Weedy Tulips - T. clusiana

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:10:50 PDT
I think we need to make it clear to newbies to this game that those names are not "equals. Is the same as".
In the world of formal botanical nomenclature, and in answer to the question "what is the species rank name for these tulips", the answer is "Tulipa clusiana; the tulip sometimes called Tulipa stellata is now also called at the species rank Tulipa clusiana".
In the world of horticulture, the answer is different, at least for those who are trying to interpret the name Tulipa clusiana in older books. Although named at species rank, the old original clone called Tulipa clusiana was not a species in the modern sense. It was (and is) a pentaploid clone. In other words it was only nominally a species. 
Formal botanical nomenclature rarely deals with names at the clonal level, but if we had to come up with a name for the original pentaploid clone, Tulipa clusiana 'Clusiana' would work. 
For gardeners, the thing to keep in mind is that the combination currently in use, Tulipa clusiana, is the name at species rank for a variety of plants, whereas until recently the combination Tulipa clusiana referred to only one thing, the original clone.
A bulb dealer who sells you something called only "Tulipa clusiana" has several different tulips (not all the same color) from which to choose in filling your order. 
Jim McKenney    
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