Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Sat Jun 22 10:15:14 CDT 1996

Sometimes things that *appear* simple are not so easily resolved.  I
replied directly to Nelson, but now will throw my two cents worth to the
entire group.

Lamiaceae (whether singular or plural) is a collective noun.  Thus, when
referred to as a set, a singular verb is appropriate, e.g., Lamiaceae is
a family of flowering plants.  When referece is to members of the set, a
plural verb is appropriate, e.g., herbaceous Lamiaceae are usually

As I look at it, to say "herbaceous members of Lamiaceae..." is
unnecessarily redundant.  Herbaceous is an adjective that references
certain Lamiaceae, and "members of" is implicit in the usage.  I suspect
that editors desiring concise text would strike "members of" as redundant
- what else could be implied?  We (in the USA) regularly use expressions
such as Danish Americans to identify particular subsets of the
collective.  I don't think we would want to burden ourselves
unnecessarily by suggesting that the expressions like  "Americans of Danish
derivation" or "Danish people who are Americans"  are preferred to the
simpler, and unambiguous, Danish Americans.

So, this Danish American  votes for "herbaceous Lamiaceae" as a succinct
way to convey just what is meant.

Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |

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