From: Jonathan Ertelt <jonathan.ertelt at vanderbilt.edu> on 2007.02.21 at 17:37:57(15313)|
Title: Re: [Aroid-l] Philodendron 'Santa
Basically what you have run into is the curse of the common name.
It is a challenge compounded here for several reasons, the first being
financial, since at least some are going to equate the common name
'Santa Leopoldina' with the extremely rare and therefore extremely
valuable Philo. spiritus-sancti. I find it very interesting that some
are suggesting that the common name be used in a much more widespread
way, as it currently seems to be whether purposefully or not. Of
course, the more widespread the usage, the less use the common name
has - but that may well be the point that these folks are raising,
whether intentionally or not.
The whole idea of which plant takes precedence for holding this
common name is almost implying some sort of pseudo-scientific status
for the common name, of which there is none. It doesn't really matter
which plant Graf assigned that common name to - the fact that it has
become more widespread is just the way it is. Some will argue a
"rightful owner" for the common name, but since it is a
common name the argument doesn't have much substance.
On a brighter note, this has been very useful for me to share
with some of my students as a great example of the challenges of
common names. I used to just use the local example of going to a
nursery and asking about a native plant called "spice bush,"
and how you had a one in three or one in four chance of getting
the specific plant that you had in mind. But your web site pointing up
all the Philodendrons, including both species and likely hybrids as
well, that are potentially called 'Santa Leopoldina' has my spice bush
example well trumped.
Interestingly, I have|
received far more response to my request for your input on the use of
the term 'Santa Leopoldina' in personal email than an exchange of
ideas on this board. I have gathered as much as possible and now
posted it on a permanent page on the website. I also find it of
interest that more than one person appears to feel I should just drop
the subject and let the name 'Santa Leopoldina' be used for any plant
in the jungle with a long blade. Certainly, I make no pretense
to be the final authority. Anyone can call any plant by any name
they choose. Several of us are just curious why so many
growers and sellers use that name for so many different plants?
And the list is still growing. I now have 12 plants on the page
and there are more to be found on the
One writer pointed out
since Graf's use of the term predates either Bette Waterbury or other
more recent articles his plant should take precedence. Does that
mean Philodendron spiritus-sancti should not be the rightful
owner? I no longer have his books so I cannot personally
Again, I invite your
comments and will post anyone's comment who grants
permission. I ask you post them here so we all can read
your opinions. Of course, if you'd rather send me a personal
note, feel free.
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