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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Apr 13, 2017 6:28 PM CST
Is it helpful to add in all the known synonyms found on the Catalogue of Life site? I was researching Physocarpus capitatus (Pacific ninebark) and miraculously (for me) happened onto the CofL entry which lists 3 synonyms and 2 ambiguous synonym. Shall I add those to the database names? I assume this is helpful if one is searching using one of the synonyms. Not sure about the ambiguous synonyms - would they be considered a regular synonym in our system?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Vegetable Grower Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tomato Heads
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robertduval14
Apr 13, 2017 7:24 PM CST

Plants Admin

We don't generally enter every synonym a species may have for several reasons. In some cases a species can have 30 or more synonym's (These are some viola species that come to mind like this). Many of those synonym names may not have been used in over 100 years and there would be no reasonable expectation for someone to be looking at our database for those. Synonym names we DO want to make sure are in there would be in regards to very popular plants that have gone under fairly recent changes.

In short, if a species synonym list is fairly short, adding them all would not be any issue. Those that have a lot of synonyms it's best to be more selective as to not clutter up the plants page with completely obsolete information.

Some of the other plant admins may have to offer more on the subject.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
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zuzu
Apr 13, 2017 7:29 PM CST

Plants Admin

Ambiguous synonyms are illegitimate names, which were mistakenly used for a plant at some time in the past. They don't belong in the database, except perhaps as also-sold-as names.

I think there's no need to add all of the synonyms found in the Catalogue of Life. Some accepted names can have 30 or more synonyms, and Dave has said that he doesn't envision this database as a historical record of every name a plant has ever had. For this reason, the admins add only the synonyms for which we already have an entry (which must be deleted) in the database, or synonyms that people submit in new plant proposals. In other words, the admins add only the synonyms someone might be seeking.
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 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Apr 13, 2017 7:37 PM CST

Plants Admin

I agree

Another reason we might add synonyms is if those names are still in common use, especially if nurseries are using them. A good example would be asters. The North American aster species were reclassified (back in the 90's) from the genus Aster into other genera, primarily Symphyotrichum. However, to this day, most nurseries sell asters under the genus Aster. The reason for that is clear, Aster is a highly recognizable name, where as Symphyotrichum is just gibberish to most people.

Outside of situations like that, adding synonyms mostly amounts to a lot of extra detail to little gain.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 14, 2017 9:33 AM CST
Thanks for the clarification. I will pretty much just leave synonyms alone and let you smart guys figure out which might be appropriate or not. Smiling

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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