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Re: Re: Iris ignominy

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: Iris ignominy
  • From: Robt R Pries <rpries@sbcglobal.net>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 07:04:48 -0800 (PST)

Donald; I am really not trying to be dificult. In The first and second editions of the SIGNA checklist I followed the AIS convention. But when I send out a copies to expert gardeners or plant scientists I always feel some embarassment. AIS is like a teacher, providing us with information about Iris. I always feel badly when I hear a teacher using poor grammer. Individually I don't care what people do. I often send a hasty post on e-mail with all sorts of horible typos, because I am short of time as I am now. But somehow the bar is raised a bit when one is representing a society.
Standards maintain quality levels. Holland is famous for its high quality plants. The Dutch have laws preventing the sale of misnamed plants. If a plant in their trade does not fit the cultivar description they have authority to confiscate and destroy the entire crop. They are so strict because the standard they create is what the world expects from them. They have been very successful because the world knows they will get a true to name plant. I doubt that most people understand how important registration is to commerce. It is ultimately overseen by the United Nations Commerce committee. But they rarely take any action that we hear about. They mainly make suggestions just as I am doing now.

donald <donald@eastland.net> wrote:

>  I am curious to hear what everyone thinks,

I dislike entering what may be controversial areas, but I'm going to
here, I guess.  Won't be the first time I've been out of step with
the world.

First, I think it's an extremely esoteric subject to begin with.  It
may well be of vital interest in the arcane world of plant
scientists, but I really doubt that too.  As primarily a gardener, I
didn't know there was a 'standard' International horticultural
convention for writing a cultivars' name.  Then I wondered why I
would know it?  Where would an ordinary lay gardener get exposed to
it?  I did know that Latin derived species names are generally
written in italics.  Or do I?  It's not an option with my email
program.  Are you meaning this to apply to emails and photos posted
on this forum?  I would disagree that writing in the 'Standard Form'
is as easy to read quickly as when written in ALL CAPS.  I have
searched in the archives and have often wished names were
capitalized so I could quickly find them in a long post (such as
this) or in messages that were not cut on replies.  It does not
affect iris-photos on photos, but it does in written messages in the

I frankly am not in the least concerned with someone perceiving me
as provincial.  I wonder if the lay gardener in France, Jordan, or
Ukraine is any more likely to know the correct International
horticultural convention than most backyard gardeners found in the
continental U.S.  Why would they?

If you were not referring to these rather loose and informal iris
groups, but rather to AIS and official publications, then it seems a
lot to ask that what is already done be redone.  How many R&I's are
there now?  It would be absurd to have them reset for future
printings just to conform.  Did they always do them in caps?  Or are
you suggesting only that future R&I's conform?  Are the hosta,
daylily and iris societies really 'outlaw' societies?  That seems a
pretty extreme term to describe groups for whom the majority of
members are simply growing a plant they enjoy. The members I've met
hardly seem like a renegade bunch.  I seriously doubt that many
officials made a deliberate decision to flout the international
code.  Why would they do that?  It probably just got done.  It may
have followed some other rule of writing and happened with no malice

>First of all a cultivar shouldn't be in commerce if it is
unregistered. Or to put it more correctly any cultivar in commerce
should be registered.

In a perfect world, yes.  But offhand I can think of several that
are or have recently been in commerce that are not registered. Some
are old and their name was usurped by a later cultivar of a
different type or decade.  Some are newer.  What do we do?  Change a
name that's been in use?  That can be confusing as well.  Add
something to distinguish them and register them?  What about
hybridizers who for one reason or another don't choose to go through
the registration process but distribute their cultivars?  How do you
force them? I know you are on record as registering lots of plants,
including species clones.  I tend to agree with you up to a point. 
But I think the reality is that there are going to be plants
circulating under names without having been registered or being
circulated under the wrong name(probably more often and sometimes I
expect quite widely distributed that way). 

But I learned something from your post.  Something I didn't know.  I
had just assumed it was a personal preference on how a name was
handled - excepting the use of italics on Latin derivative names. 
But without an italic option, I can't write those correctly at all
in an email.  For the time being, though, I'm probably going to
continue to exercise my personal preference, provincial or not.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA

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