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Re: aglaonemas

  • Subject: Re: aglaonemas
  • From: "Clarence Hammer" <chammer@cfl.rr.com>
  • Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 22:52:16 -0500 (CDT)

Hello George and all,

The 'hybrid swarm' I mentioned is documented in the 'Aglaonema Grower's
Notebook' by Roy Jervis, originally published 1978, my copy is 1980.  It
concerns Aglaonema commutatum Schott.  I will quote, but will have to do
some mild editing of references to pictures and drawings.

" Luzon's Aglaonema commutatum.   Ever since Schott described Aglaonema
commutatum, this variable plant has been a popular house plant, not the
plant of the original description, but in many related variants.
Variegations making this plant so appealing are numerous and have induced
botanists to describe some of
them as new species.  So we had A. elegans of Engler, A. marantifolium var.
maculatum of Hooker f., and
A. 'Treubii' as examples of the Aglaonema from Luzon.  Nicholson simplified
the handling of the group by
delineating Schotts' plant as A. commutatum var. commutatum, making the
plant of Hooker into var. maculatum, and convincingly proving that A. cv.
'Treubii' could not possibly be the A. treubii that Engler described in 1898
and then emended (verbatim sp.) so that it cannot be identified."

"Another confusing element is the solid green plant with absolutely no
variegation that occasionally pops up as A. cuscuaria, which is a trade name
also used for the original spotted A. commutatum.''

''Often amid confusion, a chance happening can bring order out of chaos.
This apparently happened in March, 1980, when (Dr.) Frank Brown was guided
to a remote mountain side in Rizal province in the Philippines to see some
Aglaonema that had been found by chance a short time earlier.  While the
results may not have eliminated the chaos, at least the chaos has an
explanation.  .....Some of the variants that were part of this stand of
Aglaonemas came, not from a few plants, but each represents a pattern
consistent to an individual plant -- dozens of new 'species for the naming'!
One...duplicates the new cultivar 'Alumina'."

"Many of these Rizal leaf-forms have appeared in cultivars, but this is the
first instance I know of where they have been collected together in the
wild.  The isolated locale of this stand of Aglaonemas tends to rule out
'escape from cultivation' as an explanation for their occurrence.  At least
several hundred plants have been
removed from this locale since Dr. Brown and his companions first visited
the spot.  Local nurserymen heard
about the find and, until the rainy season stopped their visits, they
collected large numbers for shipment to
Bankok and Singapore.  The plants appear to be a giant 'hybrid swarm', not
just a few plants from a chance
cross, but from a more complex parentage and background."

"The species seems to be in the flux of development, probably from natural
hybridization involving A. crispum
(Pitcher & Manda) Nicholson, A. philippinense Engler, and A. simplex Blume.
...The more complicated
genetics of introgressive hybridization over long periods of time in the
wild environment ..(is) truly a taxonomic nightmare."

"Some of the leaf variegations have already appeared in named cultivars,
being distributed from Manila
to Bangkok and Singapore, from Jack Craig of Cebu, Ely Bardinas in Los
Banos, from the Glasshouse
in Ohio, and from Jack Brown."  End quote.

Some of the more than 100 leaf forms of plants that Dr. Brown brought from
Luzon to Manila, and then to his residence at that time in Indialantic Fla
were selected for cultivation and named as cultivars.  'Jose Rizal'
with "intricately patterned bands down''...the center ''of leaf blades''.
Cultivar 'Treubii' is another selection and
is fairly common today.  'Alumina' is still available from time to time,
with a ''metallic sheen that resembles dull burnished aluminum''.  'Superba'
has a ''pale sheen of silver set off by narrow dark green marginal and
midvein patterns''.  'Moonglow' has ''feather markings of f. elegans which
are delicately masked  by the overall silver glow."  A similar plant from
Luzon is Jack Craig's 'Mutton-fat Jade', ''a cultivar in which the
silvery sheen disguises a pale variegation over the entire blade, producing
a truly magnificent Aglaonema.''
Other cultivars named by Dr Brown are 'Dr. Holzer', 'Echo' and 'President

I see what I believe is 'Mutton-fat Jade' being propagated and sold as
unnamed plants by nurserymen
in the Apopka Fla area.  They are indeed beautiful, and I love the thick,
almost leathery, silvery leaves on this
very special Aglaonema.


George Yao wrote---
> Can you tell me more about the discovery of this 'giant hybrid swarm'?
> never of this before and it sounds very interesting.


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