Speciation observed – again

October 19, 2012 • 3:59 am

By Matthew Cobb

Some religious folk accept that micro-evolution can be observed – shifts in allele frequency due to natural selection – but argue vociferously that no one has ever seen one species evolve out of another. We know that one reason for this apparent lack of evidence for speciation is due to the time-scales involved. Most speciation of animals takes thousands of years, we think, and we have not yet been able to accumulate enough data.

That doesn’t mean that the creationist argument is right, of course. Just as we know what the life-cycle of a star is without ever having seen their billion-year history unfold before our eyes, so too we know all the essential steps in speciation, because we can observe the various intermediate stages right now, and, in the case of organisms, we can see the intermediate forms in the fossil record.

However, biologists should not cede an inch of ground to the creationists, no matter what brand of sophisticated creationism™ they may propound. As Jerry makes clear in Why Evolution Is True, we can observe speciation directly in front of us, in the shape of allopolyploid evolution in plants. This occurs when a plant doubles up its number of chromosomes due to some error during the formation of the male and female gametes. The result is an organism that cannot sexually reproduce with others of its species. Because plants can reproduce by selfing, this new plant can reproduce with itself and may go on to produce a new species.

The latest example of this well-known phenomenon has just been described in the pages of PhytoKeys, an open access biodiversity journal. Mario Vallejo-Marín of the University of Stirling in Scotland, describes Mimulus peregrinus, a new British species that has recently appeared, apparently by chromosome duplication in a sterile hybrid:

Type specimen of Mimulus peregrinus. From here.

Mimulus plants were introduced into the UK in the 19th century. The two main established species are  M. guttatus and M. luteus. M. gutattus has 14 pairs of chromosomes, while M. luteus would appear to have undergone chromosome duplication – it has 30 or 31 pairs. These two species can cross, but their hybrids, which are triploid (ie they have three copies of each chromosome, rather than two) are sterile.

Vallejo-Marín reports that the new species, M. peregrinus has six copies of each chromosome (you can identify the chromosomes by their shape and distinctive banding, and count the amount of DNA in the plant, which shows up as a threefold higher than M. guttatus) – and apparently developed after a chromosome duplication event in a triploid hybrid. These six copies can now pair up quite normally during the creation of the haploid gametes, producing gametes that each have 46 chromosomes (as against 14 in M. guttatus). The new plant, which is known only from the banks of Shortcleuch Waters, Leadhills, South Lanarkshire, has yellow flowers and rather spikey leaves.

Flowers of Mimulus peregrinus and related plants, including two interspecific hybrids (B and C). Two flowers are shown for each type. A Mimulus guttatus B Mimulus × smithii (Mimulus luteus luteus × Mimulus luteus variegatus) C Mimulus × robertsii (Mimulus guttatus × Mimulus luteus), and D Mimulus peregrinus. Scale bar = 1 cm. Taken from Vallejo-Marín (2012) 

It is clearly different from the two other Mimulus species that are already present here, and from their triploid sterile hybrid. These new plants are inter-fertile, and isolated from other closely related species. They form a new species, one that has popped up on the banks of this stream in Scotland:

Shortcleuch Waters – the creationists’ nightmare

There is nothing particularly amazing or new about this process – it has been known for decades – but it is striking. Mimulus peregrinus is yet another nail in the creationist coffin, and yet another example of why evolution is true.


Mario Vallejo-Marín (2012) Mimulus peregrinus (Phrymaceae): A new British allopolyploid species. PhytoKeys 14: 1–14.
h/t @AdamRutherford and @byMJWalker (you see, Jerry, Twitter is useful!)

70 thoughts on “Speciation observed – again

  1. Even staunch six day YEC creationists should not reject speciation. What constitutes a species is post biblical a man made definition and there are actually several different species concepts. Which species concept is most suitable depends upon the context. I generally like the biological species concept, but some place it just doesn’t apply.

    The taxonomy in the Pentateuch really only gets down to “kind” and is a broad term that clearly covers large groupings of species. A species of bird can speciate according to our evolutionary and biological species concept yet they are still both the same “kind” by the Genesis term used in “take after their own kind”.

    So creationists should not have any quarrel with speciation, it is not in conflict with their literal interpretation.

  2. They give the type location in the paper (quite near my sister’s B+B), so one can anticipate a small flood of creationists into the area to stamp out the ungodly plants. Which is unlikely to succeed.
    Actually, Leadhills is apparently a good area for rock and mineral hunting ; it’s on my “to do” list.

    1. Why would creationists do that?
      Creationists would just point out that they are still flowers and thus are still taking after their own kind. No conflict with creationism.

      1. It’s the sort of intellectual dishonesty that I’d expect from a creationist.
        It is not impossible that there are intellectually honest creationists. But I’ve never met one.

        1. [creationist mode on]
          “That’s only micro evolution not macro EVILution because it hasn’t turned into a whale!”
          [creationist mode off]

          Just point to the creationist that this plant can’t breed with any other plant. So it can’t be the same kind because it can’t breed with another plant species.

          1. If the creationist says that they are the same kind even though they can’t interbreed, then they can consider any two species that can’t interbreed as being the same kind, then any two species can be called the same “kind”, even humans and cabbage.

          2. It comes from the Hebrew. Same word is used in the description of food laws where it clearly is intended to cover many species by our definition of species.

          3. Also, since you mentioned Cabbage, to the best of my knowledge, plants were not considered to be alive. Plants that died were described as “wither away” or similar semantics, but not as having died.

            Biblical concept of life seems to involve species that had blood (many passages say the blood is the life) or had breath.

      1. Agreed – I’ve been over it in my wee MG – good fun. Must stop to admire the flowers next time 😉

  3. Sorry, this example won’t cut it for the Creationist. When you see a duck transform into a dog and then start to have puppies, you may have some data they understand.

    It may be the case that by ‘speciation’ you mean something other than what they think you mean, and that they mean something else altogether. Or it may be the case that they just don’t think at all.

    1. As a former creationist I have to agree.

      When you have to opposing theories, evidence that fits both theories does not bolster one over the other. What is needed is evidence that supports one theory to the exclusion of the other. Such as the overwhelming evidence that chimps and humans have a common ancestor and that there was even hybridization and introgression between the lines after they diverged.

    2. When you see a duck transform into a dog and then start to have puppies, you may have some data they understand.

      [In the voice of a Creationist] The duck would need to have duppies or pucks for it to be a convincing case.
      [still in voice of creationist, exhibiting typical levels of intellectual honesty and coherence] I’m trying to evolve the code from the Romney Tax Plan website to provide the detailed description of duppies and pucks.

  4. Another wonderful argument for evolution! Keep them coming. Thanks

    But, the problem lies in the definition of species. Creationists use the word “kind” in place of “species” so although the plant is of a different species, it is still the same “kind” of plant with a yellow flower. The Creationist definition of “kind” is so broad that no evidence will ever be convincing to them.

      1. Yes, precisely.
        The broadness in meaning of the ancient Hebrew word translated into “kind” can not be applied to explaining genetic relation of Homo sapiens to other apes because Genesis specifically treats us as a different creation.

        That makes the Human / Chimp relationship the best evidence against YEC. Well, that and geology, and evolutionary timelines that coincide with geology on time scales way too large for YEC, but … 😉

      2. Kinds are what I think zoology would call kingdoms, where the species are catergorized into like kinds, birds, mammals, fish and that sort of thing. It’s not meant to replace the word species as there are many species in each kingdom. This is how it’s described in Genesis as well as kingdoms and this plant species did come from it’s kind as opposed to another kingdom or kind.

        1. Yes, no part of the Bible is a scientific document, kind was not intended to be a taxonomic term that makes sense the way science classifies species.

        2. There are about six kingdoms recognized now; does that mean that there were only six species on the Ark? And if that’s true, then you have to admit of microevolution, because there is HUGE diversity of form and genes within each “kingdom.”

          Clearly what the Bible means is NOT equivalent to what modern zoologists call “kingdoms.”

          In fact, the attempt to analogize Biblical “kinds” with modern classifications, an attempt known as baraminology, is doomed to failure. It’s purely subjective. That’s because the Ark story is purely fictional, as is Genesis.

          1. No – biblical classification is different but for clean animals, 7 of each were taken.

            Interestingly, clean were not defined until the Mosaic law yet the definition was used in the story of Noah’s Ark, yet another indication that it was not intended to be a literally interpreted story but rather told for its meaning and morality.

          2. For my argument I am taking it one step at a time, in regards to the first chapter of Genesis and the periods of time that were described as creating the different “kinds” does very well match the kingdoms of zoology. As far as the ark story goes, it does not say that six kinds or six species were to be brought on the ark, it says how many of each clean animal and it doesn’t say how many animals that was exactly. As for the bible not being a scientific book, I would like to just point out how certain things in the bible and other ancient texts correlate with the science that we know have discovered and understand. And therefore someone knew these things then but subsequent generations and civilizations lost that knowledge and we had to rediscover this science.

          3. As for the bible not being a scientific book, I would like to just point out how certain things in the bible and other ancient texts correlate with the science that we know have discovered and understand.

            Only by random coincidence. The Bible gets far more laughably worng than it gets right.

            But what else would you expect from a book that opens with a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant; that features a talking plant (on fire!) that gives magic wand lessons to the reluctant hero; and whose grand finale is some utterly bizarre zombie snuff pr0n fantasy with the Big Bad ordering his thralls to thrust their hands in his gaping chest wound so they can fondle his intestines?


          4. Also I am not trying to disprove or deny evolution, I do understand the definitions and the genetics, and I am trying to learn even more about it. My point is to show how some ancient texts including the bible also talk about genetics and evolution and genomics, if you will give me half a chance and an open mind I would like the opinions of people who are educated in this field about these correlations that I have noticed and interpreted. I’m pretty sure this is not an argument that you have heard before though aspects may be similiar, it’s a marriage of the two that questions the previous interpretations of these old texts.

          5. When I was a YEC that believed in a global flood, what I believed is that the story was not meant to be precise in what types were brought on.

            I believed, for example, that there were possibly two representatives of the family pythonidae and two representatives of the family colubridae and two representatives of the family viperidae.

            Whether it was at family level or not I had no way of knowing, but that was how I visualized it, and that speciation took place through micro-evolution after the flood.

            I no longer accept there is is a distinct difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution and in some senses I wish two different terms were not used.

          6. I no longer accept there is is a distinct difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution and in some senses I wish two different terms were not used.

            I am unaware of anybody other than creationists (and their ilk) who prefixes “evolution” like that. When a biologist such as Jerry uses those terms, it’s pretty much only to make it clear that the terms are meaningless.


          7. It’s actually worse than you paint it to be, Jerry.

            The fantasists are in the unenviable and indefensible position of trying to shovel a heaping metric fuckton of shit into a puny little five-pound bag.

            If there was a Flood and an Ark some thousands of years ago, either it needed to hold far more samples than even naïve credulity will permit, or the evolutionary explosion since then must have been more bizarrely radical than even the worst crocoduck caricature.

            Attempts at arguing both sides at the same time are especially amusing for the types who find self-flagellation funny. Personally, I think it’s rather sad.


          8. Well for starters the first two chapters of Genesis do in fact tell completely 2 different stories and these two events are what lead to the ark scenario and an extinction event. Timelines aside and taking into consideration stories retold over thousands of years tend to take on folk-like qualities. Here is what I propose, chapter 1 describes the beginning of life on this planet with it’s basic kingdoms and in a basically same way that we understand they actually did come about. Chapter 2 tells how this was jacked up and messed with by genetic alteration and dna tampering. It says how the “Man” was created first from the dust of the ground, this to me sounds exactly like scientist today taking neanderthal bones and trying to clone from the “dust” dna of these bones, mixed with other “stuff” mind you to recreate one of these extinct species of hominids. And why was this “Man” created in chapter 2? To work the ground and tend the garden, so basically as a slave right? Soon after creating this human, they decided it was not good for him to be alone and created a woman and then they against the wishes of their creator began to reproduce, which was a problem. I argue this is in fact very different from chapter one where GOD, told everything to reproduce and multiply, in fact that is what GOD has had to say everytime. And how does evolution occur, through reproduction.

          9. Well, you’re right. I hadn’t heard that variation before.

            But, I’m afraid, it still has no bearing on reality.

            First, noting in Genesis has even the vaguest bearing on the actual evolution of life on Earth, unless you take it in the most extremely vaguely poetic of notions and ignore all the bits that’re flat-out ludicrously worng.

            Second, the evidence that H. sapiens sapiens evolved naturally from a common ancestor with the other great apes (who, in turn, share a common ancestor with all primates, mammals, vertebrates, and life) is simply overwhelming. There isn’t even a shred of a hint of evidence of genetic engineering — which is particularly notable since any engineering sufficient to separate humans from other primates would be more obvious than an angry bull elephant in must in the botanical garden’s butterfly pavilion.

            Last…who on (or, rather, off) Earth is it doing all this genetic engineering and slave trading and what-not? The evidence that Earth has never been visited by an alien species is even more overwhelming than the evidence that you are not Cthulu Itself.


          10. @ Ant,
            That is not at all what I was trying to say, but I can see that if I go into it any more, I will just be banned or blocked so, nevermind. @ Ben I don’t believe I will be permitted to speak, but I appreciate your effort.

          11. @ Lisa

            That’s a very free interpretation.

            I don’t see anything there that specific correlates to any modern understanding of evolution and genetics.

            Bear in mind that evolution and genetics necessarily align with what happens in real life, so an aspects of the narrative in the Bible which are based on observations of real life have a chance of not being inconsistent… especially if you’re very free in your interpretation.

            But grinding up bones? You should talk to Ridley Scott. What you’re describing makes no more sense than Prometheus.


          12. Ok, so how do they get the dna from extinct species to put into a living relative to clone say a mammoth in an elephant womb or an extinct species of goat into a living relative of goats, and an experiment that I read about, with Neanderthal dna. I’m not saying grinding up bones, because I actually don’t know how they get the dna extracted, I’m just saying that they take the dna from the remains of these species which they have done. The problem with the Neanderthal scenario is that a person may not be willing to let anyone implant that into their womb, but an ape that is a close relative has no choice, like the goat had no choice and they are trying to do this with mammoth dna and elephants.

          13. @Ben
            regarding the evidence for other beings visiting this planet. I have studied tons of evidence that supports visitors to this planet. And the evidence does not have other explanations, while that in itself does not prove it, it still remains the only explantion that even comes close to making sense. When you study any given ancient culture or text, they all have stories, documentation and evidence of visitation. We have artifacts, and other evidence also. You will probably laugh but I have all of the ancient aliens seasons put out by the history channel and the evidence that they put forth is overwhelming, it’s interesting to say the least and if you watch it without dismissing it directly, you might see what I mean.

          14. Ancient Aliens is one of my favorite shows.
            I put it on netflix when I want to sleep. But I also enjoy watching it.

            However a lot of the information they present is flat out incorrect. For example, the show talked about an ancient, I believe in Turkey, and states that tools capable of cutting the limestone were not found yet when I looked up the site myself, not only had tools people of that era could have constructed been found, but partially cut limestone had been found too. The overwhelming evidence was aliens had nothing to do with it.

            I’d have to watch the show again to recall the site, but it’s one of the earliest settlements of humans that has cut stone.

          15. Okay, Lisa, this is not appropriate stuff for this site. There is no credible evidence that aliens have visited this planet. You are credulous, and I suggest you frequent one of the many websites that cater to UFOers.

          16. Lisa, nobody’s cloned a mammoth yet. There are mammoths who died in frozen tundra who have remained frozen for the past dozen thousand years (or whatever) and that are remarkably well preserved. There might be enough blood, bone marrow, or whatever that’s intact enough to sequence their DNA, but we still don’t know if that’s the case.

            If we can sequence their DNA, Craig Venter has demonstrated a technique for creating actual DNA strands from a computer file, and he’s demonstrated how such DNA can be inserted into a bacteria’s nucleus, thereby creating a new bacterium somewhat from scratch.

            In principle, one could do the same with mammoth DNA on a computer and a living modern elephant cell and make a viable mammoth ovum. However, there are currently-overwhelming technical hurdles to doing anything like that — not the least of which is that we don’t have a complete mammoth genome and that we don’t know how to do Venter’s trick with anything other than a bacterium.

            Even if a viable mammoth ovum could be manufactured, there’s still the question of bringing it to term. Modern elephants and mammoths are relatively close cousins, but they may not be close enough for a pregnancy to make it to term. Indeed, there’s very good reason to suspect that significant and probably unethical things would have to be done to the host cow for the fetus to survive all the way to delivery.

            Even then, we’re still not out of the woods…the infant’s chances of survival won’t be all that great, and…

            …and, really, when it comes right down to it, though there’re people seriously working on the problem, it’s every bit as much a matter of science fiction as establishing a permanent colony on Mars (though not quite as daunting a challenge).

            I should note, though, that we have had a fair amount of success at cloning living mammals, most famously Dolly the sheep, but also quite a few others since her. Generally, the technique involves taking a skin sample from the parent; removing an ovum from a donor using the same techniques as for human IVF; replacing the nucleus of the ovum with the nucleus from one of the skin cells; and implanting the resulting ovum again using standard IVF techniques. And, of course, that’s a very gross oversimplification.

            But there’s still the question of whom, exactly, you think it was that was doing this to unsuspecting Neandertals — as well as your evidence for why you think we should take such a proposition seriously.



          17. I see Ceiling Cat is stepping in here…but, Lisa, I would like to point out that the History Channel is notorious for presenting really bad fiction as fact.

            And, if Ceiling Cat may permit it, if you care to offer the single best piece of evidence for alien visitation you know of, I think we can demonstrate in very short order just how transparently fictional claims of alien visitation truly are.



          18. @ Lisa

            What Ben said, plus, no-one ever describes the genetic material or whatever that’s extracted from as dust. So, it’s a humongous leap to go from “dust” in Genesis to the idea that Adam & Eve were cloned.

            Besides, there’s the sheer illogic and inconsistency of God creating animals (presumably including apes &c.) earlier in the week and then having to create Man out of some of those, rather than from scratch.


          19. As for the alien stuff, I’m sorry I’m not trying to be inappropriate, I was just responding to the comment. And I know the mammoth and Neanderthals haven’t actually happened yet, but that some people are working on them. But for the goat example, didn’t someone actually clone an extinct species of goat into a living goat relative? I read an article about that, it’s been a while so has anyone heard about that too that remembers in better detail?

  5. The few creationists I know well enough to have a semblance of a discussion know too little biology to discuss their erroneous view.

    First, they believe every species is unique from all others–I’m guessing they get it from Genesis–not realizing that some biologists, two I know, hesitate to use the term as more than an indicator, not as a definition.

    Second, they avoid the problem of how Noah got several million species on the boat.

    It would help if there was a good ‘lay’ book on biology. Those I know won’t read Speciation or WEIT…

    Help anyone? Thanks in advance.

    1. I use to be a YEC. For me personally, the Ensatina salamander was a huge factor. The salamander is a ring species around the California Valley. Well, I actually don’t believe it is any more, I think the Sierra subspecies does not currently flow genes with Oregon and the assumed intergrades in Shasta County are the result of historic introgression or convergent evolution. But anyway, the Ensatina is ring species in most biology textbooks yet it is a species that does not migrate very much, most spend their entire life within a very small distance of where they hatched. So the time for the species to spread south around the California Valley just isn’t there in 5,000 years. That really opened my mind the fact that the time scale in the bible with a literal interpretation just was not valid.

      The book that taught me to accept evolution was written by G. Ledyard Stebbins. No idea if he was related to the Dr. Robert C. Stebbins who first suggested the Ensatina was a ring species.

      I don’t remember the title of the book, but it presented evolution in a way different than I had ever seen it presented. He argued in a nutshell that gene mutation itself was not evolution. He argued that when a population has adapted to the point where it would have to adapt to former conditions in a new way, then it is something new and evolution has occurred.

      That made a lot of sense to me.

      For most creationists, they will only come to accept evolution if they have an open mind. If they have an open mind, they will come to it on their own at some point, the evidence is just too strong.

          1. @Gordon: I was replying to Alice Wonder, “I don’t remember the title of the book”. This isn’t a book I recomend.

          2. Thanks. Dr. Coyne recommended The First Humans… someone else recommended Masters of the Planet… I am rereading Speciation…

            Advanced biology is beyond me, but as an engineer I’ve had enough math and science to possess a limited vocabulary on which to build.

      1. We have observed these “gentle creatures” for decades, and never knew their name: Ensatina escholtzii Xanthoptica. They even close a road in Tilden Park to traffic every winter, so that the salamanders may cross South Park Drive without the predation of speeding vehicle tires:


        In a “so, so Californian” comment in the local paper, a wedding announcement was reproduced, in which the directions to the wedding mentioned that South Park Drive was closed and not available, due to Salamander migration.

        1. I am very familiar with Tilden Regional Park! Last year, I actually removed a Japanese Fire-bellied Newt that someone released into the small ponds near Jewel Lake.

          The road closures are I believe actually for the California Newts. I’ve not personally found Rough-skinned Newts in Tilden yet but I know they are at least historically documented in the Wildcat Creek drainage. The two species are easy to confuse so I take the historic records with grain of salt but it would not be surprising.

          Yellow-eyed Ensatina’s are neat because some somehow crossed the valley into the Sierra foothills where they co-exist with Sierra subspecies. Occasional hybrids are found but only F1 generation, nature selects the hybrids, so they already are behaving as biologically distinct species there.

      2. Thanks. Although I may have been a potential creationist in my youth, all ideas of it vanished in high school biology… there was something about dissecting a frog that prompted me to dismiss any idea of creationism.

        It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I read Speciation, that I came to understand the idea of species as well defined, distinct biological forms was mistaken, that there are differing views within science as to what constitutes a species, as there are differing views as to what constitutes life.

        It’s this ‘zone of uncertainty’ that the creationists I know do not understand as they have views that every species is well defined and absolutely biologically separated from all others.

  6. Jerry, Matthew is right – Twitter is great for science communication & getting alerted to new science stories!

    1. I wonder how that got started….frogs, unlike plants, can’t fertilize themselves, and the chances of two polyploids arising by chance in the same place in the same time would be low. And the first 4n female would not recognize the first 4n male’s calls. I guess maybe the chromosome doubling could have happened in an early embryonic female, who laid all 4n eggs, and some brothers and sisters mated. Sort of an “Adam and Eve” bottleneck…..in which case the 4n species must have very low genetic diversity. I’ll look forward to reading the article you cite.

      1. I asked that question a while ago in relation to apes and humans. Humans have one less chromosome than apes; a mega one that combines the “missing” ape chromosome with another of the ape chromosomes.)

        Apparently two closely related species with different chromosome counts can interbreed and some of the hybrids can breed back into the new species, together with genetic diversity. Neat, huh? If that couldn’t happen we would not be here, for exactly the reasons that you give.

        BTW, I am not a biologist (although I loved the subject) so go to a real one for a more detailed explanation of this phenomena.

  7. I’ll blindly ignore the wonderful biology discussed here and just point out that, in any case where you’re photographing something and it’s important to have a good idea of what the colors actually are, doing exactly what was done above is essential: including a ColorChecker in the photograph.

    Just eyeballing that photo, it’s a bit underexposed and the contrast is amped up a bit much, but that’s something that could be fixed to a great extent in post-production without too much grief.



    1. That’s a herbarium specimen; all the big herbaria are trying to digitise their collections so they can be more widely used. The colour chart is a standard part of this. I sometimes wonder why, since the colours of herbarium specimens decay over time, so they are rarely useful anyway 🙂

    1. Wadda-ya-no! A real live Doctorate man knows the difference between plants and animals better than them atheist evilutionists. He is a respectible D. Div. which gives him all the knowledge he needs to make these kindda decisions.

      I think that was a doctorate in divination, which is what U need for finding things out, right? But then I looked up one of them on-the-line dictunairys and it said different:

      div: Prison slang for a stupid or foolish person [probably shortened and changed from deviant]

      That can’t be right.

  8. There’s another species of Mimulus, formerly widely cultivated in Britain, that poses a real mystery: Mimulus moschatus, the “musk plant”. In Victorian times, this was widely grown as a windowsill plant, every part of the plant giving off the scent of musk. Then around 1900 complaints began to be heard that the musk plant had lost its scent.

    To this day, no one knows for sure what happens, but the most reasonable explanation is that nurseryment started growing the plant from seed instead of by division, and the seedlings were unscented.

    The musk plant was introduced to cultivation by David Douglas, the Douglas of the fir, and the original finder of many other first class garden plants native to the Pacific Northwest, including the red flowered currant, Ribes sanguineum.

    The original musk plant is believed to have been collected in Oregon, and many people have sought another scented specimen in the wild, to no avail. Nor has another scented specimen appeared in the Nth generation descendants of the original. I grow descendants of the original musk plant myself; they’re unscented, but seed around fairly freely.

    A hortico-olfactory puzzle, to be sure.

    1. The story of M. moschatus in the UK is fascinating. Can you recommend me a reference where I can learn more about the history of it’s introduction? Thanks.

    2. Well, I hope someone does some intricate genetic engineering and puts the musk back in the musk plant where it belongs.

  9. James Plaskett wrote:
    = The creatures at the extremes are not incapable of interbreeding; they just choose not so =

    Thanks, James. I needed a good laugh.

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