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Re: Alocasia Amazonica

  • Subject: Re: Alocasia Amazonica
  • From: Alistair Hay <ajmhay@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 10:51:31 +1100

IMO what we really need to do is to let these hybrid botanical names slide into complete disuse as historical curiosities.

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 :)

Alistair
















Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 10:00:31 -0600
From: Steve@exoticrainforest.com
To: aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
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 interesting. 

Another very interesting event this week was the USDA elected to change the information on its website to no longer indicate Alocasia x amazonica should be credited to André:

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?312551

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.

Steve
www.ExoticRainforest.com


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 knock offs.
 
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.


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