Roger, I share your apparent sense of frustration over the instability of botanical names. But I don't respond to this the way you do. Speaking very broadly, natural classifications are based on purported relationships; artificial classifications are based on something else, typically some superficial aspect of appearance. There are important roles for both, but it's a big mistake to conflate them. There is nothing wrong with using artificial classifications: people who stage flower shows do it all the time. Some of the great botanical works of the recent past used artificial classifications (Engler's great Pflanzenreich is an example if I'm not mistaken; I'm taking that from memory and maybe I don't have the name right). The classifications for imperfect fungi are artificial - at least until the sexual forms are discovered. Roger, it seems that you want an artificial classification which is based on relationship. That does not make sense. You said: " The whole point of taxonomy is to identify plants. If you can't make the identification without carrying DNA analysis equipment in your backpack, somehow it seems rather counterproductive." Some would counter that if you have not taken into account all of the evidence, including DNA analysis, then you have not really identified "the plant". The reduction ad absurdum on that one might run something like this (in terms of progressively less refined technologies): if you can't make the identification without analyzing the DNA, if you can't make the identification without knowing the chromosome count, if you can't make the identification without a microscope, if you can't make the identification without reading a key, if you can't make the identification without seeing or tasting the plant... Also, I suspect that many will take exception to your assertion that the "whole" point of taxonomy is identification. Identification is certainly an important part, but is it the whole thing? You also said: " However, this position leads to stupid anomalies when both a parent (ancestral) species and one of it's children (descendant species) are still with us, no matter how distinctive they may be." Roger, can you cite an example of that? One final comment: this is an old issue. We are not the first generation to deal with the sometimes disparate goals of formal botany on the one hand and, on the other hand, the purely practical need to be able to name things in such a way that repeated iterations of the question "what is that" evoke the same answer. There are solutions which have been in use for centuries. The simplest one is to add the word auctorum (or hortorum, mercatorum or some similar term) to the botanical name. This indicates that the botanical name is being used not in its proper botanical sense but in the sense of, respectively, authors, gardens, or merchants. Thus, Drimiopsis kirkii hortorum until you know better. Once you know better, you can call it Ledebouria botryoides J.C. Manning & Goldblatt. And now you know why it is important to attach the author's name (or in this case, authors' names) to plant names. Jim McKenney Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I'm surrounded by bulb catalogs (and waiting for Jane's list) and determined to be a firm amicus mercatorum.