Family Information
Wed, 19 Nov 2008 11:10:10 PST
On 19 Nov 2008, at 7:55, Mary Sue Ittner wrote:

> Nhu asked about why Sternbergia was included in Alliaceae in the article 
> Jim noted about Sternbergia. That is because the Angiospermy Phylogeny 
> Group (2003) proposed sinking Amaryllidaceae and Agapanthaceae  into 
> Alliaceae....

> For those of us who consider ourselves gardeners, not botanists, it means
> that there is no real advantage in learning the different families and which
> genera are now included in them since those definitions have become so broad. 

One has to wonder why on earth no one has proposed leaving these (former) 
families alone and erecting a super-family to encompass them.

The instability of family definitions is, as Mary Sue so eloquently testifies, 
becoming a problem for those of us who use taxonomic knowledge in real life.

One can only hope that the international group responsible for botanical 
nomenclature will wake up to this problem and perhaps freeze families, just 
as they have frozen certain genera. (The technical word is "conserve", not 

It's time for the botanists to pull their act together and start legislating, 
instead of the current everyman-for-himself approach.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

More information about the pbs mailing list