The "real' stoloniferous T. clusiana

Jim McKenney
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:22:14 PDT
With regard to your usage of the word clone, keep in mind that the meaning you seem to be using, although it's certainly the prevailing meaning now, was not the original meaning. The original meaning (viticulturists came up with this) was meant to describe the group which results when plants are asexually propagated. Clone in that original sense referred to the group, not to the entities which made up the group.  Once geneticists got hold of the word, they imposed the "genetically identical" concept - in spite of the abundant evidence all around them that vegetatively propagated plants often show somatic mutations. Tulip growers alone could have shown them cases where a single seedling came to exist in over a dozen different (in the marketing sense) forms. 
So, for those who insist that clone means "genetically identical population/aggregation" , then clone might not describe the original Tulipa clusiana.
But for those of us who use the word clone in its original sense, somatic mutations (and anyone who knows the history of tulips knows the huge role they have played) are not relevant to this issue: we prefer to believe that "our" old original Tulipa clusiana is a piece of the original seedling, some perhaps with somatic mutations, some perhaps without. 
I'm glad you mentioned the problems asexually reproducing organisms pose for the biological species concept. It seems to me that most asexually reproducing organisms (that is, organisms which reproduce exclusively by asexual means)  exist as clones. When they are classified at the rank species, they have been misplaced. They should be classified at the rank Individuum. 
Jim McKenney
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