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Re: hybrids and correction

Wonderful post tks.

At 10:17 AM 10/24/1999 -0700, you wrote:
>>One of the ladies said something about so and so being a species and 
>>a friend  said "well you know there are no true species in the genus 
>Statements like this are usually intented to be a pun, with just a bit 
>of truth thrown in.
>In the animal world, species are fairly well defined and the different 
>species don't hybridize readily.  In the plant world botantist have 
>been trying to define what a species is since the time of Linnaeus and 
>have yet to come to a definitive answer.  There are two camps of plant 
>taxonomist - the splitters and the lumpers.  The splitters will 
>seperate plants into new species on the simplest of differences while 
>the lumpers will throw in a large amount of variability into one 
>The difference between the animal species and plant species is that 
>animals are better adapted at recognizing members of their own species 
>because they have sight and various hormones to attract their own 
>kind.  Animals also move about, so you don't get the local build of 
>variation that can occure in plants.  In plants pollen only traves so 
>far and the resulting seeds usually only travel a limited distance.  
>Thus, any variation that develops in a plant can only spread slowly.  
>Take, for example, a sugar maple tree in Vermont that develops deep 
>purple leaves.  That maple tree will only spread its pollen so far and 
>the resulting seeds will only fall a few hundred feet away.  A 
>resulting seedling may grow a few hundred feet away that is also 
>purple, but it will take some time before it matures and is able to 
>shead pollen and produce seeds that will further spread the purple 
>leaf color.  Now, over a period of centuries all the maples in that 
>area may become purple leafed.  A botantist may then come in and see 
>all these purple leafed maples and call them Acer saccharum var 
>purpurium, but a spliter type may call them a new species, Acer 
>Also, plant species tend to cross among themselves where the species 
>overlap resulting in hybrid populations.  These hybrid populations can 
>then backcross to the species and the backcross plants can further 
>backcross to the species.  By repeately backcrossing a hybrid between 
>two species it is possible to bring in traits from one species into 
>the other species.  This is call introgression.  It is also confusing 
>to the taxonomist because these individuals will have all the main 
>traits of one of the species, but also a few traits of the second 
>species.  Is this a new species?  
>Thus, some people take the extream position and say that there are no 
>species, that every plant is an individual.  This is usually said with 
>a big grain of salt, but in a way it has some validity behind it.
>I have more experience with the daylily species then I do hosta 
>species.  Relatively few daylily species were brought over to the US 
>and Europe, and I suspect this is somewhat the same with hostas.  It 
>is also true with the true lilies.  The daylily species in the US can 
>be more or less defined into about a dozen species.  We know what 
>these species look like.  However, we are now starting to get some 
>daylilies from China and Korea and we have no idea of where they fit 
>in.  Part of this problem is that we don't know much about the natural 
>distribution of daylilies in Asia, in particular, China.  This is also 
>probably true with hostas.  Also, with hostas a lot of the species 
>that are in the US and Europe came from gardens in Japan and who knows 
>where the original plant came from.  They may have been seedlings that 
>were grown in the garden, but their history was lost.  They may not 
>even exist in the wild.
>There are all sorts of research tools available today that can help 
>the plant taxonomist sort all of this out, but these techniques are 
>EXPENSIVE to use.  
>Joe Halinar
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Butch Ragland So. Indiana zone 5

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