countries or eras.

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