Plant Database forum: ´╗┐Hierochloe hirta (Sweetgrass)

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 1, 2016 11:09 PM CST
Is this the same as ´╗┐Hierochloe odorata ?
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Feb 1, 2016 11:23 PM CST

Plants Admin

Depends on which taxonomist you believe. With that in mind, the source we generally follow for the ATP database lists Hierochloe hirta as a synonym of Hierochloe odorata. So, yes, they are the same plant. More or less.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Feb 1, 2016 11:32 PM CST
Thank you, Kent -- although, I must be missing something; where does the DB list it as a synonym? When I search "Hierochloe hirta" it shows nothing found, and when I look at the entry for Hierochloe odorata I don't see where it is shown as a synonym.

I confess that the DB sometimes mystifies me... Confused
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Feb 2, 2016 12:29 AM CST

Plants Admin

We usually add synonyms only when we have an existing entry for the synonym and have to delete it, or when someone proposes a new plant and we learn that it's a synonym of a plant with an existing entry. In other words, we add synonyms when we know that people might be looking for those names.
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Feb 2, 2016 12:42 AM CST

Plants Admin

It doesn't. Smiling

The database was never intended to include a comprehensive list of synonyms. It would be a Herculean task to add them all and, in most cases, not particularly valuable. Hierochloe odorata, for example, has around 50 synonyms. Consequently, synonyms mostly get added when questions or issues like this arise (I'll add hirta here shortly).
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Feb 2, 2016 12:43 AM CST

Plants Admin

Oops, cross posted with zuzu
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 2, 2016 8:59 AM CST
KentPfeiffer said:It doesn't. Smiling

The database was never intended to include a comprehensive list of synonyms. It would be a Herculean task to add them all and, in most cases, not particularly valuable. Hierochloe odorata, for example, has around 50 synonyms. Consequently, synonyms mostly get added when questions or issues like this arise (I'll add hirta here shortly).


Thanks for that explanation (and thanks to Zuzu, as well) -- when I looked back at your original answer I saw where I got confused; you wrote "the source we generally follow for the ATP database lists Hierochloe hirta as a synonym of Hierochloe odorata. " Somehow my brain missed the first part and just saw " the ATP database lists Hierochloe hirta as a synonym of Hierochloe odorata. " *Blush*
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Feb 2, 2016 9:59 AM CST

Plants Admin

No problem.

As an aside, there has always been tension in the world of taxonomists between "lumpers" and "splitters". Lumpers generally argue for fewer numbers of species (and, as a result, greater variability within a given species) whereas splitters prefer to acknowledge that variability by recognizing more species. In the past decade or so, DNA testing has become inexpensive enough to be used by plant taxonomists. For the most part, these tests have allowed the lumpers to have their way. I'd guess, as the tests become more sophisticated, the splitters will get their chance soon. Shrug!

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