The "real' stoloniferous T. clusiana

Jim McKenney
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:26:02 PDT
Bob Nold asked: "On what evidence are you basing this assertion? What evidence is there that this “old” form is somehow distinct from the wild species?
Or that it is a clone? "
It's based on hundreds of years of empirical observation: the old original Tulipa clusiana very rarely set seed and has long been known to be stoloniferous. And when it set seed, no one seems to have followed up on how that seed behaved: did it germinate and produce more pentaploid plants which were the result of genuine sexual fusion of gametes? Did it germinate and produce pentaploid plants which were the result of the seed being apomictic and thus clonal? The few recorded instances of seed formation which I've seen took place before modern genetics existed, and so would not answer these questions. 

Bob, you seem to be misunderstanding what I'm driving at here. I've never said that the old pentaploid clone is distinct from the wild species. The pentaploid clone exists in the wild as part of the aggregate we call Tulipa clusiana. It's peculiar importance derives from the fact that the pentaploid clone was the first member of this Tulipa clusiana aggregate to have been described in modern botanical nomenclature. That's why all of the varied plants now assigned to Tulipa clusiana (but formerly thought to be distinct species) bear the name Tulipa clusiana. It's one of those very strange situations where the tail is wagging the dog: the diploid populations assigned to Tulipa clusiana in the modern sense, diploid populations which function as modern, sexually reproducing species, do not give their name to the species simply because a related plant, the pentaploid clone,  was named earlier, and according to the rules of nomenclature that earlier name us used for the entire species.

Until well into the twentieth century, the combination Tulipa clusiana as a botanical name meant only one thing: the pentaploid clone. But that's not what the combination Tulipa clusiana means now.
Jim McKenney

 To: Pacific Bulb Society <> 
 Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 11:25 AM
 Subject: Re: [pbs] The "real' stoloniferous T. clusiana
This "pentaploid species" is a clone, and in that respect no more deserving of a distinct botanical name than any of the familiar garden tulips. 

On what evidence are you basing this assertion? 
What evidence is there that this “old” form is somehow distinct from the wild species?
Or that it is a clone? 
Bob Nold
Denver, Colorado, USA

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