Vol. 14, #1

February 1, 2014



Hoya linearis D. Don



The above picture is Hoya linearis var. sikkimensis


Hoya linearis  and Hoya lanceolata have features in common.  Each has more than one variety.  Hoya linearis var. linearis is from Nepal.  It is apparently a lot rarer than its sister variety, Hoya linearis var. sikkimensis.  I say that because in the 50 plus years I have been growing hoyas, I have seen Hoya linearis var. linearis  in only 1 collection (two counting my own but I got mine from the other fellow who grew it).

Hoya linearis var. linearis  Wall. ex D. Don was first published in Prodromus, Florae Nepalensis, page 130 (1825). 

As noted above I have seen only one example of this species.  It was grown by a friend named Stu Cramer who lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.  Stu was in a hoya robin that I was in and he sent each of  our robin members a nice rooted cutting of one of his hoyas.  Each of us got a different one.  Mine was this one. I lost it in that notorious freeze around 1982.  I have been unable to find a replacement. I have two pictures of this species.  I shot those pictures on  film, before the advent of digital.  The pictures have faded over the ages and I can no longer see the coronas in the picture.  I tried enhancing the pictures but I still see only a snow white blob, Until I can find another example of Hoya linearis var. linearis, you’re going have to either take my word  and the word of James Dalton Hooker, that the Nepal  plant’s  corona lobes are broader than the one published as var. sikkimensis.  He said, (in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, tab. 6682 (1883), “I have, therefore adopted the course of regarding the Sikkim plant as a variety of the Nepal one.”  As far as I’ve been able to determine the publication of the name, Hoya linearis (Wall) var. sikkimensis was first published the same year (1883) in The Gardener’s Chronicle, vol. 20, on page 8, with illustration on page 9.

The hoya that everyone in US now grows, appears to be Hoya linearis var. sikkimensis. The way these two differ is that Hoya linearis var. linearis has corona lobes that that greatly resemble those of Hoya lanceolata var. bella, while the corona lobes of Hoya linearis var. sikkimensis resemble those of Hoya lanceolata var. lanceolata.



What is Variegated Hoya Foliage?




Left:  This is a true variegation.  It came to me as Hoya macrophylla variegata.  I am not yet sure that it the correct identification.  This one must be carefully watched as new growth might come in all green.  All green branches need to be pruned out or they, having more chlorophyll, could smother the variegated branches and you could end up with an all green leafed plant.


Right:  This is not true variegation (or so I’ve been told repeatedly), and you don’t need to do any pruning or any other thing to keep it from “reverting” to all green.  It has never been all green and never will be all green. Hoya Society International member, Kathie Estes solved the mystery of how this and other speckled and splotched hoya leaves become speckled and splotched.  She was a chemist, employed by the beet sugar industry and had the use of sophisticated testing devices.  You can partially duplicate her experiment with only your fingernails.  Take a leaf and gently scrape a fingernail over the white speckles and blotches.  You’ll see that the speckles and blotches you scraped disappeared.  They’re now under your fingernail.  Better yet, use a sterile spoon to do the scraping.  Shortly after you have finished scraping, you’ll see the speckles and blotches reappear.  They are likely to be in a slightly different pattern but they’ll be there.  Kathy was in a Hoya robin with me.  She said she tested the scrapings and found that they were sucrose.  That’s sugar!  It’s the same stuff found in sugar cane, sugar bowls, candy and ice cream.  Kathy didn’t tell us if she tested the sap that runs out of hoya flowers but my bet is that it too contains sucrose.  That leaf on the right (from Hoya wibergiae) will, as long as it lives, be speckled and blotched.  The borders of the leaf to the left of it, will remain variegated but new growth can be solid green.  To have  a plant with that lovely variegated pattern, the plant must be maintained by pruning out all solid coloured leaves. 

My theory about the leaf pattern on the right is that in humid areas and when it rains a lot that the white sap becomes so plentiful that the leaf cells can’t hold all of it so it leaks out through leaf pores.  That’s just my theory.  I’d like to hear from some real scientists as I no longer have one in the house (a scientist, I mean).



Hoya cv. Snowball by Christine M. Burton


The following is a reply I gave to a letter I received, from David Gray, about the cultivar Snowball:


My Letter to Mr. Gray:  I don’t believe that  Hoya carnosa cv. Snowball is a hybrid.  I have never seen any documentation or any sale’s catalog that called it a hybrid.  In fact, I never found anything published anywhere that even mentioned its origin.

The only places I have seen the name is on the late Loyce Andrews’ sales lists and on the sales’ lists of other sellers who got their starts from her.

I do not have a ‘Snowball.’  I used to have two hoyas that  I bought so labeled.  I got one from Loyce Andrews and when it bloomed and I saw that it didn’t fit the description, I bought another one from Sally Marz.  When Sally’s bloomed, it did not fit the description either.  When I finished studying it (by taking numerous pictures of it and all its flower parts, I gave it away.

The only difference I could see in it and all the other hundred or so Hoya carnosa cultivars is that its leaves were somewhat larger.

The only hoya cultivars,  that I am aware of that can easily be proven to be hybrids are Emilio’s two dwarf beauties, Mathilde and Chouke (Hoya carnosa x Hoya serpens  (or visa versa – I can’t remember which)  I asked Emilio how he knew what the parentage was and he replied that it had to be Hoya carnosa and Hoya serpens because they were the only hoyas he owned when the seed pods developed.  Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if all hoyas were that well documented?

Let me say right now before I get misquoted as I always do, that, unless all the hoyas I’ve seen labeled ‘Snowball” were mislabeled, that ‘Snowball’ does not have white flowers and its umbels are almost never ball shaped. “


The following is David Gray’s reply to me, which proves that I don’t know everything about hoya cultivars.. This letter is dated January 19, 2012.  I don’t know where in cyberspace it has been hiding all this time.  I only just found it.


Hoya cv. Snowball


By David O. Gray  (with my comments –marked by *s -thrown in)!


“I must confess, I was not completely forthcoming in my earlier e-mail.  I do know something of the history of the plant H. ‘Snowball.’

I feel you must have the best archive of Hoya literature and thought it would be a good thing to share with you what I know.  I hope it is of some use.

If I may, let me offer my recollections (and the results of some research I have been doing) on the lady I first bought hoyas from, Grace Arndt.

She had a greenhouse called Arndt’s House Plants, near Troutdale, East of Portland, Oregon.  I started buying plants from her in the mid 1970’s. At that time, she had already produced three hybrid hoyas that she had named.  As I recall (and my memories from that time are not exactly crisp), she said the three were all siblings from a single seedpod on a Hoya carnosa.  They were all very distinct, and she suspected the pollen parent was a different species, but I cannot recall which.  At the time, she was growing about 40 species (not counting forms of Hoya australis as a species).

I do believe she sent the seed off to be treated to radiation, which was a common practice at that time, and one she was in the habit of doing to get new African Violets.  I don’t remember if it was treated with Cobalt, or Cesium,*  but I do recall her telling me about the relative merits of each as a mutagen.  Harnessing the power of the atom and the beneficial uses of radiation were kind of buzz phrases in the 60’s.

By the time I saw them in 1974, these original plants were very large mature specimens, and she had been distributing them for some time.  I’m sure she had sent them to Loyce Andrews (who she did not have a lot of respect for, having bought many misnamed plants and duplicates from her).

The biggest of the three named ones was ‘Snowball.’  It was the standout for its large sized leaves and flower umbels.  She used to say the clusters were as big as a grapefruit; and for me they were large and almost spherical.  I do think they  were whiter than the rest.  I lost my plant a long time ago to mealy bugs.  The other one I remember was ‘Little Star.’ It seemed like a small version of a carnosa with longer, very dark leaves and light pink flowers.  I really liked this one but, like ‘Snowball,’ I lost it at some point, and would like to get it again.  The third one did not leave a strong impression on me, and I’m sorry, but I can’t recall the name.

It’s a little disappointing to me that you did not find this cultivar to be worth growing, but you have a great deal more experience with cultivars than I do.**  Perhaps it was not as special in real life as it was in my memories of it, perhaps it declined in cultivation, or perhaps, the true cultivar was lost.  We may never know.

On hybrids, I have grown a plant for some time as Hoya carnosa x obovata and it would seem to be just that.  I was under the impression that ‘Minibelle’ and ‘Shepherdell’ were cultivars of Hoya carnosa x Hoya shepherdii. I also have Mr. Begine’s hybrid, ‘Mathilde.”  It does strike me as odd that there are not more hybrids of carnosa  at this point.  I must give hybridizing a try this summer.

I do believe I’m with you on the “big ten” concept of Hoya carnosa.  Would you also include fungii and dasyantha?” ***

             *, **   &  *** = Burton’s comments


* Most of those writing in popular publications about treating seed with radiation, wrote that they took the seed with them to their dentist and the dentist dosed the seed with a brief  x-ray.  Many unusual (and often weird seedlings resulted).

**No, I don’t have more experience with cultivars.  I think I may have more experience with sellers who sell mislabeled plants!  I doubt that I ever saw a true cultivar named Snowball!  Consider my source.  Remember that Loyce Andrews was, in those olden days the sole distributor for a Hawaiian seller who now fills his cutting orders with cuttings he rescues from his compost bin (according to written reports from his on site customers).  Loyce’s alibi when told she’d sent the wrong species was, “I sell them with the label that was on them when I got them!”  She also claimed that she knew her labels were correct because they’d been identified for her by a man (no name given) who attended the Chicago World’s Fair.  The last Chicago  World’s  Fair, when she made that claim in the 1960s, was in the 1890s.  I asked but she never replied to my question, which was, “How did attending the Chicago World’s make him a Hoya authority?

*** I would include the two plants I purchased as Hoya fungii and dasyantha but I need more study to determine if they are correctly labeled.  As far as I’ve gotten with these is that my initial impression is that the one I bought labeled dasyantha better fits the description of Hoya fungii and that the one I bought labeled Hoya fungii may be a cultivar or a subspecies.  Note I say ‘may be” not is.


So, there we have it!  That’s what’s what  of what I think I know about the cultivar ‘Snowball.’




Glossary – words I’ve found on Hoya forums and in correspondence with other hoya growers:


Lyodious:  In correspondence, modified by the word, “positive.”  It means, “Presuming the rules only apply to other people.”


Internet hoya authority:  A quick to jump in, with the wrong information about any subject.  In this case the dummy “corrected” someone on Garden Web,  who got it right.   The dummy who “corrected” her was wrong.    


This is how plant names should be written:


Genus Name:  Upper cased.  Species name:  lower cased.  Cultivar name:  upper cased.


You may place the abbreviation, cv. between the species name and the cultivar name or omit the cv. and write the cultivar name enclosed by single quotation marks:

Examples:   Hoya compacta cv. Chelsea   or Hoya compacta Chelsea.’

The author’s name is part of the species name, i.e., Hoya carnosa R. Br. (for Robert Brown).   We just don’t use them in ordinary conversation.

There are correct and incorrect ways of writing hybrid cultivars.  I’m not up to defining them right now.  I suggest that if you want to be correct that you obtain an up to date copy of the Code for Cultivated Plants.  It’s on line somewhere.




My Error-  I apologize.


Yes, I did say (vol. 9, #3) that Hoya vanuatuensis  is the same species as Hoya diptera.   I meant to say the opposite but some how the “not” in “is not” got lost in my proofing.

The facts, as I recorded them when I got them in the 1960s:


Hoya diptera Seem.  was sold to me,  by Mr. Green, mislabeled as Hoya chlorantha Rech.

Hoya sp. NH-1 was sold to me, by Mr. Green, mislabeled as Hoya diptera.

I was 100% convinced that NH-1 was not Hoya diptera,  even though the flowers are similar, except for colour.  The foliage is extremely different.  I pointed out all the differences I could and told Mr. Green that the two above were mislabeled.  He was adamant in declaring his labels were correct.  That was many years before someone convinced him that he was wrong.  It was then that he published NH-1 as Hoya vanuatuensis.   It is Hoya diptera Ted Green, that is synonymous to Hoya vanuatuensis, not Hoya diptera Seem.

It is possible that Hoya vanuatuensis could be a variety of Hoya diptera Seem. but if it is I don’t know of anyone having made that determination.




Author’s note:  At least one publication surmised that the wee “wings” on the petioles,  for which Hoya diptera was named probably was only the result of over pressing.  The petioles’ wee wings on my plant could be seen under magnification.  My plant was never pressed.  Those were fresh, still on the vine leaves and petioles that I examined, photographed and then drew.  The name diptera is, therefore, a descriptive name.


The promise for more on the Aurigue book must be postponed again.  The book donor wants me to find the instances of plagiarism that he has found.  I haven’t found any, though I’ve found a lot of other things wrong with the book.  It has taken many hours of time re-reading all the books on hoyas in my collection and comparing the contents.  There are still at least a half dozen more books that I don’t own because I can’t afford to buy them and I don’t know anyone who has them.  I tried interlibrary loan to get one and was told they couldn’t even find a record of such a book.  I expect copies will eventually show up and, if so, I’ll report here, if I’m still among the living.





1).  Page 79 is upside down!

2).  Page 35 shows a picture of the cross section of a single hoya flower.  He labeled  the pedicel, “Peduncle.”

3).  Page 36  shows anther appendages labeled “Anthers.”

4).  Page 38 shows a hoya pollinium.   Back when he was on speaking terms with me, he sent me a copy of that very same picture. He labeled it as “magnified approximately 60 times .” 

Later on, he must have forgotten that he’d already sent me a copy of that picture so he sent another.  On the back of the second one he wrote that it was magnified 100 times.  Both of the pictures are identical to the one on page 38 of this book.

So, on page 38 of this book, the exact same picture appears.  It is obviously just a scan of the very same picture but Mr. Kloppenburg says it is magnified 165 times.

Every measurement of every part in all three pictures are exactly the same.  Did his ruler shrink or grow longer?  Or what?

5).  Page 43 shows a very nice picture of Hoya magnifica.  It is mislabeled Hoya albiflora.

6).  Page 112  (a species misidentified by Kloppenburg as Hoya gracilis)  is the same plant sent to me by Peter Tsang’ sister’s husband as “sp. from Ceram.”  He mailed it to me from there, having found it there while on a business trip or a vacation (he didn’t say which).  He also mailed cuttings of it to   Peter’s long time friend, Dexter Heuschkel, who lived in the Philippines and was director of the Manila Memorial Garden (a cemetery). Having found it there, Kloppenburg assumed (wrongly) that it was a Philippine native so he published it again as Hoya memoria.   This same species was sold to me, later on, by David Liddle as Hoya litoralis  (IML-107) and (IML-926).  Add to that several other names that appear to be very similar (or even just different clones of the same species and you have one colossal mess.  These are: Hoya inconspicua, dodecatheiflora, halophila and rosea.  I’ll try to illustrate these with what I’ve collected about them, in another issue.  I fear that this is such a mess that straightening it out could become a life’s work!

7).  More on page 112.  Kloppenburg said that Hoya gracilis Schltr. “was collected by Sammlers, thought to be a native, later given to Dr. Schlechter near Talisso in the Celebes, now called Sulawesi.” 

What did Schlechter really say?  Per the late Roy Wyatt, Professor of German at Georgia Institute of Technology, Schlechter said, “Celebes, near Talisso (Without name of the collector (a native?).”  

1). Sammler defined on page 91 of the German-English Appendix in Cassell’s German Dictionary, published by  Macmillan  in 1962.   I have no reason to believe that the word’s meaning has changed at all since then.  It was defined as  Collector!”

2).  Then, in parenthesis, Schlechter asks the question, (Eingeborene?).  Eingeborene ?., which means,  “a native?  You’ll find that definition on page 324 of the same dictionary cited above.

NO, I am not a German scholar but my husband, his mother and all his aunts, uncles and cousins spoke a lot of German in my presence, when they didn’t want me to know what they were saying about me!  I picked up a bit here and there.

8) On page 118 (in the middle of the second paragraph)  DK described the flower umbels of Hoya imbricata, saying that “The clusters are held upright.”   On page 119, There is a picture of this species.  The picture is definitely right side up.  It is of a tree with its trunk almost completely covered with Hoya imbricata vines.  Visible are 3 large umbels of flowers and 2 more smaller umbels (possibly just in bud stage).  All of those umbels hang straight down.  No even one of them is upright!  

                                                                                                ---to be continued at another time.