Pet peave: Misidentified Plants on the Web

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by saltcedar, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I realize mistakes will be made. I've certainly made a few.
    But is there any way we can help avoid more mistakes by
    taking the initiative to notify the website in question?
    I've personally done this on more than one occasion,
    Usually they just ignore my suggestions or tell me I'm
    mistaken. Occasionally I even get a note of thanks; not
    in the case below.

    For example:
    http://www.stratsplace.com/gardendiary/zeph_drumm.html
    This one is most irksome not just because it wrong but
    the listed plant isn't a bulb, a lily or even a monocot!

    I believe it's Amsonia ciliata possibly var. texana as I was
    told this plant came from a 'Texas wildflower "expert" '.
     
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I'm with you, but we appear to just be "spinning our wheels". I sometimes get one wrong on my website as well, I was just told today of one that may be wrong. When that happens I start sending the link to a list of botanists I've acquired over the years and almost always either verify if I've got it right or the person sending me the email is right. I try to be careful from the start by asking advice from these same botanists and botanical experts, but it is certainly possible even they will get one wrong. Especially with aroids, trying to make a positive ID from a photo can be difficult.

    In almost every case where I've tried to explain why the internet post is wrong (and I give the name of the botanist who offered the opinion), I'm ignored. I believe that is because almost every plant collector considers themselves an expert in their field. No one likes to hear they are wrong. Or, they have asked the advice of someone they trust and don't want to admit that friend was also wrong. Just check eBay. You'll find listing after listing with the wrong scientific name. Many literally have "made-up" scientific names!

    I was once sent a registered letter from a "garden site" when I tried to explain the name of Philodendron hastatum had not been changed to Philodendron domesticum. I even sent copies of letters from Dr. Tom Croat and Dr. Eduardo Gonçalves, both of whom are the world authorities on Philodendron. They said retract my statement or they would sue! They simply refused to believe these authorities were correct because they had read the information on the USDA website. We searched that one for months and finally got the USDA to admit they were wrong, but the garden site still has it up! The name was never changed! It was nothing more than a misreading of a scientific paper. I had to pay a lawyer to edit my webpage to make sure there was nothing there anyone could use in court!

    So, as much as I wish we could get it right on the other sites, it is just not likely to happen. That is exactly why I often post new threads when I find an error like that. Google is very good at putting UBC posts near the top of the page, so at least people doing research will have a chance to find the error before they commit it to memory.

    Great idea, but the internet is forever going to be filled with garbage information.
     
  3. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Almost funny but sad. Sure not a rainlily. Some kind of blue star. I emailed them also. Maybe they will get the message.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Grief, that fake "Zephyranthes" doesn't even have six tepals! It can't possibly be a monocot!

    Another hint . . . note that they call it Zephyranthes Drummondii. Not Zephyranthes drummondii. Capital D. Ugggh!! This breaks one of the main tenets of botanical naming, that species names are in lower case. Definitely a capital offence.

    Personally, I always ignore sites with such dreadful howlers - if they can't get such basic details right, how can you expect them to get anything else right?
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  6. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    "Definitely a capital offence."

    Brit's don't believe in Capital Punishment do they? ;-)

    Regards
    Chris
     
  7. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    "They also have a page titled 'Bald Cypress'"

    They must agree with a local botanist who thinks Metasequoia belongs in Taxodium
    says it's just a Chinese Bald Cypress!

    Chris
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Usually no, but for breaches of the ICBN, yes ;-)
     
  9. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    There are very few cases where the specific epithet starts with a capital, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt, since it was identified by an "expert". Looked it up and Drummondii isn't one of them.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    None: From ICBN Art. 60 (my emphasis):
    http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/frameset/0065Ch7OaGoNSec1a60.htm
     
  11. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I must admit I had not read the new Vienna Code for specific epithets until I found one of your previous posts, however, "should" doesn't exactly mean "must".
     
  12. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    dont like people that ask questions of you then explain how you are incorrect? Don't work in a garden center!

    :D
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Recommendation 60F

    60F.1. All specific and infraspecific epithets should be written with an initial lower-case letter."

    As indicated in the title that appears at the beginning of the pages linked to, the material they display consists of both Rules and Recommendations. The above is a Recommendation. Authors may choose not to follow it, without breaking any Rules.
     
  14. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    You misspelled peeve. Nobody's perfect.

    I once sent a correction to an online bulb catalogue and received a bonus plant with my order.

    And I cannot resist writing corrections in library books. Incorrect photo captions and misplaced photos are often problems. I have a book in hand that says liatris blooms from the bottom up.
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I was wondering how long till that would get mentioned ;-))
     
  16. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  17. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I just did a search for Crinum to see if any resembled that Hymenocallis and found another mistake. Look at the common family name they have given this one...
    http://www.hillkeep.ca/bulbs crinum.htm
    There is an Amaryllis belladonna, but the Amaryllidaceae is not the belladonna family.
     
  18. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I wonder what the ICBN has to say on this?
    I've seen everything from "Agave Family" to "Lily Family" used!

    Regards
    Chris
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Lots of people involved with plants, especially in the commercial sector don't know anything about nomenclature. Mistakes are common. Reactions to specific instances being pointed out will vary with responder and situation. Some won't know what you are talking about, others will think it doesn't matter, and yet others will actually get where you are coming from and make corrections.
     

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