I realize there are quite a few very experienced growers on the various UBC forums. I also realize that some are botanists and have written either journals or published texts on the genera they have studied. I am often quite awed by the knowledge that many of you exhibit and for me being a part of UBC is a learning adventure. I learn something new just about every day. But I am increasingly concerned at some of the "positive identifications" I see being made from a single photograph. Please allow me to elaborate. I trade email with 5 of the world's top tropical species botanists all the time. A few of them correspond with me almost daily. I have yet to receive a response from any of them that says "it is positively", "it is certainly" or any other statement that indicates they can tell for certain what the plant I am asking about from a single, or even a few, photographs. Especially if that photo is of a juvenile plant. They just won't do it! True experts know better due to the variably of many tropical plant species. But I see more and more people on UBC making "positive" identifications without asking for any additional information! At least, before making a positive ID, a qualified expert will ask to see both the top and bottom of a leaf, the full stem or petiole, the base of the plant, a flower or inflorescence and likely a great deal more. One of my personal mentors is a qualified expert named Julius Boos from West Palm Beach, Florida. Julius has published many scientific articles in botanically published texts. He is also the co author of more than one botanical species which carry his last name as a part of the published scientific name. I asked Julius some months ago why he wouldn't offer "positive" identifications of some of my photographs and he responded with this authoritative response, "Please allow me a moment to attempt to explain how a taxonomist may I.D. any specimen sent to him. In most cases, the expert will need to see the plant specimen, or better yet a series of specimens, (or in rare cases a series of good set of photos which must show an adult plant and inflorescence, and should show close-ups of the sexual parts at anthesis). The specimens/photos should be of a mature plant, and have several leaves in which the examiner can look closely at both sides of the leaf blade, and the petiole, rhizome, etc. The specimens must have good collecting data attached. In other words, we need to know exactly where the specimen was collected in the wild. The genus/species in which you are interested are almost impossible to I.D. to species without good collecting data. Unless you can supply collection data and a series of good photos, it may be impossible to ID your specimen even with an inflorescence. Genera occur widely, so without critical collection data it is impossible for even the expert on a genus to give anything more then a 'qualified guess based on just one photo. My advice to you is to obtain collection data from any collections, as without this, the plant you see or even get cuttings to do an ID with any accuracy. Take photos of the adult leaves, their petioles (their length, amount/length of the sheath, shape in cross section, etc. etc. etc.), their rhizomes, etc.. Cut a portion of the spathe away and photograph the details of the sexual parts, exterior and interior. Good Growing and Best Regards, Sincerely, Julius Boos WPB, FLORIDA" So my first question would be how could anyone give a positive identification from a juvenile plant leaf photo?? And my second would be, how many of us even ask where the plant came from in nature? And my last would be, how many people who ask for an ID even know where the plant originated in nature? If you read and understood what Julius was trying to explain, and I will admit I deleted a few lines which were written personally to me, you should quickly realize it is next to impossible for anyone who is not a trained botanist to make a positive identification by simply looking at a photo of a few leaves. But I see "positive" identifications almost daily on UBC! Although you may be well intentioned, and may truly "know your stuff", it would appear in the best interest of all who come along and read those "positive" identifications if we all qualify our responses. Especially if we are attempting to make those identifications only having read a few text books. This is not meant to discourage anyone from offering an opinion. It is simply a suggestion we all consider stating when we are offering an opinion rather than being "positive" when there is a lack of material to make that positive I.D. And if you are qualified to make such identifications, it would also be well for all who read it to be made aware of your scientific qualifications to make that I.D. But please, before you tell anyone a plant is "positively" and a species name, consider what you are saying. Especially if you are making that ID from a single photo with no backup information. Just a thought for all of us to consider.