gurcharan Singh(singhg) singhg at SATYAM.NET.IN
Mon Mar 27 17:19:48 CST 2006

It is heartening to know that Agiosperm Phylogeny Group is attempting at a
phylogenetic classification recognising monophyletic groups, but in the
process abandoning supraordinal ranks. In an effort to arrive at a consenses
classification, why not think of taxonomic groups which are monophyletic but
also preserve the Linnaean hierarchy. Thorne to me is one author who is
keeping track of recent phylogenetic developments and balancing it with
hierarchical grouping. He did this in 2003 when APG II was published and I
find many parallels between two diverse approaches. He has since improved
his classification by establishing Chloranthidae as eleventh (first infact
of eleven subclasses), whereas APG II has made no substantial revision. Is
we can recognise Commelinids as monophyletic informal group, what is wrong
with subclass Commelinidae, and so on.
    Let consenses be to find a compromise between Linnaean and Phylogenetic
taxonomy. Thorne has shown us the way.

Gurcharan Singh*******************************************************
Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Department of Botany
Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College
University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, INDIA
Res: 25518297, 9810359089
Off: 27667469
e-mail: singhg at
ak_932 at
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Stevens" <peter.stevens at MOBOT.ORG>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 8:16 PM
Subject: Re: Consensus

>I wanted to send these a couple of days ago, but pressed the wrong
> button - they still seem to be relevant.  And I have added a
> paragraph from a Yanega/Delaporte excahnge which  is relevant.
> P.
>>Hi Karen,
>>       Perhaps an independent effort by Google would actually be
>>helpful, not only in speeding up the process, but perhaps provide a
>>superior product that might force other projects to improve their
>>own efforts.
>      I would only hope they would take a top-down approach to
> classification, something for which many other projects (including
> Species 2000) have done a pretty sloppy job. (from Ken)
> I don't pretend to know much about things other then seed plants, and
> not too much even there, but I would remind you that there are a
> number of us in the botanical community who are trying to develop a
> consensus classification - phylogeny based, in this case (the
> Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification - e.g. see
> , etc. Textbooks, and now
> botanic gardens and herbaria, are adopting it - and if we have a
> consensus classification, it will allow us to spend time on things
> that really matter, like understanding evolution, producing
> phylogenies in areas where we have none, working on species limits,
> etc.
> There are are almost imnnumerable possible classifications whether
> phylogeny based or not, and so to spend time arguing which is "best"
> is simply a waste of time, so long as you agree about the underlying
> principles (Ken, could you please pass on this opportunity to tell us
> for the umpteenth time why the Kinman system is best?).  Any
> classification/naming system that is in general use will have to be
> some sort of consensus system.
> At 12:05 PM -0600 3/22/06, pierre deleporte wrote:
>>  11:45 21/03/2006 -0800, Doug Yanega wrote :
>>>taxonomists themselves will never express a UNANIMOUS agreement on any
>>>classification. Our job, however, is to either supply the remainder
>>>of the scientific and civilian communities with a single
>>>classification or LOSE our jobs. The inability to give a clear
>>>answer to any classificatory question we are asked is the major
>>>reason for (1) sociopolitical pressure to relegate taxonomists to
>>>obsolescence, and (2) splinter groups like the PhyloCode crowd.
>>Maybe there is a deeper, philosophical reason: no unique, universal
>>classification fitting all possible purposes is conceivable.
>>Any classification is a convenient human construct, hopefully of
>>some use, and of optimal use in the best of cases. The myth of a
>>unique-optimal (or worse: self-evident) classification (be it called
>>"natural" by any imaginable criterion) is obsolete .
> Pierre is of course dead right.  But is consensus impossible?
> On another matter, I was corresponding with a colleague in Holland
> who takes students on field trips, and he noted that students no
> longer wanted to learn common names - they got more info about the
> plant in web searches by using the latin name.  Think what you would
> uncover if you searched for "Ladies tresses" (Spiranthes), etc., etc.
> Of course, there are still interesting possibilities when using the
> latin name, as Rod Page mentioned when he introduced his
>, and I have indeed found  some of these...
> P.

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