pbs Digest, Vol 139, Issue 17

Hannon othonna@gmail.com
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:12:12 PDT
A few considerations regarding Schizobasis.

We can agree that Schizobasis is a validly published name but that is not
much more than a technical aspect of nomenclature. Whether it is
taxonomically useful is another matter, the one of most concern to end
users like growers and botanists. Ideally we should not have to mull over
the phylogenetics of hyacinthoid monocots and the veracity of associated
classification schemes every time we wish to know what to call our bulbs.
The folks who are employed in that job have decided recently that S.
intricata should be referred to as Drimia intricata to more accurately
reflect the most current understanding of this species and its relationship
to its closest allies. One might have thought Bowiea was the closest
relative of Schizobasis but that turns out not to be the case at all
according to DNA analysis.

Still, it can be argued that Schizobasis is a useful name, a concept with
abstract predictive value. This remains true even if current scientific
consensus says that it is only a subset of Drimia, whether formal
(subgenus, section, etc.) or informal. So we can continue to say "Isn't
that a lovely Schizobasis!" and not really offend anyone. Who are we
worried about offending by a misstep in naming anyway? We can recognize the
utility of this name and at the same time realize that its rank in the
formal classification of Hyacinthaceae is nullified, at least for now.
There are many examples in other groups where we make similar references
without any fuss: Oncocyclus, Neochilenia, Manfreda, etc.

Additionally, it seems clear that Schizobasis is comprised of more than one
species, all the more reason to use this name as a general reference for a
very distinctive little group of bulbs.

Dylan Hannon

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