Jim McKenney
Fri, 02 Sep 2005 12:38:49 PDT
John, I have a problem with the definitions you have cited: they are not
mutually exclusive. For instance, isn't the water chestnut of Asian cuisine
(Eleocharis dulcis) properly a helophytic, geophytic corm? (And I hope
everyone appreciates my punning choice of example).

We've been through this before: if the term geophytic is purely descriptive,
then there is no problem in describing something as both a geophyte and a

I don't think much good will come of trying to define these terms rigidly. A
bulb which grows above ground cannot by definition be a geophyte - yet most
of us would say that it goes against common sense to say that it isn't.

For that matter, does a tulip bulb on display in a bin in the garden center
cease to be a geophyte until it is replanted into the ground? 

Furthermore, I see a potential 'escape clause' in any definition which
includes the word corm. Although there seems to be general agreement about
what a bulb is, the term corm is much trickier to define. It's easy to
stretch the definition of a corm to include virtually any dormant
underground storage structure derived from stem tissue. 

Also, it seems to me that there is something more basic to be observed here.
Yesterday I ran into a wikipedia entry which included some repartee between
the original author of a piece and a subsequent reader who asked "shouldn't
someone change this entry to say..." The original author then reminded his
critic that everybody was free to give input. 

This is the wiki world: you don't have to ask permission to have an opinion!
I don't worry about these silly categories people dream up. Even if what you
have to say is not strictly relevant, it may still be interesting or funny
or insightful or in some other way valuable. 

If things wander too far, Mary Sue can try to herd us cats back into

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I've reclassified my
Ledebouria socialis into the geophytic ones with bulbs under the soil
surface, the lithophytic ones with bulbs fully exposed on the gravel mulch,
the ones I'm going to throw into the pond to make them helophytic ones, and
finally a potential category for the dead ones which I mistakenly believed
to be helophytic. 

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