From the Digest

The Name Game

By Pam Schnebelen (June 2008)

It is very difficult for us to keep up with changes in plant taxonomy. For all sorts of very good reasons, the science folks continuously change plant names, genera and families. To make a confusing story even more difficult, there are competing authorities in the naming business, and they may disagree about seemingly basic classifications.

Leo Martin, a former HSCSS member, has written a very good article that describes the process of plant nomenclature. It is available on the CSSA website.

Regardless of the underlying confusion, HSCSS updates and distributes classification documents along with the show schedules each year. Those documents are the say-so for determining what plants can be entered into which classes. I have used Wikipedia as the primary source for updating those documents. Interesting searches on the site: “Succulent Plants” and “Cactaceae.”

Other sites for naming plants include:

Succulent Euphorbias – –
Achim Hecktheuer’s Mesemb Site –
Bihrmann’s Caudiciforms –
Google –

When searching for pictures of a plant, try the sites above and:

Google Images –
Picasa –
Fotki –

This year is my last update of the show’s classification documents. Is this a task you can take on? Alternatively, is this a task we can drop? With such great information readily available on the Web, do we need these paper documents at all?