[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Mon Feb 20 10:55:47 CST 2012

From: "Curtis Clark" <lists at curtisclark.org>
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 4:29 PM

> On 2/19/2012 11:56 PM, Paul van Rijckevorsel wrote:
>> I imagine there were (and are) many botanists who are looking at
>> actual (living) plants as well, and who apply the iterative process,
>> evaluating what characters are important, before deciding on what
>> (parts of) plant to reduce to specimens.

> Come on, you're just being snarky, and I expect better of you. 

Funny, this was just what I was feeling, at your remark!
* * *

> Of 
> *course* botanists looked at living plants. For my MS thesis in the 
> early 1970s I looked at hundreds of exsiccatae, and then *visited the 
> localities of everything interesting, unusual, or inexplicable* to see 
> what the plants looked like in the field. And I came to different 
> conclusions than those of exsiccatae-based studies of the past. My 
> research career, and that of most of my students, differed little from 
> that thereafter.
> My general point is that systematics for many systematists is initially 
> organism-based, rather than description-based. Don't try to read more 
> into that than I intended.

I would say that the key term in your message was the "iterative 
process" that I am indeed hoping that all botanists are using to 
compose a hypothesis of the essential features of the plant. I guess
that the degree to which this hypothesis is based on single organisms
would depend mostly on the number of organisms he has seen (if he
is working with one to a very few specimens, it will be organism-
based; if he has hunderds of plants at his disposal then obviously 


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