The Boggan Rule

On the Gesneriphiles internet mailing list, John Boggan has drummed the following rule into us until we obey it without having to think about it.  That's the theory, anyway.

Doing so only creates trouble down the road.  Somebody will guess at the name and will be wrong, so the plant will be mislabeled.  Somebody will find an unclaimed label and think it belongs with the unlabeled plant.  Somebody will decide it doesn't have a name and make up one for it, resulting in two or more almost-identical plants with different names.

A corollary of the Boggan Rule (which John also repeats as necessary) is to retain all identifying information about the plant on the label.  This includes accession numbers -- the identifiers that collectors assign to a particular individual or batch of seeds when they collect it.  Such an identifier is particularly important because the tentative assignment of a plant to a particular genus and species may change upon further study of the plant.  Only if the accession number has been retained will a grower know whether the name change applies to the plant in the grower's possession.

Labels can break.  Therefore it is a good idea to organize information on the label in such a way that if the top part of the label breaks off, there will be enough information left on the label to identify the plant.  This applies particularly to labels on plants grown exposed to full sunlight, because such exposure eventually causes most plastics to become brittle and easier to break.