Plant Names, was Schizobasis intricata

Nathan Lange
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:12:39 PDT

Mary Sue,

Such thoughtful deliberations concerning the 
nomenclature of plants on the wiki could also be 
applied to the plant anatomy used to describe the 
same plants. Would not the best standard for 
naming things on the wiki, whether plant names or 
plant parts, be the answer to the question, "What 
is the current consensus among plant science 
journals?" As you have pointed out, the answer is 
possibly very difficult, if not impossible, to 
ascertain regarding the correct nomenclature of 
any one plant species. However, answers to 
questions about the accepted plant anatomy needed 
to describe the same plant are fairly easy to find.


At 08:00 AM 8/18/2014, you wrote:
>When I first started working on the wiki I 
>didn't know very much about how plants get their 
>names. I know a lot more now, but I'm sure there 
>are members of this list who know a lot more 
>than I do. It has been very challenging to 
>decide what name to use on the wiki. I used to 
>believe that botanical names were the way that 
>people could know that they are all talking 
>about the same thing, but I no longer think that 
>is true. And if the Internet makes it easier to 
>publish new species that could make it even 
>harder. As a number of people on this list have 
>noted over the years, if you include the name of 
>the person who published that name after the 
>botanical name you are technically correct even 
>if no one uses that name any more.
>Someone suggested that we use IPNI
>and for awhile we did until we understood that 
>it is a listing of published names of plants and 
>not necessarily the ones that people are using 
>at the moment. If you put in Schizobasis 
>intricata you will find that it is a published name.
>Kew had a monocot checklist and for awhile we 
>used that to verify names since the majority of 
>wiki species were monocots. This list has 
>gradually added other families besides monocots, 
>but I'm not sure if all of the wiki families are included.
>I still like to use it some times as it offers 
>helpful information. If you used it to search 
>for Schizobasis intricata you would learn that 
>it is in the family Asparagaceae  and was first 
>published by Baker  by that name in 1874. In 
>1872 he first published this plant under the 
>name Anthericum intricatum. In 2000 Manning and 
>Goldblatt published a new name for this species, 
>Drimia intricata. If you click on that name you 
>will learn that it is distributed from Ethiopia, 
>Tanzania to S. Africa  and is a bulb geophyte 
>and is an accepted name (but it doesn't tell you 
>by whom.) There is a link to other sources that 
>may or may not have further information.
>I used to also look at Tropicos, the Missouri 
>Botanical Garden's database of plant names.
>It describes itself this way:
>Tropicos® was originally created for internal 
>research but has since been made available to 
>the world’s scientific community. All of the 
>nomenclatural, bibliographic, and specimen data 
>accumulated in MBG’s electronic databases during 
>the past 25 years are publicly available here. 
>This system has over 1.2 million scientific 
>names and 4.0 million specimen records.  If you 
>search in it you will find both Drimia intricata 
>and Schizobasis intricata so they have it covered either way.
>Sometimes Kew and Tropicos agreed so we felt 
>somewhat safe in using a name listed in both. 
>But then the Plant List was suggested as a resource.
>It describes itself as a working list of all 
>known plant species. It aims to be comprehensive 
>for species of Vascular plant (flowering plants, 
>conifers, ferns and their allies) and of 
>Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). 
>Collaboration between the Royal Botanic Gardens, 
>Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden enabled the 
>creation of The Plant List by combining multiple 
>checklist data sets held by these institutions 
>and other collaborators. So using it meant we 
>didn't have to check both of the above.  It 
>lists 1,064,035 scientific plant names of 
>species rank. Of these 350,699 are accepted 
>species name. The others are either synonyms or 
>unresolved.  So only a third of those names are 
>"accepted".  And they note it is a work in 
>progress and not perfect. If you check 
>Schizobasis intricata in the Plant List you will 
>find that it is the accepted name (3 stars 
>confidence) and Drimia intricata is a synonym.
>Another resource to use for South African plants is the SANBI check list.
>I like to look at it as it seems reasonable to 
>me that local botanists are likely to be current 
>on their plants (but that may depend on whether 
>someone has transferred their data to the 
>internet.) But even if the information is 
>current it doesn't mean that everyone around the 
>world is going to agree and accept their 
>findings. Looking up Schizobasis intricata here 
>you will find that it is in the Hyacinthaceae 
>family and is a synonym for Drimia intricata and 
>is Perennial. Climber, geophyte. Ht 0.05-0.69m. Alt 250-5540m.
>So what do we call it if someone is kind enough 
>to send photos to the wiki? Toss a coin? Either of these would be correct:
>Schizobasis intricata (Baker) Baker
>Drimia intricata (Baker) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
>If you are still with me and I'm sure I've lost 
>some folks by now, it is possible that someone 
>will decide to take on this plant and do a more 
>historical search and find that someone else was 
>first in naming this plant and therefore the 
>name should be changed even if it has been used 
>for a very long time under a different name and 
>all the resource books would now be out of date 
>under that name.  Or perhaps there was a 
>spelling mistake that now needs to be corrected. 
>It makes it so hard for any resource to keep up 
>to date with what to call a plant. And as we 
>found with Albuca into Ornithogalum back to 
>Albuca, even the experts can change their minds. Anyone for common names?
>Mary Sue

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