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Re: SPEC-Iris lazica

>Ian E. & Shirley Efford wrote:
>> The Guide to Species Irises put lazica and ungicularis in different
>> species.  To quote "This species [lazica] is easily separated from
>> I.unguicularis by its flat, wider, more or less unribbed leaves and
>> larger fiddle-shaped falls.  It also occupies a completely different
>> ecological niche."  The niche referred to is one of a higher rainfall
>> and lower winter temperatures than the Mediterranean climate of
>> unguicularis.
>> Ian, in Ottawa where we were down to -11C last night.
>Is this a "done deal"?  I mean are they indeed classified as a separate
>species.  If so it is a terrible injustice.  Grown side by side they are
>so similar you would think they are the same from a distance.  The plant
>habits and the flower are very similar.  Like I mentioned in a previous
>posting the only slight differences are the larger size of Lazica's
>flower and it's inablility to flower as freely.  Otherwise no
>Rick Tasco
>Superstition Iris Gardens
>Central California.....Last two nights at 31F...Goodbye rebloom...sigh
>Zone 8

Sounds to me like Rick's plants, while labelled as lazica, might not really
be that species.  The Guide cites many differences none of which Rick's
plants show: conclusion might be that Rick's plants are not lazica.

As a practicing taxonomist who has named and discovered hundreds of new
taxa ranging in rank from species to order, I must say that "justice" is
not involved in establishing species.  To say that a particular organism is
a representative of a different species is a scientific hypothesis.  The
evidence for and against the hypothesis is weighed by the scientific
community and the hypothesis is accepted or rejected.  Obviously the
authors/editors of the Guide have accepted the hypothesis that lazica is a
distinct species and they have stated their reasons for doing so.  That
doesn't mean that everyone has to follow them, but if you disagree you have
to make sure you are talking about the same set of plants.

Bill Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943
FAX (804)223-6374

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