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Thread: Regarding the use of the abbreviation aff.

  1. #9

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    Hey Laura,

    I don't see how so much frustration can arise from somebody's honest attempt to say he has a possible new species in hands. Most taxonomist would keep absolutely quiet about a new species until it is published and you would never even know about it. But Allen not only lets you know beforehand that he may have something new, he even gives you the chance to cultivate it! If it takes a few years or more to publish new species only shows how difficult a process it is. Maybe he needs more field work, or maybe it's simply not his priority right now. I'm sure he's working on many other interesting species which surely keep him busy...


    Take Care,
    Fernando Rivadavia

    P.S. Cultivar publication is certainly a valid option, but it requires a certain amount of work which Allen might not be willing to go through, considering he'll be publishing them as new species eventually.

    An option would be to list them as D.sp."orange flower", for example, but that doesn't really give you much of a clue about what you're buying from his list. So using the "aff." seems like a great option to me.

  2. #10

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    Hey Fernando, I can certainly appreciate why your response was so passionate. I don't know either Lowrie or Hochberg and would therefore not attempt to speculate as to why they choose to use the term. To a certain degree, I would fall into the Dawnstar and Clemens camp regarding usage of same. Regarding my frustration, it would appear I am not alone.

    ¯`•.¸¸.•´¯ `•.¸ ><((((º>•.´¯`•.¸¸ •.´¯`•.¸><((((º>•

  3. #11

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    "aff." is a commonly used term in WA and is most often associated with the naming of unique terrestrial orchids. You may be aware of how much variation and complexity that exists within the tuberous/pygmy/petiolaris Drosera of WA, but these differences and variations pale into insignificance in comparison to the native orchids. Allen Lowrie has acquaintances within the WA orchid set and as far as I am aware was once incredibly interested in them himself (probably still is).

    At one stage, there was an explosion of orchids discovered throughout south western WA and many plants which were once considered to be a single species by those who had not studied them were separated into many species. On top of this, many new forms were found. Many of the forms that were recognised as being obviously distinct from the type species were given the "aff." prefix to help avoid confusion. To some it may have actually added to the confusion, but I myself think that it did help in the short term- particularly since many of these species are restricted to areas that are doomed to habitat destruction. Recognising the plants in these areas as distinct provides a greater chance of protection. Since this time, many of these new forms have been described as new species and several have been protected.

    It seems like Allen has adapted the use of aff. to use for similar problems associated with newly discovered forms of Drosera.

  4. #12

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    Hey Laura,

    Let's just keep in mind that using "aff." is an informative option, like the use of "Drosera sp.whatever". It's of course nice to have an official cultivar name while we wait for the official publication of the new taxon, but in the end it would just add to the long list of useless taxonomic names.

    For those of you who have never worked with taxonomy, I'll tell you it's a major pain-in-the-behind every time you want to write an article on a certain taxon, having to study all the possibly synonymous type herbarium specimens (usually deposited in institutions on separate continents) and associated literature (often in hard to get & obscure journals from the previous centuries).

    So while for the **hobbiest** it may be better to have an official name attached, for the **taxonomist** it's best to be patient and publish a single article (either describing the plant as a new taxon or simply describing the known natural variation for that group). Just look at the mess orchid taxonomy is because of the excessive names floating around!! For this reason, I am fully in favor of keeping publications in general (including cultivars) just a little complicated and bureaucratic, in hopes of holding back a bit the excessive enthusiasm of some hobbiest, hehehe! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]


    Not to mention: why go through the trouble of publishing it twice, first as a cultivar and then as a new taxon? Just to make growers happy? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] In my opinion cultivar status should be saved for plants worth cultivating, but not necessarily worthy of their own taxonomic rank.

    In the end, it's Allen's choice what he does with the strange plants he sees in the field and I'm just happy he shares it with us all as soon as he does find them, instead of keeping them secret for years, which is what most taxonomists do, fearful that others will "rob" their work. And Allen has had that happen to him a few times in the past, let's not forget!


    Best Wishes,
    Fernando Rivadavia

  5. #13

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    Just a note on the availability of D.paradoxa in cultivation:

    As far as I remember, the plant was thus named because it took Allen YEARS of field work to fully understand what D.paradoxa was, because of its different growth forms. In the meanwhile, he was distributing seeds from the several locations he found, until he realized most belonged to the same species.

    And if you don't believe me, just check the publication and you'll see that one of the known collections cited by Allen for D.paradoxa was made by myself in 1993, in N.Australia, Kakadu National Park. And I **KNOW** I distributed seed of this one! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

    Take Care,
    Fernando Rivadavia

    P.S. Another option would be to check the other locations he mentions in the original publication and then see if he has seeds of D.paradoxa from these sites on his present (or past) seed lists.

  6. #14

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    Say Fernando,

    Let’s just keep in mind that .aff doesn’t exist for all practical purposes.

    “why go through the trouble of publishing it twice, first as a cultivar and then as a new taxon? Just to make growers happy?” Fernando, I did not suggest this be done. Perhaps you are reading a tad too much into what I have written. If a few people choose to insert an extra word here and there, far be it for me to attempt to stop them from doing so however there is nothing inherently wrong with neophyte hobbyists questioning the existence of these isolated occurrences and forming their own opinions.

    Regarding this statement, “I am fully in favor of keeping publications in general (including cultivars) just a little complicated and bureaucratic, in hopes of holding back a bit the excessive enthusiasm of some hobbiest, hehehe!”… pray tell why Fernando? Help me understand. Yes, I am a hobbyist as pertains to CPs but I would best be classified as an environmentalist. I volunteer hundreds of hours controlling, eradicating, and managing introduced species and this does not include time spent working with children to better prepare them to carry the torch in the future. Do you realize we “hobbyists” depend upon people such as yourself and your publications to enable us to be in the best position to sort out which species belong and which don’t? My country is a mess. We in the US are not alone. The invasion process is well under way globally. Introduced species have the disastrous proclivity to take over natural areas to the detriment or exclusion of native plant communities and do wreak havoc.

    I apologize if I have offended you or your friend in any way. Best wishes in your future field studies, Laura

  7. #15

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    Hey Laura,

    Please forgive me if what I wrote sounded strong, I swear I had a smile on my face as I typed it all! OK? Please no hard feelings?? Give me a little credit, after all English is a 2nd language for me and it doesn't always come out the way I intended... [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_l_32.gif[/img]

    When I wrote about how a little bureaucracay was good, I was really thinking of orchid taxonomy, which is a much bigger mess than any other plant group simply because there are so many eager hobbyist (and taxonomists too!!!) who will publish anything as a new species... Giving them a little bit of trouble does however hold the tide a tiny bit, I think (and hope).

    As for "making the growers happy", it was just a statement to show how many different interests are mixed in this group. For hobbyist it can be quite frustrating to grow a whole bunch of "sp." and "aff.", not having plants correctly identified with either a species or cultivar name. I know since I've been in this position...

    But this problem, in my opinion, is not AS BIG a problem as the excess of published names is for taxonomists, because once something is published, it's eternal. On the other hand "sp." and "aff." is temporary.

    And let's not forget plants labelled as "sp." and "aff." is also VERY frustrating to taxonomists, hahaha! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]


    Take Care,
    Fernando Rivadavia


    P.S. Congratulations on your volunteer work! All your time dedicated to this cause helps convince me that there is still hope against weeds... (all except U.subulata in our collections, of course!).

  8. #16

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    No hard feelings Fernando. It's the Internet and often times it is difficult to interpret intent given readers are not in a position to see accompanying body language and not in a position to hear inflections in speech.

    Thank you for your P.S. comments. Do you volunteer anywhere?

    Yes, "many different interests are mixed in this group". There are a few members here at Terra who, like myself, volunteer on public land in an attempt to clean up this big mess we've all got on our hands in hopes that native plant communities can be seen by our grandchildren in something other than a picture book. Best wishes to you in eradicating U. subulata in your collection. Oddly enough that particular species is either endangered or threatened in a few states here in the United States.

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