off-topic botanical question: Curious about shrubs as a gardening term
Tue, 08 Jan 2008 10:47:45 PST
On 7 Jan 08, at 7:30, John Grimshaw wrote:

> The fact is that we do not possess a precise vocabulary for
> distinguishing plants into growth-form categories and inevitably some
> taxa are shoehorned into slots they do not deserve

The problem is that Mother Nature doesn't much care for discrete 
categories with sharp dividing lines. She loves continua with lots of 
gray areas, thereby driving the logically minded to a state of utter 

There are some fairly sharply defined groups of plants, of course: 
oaks and cyclamen being 2 examples. But not everything is so 

These inevitable gray areas and ambiguities are something for 
newcomers to the Exciting World of Botanical Nomenclature to keep in 
mind, by the way. They even appertain to categories of categories 
such as "family" and "genus".

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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