taxonomy vs. systematics

Robinson, Dr. David drobinson at BELLARMINE.EDU
Fri Oct 30 17:23:36 EST 1998

   I'll never forget the smug comment from my undergraduate-college roommate
(a physics major) upon noticing the "Systematic Botany" textbook I was using
one semester.......he asked if that title wasn't just a little bit
redundant.....was I going to take "Unsystematic Botany" next semester???

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	diford at [SMTP:diford at]
	Sent:	Friday, October 30, 1998 4:01 PM
	To:	plant-ed at
	Subject:	taxonomy vs. systematics

	I appreciated everyone's thoughts in response to Martha's question
	'Botany' vs. 'Plant Biology.'  An analogous issue that I wish to
	concerns the course 'Plant taxonomy' vs. 'Plant systematics.'  At
	school, I taught the former, using a text (Jones & Luchsinger) of
	latter title.  At my current institution I inherited the course name
	match the book.  In both cases, I covered a combination of plant
	and topics relating to classification, nomenclature, identification,
	phylogeny (including theories of population biology and evolution).
	consider the two terms to be essentially synonomous, although I
	that 'taxonomy' would be identified as the "classic," older, and (by
	more narrow discipline.  In that sense, 'systematics' is a better
name for
	the class, especially with a broad focus like my course has.
However, I
	found (to my amazement) that some students (perhaps the same who are
	ignorant of the meaning of 'botany') think that the subject of
	is growth, development, and/or physiology.  I am interested in
	other experiences and interpretations of this issue.  Thanks in

	Donna I. Ford-Werntz     West Virginia Univ.

	Herbarium Curator (WVA)  Box 6057

	Asst. Prof. Biol.        Morgantown, WV 26506

	425 Brooks Hall          (304)293-5201 X2549

	email: diford at    fax: (304)293-6363

	Web site at


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