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Re: Amano Pearl Grass

I have to agree with Neil. There is far too much arbitrary name assignations
in nurseries and amoung gardeners, traditional or otherwise. The only way to
be sure of what you have, especially with a mint like Hemianthus, is to get
it to flower and go through a scientific key. The distinguishing
charecteristics between species are not always eveident, and as Neil pointed
out there can be tremendous variation in the look (or morphology to use the
correct term.) Just look at the large number of common aquarium varieties of
Anubias barteri. If you put A. barteri nana next to A. barteri coffeefolia
most people would say they look like different species.

Usually in plants, the flowers are the defining charecter. They establish
the family, often provide distinctive features that distinguish between
species and usually are relatively conservative across large populations. As
people have said on this list with Cryptocoryne species, until it flowers
you can never be sure, and maybe in some cases not even then. In those cases
it pays to get an expert botanist's opinion (preferably one that knows that
group of plants.)

Short of that, is it really so bad to simply say "Hemianthus sp. (probably a
variety of H. micranthemoides)" At least in my own nursery, I find people
are generally wiling to accept that, and are happier with an honest "I'm not
sure of the specific name" than a wrong species name.

Brett Johnson
Green Man Gardens
bnbjohns at home_com

> Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 18:08:53 -0500
> From: Neil Frank <nfrank at mindspring_com>
> Subject: Re: Amano Pearl Grass
> Arbitrarily assiging species names to a plant is not good practice and,
> unfortunately contributes to the confusion regarding the identity of
> aquarium plants. This has been done by most sellers of aquatic plants over
> NF