Sampling Gene Pools
The methodology of living plant collecting has changed very considerably in the last few decades. Not so long ago botanic gardens, arboreta and similar organisations considered that they were doing what was required of them if they grew a single accession of as many species as possible. Even if they possessed the facilities for conserving more than one collection of any particular taxon it was seldom thought necessary to grow more than two or three accessions of each species as a “representative” sample. Indeed, both the gardens and the collectors, basing themselves perhaps unconsciously on the practice and theory of classical taxonomy, assumed that each species or named variant of it was completely uniform. Hence for each uniform taxon only one collection would be needed. For example, with an alpine plant which possessed a polytopic distribution in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians and perhaps some other outlying massifs, possibly a living collection from each mountain range might be considered to be of interest, especially if some distinct morphological differences could be discerned in each area which merited distinct varietal or form names. Ubiquitous species might well not be collected at all or at best might be represented by one collection only.
KeywordsGene Pool Vegetative Organ Alpine Plant Underground Storage Classical Taxonomy
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