Family Information

Thu, 20 Nov 2008 00:19:54 PST
For well over a century gardeners and botanists have coped with the ridiculously large family of Liliaceae.I wonder if the matter ever really will be truely resolved as depending on which set if genes you analyse you get different results just as in morphology different aspects reveal diferences and similitudes.Pehaps when ALL of the genetic sequences have been decoded in all organisms on super powerful computors we will then have a clearer idea.But something tells me that morphology will become fasionable again then!
Science is as precise as human minds .It includes opinion and prejudice as well.It is not hard and fast but just interpretation of phenomena that sometimes can be tested by experimentation.How are we to test for family relations?Sometimes hybridisation reveals close genetic make-up. This is where hybridisers , plantspeople and gardeners are so useful to science,but sadly often their work is ignored by the geneticists.Simple observation can be helpful ,but then since the beginning of plant classification everyone assumed Lotus species to be close relatives of Nymphaea.But now we know them to be close relatives of Platanus and Proteaceae.Botanists had overlooked pollen morphology ! Genetics has revealed the importance of a morphology that the morphologists had ignored themselves.Surely these kind of facts underline the real value of genetic study.Had no one looked at pollen of living plants before and made a classification based on that?
I am reminded of Huxley's exclamation upon hearing Darwin's theory of evolution that "of course it was so evident".
We just have to be very zen and accept that all is in a state of flux...
Evolution is a synonym of change after all folks!

> Message du 19/11/08 17:16
> De : "Mary Sue Ittner" 
> A : "Pacific Bulb Society" 
> Copie à : 
> Objet : [pbs] Family Information
> Nhu asked about why Sternbergia was included in Alliaceae in the article 
> Jim noted about Sternbergia. That is because the Angiospermy Phylogeny 
> Group (2003) proposed sinking Amaryllidaceae and Agapanthaceae into 
> Alliaceae. You will note if you check the Kew monocot world check list for 
> family listings that this list uses the suggested alternatives so all the 
> genera that were once in Amaryllidaceae are now listed in Alliaceae. 
> Another example is the alternative placement by APG (2003) in Asparagaceae 
> of Agavaceae, Anthericaceae, Hyacinthaceae, and Themidaceae. If you look up 
> any genus in the Kew list that used to be in one of those families you now 
> find them listed in Asparagaceae. This makes for some giant families. It's 
> hard for me to think how Brodiaea, Lachenalia, Pasithea, Agave and 
> Asparagus are alike enough to all be in the same family. For those of us 
> who consider ourselves gardeners, not botanists, it means that there is no 
> real advantage in learning the different families and which genera are now 
> included in them since those definitions have become so broad.
> Mary Sue
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