Hannon othonna@gmail.com
Wed, 15 Jan 2014 17:17:07 PST
For those on this list who are unfamiliar with the American or British
schemes to track "national collections", the idea is based on specific
genera of plants or closely allied groups, or even a part of a particular
genus. They are not, as far as I know, focused on whole collections.

Even as botanical gardens are becoming more organized in databasing and
mapping their holdings, it is a safe bet that most of the diversity of
cultivated plants remains in private hands. This speaks to motivations as
well as resources. The sometimes awkward interface of plant
exchange between public gardens and collectors will not be improved by
increased centralization of information about collections in either sphere.
The current informal and often personal basis of exchange of plants and
information between all types of participants serves well enough over time
and functions as a sort of natural selection process. If all collections
everywhere were represented by accessible databases, what benefit would
arise that we do not enjoy now?

It might be a good idea for societies like PBS to keep track of specialized
collections held by members. This poses many obstacles, not least of which
is the burden on the PBS administrators. Some measure of value or
"worthiness" would have to be established-- delicate territory! With or
without such a program, it might be useful to have an article in *Bulbs *that
outlines the features of a more valuable assemblage of plants and how such
plants serve the interests of various growers. *Improving *collections is
more worthwhile than documenting them in a database.

Dylan Hannon

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