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HIST/ SPEC-Pallida "authority"/Gerard and Johnson

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: HIST/ SPEC-Pallida "authority"/Gerard and Johnson
  • From: Henryanner@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 08:49:07 -0600 (MDT)

On the question of the "namer" of Iris pallida, Jeff, speaking to Mark,
 The correct spelling of the name is Gerard, and since I. pallida is a
 naturally occuring species, he was, of course, not the hybridizer, or even
 the introducer, except in the limited sense that as the author of a well
 known Elizabethan herbal, he gave the first printed "scientific"
 description of this iris in English (in the year cited above by Mark) .

To get tedious about taxonomic issues, the "authority", the person who is
credited with first "naming" this plant in scientific terms in print, is
Lamarck (Mathew, p.31f), that is, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierrre Monnet de
Lamarck (1744-1829). So in botanical citatations, the plant is Iris pallida

There are serious questions about whether Gerard was the "author" of much of
his Herbal, much less the plant names therein. In a period when
unacknowledged appropriation of material from previously printed sources was
not unusual and the laws of copyright were still being developed, he still
managed to get himself discussed in unflattering terms, not least by the
botanist/apothecary Thomas Johnson who revised the earlier edition of the
Herbal, producing the 1633 "emaculatus" edition, also known as "Johnson's

Anner Whitehead, Richmond, VA  henryanner@aol.com
Not into yarbs as such, but as research volunteer at a museum of Tudor and
Stuart life became a minor "authority" on English horticultural literature to
1660, especially pomology. 

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