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What is a Species (was Re: Iris setosa)

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: What is a Species (was Re: Iris setosa)
  • From: iris-l@rt66.com
  • Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 15:47:18 -0700 (MST)

Bill Shear wrote:

>The standard idea is that I. setosa was widespread in both NE Asia and
>across North America at various times during the glacial period.  Glacial
>advance would have separated western and eastern populations, which then
>evolved enough differences to become separate species (Note that an animal
>taxonomist would not consider setosa and hookeri separate species if they
>could freely interbreed, but plant taxonomists use different criteria).

What are the criteria that plant taxonomists use to determine what is a
species? There seems to be a major grey area in certain wild populations in
determining what are species and what are naturally occuring hybrids. I
guess that's what makes taxonomy fun.

Kay Cangemi
New York, USDA zone 5

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