Friday, December 31, 2010

The plant list

I suppose Achillea ambigua wasn't clear enough (I assume the multiplicity of names has to do with that of naming organizations?):
Recent work by Kew Gardens and the Missouri Botanical Garden, with numerous collaborators, has revealed that [the Latin names of plants are horribly nonunique]: of 1.04 million species-level names, they classified only about 300,00 (29%) as accepted names. They classified 480,000 names (46%) as synonyms for accepted names and 260,000 (25%) as unresolved, meaning that the available data is not sufficient to determine whether or not they designate distinct species. By way of example, a query for Achillea millefolium reveals that it has synonyms such as Achillea ambigua, Achillea angustissima, Achillea borealis, and even some in other genera, such as Chamaemelum tanacetifolium. You can look things up yourself at The Plant List.
No word yet on beetles.
 (via Language Log)

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