Field and Laboratory

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A taxonomic botanist once remarked to me (supporting the practise of another) that there were great advantages to using subspecies in place of varieties. This made it possible to disregard names one did not like, and keep those one preferred, thus circumventing the requirements of strict priority in the varietal category. I do not know that Fernald ever heard of this curious device for shirking obligations; it would have been a pleasure to hear or read his views on it. The geographic varieties of Monarda punctata (I subscribe heartily to the use of that category, following Fernald, Fosberg, and Weatherby) include choice examples of evasion and careless error in dealing with nomenclature. Despite a supposedly definitive revision, I found it impossible to determine the correct names of the two varieties found in northern Texas. After botanizing in the "Manual range" in 1952 for the first time in eight years, I discovered that neither of the two named varieties in the new (eighth) edition of Gray's Manual is correctly listed. Following are the legal names of the known varieties as I make them out, with explanation where it seems called for.

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