Part of the problem is that there is so much confusing orthography (they way they are written), and it is not clear if names being used are (or are intended to be) botanical hybrid names (under the Botanical Code), cultivar names (under the Cultivated Code - ICNCP) or something else (outside the codes), and therefore to what plant or plants they should refer. If botanical hybrid names are used, then there will be endless (pointless) discussion about which definition of these hybrids should be adopted (particularly in this A. longiloba complex where they may be legitimate disagreement about what species can or cannot be recognized and hence how the hybrids are defined) and which of the several hybrid binomials has priority.
The correct orthography for a cultivar name is Alocasia 'Amazonica' : the genus (i.e. the denomination class) is italicized, and the cultivar epithet is non-italicized, in single quotes and starts with a capital letter. This indicates unequivocally that the entity is a cultivar whose definition and naming is determined under the Cultivated Code (ICNCP). The definition of this cultivar is not specified by its parentage. For practical purposes it is simply plants that match Salvadore Mauro's plant. A variant arising from, say, somaclonal mutation in the tissue culture of A. 'Amazonica' can be selected, propagated and named something else if it has proven to be stable, such as A. 'Polly'. The parentage of A. 'Amazonica' is a piece of adjunct information that may be useful for hybridizers to know, but doesn't have any direct bearing on the definition of the cultivar, and so opinions about what the parents were (if there were no or dubious records) or, in this case, whether Alocasia watsoniana is a "good" species or not, are irrelevant and need not complicate the question of what is A. 'Amazonica'.
On the other hand the recognition of the hybrid 'species' Alocasia x amazonica (with the correct orthography of italics for both the genus and the species epithet, and the epithet starting with a lower case letter, and the genus and species separated by a multiplication sign, all to signify a hybrid 'species' under the Botanical Code) opens up a raft of hideous complications. First, the botanical hybrid IS defined by its parentage, so what is it? Alocasia watsoniana x A. sanderiana, or A. longiloba x A. sanderiana, or A. longiloba "watsoniana" (my informal label for the watsoniana-like variants of A. longiloba) x A. sanderiana? Who decides where watsoniana begins and ends, and so what hybrids belong in A. x amazonica and what don't? Second, however the parentage is defined, the hybrid name would be applicable to ALL hybrids with that parentage: not just f1's, but f2's, f3,s and backcrosses etc etc etc. Third, there would arise the question of priority - depending how A. x amazonica was defined, there would likely be one or more Victorian-era hybrid binomial(s) already validated for it. Fourth, there is the problem of consistency: if botanical hybrid names are used for some cultivated Alocasias, how many more need to be created for those interspecific hybrids for which they do not yet exist?
So let's not talk about Alocasia x amazonica :)
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 10:00:31 -0600
Subject: [Aroid-l] Alocasia Amazonica
I realize due to my mail a few are tired of this subject so I'm
about to wrap it
up. I do believe some that are interested in tissue culture and how it
affects the plants we grow might find these notes from Denis Rotolante
Another very interesting event this week was the USDA
elected to change the information on its website to no longer indicate
amazonica should be credited to André:
If someone that reads Aroid l had anything to do with that I would like
to give you my thanks.
I am in hopes we can at the very least soon have a page on the IAS
website which explains how all the commonly held misconceptions
regarding Alocasia Amazonica evolved and give credit to Salvadore Mauro
for his creation.
Denis Rotolante wrote:
I have on good sources that the parents of
Alocasia x Amazonica were A. watsoniana and A. sanderiana. However,
since lowii Grandis, lowii Veitchii, Watsoniana and longiloba have all
been reclassified by taxonomists as one swarm all belonging to the
species Alocasia longiloba, the parentage should be Alocasia
longiloba and sanderiana. It does not make a difference unless
you are trying to remake the hybrid.
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, I called Polly. Scott Hyndman
insisted I give a piece to him to put in culture. The rest is history.
It became the standard of excellence in alocasias 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
I'm not sure by todays rules of
nomenclature that it can be called Alocasia Amazonica as something
happened in the lab spontaneously to change the genetic make up of the
original plant. I would leave that to someone else to figure out. I
just call it Polly.
From a separate email:
.most people do not understand that TC
forces changes in the genetic makeup of plants just as sexual
reproduction. when TC does it we see a lot more of the bad ones because
they survive long enough to mature. When nature does it... the
deleterious changes in the genes do not survive, only the favorable
ones make it to reproduce into the next generation.. If you could see
the number of bad genetic results from TC that have resulted in
disaster...entire crops of defective plants in the foliage industry
have been produced. Sometimes however a positive change occurs giving
us a Poly.