Spanning over the 19th and 20th centuries the great botanists of America and Europe fought to resolve the taxonomy of Clematis ovata Pursh. The taxonomic moves that took place in the debate between the early 1800’s and the 1960’s support six meta-statements. 1. The botany practiced throughout this story eventually required an attention to the geology of shale-barrens from botanists beginning with Edward Steele. 2. This story requires a few amendments to Weldon Boone’s three causes for the botanical celebrity of Kate’s Mountain. 3. Kate’s Mountain acted as a proto-repository for shale barren endemics. 4. The botanists in this story were mostly practicing evolutionary classification as described by Ernst Mayr. 5. This story exemplifies a “shades of naturalness” view of classification. This story provides examples that range this entire range from natural to artificial classification. This essay recounts the story of these debates and is followed by an analysis of some of the ways that it can suggest changes in the historiography and answers to philosophical issues in taxonomy. This essay will provide support for established ideas in the philosophy of taxonomy and will add some quite novel concepts to the history of taxonomy.
"A Very Glabrate Form!: How a Diminutive Plant Enthralled Botanists on Both Sides of the Atlantic,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 17
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol17/iss1/4