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Re: Alocasia macrorrhizos and A. cucullata

  • Subject: Re: Alocasia macrorrhizos and A. cucullata
  • From: Peter Boyce <phymatarum@googlemail.com>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 14:56:11 +0800

Hi LariAnn,

To re-iterate my reply to Tony, Certainly 'species' such as A. macrorrizos
and A. cucullata bend the boundaries a lot. What is of course interesting is
that A. macrorrhizos (notwithstanding its doubtful 'pure' species status) is
definitely related (and here we are talking molecularly) to some
unquestionably 'good' species, such as A. portei and A. flabellifer, which
poses even more difficulties. It is also problematic to talk about
utilization of cultivars, especially those that are selections of what may
themselves be cultivars, albeit so long-standing that they have effectively
stabilized and function as species, even to the extent that they have lost
the ability to hybridize with other elements of what was once a single gene

The bottom line is that, at present, we can only be sure that A.
macrorrhizos and A. cucculata are NEVER found away from human disturbance in
'habitat' and furthermore, away from the attentions of horticulturists are
remarkable morphologically stable.

As a final thought on this, it is also important to remember that species
framework, and the interspecific crossing is often in nature not just a
matter of 'incompatibility'. Distribution, flowering time even down to the
level of time of day, and how these barriers function to  manage
pollinators, or select for a particular pollinator guild, are as much, if
not more, a barrier than simple unrelatedness. If ever an example was needed
of the role of pollinator guild niche selection, the orchids of the
Stanhopineae contain numerous examples.

Very best


-----Original Message-----
From: aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com]
On Behalf Of LariAnn
Sent: 05 September 2009 07:35
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasia macrorrhizos and A. cucullata

Peter and fellow aroiders,

I need to jump in here and share what I've observed in my hybridization 
work with all of the species mentioned in recent posts (A. macrorrhizos, 
A. odora, and A. cucullata).  Now, in my experience there are quite a 
few A. macrorrhizos cultivars available, and one I know of seems to be, 
as Peter mentiond, a culton of A. odora.  However, most of the ones I 
call "A. macrorrhizos" have significant differences in floral morphology 
and in addition, are nearly genetically incompatible with what I have 
come to call the A. odora group.  This group includes A. odora, A. 
gageana, A. odora 'Azurea', A. odora 'Indian' and A. cucullata.  In 
hybridizing with both groups, I have found, first, that a cross of A. 
macrorrhizos and A. odora yields sterile offspring.  A cross between A. 
odora and A. cucullata yields fertile offspring.  Likewise, a cross 
between A. odora and either A. odora 'Azurea', or A. odora 'Indian' 
yields fertile offspring.  Crosses between cultivars or varieties of A. 
macrorrhizos (such as blackstem, lutea, Borneo Giant, portei) yield 
fertile offspring.  It is my position that genetic work can indicate the 
specific nature of various plants.


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