Names on the wiki

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 07 Jul 2005 20:17:19 PDT
Dear All,

Although we try to stay on topic and do pretty well most of the time, I do 
want to extend my sympathy to all our UK members about the horrible events 
that occurred earlier in the day. The Internet creates global communities 
where you can come together over shared interests and become friends. I am 
sure that my concern is shared by many. It feels strange to go on to the 
next subject when that is on my mind without at least mentioning it.

I am sure that we will continue to talk about the changing of names that 
seems to be occurring so fast that it is difficult to keep up with it. And 
I doubt that we will always agree. I share John Bryan's wishes that there 
will be a way to identify a plant by looking at it so I will know what it 
is. Many of us have had the experience of growing a plant from seed that we 
find out we already have because it was going by a different name than we 
expected and that is going to happen more and more I expect.

Alberto Castillo suggested early on that we include the name of the person 
who named the plant on the wiki. I remember thinking that would take more 
time than I had to add that information. I have come to understand better 
why it might be a good idea, but since most of us gardeners do not 
associate our plant's names with the person who named that plant I expect 
that information wouldn't have much meaning except to those who have 
studied the particular plant in detail. When I go to IPNI and see the same 
plant name with a different names after it, I have no clue how those two 
plants are different and if I grow that plant which person's name to 
associate with my plant. And I suspect I am not alone. So the suggestion 
that we can call a plant what its original name was as long as we append 
the name of the person who named it doesn't really solve the problem of 
helping us associate a certain plant with a certain name.

I've been advised that it is dangerous to throw a question like the next 
one to the list, but I am interested in learning what those of you who use 
the wiki find most helpful in dealing with the name changes. Susan, Arnold, 
and I will decide, but it is always good to have input to help make 
decisions. When Galaxia, Homeria, Gynandriris, etc. were lumped into 
Moraea, we called them Moraea and included the synonyms with their old 
names, but kept them segregated on the subgroup pages. With Leucojum and 
Acis we have listed the plant under the old name and the new name on both 
wiki pages and that insures the plant will be found either place but is 
very time consuming for us. Now that Polyxena has been lumped into 
Lachenalia, Albuca into Ornithogalum, etc. so need to decide whether to 
have information and images on one page or two.

If you are looking for a specific plant and use the text search you'll find 
it no matter where we put it, but I don't know how many people look for a 
plant that way and how many people go straight to the genus page. If you go 
to the genus page and a plant has been renamed and is not there you might 
not realize it could be found some place else. This happened with Sheila 
Burrow's picture of Ismene xfestalis, syn. Hymenocallis xfestalis

Our wiki was created to be a resource for the members of this group (and a 
way to share our pictures.) How would you like us to handle new names?. You 
can write me privately if you don't want to share with the group. After we 
have input we'll talk it over between the three of us and if we don't get 
input, we'll decide on the basis of what makes sense to us and how much 
time we have to work on the wiki. As a wiki administrator I have come to 
dread reading about all the changes.


Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list