Great piece in the San Francisco Chronicle from Friends of Rant Ron Sullivan and Joe Eaton. Two beloved California plants, Zauschneria californica (California fuchsia) and the native California aster, have been given new names in light of genetic analysis by those crazy botanists at the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. It was inevitable that the old way of classifying plants–by peering closely at their anatomical features and deducing their relationships to other plants–would give way to DNA analysis. Now it turns out that any number of plants that look alike are not related at all, and plants that don’t appear to have much in common are actually cousins.
But damn those name changes. I’m not even going to try to keep up. I never did get around to figuring out how to pronounce "zauschneria"–I just buy it and stick it in the ground. Now that it’s called Epilobium canum, not much will change. Search. Buy. Plant.