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RE:Plant Taxonomy


My comment about looking at the wide range of "roses" was actually in
reference to the plants COMMONLY called roses, not to the rosaceae. Of
course, I know the rose family is huge and diverse (for those who are not so
interested in taxonomy, the family tree of roses, collectively called the
rosaceae by scientists, includes not only the true roses in the family Rosa,
but also such diverse plants as strawberries (Fragaria), raspberries
(Rubus), Potentilla, Alchemilla, Spiraea, goatsbeard (Aruncus), Sibbaldia,
Geum, Cotoneaster, apricots, plums and peaches (Prunus), apples and
crabapples (Malus) etc. and including a host of more tropical things that
most of us will never see. Not many aquatic members, though there are a few
such as Potentilla anserina and Geum rivale which are emergents for ponds.)
What I meant was the diversity of completely unrelated flowers that are
described as "roses" even though they have no relation to a rose, and some
of which don't even look like a rose.

"Rose of Sharon"= Hibiscus syriacus, "Rock-rose"= Cistus sps, "Desert Rose"=
Adaenum, "Wood rose"= Merremia tuberosa (Convolvulaceae), "Rosewood"...
there are lots more, some of them more tenuous than these. And these are all
perfectly valid as COMMON names, albeit confusing, but should never be
confused with the scientific classification of roses. Which, BTW, states
that flower petals are generally IN fives, not that they all have five
petals. Some have +/- 10 petals, or as in the genetically double, an
infinite number arranged more or less in sets of five around the hypantheum.

Personally I will never understand the knee-jerk reaction some people have
that they have to apply an anglicized common name to a plant or animal. If
the plant doesn't already have a common name, why can't we call it by its
scientific name and be done with it? Why change a Geum into an Avens, or an
Alternanthera into a Hygro, just cause the name is easier to say? Makes no
sense to me.

Brett Johnson
Green Man Gardens
bnbjohns at attbi_com