3 responses to “Abutilon ‘Nabob’”

  1. Alex Jablanczy

    It seems to me if a family is expanded by several added on families then it should no longer be called a family but a superfamily or an order or some other level of taxonomic classification.

  2. Denis

    Alex,
    I would guess that the next on up that is typically used would be a suborder rather then a “superfamily.”
    In most cases, “families” were originally based on grouping plants by morphology, mainly flower morphology. However, technological advances now allow more and more genetic and biochemical evidence to be included in taxonomy.
    One could argue that some families and genera exist simply because of a easily recognized dichotomy, be it morphological, geographic, physiological etc. that made for a convenient breaking point between two groups of related species. Add some genetic or biochemical evidence into the debate, however, and it may turn out that the easy dividing line based on appearances may not really be sufficient evidence to justify the splitting of the two perceived groups into different taxon.
    I suppose it gets into the philosophy of Taxonomy as well. Originally, it was just a filing system. Now, it is viewed as something of a “site map” or family tree of evolution.
    Take for instance Veronica and Hebe. Hebe was separated out from Veronica based on Hebe being evergreen. It was an easy place to divide Veronica. Last I’d heard; however, Hebe has been folded back into Veronica.

  3. Graham Edwards

    The original idea of taxonomy as I understand it was so gardeners and horticulturists had a name that was common thoughout the world. In addition as you say it was a filing system using the physical appearance of flowers to make identification reasonably easy.
    The problem is that Linnaeus had students, who had students, who had….; pretty soon the planet was filled with taxonomists looking for something to do. Add in rivalries of a few kinds and what you end up with is back at square one; Latin names are about as much use as common names, unless of course keeping up with the latest is your full time preoccupation.
    Fortunately if I want a discourse with somebody over the other side of the world about a particular plant I can send them a photo phone to phone so perhaps it’s all just academic now 🙂

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