Keiko O'Brian

Wed Feb 24 09:51:02 CST 1999

> This coming from someone who named plant species after Star Trek
>  (fictional TV show) characters... That is more than a little
>  inconsistent!

Now, now, now. Telling tales like out of school like that. Hardly
anyone knew about that until you told everyone. Besides, Keiko
O'Brian is a botanist of Japanese ancestry, with an Irish husband
and two wonderful children. Does the fact that she does her botany on
the planet Bajor in the 24th Century makes her any less a botanist?
Quite the contrary; having the courage to do botany despite
the danger of Bajor's conquest by the Jem Hadar makes her all the
more honorable.
   Seriously, I chose the name mostly to poke fun at the practice.
The point is moot anyway, as Berberis keikoae is the one name
that got buried in the triplicate publication mix-up. Correct
name instead is Berberis tsailunii. Tsai Lun was a member of the
court of the Chinese emperor in the Fifth Century BC. He is known
as the inventor of paper. This is an important contribution to
botany because to date every single scientific plant name has been
printed on paper. Thus the entire science of taxonomy
would be impossible without him.

>  What difference does it make if a taxon is named after a person,
>  place, or morphological character, as long as it is named and
>  identifiable?  Does the fact that Billieturnera is named
>  Billieturnera make it any less a valid genus?

Of course not. But it is a four-syllable name and avoid-worthy
on that count alone. People who coin these names forget that
there are people around who are going to be forced to
use the names. It was years before I learned to spell "wislizeni"
without having to look it up each time. Pity the poor person
trying to spell "laferrierei."
   Tom: You'd better use the name "Lobelia sackville-bagginsiae"
before I beat you to it. The same goes for "Cosmos saganii" and
"Lotus wuntoothreeus."

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
"Computito ergo sum ...  I link therefore I am."

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