Gardeners and plant breeders judge ornamental plants by their aesthetic characteristics. However, horticulture does not accommodate the discussion of many key questions in plant selection. For example, what are the roles of class and culture in determining taste? Does ornamental plant breeding debase wild plants and contribute to the war against wild nature? What are the effects of the market on plant aesthetics? The author surveys the history of such questions; he claims that by attending to them, we can lay groundwork for a conscious art of evolution.
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