Itwas so refreshing to read your words in defense of Graf and it’s good toknow that I have a kindred spirit out there.
I think too many of ushave over reacted to the fact that Graf’s Exotica and Tropica are full ofwhat we now know to be inaccuracies regarding nomenclature.
Theproblem is that Graf’s books were regarded as THE authority by manycollectors. But in those days, where else could you go for information ineasily accessible form? Now there have been huge advances in sorting thingsout, thanks to hard-working and dedicated people like Tom Croat.
Thisreaction against Graf reached its worst manifestation in the throwing or givingaway of his books ! These books always were and still are a usefullead in tracking down a plant. As a collection of photographs they are stillunrivalled, aren’t they?
Thebest thing you wrote Ed is that you want to grow some of these plants whatevertheir name !
Ihave a 19th century book on “stove” plants, with engravingsas illustrations. Because some of the names are no longer valid, should Ithrow away the book?
In defense of Mr. Graf, he was in largepart dependent on information obtained from the N.J. growers like Roehrs, Mandaand others, whose greenhouses were established in the 1800s. NJ wasthe major port of entry for the tons of newly discovered plants arrivingannually in the U.S.from Africa, Asia and South America as Floridawas still a swamp. The stuff came in so fast that you could barelydescribe it (or photograph) it fast enough. The book is full of errors, as werethe collections and herbariums of most botanical gardens of the times, but its also full of photographs of interesting Aroids many of which Ihave an interest in attempting to grow whatever their proper scientific name.W.A. Manda's greenhouses were full of misnamed plants but I miss Bob andhis son Alan (the last of the Manda's), their beat up copy of Exotica and theplants they grew as they gave me an interest which I have enjoyed my entirelife.