Vol. 12, #1
A Hoya with a
The picture was given to me by David Liddle, many years ago. It was labeled “Hoya bilobata – IML-228 – Same as IML-846.” These two IML numbers are listed as Hoya bilobata in his Accession catalog too. It was listed in his sales’ catalogs as Hoya bilobata from 1998 through 2007. In 2008 the Liddle catalog listed IML-231 (DS-128) as Hoya bilobata and the IML-228 & IML-249 numbers were identified as Hoya panchoi. I hope that this example will convince all who read it the importance of keeping all labels associated with the plants they own and check their sources frequently to see what changes may have come about. If you don’t you’ll find yourself wasting your money buying what you already have over and over again.
Although they don’t look it in the picture, the Liddle catalogs described the flowers of IML-228 as having red corollas and orange coronas. Sometimes cameras don’t see what we see and photographs sometimes fade over time. Those are the only explanations I can come up with to explain the difference in the picture and the photographer’s description.
So now to the account of what I know about the hoya that was published as Hoya panchoi Kloppenb.:
Once upon a time
there was a wee little Hoya which a fellow by the name of Adolf Daniel Edward
Elmer (universally referred to as A.D.E. Elmer but in name publications
abbreviated as Elm.) collected in the
Elmer labeled that specimen Hoya diversifolia. Apparently, he didn’t know that Carl Blume had already published a Hoya diversifolia in 1826.
This specimen, along with a lot of other specimens collected by Elmer during his years at the Bureau of Science didn’t get published and I suspect that was a cause of discontent to Elmer. I don’t know if he and his boss (E. D. Merrill) had a falling out and Elmer quit or if Merrill fired him. I knew Merrill’s twin brother personally but he wasn’t a gossip. I just got the impression from what I’ve read that both gentlemen were happy to part ways. Elmer started his own publishing enterprise in order to publish his own species but he waited until 1938 to do it. He published all of his species in English. By then, the Code required that all species name publications be written in Latin, because Latin, being a dead language, would never have its meanings changed. This provision in the Code made all of Elmer’s publications invalid.
read in Fraterna a piece by Kloppenburg which said that he waited until
1938 to publish because it was too expensive to publish during the depression. That
was pure conjecture. Since Elmer had
gone off on his own at least 11 years before the 1929 disaster that started the
depression, I doubt that the depression was what held him up. My scientist
husband theorized that Elmer was part of a movement that swept across the
Whatever his reason, all of Elmer’s publications were invalid. I’d have liked to have had them republished with the same names he gave them, in order to save a lot of confusion by having all of those holotype specimens bear the same names as the valid publications. What I’d have liked hasn’t happened.
Elmer, finally, in 1938, realized that his #15937 could not be named Hoya diversifolia so he published it in his own publication, Leaflets of Philippine Botany. Vol. 10, Article 131, page 3575. He gave it the name of Hoya bulusanensis Elm. The publication was entirely in English. Being in English, it was not a valid publication.
an opportunity to make a name for himself, Robert Dale Kloppenburg published it
panchoi to honor Dr. Juan Panchoi whom he had met in
The holotype specimen consists of a long stem with only a couple of leaves attached and an envelope with 17 leaves in it. There are no flowers anywhere on the sheet. An isotype specimen, which I found at Harvard is in a little better shape. It has a longer stem with 7 leaves attached and an envelope containing 8 leaves, but not a single flower.
So, how do we know if the little hoya in circulation as Hoya panchoi is really that species? We don’t and, in fact, when not in bloom the leaves of both Hoya bilobata and Hoya heuschkeliana appear identical to it. I’ve also seen specimens and living plants of other genera with leaves that look the same. Could be it isn’t even a hoya so, unless we can find another isotype specimen with flowers attached, there is not, at present, any way to determine just which hoya in circulation (if any) is Hoya panchoi.
above picture was taken on
WARNING: I got two more inquiries about that book I wrote about in the last issue, Hoya Catalogue by Nikolai Bilenko. Don’t waste your money on it!!!!!
The book isn’t a catalogue. It is a very sorry attempt to list all the
names of all hoyas by someone who doesn’t know correct terminology and doesn’t
have a clue as to how to record names.
It’s just a list of names with what appears to be his guesses as to
native habitats. Those guesses are often
wrong. He attempts to tell you the
authors of some of the names but inserts what he thinks is native habitat
between the species name and the author’s name.
He obviously doesn’t know that the authors’ names are officially part of
the species name. For example, he wrote “Hoya
notations are plentiful. Several of R. Schlechter’s Philippine publications
were credited to someone named “F. Rudolf.”
Example: He wrote, “Hoya
far off can one get? Let me see --- ummm.. This fellow listed
ariadna and credited Kloppenburg and Gilding with authoring it in
1844. Kloppenburg wasn’t born until
about 65 years after that and Gilding at least 100 years later. I don’t think traveling back to the future is
possible any place but in
book is not without humor. The funniest
thing in it is the author’s listing of a hoya that does not exist. He called it Hoya annotating and said
it was native to
The errors abound. It would take a book many times longer that Bilenko’s book to record all of his errors and cite the corrections.. Very few entries are correct. THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED THIS EXPENSIVE PIECE OF GARBAGE!
WHAT HOYA IS HOYA OVALIFOLIA ?
At this time, I’d say, “It’s anybody’s guess!
I may have covered this before on these pages but sometimes one has to keep repeating things because some people keep bring them up, like a kid that keeps picking at a scab on his knee that he got trying to ride his big brother’s bike, without permission.
This question has been asked over and over and all who ask it tell me that they know that the one I sell as Hoya balansae is actually Hoya ovalifolia because others agree that it is. Well, I don’t agree with others. I am one of those people who believe that all parts of a plant should agree with the type specimen, even if the name description doesn’t, however in this case the plant that others are calling Hoya ovalifolia, doesn’t agree with either the type specimen or the name publication.
Above left: The largest leaf I could find on the hoya that I believe to be Hoya balansae Cost.
Above right: Another leaf from the same plant. Most leaves are about this size, though a few are larger and a few still smaller.
All leaves on this plant are the same shape. Note that when viewed from above, as these are, that the margins appear entire and the leaf tips apiculate. Because the tips turn down, when viewed from above without being pressed flat, most appear to be almost round.
Turn the leaves over and view them from beneath and you can see that the leaf margins are rolled under, making them look like a saucer. When removed from the plant, as those above were, when turned over, they will hold water.
I cannot tell you which hoya is Hoya ovalifolia by the leaves but, in this and many other cases, I can tell you what a species isn’t by the foliage and this slender vine with entire recurved leaf margins is not Hoya ovalifolia..
Now, take a look at Hoya ovalifolia Wight et Arn. ex Wight
The above is from Wight’s Icones Plantarum, Plate 847
above is a greatly reduced scan of one half of an isotype specimen
(Wallich catalog #1522), which I
found in the
Definition of ISOTYPE SPECIMEN: “A specimen which is a duplicate of the holotype (part of the single gathering that also includes the holotype).”
That definition can be found in “An Annotated Glossary of Botanical Nomenclature” Regnum Vegetabile vol. 56, published by the International Bureau for Plant Taxonomy and Nomenclature.
EXOTIC ANGEL PLANTS
Question: Chris, I know you have repeatedly said that you can’t identify a hoya by its leaves alone but can you look at two similar species and tell which is which without flowers? The reason I ask is because I lost labels of two of mine, Hoyas coriacea and Hoya fraterna. Neither has bloomed and I can’t tell them apart. --- Susan Chambers.
Answer: Some I can and some I can’t. You may be in luck this time. First, let me say that my Hoyas coriacea and fraterna haven’t bloomed yet either but, assuming that David Liddle labeled the plants I got from him correctly, I could tell which is which, even if I lost the labels.
No matter how young or old the foliage is, the leaf shapes are the same.
Above Left: A Hoya fraterna leaf. This is a typical adult leaf. It measures 12 cm. from the base to the point where the acuminated tip starts. That tip is 1 cm. long. The width is 6 cm. at the widest part.
Above Right: A Hoya coriacea leaf. This is a typical adult leaf. It measures 13.3 cm. from the base to the beginning of the acuminated tip. That tip is about 1.3 cm. long.
I examined both large plants and found all the leaves on each to match the two above except for size. As is to be expected, juvenile leaves are smaller and adult leaves larger but their shapes and ratios of length versus width are approximately the same.
Re the Identify the Leaf Contest (see vol. 7)
Only one person entered. Her guesses were Hoya obovata and Hoya deykeae. The correct identity of that leaf is Hoya calycina.
The point I was trying to make was the same as always. One can’t identify a species by examining a single leaf.. Valentine shaped leaves occur on plants of just about every genus and species. I don’t know the reason. Perhaps it is the result of some insect feeding on the leaf tips when the leaf is just beginning to form. I have found leaves shaped like valentines on Red Oak Trees (or rather on branches that wind dropped in my yard).
A few years ago, there was a lady who advertised her hoyas in Horticulture Magazine. She had a brand new unnamed cultivar of Hoya carnosa variegata with valentine shaped leaves (or so she claimed). Her asking price was extremely steep but, being gullible, I placed an order for it. What I got was a Hoya carnosa variegata with elliptical leaves. There wasn’t a single valentine shaped leaf on the entire plant. I phoned the lady and complained about being cheated. Her reply was that her plant had produced a single valentine shaped leaf so that proved that it was capable of producing valentine shaped leaves. She flat out refused to refund my money. That was about 40 years ago. That plant still hasn’t produced a valentine shaped leaf but, from time to time, I have found single valentine shaped leaves on other hoyas and also, as noted above, on that downed oak tree branch. I also have found an occasional valentine shaped leaf on my camellias.
And, speaking of camellias, I know this is a Hoya page but I’d like to share a picture of one of my camellias.
All those pink flower petals on the ground show that this Camellia sasangua is past prime stage.. The strange shape of the bush is the result of lightening hitting a nearby tree and having a huge branch fall on the camellia, splitting the bush in two. That was five years ago. The bush didn’t even slow down. It continued to grow and, as you can see, it blooms abundantly, from the middle of October until the middle of December most years. The picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day. Today is December 20 and it is still going strong. . Makes me think that maybe I should give up on hoyas and grow camellias exclusively. They certainly give me a lot of show for my money!