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Re: Indian Marts (a little bit off topic)

  • Subject: Re: Indian Marts (a little bit off topic)
  • From: Carol Ann Bonner <cadastra@mindspring.com>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2001 08:29:27 -0500 (CDT)

Julius wrote (re: Amorphophallus purchased at Indian Marts)
> Also,
>if poss. keep a note on how the three develop, it would be interesting to
>see what makes them the 'three different types', if it is just a 'flavor'
>thing, or if they may be three different clones of the same species, etc.

A few years ago, the ethnobotanist Paul Cox spoke at the university where I
worked.  There is a plant in Samoa that is considered a single species by
western botanists, but the native people say it is two different plants and
they have two different names for it.  Interestingly, the plants that the
natives identify as species A have ten times the active substance (and I
don't remember what it was other than it was a medicinal, not a
psychoactive agent) as species B.  Which brings us back to the question,
"What is a species?"  I can see recognizing a plant that tastes either
bland or a little bitter or quite good as having three distinct cultivars,
but if we're talking a plant that tastes like a baked potato versus one
that tastes like an Amorphophallus flower *smells*, can we call those two
different species, *please*?

Carol Ann, who finally sent in her IAS membership form yesterday

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