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  Re: [aroid-l] alocasia nomenclature question
From: "Peter Boyce" peterboyce at myjaring.net> on 2003.11.14 at 00:23:31(10798)
RE: alocasia nomenclature questionHi Darrin

Tom has cc'd your Alocasia question to me for comment.

First, a bit of background on the thorny issue of the correct names to apply
to cultivated elements of Alocasia longiloba.

Alocasia longiloba is, in the wild, a highly variable species, with there
existing populations of plants that are stably 'distinct' from typical A.
longiloba, others where plants intergrade from one 'species' to the next and
others where plants are a complete mix of distinct and indistinct plants,
all intergrading. At times over the past 200-odd years plant collectors have
brought into cultivation the most striking plants from these various
populations and introduced them into cultivation from where they were often
described as new species but, and this is the critical thing, without the
ability to refer back to the wild originating population to check whether
the distinctness of the new species was stable. The result of this is that
when it came time to study the wild populations in order to make some sense
of the things in cultivation it became clear that, despite the 'distinctness
' of many of the plants in cultivation, all the barriers separating say A.
lowii from A. longiloba fell to pieces in the wild and that these 'species'
are in fact all simply elements from within the pool of natural variation
that is exhibited by A. longiloba.

Well, this was fine and dandy for the botanists, who wanted a handle on the
species in the wild and defined it as a widely variable single entity, but
was no good whatsoever for horticulturalists who could clearly differentiate
between the plant that grow as A. lowii and that which they grow as A.
longiloba. The solution used was to create a series of informal 'groups' to
account for and give names to the most distinct elements displayed in A.
longiloba in the broad sense.

The result of all this is that the full synonymy of A. longiloba is:

Alocasia longiloba Miq.

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