Names (of limited interest)

I wrote and quoted the below some time ago. I actually looked for it in my blog for some time before I realised that it was unfinished and ‘unpublished’. Here it is, unedited. I came back to it because I’ve been reading about Linnaeus and his struggle to be the new Adam, to name all of creation. Even though the International Botanical Congress, supported by the latest DNA research now authoritatively categorises and names, the struggle and bitter rivalries and quest for eternal fame continue.

The first part of the blog is a separate little entertainment.

playing truant from actually learning greek, I’ve been wandering through the dictionary. The root meaning of metaphor is transport.
Φενάκι, fenaki: wig, deceit.
Φελλός, fellos: cork, trivial person
φαρηακέιο, farmakio: chemist’s, a place where one gets swindled
φαρμάκι, farmaki: poison, anything bitter (coffee, grief, cold)
περδίκα, perthika: partridge; είμαι περδίκι, (I am a partridge), I’m quite well again.
Πασατέμπο, pasatempo, from Spanish evidently: roasted pumpkin seed, thing done to kill time
περιβόλι, perivoli: garden, orchard; είναι περιβόλι, he/she is an interesting person
τσίκνα, tsikna: the smell of burnt hair or meat
τσίρος, tsiros: dried mackerel, very thin person
τσίχλα, tsichla: thrush, very thin person
τσιλιβήθρα, tsiivithra: wag-tail, very thin woman
ρέψσιμο, repsimo: belch, ruin
παρακρατικός, parakratikos: illegal (but connived at by the government)

how could you not like a language like that? Though breaking out of the dictionary into the world of speech might be very difficult indeed.

notes on names and naming, from Alien Plants by Stace and Crawley
casual plants (casuals) – those plants that are not self-reproducing or increasing from year to year and whose continued existence in the area relies on repeated introductions… synonyms: adventive plants, waifs.
archaeophytes an archaeophyte is an alien plant that has been present in the area in a wild state since before 1500 CE. Archaeophytes are sometimes known as ‘honorary natives’ because they have been here so long.
native A native taxon is one that has originated in the area without human involvement … Despite claims to the contrary…. native taxa do not need to have been present in the area for a long time; theoretically, a new native plant could arrive next year, e.g. if it were brought here from a native area by a bird. Synonym: indigenous.

The importance of ‘in a given area’ cannot be overemphasised. … Very many species are native in some parts of the British Isles but alien elsewhere, or are archaeophytes or neophytes in different places, or are naturalised in some areas but only casual in others. A number of taxa are, in fact, represented in one area by both native and alien, or both naturalised and casual, plants.

a neophyte is an alien plant that has arrived in the area in a wild state since 1500 CE…. the date 1500 more or less coinciding with the end of the medieval period and with the discovery by Europeans of America and the start of the influx of introduced plants from that continent.

Naturalised plants – Often a minimum number of years is stipulated before a plant is considered naturalised; Macpherson et al. (1996) suggested five and Pyšek et al. (2004) stated ten, but in practice many botanists make their own judgements on local field experience. … Plants that have arisen as offspring of garden or cultivated specimens… but which are not themselves reproducing, we consider as either survivors or casuals, according to how long they survive.

colonist – ‘a weed of cultivated land, by road sides or about houses, and seldom found except in places where the ground has been adapted for its production and continuance by the operations of man.’ (Watson, 1847.)

All this a spin-off from my thoughts on names earlier this evening. cf Lawrence on possessiveness: ‘Most of the so-called love of flowers today is merely a reaching out of possession and egoism: something I’ve got; something that embellishes me. Yet I’ve seen many a collier stand in his back garden looking down at a flower with that odd, remote sort of contemplation which shows a real awareness of the presence of beauty. It would not even be admiration, or joy, or delight, or any of these things which so often have a root in the possessive instinct. It would be a sort of contemplation: which shows the incipient artist.’ I know what he means but I don’t think the collier would  be above possessiveness.

photos in websites with their clever naming. how would it be if Marijn van den Brink showed his photos with captions which merely said, I think this is some kind of saxifrage. or, does anybody know what this is? naming as claiming . and I did some counting in the Plant Finder. more than a thousand primulae.

a quick flick through Polunin’s Flowers of Greece and the Balkans; which, I should confess, I find extremely difficult to use, since the photos are rubbish and the botanical descriptions defeat me; throws up this kind of thing: Achillea crithmifolia Waldst. & Kit., Achillea holosericea Sibth & Sm., Achillea ambrosiaca (Boiss. & Heldr.) Boiss. So Waldst, Kit, Sibth, Sm, Boiss and Heldr – Boiss seemingly alone and with Heldr – have their names attached forever, or until their rivals succeed in pushing through taxonomical revisions, to these species of yarrow. Their names are included in the official plant names as ratified at international conferences and symposia. Jan van Lent, in his amazing blog on the orchids of Lesbos, details the attempts of orchidologists to pin down species, sub-species, forms and varieties or variants. Forms and variants are not the same as sub-species. Not sure what they are. Is anybody? The taxonomists cast a wide net, but orchids are slippery and unfaithful.

The following is a piece from Jan van Lent’s blog: (and I hope this is a working link)

Jan van Lent:  I can write this blog full of explanations and semi-scientific baloney about bad-eyesight (from the pollinators of course), the survival of the fittest (from the Ophrys of course), the hybridization process between Ophrys sancti-isidorii, sitiaca, leucadica, lindia and pelinaea on Lesvos; the influence of the weather in December and January and the influence of the absurd, not controlled grazing of sheep and goats on this island. But in the field I only want to know three things: how can I distinguish them from each other, can I put a name on them and do they look the same as the last years/will they return the same in the following season. And yes, I also do measuring and things like talking and cuddling, I compare and compare, I read the descriptions time and time over, but it all doesn’t help. I still can’t say with certainty which is which. I even don’t know anymore if I should write species, subspecies or just variety. I lost my faith in this early Ophrys fusca family, maybe even my religion

*Endemic: limited to a certain region. Yes, but I really get a bit allergic of orchidologists who think they found a ‘new’ orchid in a ‘certain’ area, for instance a mountain on Rhodes or Chios or on the other side in Turkey and then claim this orchid as endemic. But how can they know this? Are they on ALL OTHER ISLANDS in Greece and Turkey AT THE SAME MOMENT, and IN THE SAME YEAR? Are some orchidologists really clairvoyant?
RESEARCH: Until recently I should be quickly done with my research on the Purple (Lady) Orchid, because ‘everybody’ agreed on its morphological appearance, the name, date and author of Orchis purpurea Hudson 1762. But ‘things’ are changing fast in orchid ‘circles’: BATEMAN, PRIDGEON & CHASE and KRETZSCHMAR ET AL. reshuffled a lot of species in the genera Aceras, Anacamptis, Neotinea and Orchis (see also blog 19, 20) in recent years. For almost 250 years (between 1762 and 2006) its name didn’t change until KRETZSCHMAR and BAUMANN made the name a bit longer: so now it is Orchis purpurea subsp. purpurea KRETZSCHMAR ET AL., 2007 because BAUMANN ET AL are the authors of Orchis purpurea subsp. caucasica (Regel) B. BAUMANN & AL, and Orchis purpurea subsp. lokiana (B and/or H. BAUMANN) H. BAUMANN & R. LORENZ so there had to be an Orchis purpurea subsp. purpurea first.
Relief in orchid land! So we don’t have to change the genus of this Orchis nor do we actually have to change the author’s name because KRETZSCHMAR wasn’t the author of this orchid, he only changed its name. Now we are all waiting for an orchidologist who will try to change this to Orchis purpurea var. purpurea… or worse: ‘my’ second more brownish Orchis purpurea to Vermeulia purpurea var. sappho.
Orchis purpurea,Mt.Fouga, © Jan van Lent 23-04-14 #011.
BOTTOM-LINE: Choosing the Catholic Pope is a very difficult matter. They lock up the Cardinals (sometimes for weeks) in a room with a fire place and when they have decided who should be the new Pope, they produce white smoke and everybody can come out of the room and live happily ever after. Choosing genera & species names for orchids is also a difficult matter. I heard orchidologist (Carsten Schmegel) propose that we should lock up Bateman et al., Kretzschmar et al, Baumann et al., Paulus et al, Tyteca & Klein, C.A.J. Kreutz, Pedersen and Faurholdt, Delforge and the whole Devillers-gang in a room and they only can come out if we see white smoke coming out of the chimney, when they have finally decided about which orchids belongs to which genera, about decent species names and a unified species theory for orchids that will last 10-20 years or so. With great pleasure I agree with him.
Jan van Lent, Lesvos 26-4-201
BAUMANN ET AL. (2006) had already Orchis papilionacea L ssp. heroica (E.D. Clarke) H. Baumann 1986 on his name as author but he is still eager to split this poor species up into 15(!) different taxa. Let’s read their register and shiver: O.papilionacea L ssp. papilionacea; O. papilionacea ssp. alibertis G. & H. Kretzschmar; O. papilionaceaL ssp. balcanica H. Baumann & R. Lorenz; ssp. palaestina H. Baumann & R. Lorenz;ssp. grandiflora (Boiss.) H. Baumann; ssp. expansa (Ten) Guadagno; ssp.schirwanica (Woronow) Soó; ssp. rubra (Jacq.) Malagarriga. This were just the subspecies, and for the variations: — var. alibertis (G. & H. Kretzschmar) P.Delforge; — var. bruhnsiana Gruner; var. cyrenaica (Durand et al.) P. Delforge; –var. grandifloraBoiss.; –var. messenica Renz; –var. morgetiana H. Baumann & R. Lorenz.
So I don’t have to make a list of SYNONYMS in this blog, more room for photographs…Very noteworthy is that also in their opinion Anacamptis papilionacea is just a synonym for Orchis papilionacea L ssp. papilionacea…So they thought about it and rejected this new family name! Yeah, because otherwise they lose their names as authors behind 5 papilionacea taxa; otherwise they all will have R. M. Bateman, Pridgeon & Chase as authors.

BOTTOM-LINE: So Orchis papilionacea should now be Anacamptis papilionacea (L.) R. M. Bateman, Pridgeon & Chase? Because they rearranged Orchis and put 11 Orchismembers in the genus Anacamptis in which, until now, only the solitary Anacamptis pyramidalis was living? And Orchis morio is now also Anacamptis morio, and which orchids more? Palustris, elegans, laxiflora, picta, boryi, coriophora, fragrans, collina and sancta…Moreover, by doing so they put their names in one big swap behind 11 Orchistaxa… brilliant! And also Kretzschmar et al. (2007) are swapping around with species and genera: ‘Within orchids in particular, it was found that two groups of species, up to now belonging to the genus Orchis, in fact belong to the genera Anacamptis or Neotinea, whereas only one species of the genus Aceras needs to be integrated into the genus Orchis.’
My God, all those name changes! Just because some species in the genus Orchis don’t want to intermingle with other members in the genus? Only with Serapias? Or are there other very important reasons – which I don’t know yet – for all these genus changes?Come on Orchid heroes Delforge, Baumann and Devillers-Terschuren: don’t let this pass unpunished, do something! Chase them, ignore them or – on my part – make up a subgroup or so, problem solved!
Oh, TYTECA & KLEIN (2008) did that already when they split the genus Orchis into four genera: Herorchis, Androrchis, Orchis s.str. and Odontorchis! PETROU (2011) made a remark on those ‘proposals’: ‘(it is) a view that has not met any acceptance.’ At this moment, my view on this whole genera name swapping matter is the same: it does not (yet?) meet any acceptance in my mind! Because subsequently I have to rename over 10,000 photographs in my computer… So come on; there are much more sensible things to do in life, let us hold on to Orchis papilionacea Link 1799… flowering from February until the middle of May. Piece of cake!

Got that? For relief, here’s an orchid without a name:

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