Friday, November 5, 2010


Taxonomists, the specialists who deal with the systematic classification of organisms, must continually keep abreast of research being conducted in other fields of study. As information on the thousands of recognizable plant groups continues to accumulate, taxonomic systems are forever being revised.  Thus, the work of classification and nomenclature will never be completed, no more than the evolutionary processes creating species will ever cease to operate.  Species are in constant flux, through geologic time,
alters the course of natural selection, or becoming extinct.  In addition, the continual emergence of new gene recombinations, resulting from hybridizations, contribute significantly to plant diversification.

The scientific names of plants (genus, species) are certainly more reliable and universally accepted than common names that vary from country to country, and more by whim than good judgement, may change between one century and the next.  Even so, the very nature of taxonomy is such that the scientific names will always be subject to periodic review, and possible modification. 

Many horticulturalists find such changes somewhat disconcerting. But names are given only after thoughtful study, and are meant to clarify our understanding of the evolutionary relationships existing between species and their close kin in other taxonomic groups.  
Shortcomings in the classification system simply remind us that while the Plant Kindom's multitude of organisms has taken millions of years to develop, mankind's attempts to sort out the complex family ties has, by comparison only begun.

Botany for Gardeners
Brian Capon
Timber Press
pages 182-183

Garden Updates

Carica papayas are back, there are 3 between 1 and 3 feet. They should be ready by this time next year. Passiflora edulis has around 70 fruits, for people and birds. Gloriosa rothschildiana has bloomed. Two Mezquites, were relocated from pot to fiber glass container, and pot to ground, in the east and north gardens. 

That is that.

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