Too many genera

Chistenhusz et al. (2015; Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 178: 501) surveyed the users of botanical classification on whether to split or lump a number of contentious groups. In closing, they reproduced a comment from one of their respondents:

Emperor Joseph: Well, I mean occasionally it seems to have, how shall one say? How shall one say, Director?

Orsini-Rosenberg: Err. too many notes, Your Majesty?

Emperor Joseph: Exactly. Very well put. Too many notes.

Mozart: I don’t understand. There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are required. Neither more nor less.

…In reply to E.J.H. Corner’s complaint of the Sapindaceae that there are ‘too many species and far too many genera,’ many a specialist would echo Mozart and say that there are just as many genera as are required; neither more nor less.

The exchange was regarding Emperor Joseph’s reception of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio.


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