Rassenkries and Lilium grayi- canadense; was Re: Question about Naked Ladies

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 12:39:33 PST
Jim S., you and I are about the same age I think. I'm of the Rassenkreis
generation, too. After posting my original message on this broad topic, I
happened to check the wiki entry for cline and noticed that that entry uses
a translation of Rassenkreis: ring species. 

By the way, I was not suggesting that the situation with Lilium canadense
and L. grayi should be described as a cline. Cline, as usually understood,
does not really describe what can be seen there, where there is a rather
abrupt transition zone between one entity with a vast range (L. canadense)
and another entity which is highly localized (L. grayi). It's fun to
speculate about these things. Is Lilium canadense "capturing" Lilium grayi?
Is L. grayi infiltrating L. canadense? There is definitely something going
on between them. Jim, your description of the situation "a localized
intergradation between two young, mostly allopatric and closely related
species" is about the way I would describe it - but I would omit the words
"species" and "young".

Why? Aren't all sexually reproducing species of equal age? What does it mean
to call some young and by implication others old? Hasn't there been an
unbroken continuum of parents and progeny from the present back into
unimaginably distant time for all sexually reproducing organisms? I don't
consider my ancestry to be any younger than that of a turtle - it's just
that mine has not been so conservative and has been a lot less stable and a
lot more opportunistic. 

One other note, this one definitely meant humorously. Lilium grayi is now
evidently well protected for most of the threats which it faced in the past
(poaching for instance) or potentially faces in the future (site development
for instance). But it seems to me that it still faces a real danger which,
I'll bet, has not been addressed: what are the protectors of Lilium grayi
going to do about the hummingbird problem? It's the hummingbirds which are
mixing things up here. Something's got to be done about them. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where it's time to get back to
potting bulbs (yes, I'm still at it). 
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
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