This presentation gives the answer to a rhetorical question asked as the title of a paper presented by Dr A. Cronquist (New York, 1988) to a conference of this august body:-
The question was ‘Do we know what we are doing?’
The answer is:- ‘No. Absolutely not.’ Because – To achieve nomenclatural stability, the strict implementation of the code requires a prophetic element beyond the reach of scientific prediction. The code should be changed.
… as for Enigma 7… Therefore we refer to this plate T27 in the process of typifying names, as Haworthia arachnoidea (L.) Duval. Scott (1977, 1978 and 1985) has no doubts about that. In fact nobody should have any doubts about this. Scott makes it absolutely crystal clear in his publications, that this is what he has done. When it comes to application, Scott does so in a manner which no one can doubt. He cites representative specimens from field populations. He does everything he should have done EXCEPT, as Bayer (1986a, 1986b, 1987, 1996, 1997, 1998) and Wijnands (1983) pointed out – The plants he was applying the names to, had a very poor resemblance to this T27, and Scott should perhaps have followed what Bayer (1976, 1982) had done. Scott made the mistake of not showing what he understood of Bayer. He SHOULD have shown:-
… as for Enigma 7 … and because they know what Bayer has done, they are able to say this:-
|H. setata||= Mackrill Kew||= H. setata sensu Scott|
|H. herbacea||= Commelin T27||= H. arachnoidea sensu Scott|
Breuer and Metzing have done absolutely the right thing that the code and the wise men who drew up all its articles and recommendations, require of them. BUT – If Scott had perhaps chosen their same epitypes, nothing would have changed either his typification nor his APPLICATION. He would still call his plants by the same names. In other words he SHOULD have known:- Haworthia herbacea (Mill.) Stearn sensu Breuer & Metzing is a synonym of his Haworthia arachnoidea, and not used the name as he did.
THE SOLUTION: THE CODE MUST BE CHANGED. It causes too much unnecessary intellectual activity. It has the power to nullify a man’s life work and destroy his integrity.