Ipheion 'Rolf Fiedler'

Alberto Castillo ezeizabotgard@hotmail.com
Thu, 23 Jan 2003 11:57:04 PST
Dear Kevin :
                    No, I've never been to Herbarium Ravennae nor did anyone else ! For the list, let me explain that it is (was) Ravenna's private herbarium in which he kept the type specimens of many species he has published over the years. BUT, he would not let anybody see those specimens so if you are studying them you have to go to the type locality where the plant was originally collected to try and find what it really is. This is contrary to all conventions and manners in science where there is free circulation and cooperation among researchers the world over. It is difficult to imagine the amount of damage this attitude has caused to the knowledge of South American bulbous plants many of which are in serious danger of becoming extinct mainly from habitat destruction. 

The international pressure on Ravenna to open his herbarium and show the vouchers was so obviously overwhelming that last year he spread the voice that there was a fire and the whole herbarium was destroyed. This could be no problem as when he describes a species he cites several other herbariums to which duplicates had been sent. The problem is that when one asks for those duplicates invariably the answer is "They have not been received here". Reach your own conclusions. You rightly say that disentangling this mess would take a lifetime. More, as I have been doing this for decades, then in the company of Dr. O'Farrell and now with Dr. Roitman. 

In the last few years there has been a frenzy of new species being published by Ravenna in a number of genera (horribly in Habranthus) including Nothoscordums (legions of new species) and Leucocoryne in which John Watson told me that Ravenna has been naming as species color forms that are found in populations of known taxa. This is like a madhouse! These new species are published in Ravenna's own journal (???). The problem is they are accepted as valid by index Kewensis even tho his journal does not fill the minimum requirements for a scientific publication.

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