People, Places & Plants
of the PCL of Waterlily Names

By Kit Knotts

 When I undertook the job of co-Registration Officer (co- with my friend Rich Sacher) for IWGS in 1999, I had no idea what it would involve. Our goal was to establish a Registry for Waterlilies. At first glance it looked like I needed to round up existing waterlily names, design a registration form, set up a registry database, zip, zip, done.

Little did I know that just the work on the PCL (Provisional Check List of Nymphaea Epithets) would grow to astounding proportions. This list was required and had to be approved before

 Rich Sacher
registration could be opened. On completion it had nearly 1200 existing waterlily names with 30 possible fields of information about each one, none of them descriptive. The technical aspects are for another time and place -- suffice it to say I learned more about botanical nomenclature than I ever dreamed existed.

Such a project required a worldwide effort and would have been almost impossible without the internet and email. Over the year that I worked on the PCL, information came from surprising and interesting places. In extensive correspondence with some contributors, I became really interested in learning something about the people themselves. If I were completely truthful, I've probably used writing this article as an excuse to satisfy my own curiosity!

As we all do, I began to picture the people at the other end of cyberspace. In my mind, John Wiersema was relatively ancient, leonine, probably crotchety, writing to me from a tiny Washington office stacked to the roof with dusty books on the computer equivalent of an old Royal typewriter. Was I ever wrong!


 John Wiersema

 Charlie Northcroft

 Chris Farmer

Rainer & Suwanna Gaide

From the countryside in Australia, Charlie Northcroft's stories evoke a sense of almost other-worldly charm. Chris Farmer conveys the picture of a dedicated, determined Brit in oh-so-laid-back France, loving every minute of his life. Suwanna and Rainer Gaide from Thailand seem the perfect meld of cultures. I am extremely grateful to these people from their enormous contributions to the PCL but I am equally grateful for the life they breathed into it.

This account would not be complete without mentioning the utterly miraculous and charmingly manipulative Betsy Sakata. She seduced Rich and me into undertaking this project, cajoled John into being on the committee, orchestrated the resurrection of the IWGS email discussion list that connected me with Suwanna, Rainer and Charlie, and lured Chris into the web. When glittering gems of information suddenly appeared on my email screen, I could only say "It's Betsy's magic again!"

Part of the fascination of these and all contributors to the PCL is the diversity of their lives, past, present and future. It took so many of us to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal, from hobbyists to scientists, from Europe to Asia, each unique and invaluable. We did it!

Though I resigned as Registrar on completion and approval of the PCL, I continue to keep the list of Waterlily Names current for this web site. The following articles are reprinted from Pond & Garden May-June 2000, Volume 2, Issue 1.

United Kingdom - Piers Trehane 

 Australia - Charlie Northcroft

France - Chris Farmer

Thailand - Rainer & Suwanna Gaide

 United States - John Wiersema

 United States - Kit Knotts

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