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Alocasia Poly

Just a note regarding Alocasia Poly, or a some call "Alocasia Polly".

I've been trading mail much of the morning with Bill and Denis Rotolante. The team own Silver Chrome Gardens near Homestead, FL and are the growers that found and popularized Alocasia Poly. The plant is nothing more than a smaller form of Alocasia Amazonica and not from different parents as I had been informed.

Some sources indicate André's "mortefontanensis" may be the same as the hybrid plant now known as "Alocasia Polly" which is correctly Alocasia Poly. Some sellers have elected to use the wrong name but according to Bill Rotolante this smaller version of Alocasia Amazonica was discovered in their nursery. Most seller's tags today give credit to the Rotolante's.

This is a quote from one of Bill's notes: "I was growing Alocasia x Amazonica back in the 1980's from tissue cultured liners. One of the plants exhibited new characteristics; heavier leaf substance, shorter petioles, better shipping qualities and slower growth than the standard plants. It was a sport from the standard Amazonica type created by genetic changes in Tissue Culture. The rest is history. It became the standard of excellence in Alocasia for many years. It's still hard to beat although the value has been degraded by the fact that it was over produced by Chinese labs that flooded the market with knock offs."

The name "Poly" originated since they originally thought their smaller variation was a polyploid form of Amazonica Amazonica. A polyploid specimen is one that has more than double the basic number of chromosomes. DNA tests on the plant have proven this assumption to be incorrect.

Part of the problem in understanding Alocasia species is they are extremely variable across any given range. A species collected in Malaysia may not appear to be the same plant id collected in Sumatra. Plants have been studied where only a single specimen of its "type" can be located in a large area while others that appear to be only somewhat similar are commonly growing around the region. If studied scientifically all prove to be the same species. A single plant that does not look exactly like its parent group does not indicate a new species. Alocasia species are so variable in the wild there is no way to compare them to cultivated specimens. Growers and sellers are far too quick to want to grant a new "name" to a plant based on a single cultivated specimen.
fn:Steve  Lucas

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