John Lonsdale
Sun, 18 Jan 2004 15:23:16 PST
With reference to the recent snowdrop thread, but absolutely no criticism of
any of the contributors, I love the use of phrases such as "can be" or "in
some cases" it "can be", "are usually" and "most likely to be the latter as
it is more readily available".

When dealing with the classification and identification of over 700 named
species and varieties of snowdrops it is vital to use terms and criteria
such as the above in order to be truly definitive.  I defy anyone,
especially Galanthus experts, to accurately identify more than 5-10% of any
of the snowdrops put in front of them.  It would be great fun to have the
equivalent of a double blind, placebo controlled 'clinical trial' using
snowdrops as the 'drugs'. The results would be hilarious and no FDA panel
would recommend approval of any more novelties.  

Every genetically distinct snowdrop is unique - they just don't need naming.
The galanthophiles have now got to the stage whereby they have to have a
snowdrop symposium (RHS, this spring)at which one of the speakers will
"explain why there are still many more snowdrop cultivars that deserve to be
named"!  They might deserve to be grown, but why name them when most will
never get into general circulation.  Those that do will soon be so
hopelessly mis-labeled and mis-identified that they will never again be
correctly identified, because they are so intrinsically variable and similar
to the zillion other unique ones that look just like them.  Another speaker
will choose "10 of the best for general cultivation" - then hopefully give
the audience the 237 names that you can use as synonyms when you go out to
buy them.

Please don't take the above too seriously - I find the whole thing rather



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