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Fw: [Aroid-l] Philodendron hastatum

  • Subject: Fw: [Aroid-l] Philodendron hastatum
  • From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" <steve@exoticrainforest.com>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 06:05:15 -0500

Title: Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron hastatum
Johathan and all,
Although I'm still unsure who was the original author for Philodendron hastatum, I too spent the better part of a year chasing this one down.  The story of what I learned is explained on my website at:
K. Koch and Sello are listed on most databases but the name P. hastatum is also credited to several others.  I have been unable to figure out for certain who was the original but Engler would appear to be so due to the year of publication.
The description of the plant known to science as Philodendron hastatum has been left unchanged since it was described more than 160 years ago.  There are at least two variations to the species, both of which are shown on my site.  The most commonly collected is the blue/green blade which many like to call philodendron glaucophyllum.  That name is not scientific and Dr. Croat referred to is as "made-up". The second form I was able to track down has a somewhat longer blade that is more green in color.  Michael Pascall provided a good photo of that specimen which I have included.
Now here is where the confusion really got stirred up.  In 1966 Bunting set out to describe what may be nothing more than a hybrid.  No one can locate an origin for this plant. In his description he clearly states he is giving a name to a plant known in horticuluture as philodendron hastatum (a common name).  That plant he named Philodendron domesticum.  But since people in horticulture had been incorrectly calling this plant philodendron hastatum (it is not the Brazilian species) some then decided Bunting had changed the name of the Brazilian species.  That did not happen.  You can find it stated on the USDA, in several encyclopedias, on bunches of websites, and in Deni Bown's book the name was changed.  Botanical rules would prevent that from happening.  If they were the same, and they are not, P. domesticum would be the synonym.  Dr. Croat assures me it has not been changed. 
This is another example of where common names often are confused by horticulturists with the actual botanical name and more weight is incorrectly given to the common name than the scientific name in error.  I was actually threatened with a lawsuit because I said on my website the name had not been changed!  One popular garden site to this day states philodendron glaucophyllum is a snyonym of Philodendron domesticum and so is Philodendron hastatum!  I've tried to explain it to them with no success.  They just sent their lawyers after me!
The common name glaucophyllum has no weight at all, it is just made-up.  As such, it cannot be a synonym.  And the plant commonly known as philodendron hastatum (not the Brazilian species) was named by Bunting Philodendron domesticum.  But even in his description he does not state where the plant is found in nature.  Some have speculated it came from the Guiana Shield but Joep Moonen tells me he has never seen it there.  It is likely just a hybrid that now has a scientific name.
Once crazy idea did occur to me.  What if Bunting was playing with our minds?  He named it domesticum. Domesticum as in domesticated.  Domesticated as in home grown?  I don't know, but it all is very confusing and very strange.  Bunting never stated he was changing the name of the Brazilian species which Dr. Gonçalves explained is being devastated by the clearing of the forests.  By the way, even though it is common in collections, some sources now claim P. hastatum is endangered.  Eduardo did not confirm that, but did say it may soon be endangered.  You can read his exact quotes on my webpage.
It can be very confusing and took me a long time to figure out.
Hope this helps!
Steve Lucas
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron hastatum

Steve, et al.;

I first posed this question about Philodendron hastatum back at the beginning of the month, but don't believe anyone ever spoke to it. We either have Philodendron hastatum being named several times, by different authors, or we have several plants which were initially named P. hastatum (presumably, at least one has been changed since then). Is there any light to be shed on this difficulty? The reason I pursue this at this point is not out of any obnoxious streak, but rather because I'm working on permenant labels for our collection which include the author's name. With this species, I'm not sure which author's name is the correct one. The possibilities include: Engl.; Schott; and K. Koch & Sello.
Any suggestions on which direction to go in would be most appreciated.



previous post:
The question of Philodendron hastatum vs. P. domesticum may have been solved at this point, in favor of P. hastatum being P. hastatum and not P. domesticum. Unfortunately, there is still in my opinion a bit of a mystery regarding this species name, and it is a mystery perpetuated on your site and in the several correspondences you have received from Dr. Tom Croat. I say this without any slight meant towards either of you, of course. The mystery is also perpetuated on the IPNI website. The strange thing is that either one plant has received the same name after being found in two different places at two different times by two different authors ( a situation which is generally sought to be rectified by those in authority on scientific nomenclature) or else there are still potentially two different species running around under the same name. I am not trying to be confusing here - it is simply a confusing state of affairs. _Philodendron hastatum_ K.Koch & Sello. was published in 1854, and was focused on a species found in Brazil. The same name was used again some fifty years later.  _Philodendron hastatum_ Engl. was published in 1905, referring to a species found in Ecuador., (Western South America, Southern America) and apparently is a synonym with a _Philodendron subhastatum_ Engl. & Krause published in 1913. The P. subhastatum name I'm not concerned with - it is apparently recognized as being synonymous with _P. hastatum_ Engl. But what of the species, two or just one published twice, once in 1854 by K.Koch & Sello. and again in 1905 by Engl.? If these two namings refer to the same species, then the Engl. publication is, as best I can tell, superceded by the earlier naming by K.Koch & Sello. However, both names are listed on your web site, and in various correspondence to you either one name or the other has been used as well by Tom Croat. All of this leaves me still wondering what the story truly is on this species, and whether or not the name having been used and apparently accepted twice, is referring to one or to two different species. Not meaning to throw a monkey wrench into this Steve, but I know that you're trying to get at the accuracy of these names, and this one has still got me wondering. Maybe some of my queries contained herein will prompt responses from others who understand this better than I.


Some of you have read my questions regarding why many sources now claim the Brazilian plant named Philodendron hastatum has been changed to Philodendron domesticum.  Some of you have received my questions asking why Philodendron hastatum has been assumed to have a name change.  That claim can be found on many websites including popular garden websites, county extension agent sites, in Deni Bown's book, and on a USDA website.  I was even personally threatened via certified mail by the attorney for a large garden website with a lawsuit for my having said on my own website this assertion was incorrect!  They apparently felt I was somehow attempting to damage their credibility.  It appears this entire story is a conflict between horticulture and botany.  And it appears at least a few official and semi-official sources have accepted the story.  Someone says it, another repeats it, and soon science fiction becomes science "fact".
As you are about to read, at one time the plant Bunting described formally as Philodendron domesticum was known in horticulture as philodendron hastatum (non-scientifically) as a common name.  That plant, which is now published, is of no known origin.  No one knows for certain where it originated.  One source suggests it may have come from the Guiana Shield, yet Joep Moonen, who knows the plants of the Guiana Shield very well, has no knowledge of the plant.  Still, it was published as a species in 1966.  As far as I can learn it may be nothing more than a hybrid, but that is just my opinion.
This is the email I received today from Dr. Croat.  As far as I am concerned this ends the controversy!  Philodendron hastatum IS NOT now Philodendron domesticum!  I have also now been advised from a separate source that GRIN is making a note about this error, but not having access to GRIN I have no way to confirm if that will be done.
Thanks to all of those who helped me with my quest for an answer! 
I have documented all of this on my own website in hopes some of this confusion will be put to rest.
Steve Lucas

Dear Steve:
          I have never seen the type of P. domesticum and doubt if I would know any more if I had seen it.  (comment ommitted)  Just looking at the illustration I could imagine that it could be a dozen different species.  The reason why it is confused with P. hastatum K. Koch is that the plant he described had commonly been called P. hastatum.  Naturally it had nothing to do with P. hastatum.  It was just another cultivated plant of unknown origin.  He accomplished nothing be describing it and instead just created another plant likely never to be understood.   The paper by Sakuragui listed below just deals with the real P. hastatum and has nothing to do with the plant that Bunting described.   I have made a photocopy of Bunting?s paper and will mail it to you but I can?t imagine how this will help you much.

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