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Re: [Aroid-l] 'Santa Leopoldina'-last comment

  • Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] 'Santa Leopoldina'-last comment
  • From: "Eduardo Goncalves" <edggon@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 19:16:54 +0000

Dear guys,

I am sorry for the loooooong silence, even when my name appear in many postings on this topic. I have been somewhat busy lately... Santa Leopoldina is a city in Espirito Santo state (Southeastern Brazil) where the material was supposed to be collected long time ago. For a weird reason, it seens that plants from that area are proned to have long leaves. (Remember P. stenolobum was also collected nearby). Since than, people have mentioned an outstanding long leaf P. "Santa Leopoldina', but since you have many species around with long leaves, the name started to be disputed. Philodendron spiritus-sancti was collected originally in Domingos Martins county (that is the just at the southwestern corner of Santa Leopoldina county). George Bunting never mentioned the name Santa Leopoldina when describing P. spiritus-sancti, but both names were associated further by .......... . When I redescribed wild specimens of P. spiritus-sancti, I reinforced that the only Philodendron "Santa Leopoldina" formally described was this one. To me (as a taxonomist), only formally published names are real names. It is true that other morpho-species (to be named P. superbum as fast as we can obtain wild-collected material of this) has been also associated with the toponym Santa Leopoldina, maybe before any other material. However, Graf's books are great for the horticulturist, but they are very far from being formal in a taxonomic point of view. Since taxonomy is the only official scientific way to deal with the plant diversity, Graf's opinion on nomenclature is completely useless. I won't resist to cite that the Amazonian Philodendron billietae and P. atabapoense, and even the southern P. curvilobum have been named P. "Santa Leopoldina" too. This is the funny side of life...A new law simply appeared: since most philos from Santa Leopoldina have long leaves so every plant with long leaf should be from Santa Leopoldina!!! Pretty smart! (LOL)

My final word? Learn with your experiences and use one of the mottos:

1. Discussing popular names is funny, but worthless. If you want something that comes closer to unanbiguous nomenclature, ask you friend taxonomist to make a type specimen and describe your new plant formally.

2. If you think Horticultural names should be free from "official" taxonomy, follow the horticultural rules and register your cultivar.

3. If you don't like official rules (horticultural or taxonomic), call your plants as you want, but don't bother to discuss it.

4. If you are a plant collector and like to have names in your plants, keep geographical information with them. All the pain could be avoided if plants of the "old" P. Santa Leopoldina had a geographical label on it. Right now, we are not 100% sure that the old P. Santa Leopoldina came in fact from Santa Leopoldina. Philodendron spiritus-sancti is the closer choice!!!!

Be happy,


Dr. Eduardo G. Goncalves
Universidade Catolica de Brasilia
Curso de Ciencias Biologicas
Sala M-206, QS 7, Lote 1, EPTC
CEP 72030-170, Taguatinga ? DF, BRAZIL.

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@msn.com>
Reply-To: Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
To: aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] 'Santa Leopoldina'-last comment
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 03:48:41 +0000

From : 	Bluesea <chammer@cfl.rr.com>
Reply-To : 	Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Sent : 	Saturday, February 24, 2007 5:50 PM
To : 	Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Subject : 	Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron 'Santa Leopoldina'

Well put, well said, Russ, ESPECIALLY paragraph two! I am in total agreement, but wish the 'Santa Leopoldina' could just be diminished or even dropped, as has little or no 'legitimacy' since the publication of P. spiritus-sancti.
But I BET this does not put and end to the 'debate'!!  :--)


Based on the photos I've seen of P. spiritus-sancti ('Santa Leopoldina') and all the other philodendrons erroneously called 'Santa Leopoldina', there can be no mistaking the real thing based on the strikingly narrow leaf blade length to width ratio. To my mind the only philodendron that can legitimately be called 'Santa Leopoldina' is the one the Brazilian locals have endeared with this name for perhaps centuries. And that plant is P. spiritus-sancti.

There is no argument whatever to be made regarding 'first publishing rights' of the name 'Santa Leopoldina' since it is not a scientific name under the control of botanical nomenclature.

In any case, those who have labeled these various species and hybrids with the name are in error, including Graf. The name 'Santa Leopoldina' comes originally from the Brazilian people of the P. spiritus-sancti habitat, they coined it for this particular plant, so it cannot be placed on any other philodendron. I do understand there are a couple of forms of spiritus-sancti with minor physical differences, such as reddish reverse. But almost without exception, the philodendrons being erroneously called 'Santa Leopoldina' have little physical similarity to the real spiritus-sancti, and can be dismissed very easily.

central Florida


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