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Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other= Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other=
Tue Jun 2 17:44:58 CEST 1998

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From: Wilbert Hetterscheid <hetter at WORLDONLINE.NL>
Subject: Re: Arisaema franchetifargesiianum
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Guys 'n dolls,

Isn't it about time we tried to weed out the uncertainties in this
franchetigesii discussion? Not to suggest that I am going to do it right
here and now but I volunteer to add an analysis of the bare facts we have
at our humble disposition. I hope you don't mind that I take a more
taxonomic look at this and less that of a collector:

1) Paul Christian goes back to the Flora of China key (Ohwi, translation
Wurdack). This makes clear that for any answer we have to look at the
naughty bits of the plants and not, like we have been doing too long, at
the outside of the spathe. I have done this for the plants I have (the on=es
shown on the IAS website under "The Hetterscheid collection"). I earlier
identified these as franchetianum. Guy Gusman thinks they are fargesii
(yes, yes, I am going to name major players in this debate.....). Today, =I
have again done some surgery on a flowering specimen I have, and made
photographs, so they can be added to the website in time. Clearly my plan=ts
follow the fargesii pattern as per Ohwi's key: stigma penicillate, append=ix
base 1.1. cm in diam., 8 cm long.

The key isn't all too reliable though in this particular dichotomy. First=,
the juxtaposition of "stigma discoid" and "stigma penicillate" is wrong.
Both characters are not comparable, since one describes the shape of the
stigma (discoi) and the other it's surface texture (penicillate). A logic=al
conclusion from this illogism may be that franchetianum has a
non-penicillate (whatever that may be) stigma and fargesii a non-discoid
stigma. My plants mentioned earlier indeed show a stigma that is
subhemispheric (are you all still with me?). So, in all, my plants (see
website) seem to fit fargesii sensu Ohwi in Flora of China.

The main task here for all ye others is to do the same as I did and cut
open the spathes of your plants and check for these characters in order t=o
see if the apparent differences between fargesii and franchetianum as per
Ohwi, somehere among your plants show up. If anyone has the
"franchetianum"-syndrome in his/her plants, please describe this and
photograph it for further study. Preferably pickle an entire inflorescenc=e.

2) back to basics:

Engler (1881) being the authority of the name Ar. franchetianum, describe=s
this species as having an appendix of ca. 8 cm long, curved and 8 mm in
diam. at the base. Unfortunately he does not give away details of the
female flowers. In 1920 he adds to sect. Franchetiana the species Ar.
purpureogaleatum, which by recent authors is synonymised with Ar.
franchetianum. If this opinion is correct than we get for franchetianum a=n
add-up of characters for franchetianum sensu Engler PLUS Ar.
purpureogaleatum. This leads to an emendation of the variation of the
spathe shape and the addition of characters of the female flowers.
Franchetianum sensu Engler was with a curvate spathe and a long drawn-out
spathe tip (NOT caudate) and purpureogaleatum is with a true helmet-shape=d
spathe (galeate spathe) and a long caudate spathe tip and apiculate
(pointed) anther-connectives. I have seen this latter suite of characters
in occasional photos on the web (except for the connective character) and
these were often seen as franchetianum, which would be correct in this
case. However, we must also add the more gently curved spathed types,
similar as in the Hetterscheid photos on the IAS web, even though these
specimens' internal structures point to fargesii sensu Ohwi. All in all,
this degree of curvature of the spathe does NOT seem to constitute a
difference between fargesii and franchetianum. This entire variation is
part of at least franchetianum. An excellent illustration of the
"purpureogaleatum"-aspect of franchetianum is Botanical Magazine table
9212. What is unfortunate is that the description of purpureogaleatum by
Engler is based on a male spadix and that of Botanical magazine does not
describe the stigma in detail. Therefore we still don't know WHAT the
surface structure of the stigma of franchetianum (incl. purpureogaleatum)=is.

So I call upon you, who have a plant with the "purpureogaleatum" aspect o=f
spathe,m to look at the stigmas in detail. Pickle them would be perfect. =In
my opinion, Roy Herold's 101303A1 qualifies as the
"purpureogaleatum"-aspect of franchetianum!!

Of course, this whole parable would break down if purpureogaleatum would =be
a synonym of fargesii, but let's not get confused here..............

3) what then is Ar. fargesii???? The species was described in 1909 by
Buchet, based on a spathe and male spadix only. Buchet says that the
margins of the opening of the spathe are distinctly auriculate and the li=mb
is strongly curved forward and 2 cm long acuminate. Tha appendix is curve=d
forward halfway up. The connective of the anthers is apiculate (pointed)
AND !!!!! the appendix base is 7-8 mm in diam.!!! This is also what the
Ohwi key says. The thickness of the appendix base apparently is a
difference between the two BUT where does Ohwi get the 4 mm for
franchetianum from??). Needless to say, Buchet does NOT describe any deta=il
of the female flowers. How then, does anyone know what the stigma of
fargesii looks like? Ohwi describes it as penicillate, so how did THAT
character get there? Apparently somebody has at some point suggested that
certain female plants belong to fargesii. And indeed this has happened, a=nd
it started by Buchet himself, who claims he saw a number of female plants
cultivated by Vilmorin and which he himself observed growing in 1910. The
plants originated from Sechuan. Buchet mentiones some characters he saw i=n
these plants such as:

- spathe margins auriculate (which he also noticed on fargesii proper)
- appendix tip wider than in fargesii proper

These are NOT particularly characters one wishes to rely on. It is not
enough. However, to the aid comes C.H. Wright in Botanical magazine Table
8861, who published a plate and description of plants he got from Vilmori=n
of the latter's Szechuan batch (the same that Buchet saw) to grow at Kew,
where they flowered. They flowered female and thus, Buchet's incomplete
addition to fargesii of the characters of Vilmorin's plants could now be
emended by Wright. The emendation is significant because he says that the
STIGMA (finally we get some detail of that!) is PENICILLATE!!! Apparently
then, this character in Ohwi's key originates from this material or
something similar. The spathe shape of the plants in Bot. magazine is muc=h
like my plants on the IAS website.

The net result is a picture of fargesii that conforms to my pics at the I=AS
website but the assumption is that Buchet's original fargesii and
Vilmorin's DO in fact belong together. The picture of franchetianum remai=ns
partly difficult. Apparently it isn't much different from fargesii as
reconstructed above but the variation of spathe-shape is wider (so as to
include purpureogaleatum). The relevance of the surface of the stigmas
needs to be asessed, as that of franchetianum remains unclear from the
literature. IF the stigma of franchetianum (incl. purpureogaleatum) would
be penicillate, then the differences between the two species as per Ohwi'=s
key would break down considerably!! It would leave only the thickness of
the appendix base as relevant. From a taxonomic point of view, this is ve=ry
thin ice!

Ergo: what needs to be checked is a number of naughty bits on a number of
spadices of specimens with a variation of spathe shape. Can we find
non-penicillate, discoid stigmas (which would indicate franchetianum) and
can we find consistently narrow appendix-bases of ca. 4 mm!! (also to be

I hope you who possess franchetifargesii plants will have a look into it.
"penicillate" means that the surface of the stigma is covered with elonga=te
projections, which make it look "moulded". "Discoid' means very flat, lik=e
a dinner-plate.


P.s. (read this only if you are immune to XXX-rated character babble):
there is one intriguing complication, regarding the shape of the male
flowers. Both Engler and Buchet describe that the connective (a "bridge" =of
tissue holding the anthers together) is "apiculate" (= pointed). Stapf,=in
his description of purpureogaleatum in Botanical magazine does figure the
opposite, namely a flat connective BUT in an added note, he mentions
specimens he just got from Wright which DID have the apiculate connective.
One might wonder what the value of this character is in this discussion. =I
have not yet observed a male spadix on my batch of "fargesii's" to see if
this character is clear. Later.

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