Page:Journal of botany, British and foreign, Volume 9 (1871).djvu/371

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are four of RamaUna ; Gladonla and Sllcla are each split up into three genera ; while the intricate genus Lecidea is left with the enoraious num- ber of 233 species !

Our recent British Lichen-floras are all based on the classification and nomenclature of Continental lichenographers ; and not a few of the addi- tions that have been made of late years to the number of British Lichens owe their names and descriptions to Dr. Nylander, of Paris, having been originally recorded in the llegensburg weekly botanical gazette called the ' Flora.' The British works in question necessarily, therefore, partake of the vices of the Continental systems on which they are based. Thus, Leighton's ' Lichen-iiora ' — as do also Mudd's Manual and Crombie's Enumeration — illustrates the tendency of the modern school of licheno- graphy towards extreme differentiation; excessive and unnecessary elabora- tion ; mischievous multiplication of species and genera, and necessarily of names ; incessant changes of name, especially of species and varieties ; the nomenclature of inconstant and trivial varieties, instead of describing the general range and direction of variation ; the substitution of mere " spe- cific diagnoses " (so-called) for full descriptions ; the supercession of pri- mary external by secondary internal characters ; the adoption of inconstant, and therefore trivial, characters as a means of distinctive diagnosis ; the production and muUiplication of mere collectors and labellers, instead of biologists. Hence, with all their excellences, we doubt whether such works as Leighton's ' Lichen-flora' are calculated to attract and multiply students of lichenology. It seems to us hopeless to expect to increase the ranks of British lichenologists until we attain a greater measure of simpli- fication and intelligibility in our classification and nomenclature of the British Lichens. Nor is such simplification to be expected till we revert, in some measure, to the arrangements that existed in the ^sre- microscope era of lichenology ; readopt the simpler classification and nomenclature of Acharius, Fries, and Schserer ; arrange and name according to naked-eye, external, general characters, so far as is possible, while not omitting any important natural character from the full descriptions of the species ; retluce the number of species to one-fourth or one-fifth by the adoption of type- or aggregate-species ; abolish the separate nomenclature ami rank of inconstant forms or varieties ; and work upon some uniform rule as to names. Moreover, it must ever be borne in mind that lichenology docs not consist in the mere collecting and ticketinf/ of a aeries of specimens ! Our lichenologists are too much ?,\\\\'^\^ (jatherers and labellers! I'hat herbarium is usually considered the most valuable, which contains the largest number of species and varieties, and especially of new or rare ones ; whereas that is really, in our opinion, the most interesting and useful collection that contains the greatest number of wc/Wrt/Zow^/or/y/A' of common, and especially of economical, species. He is not the most usefully accom- plished naturalist who has gathered the greatest number of species or varie- ties, that prove, in the hands of Continental systcmatists or nomenelators, to be new or rare ; but he who knows most about all the characters — chemical, microscopical, economical, morphological — of our more familiar species, such as, among Lichens, the ubiquitous " Reindeer Moss," CJa- donia rangiferina. Regarding that single species alone, a volume might l)e compiled equal in size to Leighton's ' Lichen-flora ;' and we believe that the student who should make himself nnister of the contents of such u monograph — of the whole " luitural history " of this cosmopolitan and

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