User Tag List

Informational! Informational!:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 8 of 19

Thread: Regarding the use of the abbreviation aff.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was under the impression that this was used when an individual didn't have a positive ID? Sort of a way to avoid having to say... I don't know what I've got but I think it is abc aff. xyz or I got the plant from so and so and they don't know exactly what it is so I'll just follow suit and look official and toss the aff. in for effect so as to not draw attention to the fact that I really don't know precisely what I have other than that it has an affinity toward abc aff. xyz?

    Examples from Allen Lowrie's list of seed-
    D. aff. paradoxa "orange flowers" Mount Bomford, Kimberley, West Australia
    D. aff. paradoxa "metallic orange flower" north of Prince Regent River, Kimberley
    D. aff. paradoxa "metallic orange flower" Mount Elizabeth, Kimberley

    An example from Matt Hochberg of New York's site-
    sp.aff.natalensis ('sp. big pink fl')

    aff. is an abbreviation for the word affinity, correct? So for all practical purposes, those who use this aff. don't really know exactly what they have they're just applying their best guess. Am I correct in this assumption?

    What would be so wrong with simply listing a plant/seed as D. paradoxa "orange flowers" (not a positive ID but most likely it will fall into this classification)?

    Just curious.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    698
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi Laura,

    You are correct in assuming aff. is an abbreviation of affinity.

    The term is generally applied when a new plant is discovered that does not quite fit into the currently known species. So, using the D. aff. paradoxa as an example, a new plant has been found by Lowrie that resembles D. paradoxa but as far as Lowrie is concerned is not actually D. paradoxa. Therefore to simply name it D. paradoxa "orange flowers" would not be appropriate.

    Having said this, the term or abbreviation of affinity is not a scientifically accepted term in regards to nomenclature and is merely one used for convenience and a method of avoiding confusion- at least by the discoverer.

    I personally think it is a good way to differentiate between obviously different plants. I think that it should be limited only to the discovery of new plants though.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Why am I not surprised that it is you who was in a position to answer my question. Thank you because there is nothing out there on the web on aff.

    I see that aff. and think hmmmm... what's really going on. Seriously, Lowrie has three D. aff. paradoxa just on that seed list alone. Even if those plants are a new species that he stumbled across on one of his inventory acquisition expeditions, the use of same seems unorthodox to me. Not only is it confusing but what it boils down to is that it is a totally manufactured term of convenience. It would appear there are extremely valid reasons why the scientific community may not be all that willing to accept and/or acknowledge the term. No wonder why you can't find any information on the term out on the web.

    If I may be so bold, using the term is rather pompous in my opinion. I fully grasp the concept behind why it would not be appropriate to name a plant that resembles D. paradoxa as truly being D. paradoxa without setting it apart from the "real" D. paradoxa somehow but there has to be a better way than tossing in some term of convenience which appears to me to be a means by which to avoid the time and expense of having to deal with the characteristics of a plant that are deviating from type. Furthermore, deviations from type within the same species are not uncommon based on location so to add more confusion to the situation, one of those D. aff. paradoxa plants up there from Lowrie's seed list might ultimately be deemed to be a real honest to goodness D. paradoxa or quite possibly a subspecies or who knows.

    My greatest concern is that not having the inclination, time, equipment, adequate sample, or the expertise to be able to go through the process of having a plant properly listed creates confusion. Nomenclature is supposed to be internationally unambiguous and understandable and adding that aff. doesn't exactly achieve this goal.

    Nomenclature references have been standardized for a reason, so that we can all be on the same page. Playing games, and I do now view the use of this term as game playing, by adding aff. lends much confusion and could ultimately be the demise of a species because there is no means by which to identify it as possibly being threatened or endangered when it gets lumped in to a known genus and species for the sake of convenience by simply adding that little aff.

    While I can appreciate why some may feel the use of the term might be a good way to "differentiate between obviously different plants" with the use of same being limited to newly discovered plants, it would appear that the term is being abused if that makes any sense given it truly doesn't exist anyway. Those D. aff. paradoxa have shown up on his list for how many years now... ten or more? Now there is another person out there who evidently bought seed from Lowrie who is listing the plants from that seed the same way Lowrie did? And how many more are out there who have adopted the use of that term? Seems like a logistical classification nightmare to me even if one did limit the use of the term to newly discovered plants (individual bias now enters the equation) and it really makes me scratch my head and wonder if there isn't something else going on. Seems to me as if the use of this term undermines the stability of names and circumvents the acceptable practices of collecting a specimen and getting it into a herbarium and and and and. There's a lot of work associated with the evaluation and listing process.

    What do I know, that darn aff. has been throwing me for a loop for a while and I find the use of same by "experts" to be extremely frustrating for the entry level botanical peons such as myself.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Oswego, New York, U.S.A.
    Posts
    5,290
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In the case of Lowrie using Drosera aff. paradoxa I heard it through the grapevine that this is because he never released seed of the "true" Drosera paradoxa (don't ask me why that would be so). It all seems a bit dodgy to me.

    Well, there will always be instances of individuals that refuse to conform to the species requirements...quite a lot of them actually. Drosera dielsiana is a good example of this with it's propensity to hybridize with other S. African Drosera in habitat and even in collections! I've grown numerous examples of the specie. Some adhere tightly to the descriptions in the protolouge, others far less so. If I want to distribute a particular example with some good characteristics, but with an obvious departure from the protolouge descriptions, how do I do this without leading a grower astray in regards to the key features of D. dielsiana? I think in this instance, the use of "aff." is responsible usage...meaning it is close, but with some digressions from the key description. Look at it as a sort of "heads up"

    The problem with this is these organic beings are not willing to conform to the concept of "type", and to lable every instance of variation as "aff." is not intelligent.

    The intelligent solution IMO is to employ a different form of nomenclature for interesting variations - and this instrument is in place with the cultivar registration system afforded to us by the ICBN, although it has been rejected by most growers who seem to prefer making up illegitimate names along with the overuse of "aff."

    It's also a good ploy to beef up commercial seedlists.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Given your example of D. dielsiana and given Seandew's example of a need to be able to differentiate between two obviously different species, I can see how incorporating aff. into a binomial has occurred and I would be a proponent of same. There is a need to “set apart” that our current system has no means by which to address.

    All said and done, the use of same as pertains to the D. paradoxa appears to be a grandiloquent move.

    At this point, I know more about aff. than I needed to know and my thoughts are now that the existence of the term is just not good but I really can't put my finger on why.

    Over here in the US, we do not automatically list a species as endangered when it is newly discovered. Thanks to bureaucrats, we currently have no systematized method by which to protect new discoveries and it would appear attempts to move toward a different form of nomenclature will be repeatedly and systematically thwarted. I can see that too, people don't like change. I presume other countries have similar stumbling blocks present. I can't help but wonder if our current nomenclature system isn't conveniently "lacking" thus creating little loopholes.

    Seems as if everyone is capable of agreeing on the higher level aggregations of most species but when it gets down to the lowest aggregate of the species epithet, problems can arise. We've really got to find a better way as this is the key to being in a position to better the ecological well-being of the environment as well as to regulate trade and commerce.

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

  6. #6
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,539
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here is a link that mentions and describes the use of aff. / affinity:
    http://www.mfaint.demon.co.uk/cactus/naming.html
    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Oswego, New York, U.S.A.
    Posts
    5,290
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Laura,

    There is another alternative route that in my opinion is more legitimate than this coined phrase, but one that is infrequently employed - namely the cultivar registration process afforded through the ICBN via the ICPS. I have long argued that if an individual within the species is noteworthy enough to be desirable, and so subsequently expected to find a wide distribution, then it should be registered preferably in advance of that distribution. I do not believe that the ICBN recognizes any legitimacy to the term "aff.", and if this is the case even widespread common usage of the term will not grant that legitimacy. Currently, the registration system is cumbersome in terms of publication time. Most growers want to employ the ICPN for their cultivar publications, and there is a good year wait. New discoveries need to be distributed earlier than this timetable allows, so the "aff." serves this instance. It should be noted that the ICPN is not the only publication available - any hard copy with sufficient distribution may be employed. I have published both in the UK Journal and the ICPN. Even a society newsletter may be used, provided that Dr. Jan Schlauer who is the registering official is sent a copy for review. I have made inquiry as to why electronic publication will not meet the requirements, and gathered that the ICBN (the same institution that has preserved nomenclature since Linneaus' day) regards electronic media as unreliable, and possibly even faddish, LOL.
    The International Congress of Botanical Nomenclature takes a looooong view. They've been around the block a few times.
    The registration process is elegantly simple and designed for common usage, but it has been rejected mostly by the community who prefer to embrace less legitimate (and intelligent), although admittedly faster forms. The argument is that such multitudinous submissions bogs down the system, and only desirable cultivars should be published. Fooey to that! The term "desirable" is a fairly subjective term though, and it is solely the authors choice as to what plants this term will be applied to. If enough people showed a willingness to embrace the tool given to them by the ICBN, I suppose a dedicated journal could be created to speed up publishing times. The Co-editors of the ICPS were willing to consider hosting such, and I hope one day to see it. For anyone with an interest in nomenclature and taxonomy, the issue is perplexing and frustrating - a solution is in place, but few will embrace it.

    My feeling is that any material carrying an "Aff." should be regarded with a slightly raised eyebrow, a grain of salt, a hand on the wallet, and the appropriate Protolouge key description. Individual anomalies are always interesting though and deserve to make the rounds. They are trouble makers that can bring relaization that taxonomy is far from an exact science, and that the entire "species" concept is a fairly pitiful attempt based on highly egocentric assumptions. Such anomolies spark good discussions, but they also serve to confuse those who are not cognizant taxonomists. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in my opinion are as important as the protolouges. A website based on legitimately published material of this sort would be invaluable if it were inclusive. It is a shame that such an opportunity is not more realized, but that's the way the tentacle bends.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  8. #8
    Moderator Joseph Clemens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    2,539
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I agree 100% with Tamlin about the Cultivar registration process. It is one of the most important and helpful tools for the CP horticulturist. It is however, regulated by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) rather than the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN).



    Joseph Clemens
    Tucson, Arizona, U S A

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •