Arum - naming a Group

Dylan Hannon
Mon, 09 Apr 2007 09:52:49 PDT
In my haste to think of an example, Amaryllis/Hippeastrum was indeed a
poor example. My point is that not all changes are accepted in the
long run and so hobbyists need not switch their labels at every turn
of taxonomic change. The (failed) effort to split Eucalyptus into a
number of genera and the apparent flip-flop on subsuming Albuca into
Ornthogalum (see previous posts here) can be cited along with many
others. Competing contemporary classifications by recognized
("competing") authorities also are an issue sometimes.

The fact that so often people have great difficulty in determining the
"correct" name for a plant indicates that authoritative references
frequently are not in agreement with one another, which is obviously
the case, and one must wonder why this is so.


On 4/9/07, John Grimshaw <> wrote:
> Dylan Hannon wrote:
> >I think it is worth pointing out here that any of us is free to accept
> > or reject any validly published name for any given plant. If one
> > prefers to use Amaryllis over Hippeastrum, for whatever reasons, it is
> > not technically "wrong". The same goes for recognizing the Liliaceae
> > in its old, broad sense versus the modern partitioning of this family
> > into a dozen or more "new" families [some of them are very old family
> > concepts!]. Some formal changes, as carried by the scientific
> > journals, are accepted by the botanical community while others are
> > not. The difficulty is that picking and choosing among the various
> > classifications can require as much energy or more than growing the
> > plants themselves.
> This subject has been frequently discussed here. While it is indeed true
> that one can pick and choose one's own taxonomy, I always think that if one
> feels confident enough to override a technical expert in the field who has
> invested a great deal of time and resources into reaching a conclusion, then
> one must be able to put forward on equal terms a convincing argument why
> such and such a taxonomic viewpoint should be rejected. It is not sufficient
> to say 'I don't like it' - that is the way of the Luddites.
> The vexed question of Amaryllis versus Hippeastrum is an unfortunate case to
> use in this instance, since here it IS wrong to say that Amaryllis can be
> used for Hippeastrum, as the question has been settled by decision of the
> International Botanical Congress in favour of Amaryllis being restricted to
> the South African species. Whether or not this was the right decision is
> immaterial: if the codes of taxonomy are to be ignored at random then chaos
> can be the only result.
> John Grimshaw
> Dr John M. Grimshaw
> Sycamore Cottage
> Colesbourne
> Nr Cheltenham
> Gloucestershire GL53 9NP
> Tel. 01242 870567
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