Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Thu Feb 13 11:50:39 CST 1997

At 10:49 AM 02-13-97 CST, John Nelson wrote:

>I am sure you will
>agree with me that the state flower of South Carolina, "Yellow
>jessamine", or Gelsemium sempervirens (Loganiaceae), is surely the
>finest of all those selected by the various 50 states.

Hey, if it's such a great state flower, how come only ONE state has chosen
it?  Illinois's state flower, the violet, was selected by THREE OTHER
states!  And our state bird, the cardinal, we share with no less than SIX
OTHER states!  How's that for individuality? Really singles us out, you bet!

(Of course, I find it absolutely inconceivable that no member of the
Campanulaceae has ever been singled out for such a coveted honor.)

As for the rendition of Gelsemium on the phonebook cover, we must bear in
mind artistic license.  In central Ohio, home of the Ohio State "Buckeyes"
football team, most likenesses of the emblematic Aesculus glabra leaves on
souvinier items offered for sale look a whole lot more like Cannabis sativa
foliage than anything in Hippocastanaceae.  Most artists have never had the
benefit of a plant taxonomy course.

And speaking of needing a plant taxonomy course, let's hear it for the Maine
legislature, who designated as their state flower a gymnosperm!

Thomas G. Lammers
Department of Botany                     Classification, Nomenclature,
Field Museum of Natural History          Phylogeny and Biogeography
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive       of the Campanulaceae
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
fax:        312-427-2530

"... what could possibly be easier or more beautiful than 'Campanula'?  What
affectation more gratuitous and silly than 'bell-flower'?"  -- R. Farrer

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