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RE: Chiclid Resistant Hairgrass

In response to a post by Robert H., Dwight wrote:

>Thanks for clearing that up Dwight...I have been wondering what the heck
>cichlid resistant hairgrass was. I thought maybe you dipped in in epoxy or

Now, don't get me wrong here, I have no clue what JAMES:-) is lookin' at.

... snip...

I sent JAMES:-) nothing!  So as far as I know he's guessing.  Keep in mind
JAMES:-) also guessed that I was the "evil genius" who invented Australian

Mmmmm...... let's see...... I didn't "identify" anything, I was merely
looking at Dwight's e-bay listing [http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/boukmn/],
which contains the sub-heading "Cichlid Resistant Hairgrass...Identified.".
In the text underneath, Dwight writes:

"One of the species I discovered months ago which I dubbed "Cichlid
Resistant Hairgrass" turned out to be one of the 200 species of Eleocharis
acicularis that is quite suitable for aquarium growth."

There is a link to another page
[http://floridadriftwood.com/Amanoriccia.jpg], containing a photo and some

"A relatively new employment of E. acicularis*...."

"*"Cichlid Resistant Hairgrass" is one of 200 var. of E. acicularis."

So, my comments about this were taken directly from what Dwight himself has
posted - I didn't "add" anything. However, I do notice that he claims to be
the "discoverer" of the plant, so if this claim is true, I guess that he can
claim the right of naming it. But I also see that he might need to figure
out the difference between a "species" and a "variety", as in one breath he
says that there are 200 "species" of Eleocharis acicularis and in the next
there are 200 "varieties" of E. acicularis.

The reader, and the potential buyer (as this stuff is for sale), is left to
wonder just what it is he or she is going to get for their money. When I was
in University and slogging through my Botany courses, we were taught that
when you are certain of the Genus to which a particular specimen belonged to
but there was still uncertainty as to the exact species, the proper form of
citation was "Genus name" + "spp. (or species)", as in "Eleocharis spp." or
"Eleocharis species".

I checked with the University of Florida plant database and it doesn't seem
to contain a citation for E. acicularis. They DO list a number of separate
Eleocharis species as existing in Florida, and I noticed that they generally
refer to the plants as "Spikerushes". My copy of "Wetland Plants of Ontario"
does say that the range of the species E. acicularis does extend into
Florida, so Dwight might have found it there and that might indeed be what
he is selling.

Again, I want to say that I'm not "flaming" Dwight or necessarily picking
him out. We have seen the same thing time and again when we buy plants from
other commercial sources, and the problem is certainly not limited to
Dwight - all of the big nurseries do the same thing, to some extent and
exists as well in various hobby related books on aquarium plants. It is only
by bringing the issue to the attention of the various sellers and authors
that we can ever hope to clear up the confusion. Although, to tell the
truth, if other sellers or authors react as Dwight has to someone pointing
out what could possibly be a totally innocent mistake on his part, I don't
know if it is worth the effort.

When buying or selling something, the NAME that the seller attaches to it is
one of the only ways that the buyer has in order to know how to care for it.
For example, some species within a genus might like hard water while other
species in the same genus might prefer soft water. If the plant is
misidentified, the hobbyist might experience failure after failure with the
plant and ultimately give up on their attempts of ever growing it
successfully, all based upon a mistake in identification by the seller. Very
few hobbyists have the experience or the ability to pinpoint the differences
between closely related species in some instances. They depend upon the
integrity and the knowledge of the seller for that.

From this, it is obvious that I'm not the only one who is "guessing", and no
amount of vitrol is going to cover that fact up. And as for me being an
"evil genius", well....... oh, never mind.....

James Purchase [Toronto - Canada]

Latin Rocks!
...student of Carolus Linnaeus