Fwd: Haemanthus

Rodger Whitlock totototo@telus.net
Mon, 05 Nov 2012 10:56:30 PST
On 5 Nov 2012, at 8:36, Hannon wrote:
> Pertinent to recent discussions, Snijman has this to say about variation in
> pubescence in H. albiflos:
> "*Recent collections have shown however, that the entire range, from hairy
> to glabrous forms, exists within a very small area*."
> This demonstrates the important point made here by various writers that
> often a species cannot be characterized by a single individual that is
> known in cultivation. Some variation seems "impossible" until it is
> witnessed in the field.

This inspires me to haul out an over-used sermon on the subject and remind 
everyone, especially relative newbies, that the type specimen of a species may, 
in fact, be very atypical. Indeed, many type specimens are from the margins of 
a plant's natural distribution (where it's not particularly common and catches 
the eye of the collector) and hence more likely to deviate significantly from 
the average form of the species.

Without being able to point to a single example, I'm quite sure that there have 
been cases where several marginal forms were given separate names and only when 
the full range of variation was later investigated was it realized that these 
were all the same species.

So keep that in mind: "type" in the taxonomic sense does not mean "typical".

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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