[Taxacom] Family Epacridaceae (and Order Ericales)

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 21:11:42 CDT 2009

The majority of people 'interested' in Styphelia and Epacris are only
vaguely aware that they are associated in some way and that a thing
called a family might or might not be involved.  They really do not
care.  Really.  And their lives are none the poorer for not caring.
And they sure as hell do not care that there are such things as
phylogeny, cladistics, paraphyly, or taxacoms.  Really, they don't.

And as for the subtlety, nuance and finesse of the subfamily to these
people, what can I say?  They just want to know where to get the
plants (they have a genus and species name, right?) and what to do
with them.   It is when you dare to mess with a comfortable genus name
that things get unpleasant.

That is the reality...  and it is not always nice...


On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:11 PM, Kenneth Kinman
<kennethkinman at webtv.net> wrote:
> Karl and Jim,
>      I disagree with you both.  The name of a family or subfamily is of
> FAR greater importance than the name combination of a few of its
> species.  The higher the rank of a taxon, the more people it affects
> (today and in the future).  I don't know the details of the
> Leptecophylla case, but sometimes name combination changes are
> necessary.
>       On the other hand, the case of Family Epicridaceae was totally
> unnecessary, just because an influential minority (compared to the total
> number of users) can't bear the thought of a paraphyletic family.  But
> in spite of that minority influence, a google search for Styphelioideae
> still brings up FAR fewer results than a search for the equivalent taxon
> Epicridaceae.  This is a case where the damage is still minimal, and
> this influential minority (strict cladists) could begin to redeem
> themselves before they damage the image of systematics even further.
> This is especially true for angiosperm and vertebrate families, orders,
> and classes.
>       --------Ken Kinman
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Karl Magnacca wrote:
> On Mon, March 30, 2009 9:33 pm, Jim Croft wrote:
>> Why bother?  They are just names, and names of relatively >limited
>> application.
> I agree; I'd say that a far bigger "insult" was that part of Styphelia
> (including the Hawaiian representative, which is one of the most common
> native plants there) was recently removed to the horribly un-euphonious
> genus Leptecophylla.  But it's hardly something I'd petition to change
> the name of.
> Karl
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499

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

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said,
but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
 - attributed to Robert McCloskey, US State Department spokesman

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