Why we are here:

Our signature Bible passage, the prologue to John's Gospel, tells us that Jesus (the Logos) is God and Creator and that He came in the flesh (sarx) to redeem His fallen, sin-cursed creation—and especially those He chose to believe in Him.

Here in Bios & Logos we have some fun examining small corners of the creation to show how great a Creator Jesus is—and our need for Him as Redeemer. Soli Deo Gloria.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Scientific names never change! Oh, really?

Mistflower, Joe-Pye Weed and Boneset. Two of the three have had their names changed. (Click on the pictures to enjoy larger views.)

Some scientific names for plants just roll off your tongue: Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset), Liriodendron tulipifera (Tuliptree), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum)!

Some may disagree about the pronounce-ability of scientific names, but we are not allowed to disagree about their importance. Common names are famously ambiguous and confusing; Latin names standardize the identities of species, pinning them down once and for all—supposedly.

Not so fast. Botanists in particular like to argue and nit pick. They’ll stick their noses and hand lenses into the private parts of flowers and find minute differences. And then they’ll go to meddling with classifications that have been around for years. Such is the case with the Genus Eupatorium.

Eupatorium used to include some of my favorite plants. Then some overzealous botanists looked really closely at the stigmas (pollen-receiving structures) and saw some distinctions. So in their little nit-picking minds they determined to split up the genus and cause no little amount of confusion—especially to amateurs like me! And so a lot of Eupatoria (?) in good standing were kicked out of the genus and got harder-to-pronounce names.

For instance, the Joe-Pye Weeds went from Eupatorium to Eupatoriadelphus or Eutrochium. White Snakeroot, formerly Eupatorium rugosum, lost both Genus and species names, becoming Ageratina altissima. Pink Thoroughwort went from the easily pronounced Eupatorium incarnata to Fleischmannia incarnata. (sounds like a bit of egotism by Mr. Fleischmann to me!) And Mistflower joined the Genus Conoclinium.

But our first-mentioned species, Boneset, with its roll-off-the-tongue Latin name, Eupatorium perfoliatum, has withstood the botanists' snooping and stands unchanged—at least for the present!

It just goes to show how temporary things can be in this sin-cursed world. Even science changes day-by-day and year-by-year. Today’s science textbooks are outdated tomorrow. But God’s inspired Word never changes, never fails and always accomplishes His purposes. Here is a little Bible Study to meditate upon:
(I Peter 1: 24-25); (Hebrews 4:12-13) (Psalm 139 -- All of it!) . These passages comfort and challenge me every time I dare meditate on them!

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