what is considered bulbous

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Fri, 25 May 2007 11:06:59 PDT
David’s 2¢ worth is worth plenty more that that: he has summarized the
concept of geophyte nicely as far as I’m concerned. 


Also, I’m glad you responded, David, because if nothing else it gives me a
chance to correct two errors in my original post.



First of all, the lily which grows as an epiphyte is L. arboricola. 


Secondly, the correct name of the other lily is Lilium sempervivoideum, not
L. sempervivoides. 


Now back to the geophyte discussion.


We’ve had this discussion in the past, and I’ve pointed out that terms such
as “geophyte” would be better used in an adverbial sense and not as nouns.
If we were to use the term as an adjverb, we might more comfortably
distinguish those times when members of the same species grow geophytically,
hydrophytically, lithophytically, epiphytically and so on.  


When we use these terms as nouns, they take on a life of their own and often
come to be understood virtually as natural, taxonomic categories. Everyone
starts out agreeably enough saying that, of course, the plants we call
geophytes are not necessarily related. But immediate dissention sets in when
someone points out that of the morphologically similar members of a given
genus, some grow as geophytes, some grow as epiphytes and so on. 


Bulb does not necessarily mean geophyte: Lilium arboricola is bulbous, yet
is evidently an epiphyte and does not grow in or under the ground. 


Those who attach a taxonomic meaning to the word geophyte will perhaps want
to say that this lily is an epiphytic geophyte. I say that’s oxymoronic. 



Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the daytime temperature
has topped 90 degrees F today. 


My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/


Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 

Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 


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