Bad Examples

Timothy S. Ross rosst at CGS.EDU
Wed Oct 11 23:34:18 CDT 1995

This one's in response to Judy Winston's enquiry, and I'm posting it on the
bulletin board because it serves as an important reminder to study your
organism VERY carefully before describing it, especially if you're the
gullible sort.
        I have always been terribly amused by this example.
        The genus entry is taken verbatim from J.C.Willis, A Dictionary of
the Flowering Plants and Ferns, 8th ed. (Revised by H.K.Airy Shaw), 1985:

ACTINOTINUS Oliv.  Imaginary genus, founded through the trick of a native
Chinese collector, who had carefully inserted an infl. of Viburnum into the
terminal bud of an Aesculus!

                                        -- Tim Ross, RSA Herbarium

>The thread on keys has been most entertaining.  I have another
>request for bad examples ---I'd like to be able to give
>students some really outrageously bad examples of species
>description, as for example when someone described the
>pedicellaria of an echinoid as a new hydroid species.  Now my
>colleagues can call tell me of bad examples in their field, but
>I don't want to use any that impugn the reputations of the
>living.  I'd rather use published examples from the past?  Can
>you think of any such "good" bad examples?  Thanks, Judy Winston
>Judith E. Winston, Ph.D.             e-mail: jwinston at
>Director of Research                      Ph:   540-666-8653
>Virginia Museum of Natural History        Fax:  540-632-6487
>1001 Douglas Ave., Martinsville, VA 24112

Sr. Curatorial Asst.
RSA-POM Herbarium
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 North College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711, U.S.A.
(909) 625-8767 ext. 233
FAX (909) 626-7670
rosst at

"At the end of a fortnight, I fired myself for willful incompetence."
              -- Donald Culross Peattie (The Road of a Naturalist, 1941)

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