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Re: Off-topic info on P. warmingii

  • Subject: Re: Off-topic info on P. warmingii
  • From: "criswick" <criswick@spiceisle.com>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:20:22 -0400

Dear Ed,


          It was so refreshing to read your words in defense of Graf and it’s good to know that I have a kindred spirit out there.

I think too many of us have over reacted to the fact that Graf’s Exotica and Tropica are full of what we now know to be inaccuracies regarding nomenclature. 


          The problem is that Graf’s books were regarded as THE authority by many collectors.  But in those days, where else could you go for information in easily accessible form? Now there have been huge advances in sorting things out, thanks to hard-working and dedicated people like Tom Croat.


          This reaction against Graf reached its worst manifestation in the throwing or giving away of his books !   These books always were and still are a useful lead in tracking down a plant. As a collection of photographs they are still unrivalled, aren’t they?


          The best thing you wrote Ed is that you want to grow some of these plants whatever their name !


          I have a 19th century book on “stove” plants, with engravings as illustrations.  Because some of the names are no longer valid, should I throw away the book?








In defense of Mr. Graf, he was in large part dependent on information obtained from the N.J. growers like Roehrs, Manda and others, whose greenhouses were established in the 1800s.  NJ was the major port of entry for the tons of newly discovered plants arriving annually in the U.S. from Africa, Asia and South America as Florida was still a swamp.  The stuff came in so fast that you could barely describe it (or photograph) it fast enough. The book is full of errors, as were the collections and herbariums of most botanical gardens of the times,  but its also full of photographs of interesting Aroids many of which I have an interest in attempting to grow whatever their proper scientific name. W.A. Manda's greenhouses were full of misnamed plants but I miss Bob and his son Alan (the last of the Manda's), their beat up copy of Exotica and the plants they grew as they gave me an interest which I have enjoyed my entire life.



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