[Taxacom] Why character-tracking doesn't happen?

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Mon Sep 15 02:11:35 CDT 2008

The version I heard was about Harold St John in Hawaii naming three
separate sheets taken from the same vine as three separate species.
Told by an ornithologist who knew a botanist who knew the collector so
it *must* be true.

The pattern of the same situation with different protagonists is
fairly indicative of urban myths.   However quick search of snopes.com
for 'species' and 'identification' did not implicate any taxonomists.
 So maybe it is true.  If it is not, it ought to be...  :)


On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 2:15 PM, Curtis Clark
<jcclark-lists at earthlink.net> wrote:
> On 2008-09-14 07:11, Thomas Lammers wrote:
>> The version of this story I have heard (probably from Richard Pohl in
>> his plant taxonomy course at Iowa State ca. 1975) ascribd it to
>> Charles Sprague Sargent, and said that he unknowingly based three new
>> species of Crataegus off gatherings from the same individual.  I have
>> not been able to track the source of the story; does anyone know a
>> reliable published source for the story? Sargent named so darn many
>> species of Crataegus (a genus characterized by predominantly
>> uniparental reproduction) that it is certainly plausible.
> I heard a similar apocryphal story about E.L. Greene and Ceanothus;
> again, quite plausible, given the natures of both Greene and Ceanothus,
> but I don't know the source.
> --
> Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
> Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
> University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona
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Jim Croft
jim.croft at gmail.com

"Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality."
- Joseph Conrad, author (1857-1924)

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