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  Aglaonmea 'Alumina'
From: Eric Schmidt leu242 at yahoo.com> on 2006.07.06 at 08:38:18(14386)
Does anyone know if Aglaonema 'Alumina' is a hybrid or
species? It is one of the hardier Aglaonemas as it
tolerates temperatures down to about freezing. The
silvery leaves brighten up a deep shady location.


Eric Schmidt

From: "Bluesea" chammer at cfl.rr.com> on 2006.07.07 at 22:20:40(14393)
Eric, A. 'Alumina' is without doubt, at least in my mind, a hybrid. Roy
Jervis, who wrote the 'Aglaonema Grower's Notebook' (1980), said he first
noticed 'Alumina' in the collection of Barry Schwartz in Tampa in early
1980. It's unclear to me where this particular Aglaonema cultivar
originated from. But in any case, shortly thereafter Roy saw the exact same
silvery Aglaonema among those collected by Dr. Frank Brown in the Rizal
mountains of eastern Luzon in March of 1980.

The story of the discovery of A. 'Alumina' and the many natural hybrids
found with it is very interesting. These Aglaonemas originated from a
natural 'hybrid swarm', which produced Aglaonemas of complex parentage, not
just single chance crosses. The crosses apparently involved A. commutatum,
A. philippinense, A. crispum, and A. simplex. The 'swarm' was discovered
in very early 1980 by locals on Luzon who were picnicking, decided to
explore the nearby jungle, and
came across this amazing group of plants. One of them apparently had some
horticultural knowledge and realized the find was unusual. In short order,
word of the discovery reached Dr. Brown, who was interested in hybridizing
Aglaonemas, and he travelled to Luzon to collect examples from the 'swarm'.
It's my understanding that Dr. Brown used some of these hybrids in his
highly successful Aglaonema hybridizing program, now based in Valkaria FL,
which has resulted in a great many new and beautiful easy-care Aglaonemas
for growing in homes and offices worldwide.

The Luzon discovery and resulting Aglaonema hybrids are described in detail
in Jervis's 'Aglaonema Grower's Notebook', which is decades out of print. I
found the story fascinating, and have tried to collect some of these old
Aglaonema hybrids. I'd appreciate a heads up if anyone has unusual
Aglaonema cultivars to trade from this time period, such as 'Mutton-Fat
Jade', 'Superba', 'Jose Rizal', or others.

Russ Hammer

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