Should we ditch infageneric ranks?

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Tue Sep 27 16:46:40 CDT 2005

And spare a thought for our mate Murray who as a botanist chose to live
in Dryandra Street?  Is he going to have to change his address to
Banksiasubgenusdryandra Street?

One view of infrataxa is that they can provide a playground for people
who wish to express relationships in a formal nomenclatural environment
without impinging on the 'general usefulness' of easily recognizable
primary taxa.

My defiant opinion is that the world would have been a better place if
the obvious evolutionary lines in the Casuarinaceae were expressed in a
rich infrageneric classification of a single genus Casuarina rather than
forcing to population to come to grips with hand-lens differences
between Casuarina, Allocasuarina, Gymnostoma and Ceuthostoma.
Recognising these affinities at infrageneric level for people who
actually care about such things does not make the taxa any less real.  I
think it was Cronquist who said a genus was a bunch of species that sort
of look alike - and nothing looks more alike than a bunch of casuarinas
s.l.  :)

The same could be said about Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora, but
again, the tide follows in another direction...  :)

As to your options, informal home made groupings are a pain to manage in
an information sense in that they rarely fit comfortably in the existing
systems we are set up for.  You could just ignore them, but then why
create them in the first place?  If you know what the story is and you
think it is worth telling in a nomenclatural sense, why not create a new
infrageneric classification classification and stat. novs to reflect
what you believe?

Those who care about such things will be dutifully impressed.  And those
who don't won't notice...  :)

And as for Murray, I guess he will just have to move...


-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at] On
Behalf Of Kevin Thiele
Sent: Tuesday, 27 September 2005 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: Should we ditch infageneric ranks?

I don't particularly want to get into a discussion about Banksia and
Dryandra as such, because my question is a more general one.

But, for the record, Banksia has priority (as, I suppose in some ways,
had over Dryander). So there will be no Big Bad Dryandra Men.

> Just for the fun of it, let's include a third option:
>     3. Leave it alone.

That's not an option at the level of the question, which was not about
whether we SHOULD sink Dryandra into Banksia, but what we should do
the infrataxa given that we intend to sink.

Cheers - Kevin Thiele

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
Of Nadia Talent
Sent: Tuesday, 27 September 2005 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Should we ditch infageneric ranks?

On 26 Sep 2005, at 19:08, Kevin Thiele wrote:
> A colleague and I are preparing a paper to merge two Australian
> proteaceous
> genera (Dryandra, 93 spp and Banksia, 80 spp). Morphological and
> molecular
> results provide strong evidence that the latter is paraphyletic
> with respect
> to the former.

On 26 Sep 2005, at 19:59, Mike Dallwitz wrote:

>> We are keen to poll TAXACOM members as to their opinions on these two
>> alternative courses of action - what do you think we should do?
> Just for the fun of it, let's include a third option:
>     3. Leave it alone.

Given the intense public interest in Australia over the recent Acacia/
Racosperma debate at the IBC, it would be interesting to know whether
Dryandra or Banksia has nomenclatural priority. Would the children's
song now feature Big Bad Dryandra Men?

Nadia Talent
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

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