Seed and Bulb Excanges, some Comments

Joe Shaw
Thu, 13 Jul 2006 19:56:38 PDT
NOTE:  Much of this message was cross posted with the IBS.

NOTE:  Comments welcome here or at my private email address.

Hi Gang,

I'm a botanist and a plant pathologist by training, and I've always 
collected seeds and traded them at no charge (in excess of posage costs) to 
people in Texas, in the USA, and even overseas.  Nonetheless, I do hope the 
best for the PBS and IBS, and will continue to send (now and then) seeds of 
various types to the seed exchange for distribution and fund raising 
efforts--it is all to a good cause and all good fun.


I do hope that, should I provide materials, that provenance information (who 
made the ID, which specific locality or county is the source of the seeds, 
etc.), will be passed on to those who get the seed.  I have been lucky 
enought to get seeds from the IBS (not the PBS because I'm not a dues-paying 
member) and find that specific information is lacking.  As a collector, it 
is not enough to know that seeds have been identified by someone, or that 
seeds were collected in one country or another.  We all know that taxonomic 
identifications change (for instance, maybe Crinum flaccidum will beome half 
a dozen species in the future, or note).  Anyway, it is very helpful to know 
exactly where seeds were collected and who collected them.


As a confirmed cladist (one who does not believe genera and families are 
anything more than human fictions), I look to the future when we will have 
much more information about plants.  But such information will not easily be 
derived from seeds labelled "Z. chlorosolen, USA."  The seed exchange might 
as well say, "Some possible expert has provided seeds that he/she claims are 
Z. chlorosolen, and the seeds might have been collected in Arkansas, 
Lousiana, Texas, northern Mexico, or some other place, and may be hybrids or 
not"  Provenance is imporant, and no matter how learned and knowedgeable the 
seed donor may be, identifications without specifics are mostly unsuitable 
for taxonomic determinations as a later date.


Please understand, these comments refer to no particular person or seeds. 
Rather, these comments refer to the practice of sending out seeds without 
detailed provenance information:  who collected them, where were they 
collected, were they garden grown, and what steps were taken to prevent 
cross pollinization, etc.


The IBS and the PBS take a lot of care in their offerings, and surely 
provenance issues make up a minor proportion of questions about plant 
identities.  Nonetheless, provenance information is a standard botantical 
bit of information (as opposed to horticultural informatin), and providing 
such can only enhance the status of any seed exchange operation (or bulb 



Conroe TX

More information about the pbs mailing list