Pigmy-pipes

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Marcepstein
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Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

I wanted to share this image of the Pigmy-pipe (Monotropis reynoldsiae). After a 109-year lapse, Florida Park Ranger Linda Harrison (who alerted me) rediscovered the plant in St. Johns Co. FL 1992. I took the image with an Olympus OM-4Ti, OM macro lens, sunpack flash, slide film (maybe Velvia); the only known published photo of the plant at the time (1994 Florida Wildlife Mag). I just scanned 2 of the slides with a Nikon Coolscan 5000 and stacked them in Zerene, post processed in Photoshop. It’s a rare unique saprophytic species, which grows in upland oak forest, a habitat that was/is under a lot of development pressure. Comments always appreciated.
Pigmy-Pipe-2022-10-31--New.jpg

rjlittlefield
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by rjlittlefield »

I was thinking this thing looked ericaceous, so I looked it up by species name.

Among the goodies that Google found for me was a paper at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269630602_Pigmy-pipes_Monotropis_reynoldsiae, written by some fellow named "Mark Epstein".

Is that you with a different spelling?

--Rik

Marcepstein
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

Ha, they misspelled my name (I get that on occasion) but if you Look at the picture in the article, they got the photo credit right. It is ericaceous, good spot. Thanks!

rjlittlefield
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by rjlittlefield »

Heh, I recognize that problem with the c's and k's! I did overlook that they did it the other way in the photo credit.

That's an interesting plant.

--Rik

Lou Jost
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Lou Jost »

Excellent work by Linda Harrison and you and the other people people involved in rediscovering this plant! Congratulations on a historic photo.

By the way, not only is your name spelled incorrectly, but "Pygmy" is also spelled incorrectly, though so many people do it wrong that this may some day become the "right" spelling.

Marcepstein
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

Lou, thank you for the compliments. I’m a horrible speller but … according to Wunderlin, RP. 1982. (Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Uni Press Fl. 472pp.,) Pigmy is the correct spelling for this particular plant. I checked a couple of other guides but it’s so rare, it wasn’t listed. Wunderlin was most likely the reference I used for the article.

Marc

Lou Jost
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Lou Jost »

Yes, I noticed that there are plenty of instances of alternate spellings. But even for this genus, some are spelled correctly in the literature, and after all, "pygmy" is an English word, not the sort of thing whose spelling error could be codified by publication. This particular species is spelled correctly in the widely used University of Texas database:
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/resul ... plant=MORE
"Florida Pygmypipes, Pygmy Pipes"

I think Wunderlin probably introduced the error. It is not a common word, except among birders. We are constantly exposed to the word in print in our field guides, as in Pygmy Kingfisher, Pygmy Owl, Pygmy Falcon, Pygmy Parrot, Pygmy Woodpecker, Pygmy Goose, Pygmy Swift, Pygmy Nuthatch, Pygmy Cupwing, Pygmy Wren-Babbler, Pygmy Flycatcher, Pygmy Sunbird, Pygmy Tyrant, etc. Mammals and reptiles also are often named "Pygmy something-or-other". For some reason the word appears to be much rarer in botany. That probably makes the spelling more error-prone. That's my theory anyway....

rjlittlefield
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by rjlittlefield »

The issue of spelling is interesting.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pigmy lists "pigmy" as "less common spelling of PYGMY". Google search on "define pigmy" does not even note that distinction. Interestingly, Google's graph of usage frequency shows a steady and strong decline of "pigmy" from 1800 to present, with only a slight resurgence in recent years, while "pygmy" shows a steady and strong increase in that spelling over the same period, with only a slight drop in recent years. https://www.etymonline.com/word/pygmy notes that the word traces back to
late 14c., Pigmei, "member of a fabulous race of dwarfs," described by Homer and Herodotus and said to inhabit Egypt or Ethiopia and India, from Latin Pygmaei (singular Pygmaeus), from Greek Pygmaioi, plural of Pygmaios "a Pygmy," noun use of adjective meaning "dwarfish."
It seems that the preference for "y" versus "i" has a long history of change. I am not surprised by that, since among English speakers, "they" have always struggled to spell "their" words consistently.

Of more concern to me is the spelling of the genus name. When I ask Google about "Monotropis reynoldsiae", I also get pointed to a lot of stuff about "Monotropsis", with one more "s", which seems to be talking about the same plant, or more accurately the same group of plants as discussed in The Systematics of Monotropsis (Ericaceae) by Jeffrey Patrick Rose.

Is there any more to this than an occasional incidental dropping of the "s" ?

--Rik

Marcepstein
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

Great discussion and Yes, I believe you are right, Lou. As I think about it, I remember having a phone conversation with Wunderlin as I was gathering information about the plant at the time. I seem to recall he said that “they” should rename the plant “Lady-pipes” because M. C. Reynolds, (who originally found the plant) was a lady (according to Wunderlin) as was L. Harrison who rediscovered it. Interestingly, both discoveries were in the same county of St. Augustine, Florida.

Thanks for such a great in-depth discussion about it.

Lou Jost
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Lou Jost »

"Is there any more to this than an occasional incidental dropping of the "s" ?"

Well, in this case there is a codified unambiguously "correct" spelling. According to the rules of botanical nomenclature, the correct spelling is the actual spelling used by the person who first established the genus.

The "-opsis" ending is very common (it means "similar to" or "imitating" whatever the ending is appended to). It looks like "Monotropsis" is in fact the correct name, according to the standard Kew checklist:
https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn: ... s:163904-2

rjlittlefield
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by rjlittlefield »

Lou Jost wrote:
Tue Nov 01, 2022 3:21 pm
"Is there any more to this than an occasional incidental dropping of the "s" ?"

Well, in this case there is a codified unambiguously "correct" spelling. According to the rules of botanical nomenclature, the correct spelling is the actual spelling used by the person who first established the genus.
Of course. What I was actually wondering was whether, contrary to what I had gathered, Monotropsis and Monotropis really were two different things whose names were just confusingly similar.

--Rik

Marcepstein
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

It appears that the spelling ‘pigmy pipe” is correct for that time period and the resources at hand (30-years ago). All of this doesn’t negate the fact that the picture, first known published of the plant, brought attention to an endangered plant species that had not been seen in that part of the country in over 100 years. The spelling of the plant’s name has indeed changed since the article was published in 1994.

MarkSturtevant
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by MarkSturtevant »

A great find! Of course this should be protected from plant collectors.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

Marcepstein
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Re: Pigmy-pipes

Post by Marcepstein »

I would agree. IMOI, I think urban development or expansion was/is the greatest threat to this tiny species as it grows in unregulated upland habitat (e.g., oak forest), which is prime for housing or development. I spoke to and encouraged a federal listing (regulatory) biologist (at the time) to address the species but unless it occurred in protected areas, the upland habitats were not protected. Wetland habitat protection has since declined over the years.

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