Tue, 23 Dec 2003 10:49:15 PST

I feel for ya, but I can't reach back that far...any more.  We are on
another wave of understanding and, as you mentioned, it does mean the
destruction of our know systems of classification.  I do believe that we
will find we have missed a few items on our discovery trip through DNA
analysis.  The end of the puzzle is no where in sight, even if some would
like to let us think this.

One of the biggest problems with the older system is it's assumption that
certain characteristics define a species or genus.  Often such physical
characteristics are quite meaningless in the bigger scheme and may well only
represent a slight modification in the gene pool.  Ultimately, any system
needs to serve it's users and, in this sense the old system was working to a
large degree.  We were able to consistently identify most entities.  The DNA
system does not assure such identification at this point in it's evolution,
largely due to our still huge ignorance.  At some point we will fathom the
intricacies, but for the typical plantsman, is that all important?
Obviously, we cannot use "common" names, they are useless on an
international level and the only other system is that which is currently
being re-educated.  A vocabulary of synonyms, which is what we are using
more and more, seems to be the bridge language.  Without the internet we
would really be lost!  As much as a marriage between the systems would be
romantic, it wouldn't really help.  The old system is built upon centuries
of research, we shouldn't expect a new system to evolve too much faster,
even with computers.  The depth of knowledge required is simply too massive.

I think it's bit the bullit time......but that's just my before the holidays

Jamie V.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Bryan" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 7:41 PM
Subject: [pbs] Scilla

> Dear All:
> The points raised by Mark McDonough Pepperell in his posting of December
> 22nd, is most deserving of comment. I too feel the proposed Scilla ultra
> breakup is splitting to an unnecessarily excessive level. But such seems
> to be taking place with many other genera.
> Several questions need to be raised. No doubt as the science ( falsely
> so called perhaps) of DNA advances, we will hear about other radical
> changes, not, repeat not, to the benefit of all. I am reminded of the
> division of Narcissus some years ago, when after a few years, the
> divisions were found to be not valid. Heaven knows what happened to
> those who, upon reading of the changes, mixed the various species only
> to find they had to return, in a large degree, to the way things were.
> I do not doubt the value of examination of the DNA of species. But it
> seems to me, as I have mentioned in various writings, that it is time
> for a compilation of such information in a separate list, this being
> available to those hybridizing and other such work on the species
> involved.
> The destruction, for that is surely what it is, of the established means
> of identification of species, should be considered in light of the need
> for identification of species by those without means of examining the
> DNA. In my opinion differences which can be determined by a hand-held 10
> power lens, should be the limit of and the reason for splitting.
> Is it not time to continue with the established and seen differences,
> and devise a classification of such genera, as a supplement to such
> established practices? This "new" classification, based on DNA, being
> supplementary information, to be used by those whose field of endeavor
> would be aided by such.
> Constant changes, will, in my opinion, destroy the established and for
> so long, accepted classifications. Such will become so complicated that
> the average horticulturist, will find it difficult if not impossible, to
> correctly identify a plant.
> It is, again in my opinion, to place under scrutiny, the entire question
> of identification. Yes keep the information obtained by DNA in a
> separate table, but allow the established format for identification
> based on those characteristics visible with a hand lens, to remain.
> Great advances have been made, but it seems in their making, recognized
> and essential and accepted means of identification will fall by the
> wayside and we will in effect, be the losers. How to achieve this? Good
> question, but upon examination of this question, which can and should be
> done, an effort should be made to marry the two systems without the
> destruction of established methods of identification. Cheers, John E.
> Bryan
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