I have some questions about taxonomy, particularly, two plant taxa, and I’m not sure where to raise it, but the example highlights more general questions I have about plant taxonomy and iNaturalist.
Basically there are two separate taxa, Mediterranean Amaranth (Amaranthus blitum) and Purple Amaranth (Amaranthus lividus) and there is zero information on the pages that cites any taxonomic authority or source or explanation of why these are treated as distinct taxa. The wikipedia page (on “About”) on the one just links to the other. And my Plants of Pennsylvania book only lists one. And the photos don’t look visually different.
I want to know (1) how and where are the proper ways to raise questions about taxa here on iNaturalist? (2) are there any places I can find references, sources, or explanation for the particular classification scheme used here on iNat?
This is especially important when I am delving into plant ID in an area where there is uncertainty, controversy, and recent changes in the taxonomy. I.e. it’s important for me to know WHAT the iNat taxa is referring to.
The USDA Plants database does this in several ways…one, it lists the authority behind each binomial name…and then, it lists synonyms for each plant.
Is this information stored or available anywhere on iNat? Or is there anywhere I can go to sort this stuff out? In many cases, a scientific name alone isn’t enough to make clear what the name is referring to and I’m not sure how to resolve it. This Amaranthus case is an example…just looking at the iNat records it’s not clear to me (1) why these records are distinct (2) what authorities are being referenced (3) where I can go for information to resolve this and/or figure out how to distinguish the plants if they really are separate taxa.