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Re: Shirofukurin

  • Subject: Re: Shirofukurin
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 11:13:12 -0400

Hi Ben,
      According to the articles in the last issue of The Hosta Journal, you
put together your own delineation of the hosta species. In it you eliminated
the species montana and placed all members of this former species into the
species sieboldiana. I don't understand how you can find the name H. montana
'Shirofukurin' an acceptable and even desirable name if you do not consider
montana a species. Accepting name like that plus your questioning of the
established species seems to be completely at odds with each other and an
argument against using species names for plants.
      Unfortunately, it is those in the scientific community that so
completely blur the definition of a species. If the scientific community
could agree on what constitutes a species, it seems likely they could
someday settle on which hostas are species and which are not. I don't know
if this will ever be possible, but none of us want to keep changing the
names of hostas every few years as someone comes out with a new version. If
everyone accepted your new version of the species today, how long would it
be before the next version appeared from someone else? Should we go ahead
and rename all the plants like H. montana 'Aureomarginata' and such now
because montana is no longer a species or should we wait and see if the next
person to rearrange the species puts montana back? It is just because of the
frequency of these changes that the AHS moves so slowly in trying to sort
out some of the older questionable plants.
        I see this as a good reason to drop the species names altogether and
leave that information in the parentage descriptions that go with the names.
Any plant that has a species epithet before it other than 'Elegans' is a
single cultivar anyway as a selected individual of that species. Because it
is not a seed strain or other group of plants, it is simply an individual
cultivar that should be named separately. As for "bona fide" species, who
decides what they are? You have been at odds with George on that subject for
some time now, and George's views are different from some older versions.
Without a single clear accepted definition of a species, all we have to
decide what is bona fide and what is not are the opinions of those
scientists which take an interest in hostas. It is because your list of
"bona fide" species is so different from George's that we all must wonder
what is a species and what is not. Certainly most of us thought montana was
a bona fide species prior to your article. Now we must wonder if we should
change all names that begin H. montana ........ If you do not think we
should, does that mean you have reconsidered and again accept montana as a
species? It can't work both ways.
       As far as the names themselves go, there is some flexibility in the
code and many things are more recommendations than rules. The AHS as the
ICRA must decide within the limits imposed by the code on what is acceptable
and what is not. To be honest, I do not always understand why the people at
the ICNCP made some of the decisions that they did, and they also change the
rules at each meeting. Currently, the AHS does not go very far in adding
rules to the ones in the ICNCP code, leaving most decisions in the hands of
the Registrar. The Registrar is not an officer of the AHS, but is only
affilliated with the AHS to the extent that the AHS is the ICRA. The AHS is
also not affiliated with the ICNCP governing body, which is a branch of the
United Nations. All rules pertaining to which names are acceptable originate
with the code, but with hostas the interpretation of the code where it is
not firm is in the hands of the Registrar.

..............Bill Meyer

> No problem adhering to the rules However I still strongly oppose to
> leaving out the species name in those cases where there is no
> doubt about its identity. The AHS strongly adheres to about 20
> hybrids still named as species and now the swing is to the other
> side and all mutants of bonafide species are banned as species.
> This completely blurrs the distinction bewteen species and hybrids
> and cultivars. Just because it is difficult in some cases this is no
> argument to propagate the abandonement of species names.There
> is no problem with a montana Shirofukurin as long it is only used
> once and all other white edged montana's are given a different
> cultivar name That is what is done all the time with plants like
> Patriot etc. If  descriptive names are banned what about Fragrant
> BLue,  Gold Edger etc?
> Ben J.M.Zonneveld
> Institute of Biology,Leiden University, Clusius lab
> Wassenaarse weg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands
> Zonneveld@rulbim.Leidenuniv.NL
> Fax: +31-71-5274999. min temp -10C (15F)
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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  • References:
    • Shirofukurin
      • From: "zonneveld" <zonneveld@rulbim.leidenuniv.nl>

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