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Lobivia haematantha densispina MG537.3     6/30/16
This is a misnamed plant. It’s an Echinopsis. The lumpers will say: “No!, it shows that Echinopsis and Lobivia are the same.” Not so. You don’t lump two genera to make up for a mistake in identification. Because you can’t make up a key that reliably differentiates the two genera doesn’t mean that they’re the same. Us growers looking at plants from seeds to maturity know the difference. (Or do we think we know the difference?) Taxonomists sitting in cold and damp laboratories in England looking at desiccated pieces of tissue can’t trump us growers looking at living and growing plants. Someday DNA analysis will be so cheap that the lumper/splitter conflict will be finally settled. Except probably this won’t be enough. It turns out that we don’t really know what a species is. Darwin, in his “Origin of Species,” sidesteps the problem by assuming we all kind of know what a species is. The book, in spite of its title, isn’t all that helpful in solving the problem of the origin of species. It does speculate on the role of physical isolation, but that’s about it. Unfortunately, the science of genetics had yet to be born in Darwin’s time. In spite of all this, I think it’s the most extraordinary book ever written. Newton’s “Principia” is a distant second.   (43/48)   

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