Alocasia Amazonica and Alocasia x Amazonica
- Subject: Alocasia Amazonica and Alocasia x Amazonica
- From: ExoticRainforest <Steve@ExoticRainforest.com>
- Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 00:37:14 -0600
This one is going to be long guys and gals so please stay with me!.
Since many of you are growing this plant you may find this interesting.|
I am seeking the assistance of any and all the botanists and/or experts
on this forum since I've uncovered an apparent new mystery and can't
seem to reach a resolution.
Although at least one plant seller on the internet advertises "Straight
from the Rainforest to Your Home" while offering Alocasia Amazonica for
sale this plant has never existed naturally in any rain forests of the
world. It is very well known this plant is a hybrid but the actual
parentage has been debated. Alocasia Amazonica is likely a hybrid of Alocasia
watsoniana x Alocasia sanderiana but other crosses
including Alocasia watsoniana x Alocasia nobilis
have produced similar results. Other sources have stated other
parentage is involved so I'm not sure what the real parentage may have
been, I only know it did not come from nature.
The plant is
sometimes known by the common names African Mask, Green Velvet, Jewel
Alocasia, Alocasia Polly, or Alocasia Alligator and commercial growers
have sold it as Alocasia Frydek and as Alocasia Maxkowskii.
Botanical gardens rarely list hybrid plants on their website but if you
do an internet search you will find the National Botanic Garden of Belgium plus some
"official" sources including the University of Connecticut and the USDA list the plant as
Alocasia x Amazonica
André. Unless I've got my facts totally wrong "André" refers to
who lived from 1746 to 1802.
Since Alocasia Amazonica is not a species and at least the plant
know by the name Alocasia Amazonica today wasn't even hybridized until
the 1930's are they talking about the same plant? How could it be the
same hybrid if botanist André
Michaux wrote about it before his death in 1802?
Now, for some background for those on the forum that don't normally dig
into this kind of "plant mystery":
Alocasia Amazonica is not a species and has never been described to
science It does not grow naturally in any native rain forest,is not
from the Amazon. The name should never be used in either the
italicized form or with single quotations since it is neither a
published species nor a registered cultivar. With the help of John
Banta our friend author and expert Julius Boos was able to trace the
hybrid to a nursery owner who during the 1930's and 1940's owned a now
defunct nursery in the Miami. The nursery was known as the "Amazon
Nursery" and the grower is said to have named Alocasia Amazonica after
his own business. The name has since been used by growers for over 70
Just in case you are confused, Alocasia species are all
naturally found in the geographical region composed of Southeast Asia
and neighboring island nations of the Pacific Ocean including the
Philippines. No Alocasia species has ever been found naturally
in Central or South America including the Amazon basin although species
have been imported as well as set free and now thrive in the area.
Just in case one of our members believes Alocasia Amazonica is a
species here are three scientific data bases. You won't find Alocasia
Amazonica on any.
The Royal Botanic Garden Kew, London: http://www.ipni.org/index.html
The Missouri Botanical Garden: http://www.tropicos.org/ World
Checklist of Selected Plant Families: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/qsearch.do
Still, it is listed on the National Botanic Garden of Belgium website:
and credited to
André. Some experts believe the plant did not
originate in Miami and likely was originally bred in Belgium, France or
England since it is mentioned in Burnetts 'Cultivated Alocasia'. I
don't have access to that publication so I can't check out the
sources. If it was hybridized in Europe, who did it? When? Was André
Michaux involved? Did he write about it? If so, where are his papers
and more importantly, is it the same plant we grow?
Are we talking about the same hybrid or was there a plant hybridized
before 1800 in England, France or Belgium that also used the name
Alocasia x Amazonica which was copied by the grower in Miami?
I can normally figure these "mysteries" out with the help of Julius,
Leland, Tom and Pete as well as some of our other esteemed botanists
but this one has me stumped. Josef, David, Wilbert and Simon, since
you are in Europe do you know anything about this? I'd really like to
understand where the name originated and if we are talking about the
same plant that is commonly tissue cultured and grown today.
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