Volume 4, Chapter 9:- Closure

Recently I have been in communication with three recognized botanists and have their written admissions that…1. “Taxonomy is in a mess.”  2. That the question of species is “highly controversial”.  3. “The current framework for decisions (for taxonomic decision making) is riddled with flaws, but it is the only one we have. Someone who knows the plants has to make decisions.”

I do presume to have some knowledge of the plants and hence I made a decision to submit a list of names which I think could serve the need of a botanical reality.  However, the very botanist who had suggested who should make the decisions then commented …”It is interesting that all of the ‘new’ discoveries (e.g. H. cummingii to name one) must be forced into the existing classification”.  I asked if there was any evidence that force was required to do this. There was no reply.

My conclusion has to be that the botanical nomenclatural and classification system is flawed and that there is actually no way in which Haworthia can be satisfactorily forced into that system.  Therefore there is no further contribution that I can make.  There is still a huge amount of fieldwork that could and should still be done, but I cannot see that any new records or observations can significantly improve any classification that is connected to the traditional systems and escape the controversy invariably generated when more than one taxonomist becomes involved.

It is now evident in all this that human sensitivities are of far greater consequence than sensibilities.  While a classification may be an apparently intellectual and truth-finding process, it may be nothing more than an easily accessible arena where minds can create an illusion of being so occupied.  I am deeply sorry that I have thus offended and hurt people by my own activities there.