Henry Shejbal, Italy

nomenclature problems

July 31, 2009

Categories: Daffodil Types, General, Publications and Resources

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 Dear Daffodil Friends and Experts,

 While preparing gathering information for my on-line guide to geophytes for Italian gardeners I run frequently into problems with the correct classification of less well known bulbous plants. I find it quite difficult to follow the newest developments and changes.

 So I thought I might just have a look at the changes in the classification of one of our best friends, Narcissus pseudonarcissus. In three important sources  of information (USDA, THE CATALOGUE OF LIFE 2009 and KEW GARDENS) I ran into three different families to which this (and all) Narcissus should belong: Liliaceae, Alliaceae and Amaryllidaceae.

 I must say that in this era of globalization and international standardization this situation makes me feel very uncertain. I knew about the USDA’s different point of view on lumping botanical families together (some time ago Mary Lou kindly helped me to understand it)  but The Catalogue of Life declares its data to be based on the Kew Gardens database, so I expected at least there to find the same facts……….

 Perhaps others would also be interested in what the experts have to say about the reasons for these discrepances. Would they kindly tell us what we should consider to be correct?

 The links to the three sources are:




 Many thanks and best regards to all.

  Henry (Rome)

2 responses to “nomenclature problems”

  1. Debbie Green says:

    Help is on the way; there is an article in the Washington Post that states:

    “An international panel of scientists has agreed to a bar-code standard for plant DNA that will allow the precise identification of most of Earth’s 300,000 species of plants, according to a research report due to be published this week.”
    Debbie Green in Western NC  

  2. Marilyn Howe says:

    Hi Henry,
    Kew has as of yesterday changed the family back to Amaryllidaceae, which follows Flora Iberica.