Descriptive terms for unidentified bulbs

Mary Sue Ittner
Wed, 19 Mar 2008 08:10:42 PDT
Thanks to all of you who helped explain all the terms it is possible to use 
instead of a question mark when you don't know what something is. It gives 
us a lot more choices to use on our tags while indicating that we aren't 
quite sure what it is. It seems so much better to associate the unknown 
with something that it might be related to than have it be completely a 
mystery. I think there are probably members of our list who never 
understood these terms who might not have wanted to ask about them and now 
know. I've been using aff. for the Romulea species that I grew from seed 
exchange seed misnamed Romulea linaresii and Romulea ramiflora . Most 
people consider these plants to be a form of Romulea bulbocodium even 
though some books describe that species as having a stigma that overtops 
the stamens and these flowers have short stigmas about the same height as 
the stamens. It sounds like perhaps I could have been using Romulea cf. 
bulbocodium instead of Romulea aff. bulbocodium. Since I'm not a taxonomist 
or a botanist, just a gardener, I am happy that there are terms I can use 
in a situation like this one. The plant in question is a real winner in my 
garden, blooming reliably every year and increasing nicely so I can plant 
it in different places and share with others.

For years I wondered about sp. nov. used in so many books. I decided it 
must be a term used for a new species that someone was researching, but 
perhaps someone would like to explain what it means as well.

Mary Sue

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