nomenclature +ACY- taxonomy issues

Graham Rice
Tue, 10 Apr 2007 13:49:43 PDT
Actually, the one thing that I would like to see would be more formal 
input into APONAT from overseas - this might help avoid situations 
such as the Americans splitting Aster into smaller genera and the RHS 
retaining Aster.

Graham Rice
Milford, PA
6in of snow forcast tomorrow night - enough!

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>While agreing entirely with Chris Whitehouse's post, I think it's 
>important to make it clear that although the Royal Horticultural 
>Society's APONAT Panel is a major influence in horticutural 
>taxonomy, the 'rulebooks' for both the Botanical and Cultivated 
>Plant Codes are derived by consensus at international meetings of 
>botanists and horticultural taxonomists - not some devious British 
>plot to dominate the world of plants.
>John Grimshaw
>Dr John M. Grimshaw
>Sycamore Cottage
>Nr Cheltenham
>Gloucestershire GL53 9NP
>Tel. 01242 870567
>Easter Monday 9 April, Arboretum Weekend 15-16 September
>Gates open 1pm, last entry 4 pm
>----- Original Message ----- From: "CHRISTOPHERW" 
>To: <>
>Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:08 AM
>Subject: Re: [pbs] pbs Digest, Vol 51, Issue 9
>>This is why the work of the RHS Advisory Panel on Nomenclature and
>>Taxonomy (APONAT), whose advice informs the use of names in The RHS
>>PlantFinder, is so valuable. Not everyone agrees with their
>>judgements but it seems to me that the existence of a freely
>>available publication (and I mean free -
>> standardising
>>the names of plants in horticulture the world over is invaluable.
>>What's more the minutes of the meetings of APONAT are now available
>>for all to read online here:
>>And they welcome comments and information about individual issues.
>As secretary to APONAT, I would very much like to thank Graham for
>pointing out to the wider horticultural world the work that this panel
>does for the RHS and the horticultural community in general.  I would
>certainly like to emphasise the main reason for its existence is to
>provide the RHS with a standardised taxonomy for all our publications
>and work, and it is not there to force everyone else to agree with it.
>As John has pointed out in the discussion of Amaryllis and Hippeastrum,
>there are two aspects to every horticultural name: a nomenclatural and a
>taxonomic.  Everyone needs to follow the nomenclatural rules appropriate
>for that name (whether according to the Botanical Code or the Cultivated
>Plant Code) if there is not going to be anarchy in plant names.  These
>rules include priority of the name, valid publication, correct spelling
>and conservation of the name (e.g. Amaryllis), etc.  However, nobody is
>obliged to follow the taxonomic aspect of a name, although as John and
>Graham remind us, we should probably have a strong argument for
>dismissing someone's well-reasoned consideration of a name change.
>APONAT makes decisions on both aspects and the minutes need to be read
>with this in mind.
>The RHS Plant Finder is certainly a useful resource for anyone just
>wanting to follow a good taxonomy without making their own decisions for
>every potential name change.  However, the RHS Plant Finder was designed
>for gardeners in the UK to locate plants at nurseries and the database
>is actually based on the larger datasource of the RHS Horticultural
>Database.  This can be located at the following link:
>The advantages of using this over the Plant Finder search page is that
>more taxa are included (e.g. Lachenalia kliprandensis which is not found
>in the RHS Plant Finder but is on the RHS Horticultural Database) and it
>gives some indication of the status of the name.  Take another example,
>going a bit off topic but using Graham's example of Helleborus Wester
>Flisk Group, this is given on the Horticultural Database as only
>tentatively accepted.  That basically means that there is nothing
>obviously wrong with the name but it has not been investigated in detail
>enough by the RHS botanists to confirm that it has been validly
>described somewhere.  With over 4000 plant names added to the database
>each year, I hope you can understand that the RHS botanists do not get
>time to check that there is a proper description for every name on the
>If the members are interested then I can highlight if there are any
>particular issues on the APONAT minutes relevant to bulbous plants once
>they have been published to the internet.  Over the last year there have
>been small discussions on Nothoscordum, Typhonium & Sauromatum, and
>South American Oxalis.  The most relevant minutes available on the
>internet are probably 4 August 2005, where Merwilla & Scilla and
>Leucojum & Acis were briefly discussed.
>As Graham says, in using the databases, if you feel there are aspects of
>it that are incorrect then please do get in touch we me and I can ask
>APONAT if they ought to consider changing it.
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