naming of plants

Jane McGary
Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:52:11 PST

On 1/6/2016 1:03 PM, Robin Graham Bell wrote:
> 	Finally, while you may not personally benefit from the discovery of a new species, people do benefit from these discoveries,  taxonomists get tenure, publishers get books, nurserymen get plants, often expensive ones, people underwrite discovery expeditions & gardeners want to have them & other people become experts.

One might add that when a plant with very limited distribution is 
described as a taxon (specfies or subspecies), laws in some countries 
encourage the protection of its habitat from human activities that might 
threaten the organism's survival. This effect, entirely beneficial in 
the view of most of us, in turn may protect the taxonomic classification 
of the organism even after DNA analysis, e.g., has determined that it is 
a hybrid (Fritillaria gentneri), a somewhat non-viable polyploid (the 
"dinosaur daisy" of Colorado), or merely a slightly different color form 
of a more common taxon (all those newly named crocuses in Turkey, which 
are probably being eaten up by sheep anyway). This effect is sometimes 
annoying to academic botanists.  In the USA, state Native Plant 
Societies are particularly protective of local forms, and of small local 
populations of plants that are common in other states. I imagine the 
same kind of situation obtains in Britain.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list