Naming caution

Greg Ruckert greg at EZI-LEARN.COM.AU
Fri Apr 30 02:16:41 CEST 1999

I find it very sad when people make personal attacks like the following on
the internet!!  This is totally unnecessary!  Especially when the individual
involved is not even on the group to defend themselves.

>It's a real pity that Chen Yi has insisted on shipping out blatantly
>misidentified material. It's not a problem for folks like us who take the
>time to key it out, but by the time that is done, it's too late. My guess
>is that it may have been a business decision-- the overseas nurseries who

Having dealt personally with Chen Yi  I will come to her defence and take
the consequences that follow.
When I first came across the Kaichen site I remember seeing a statement that
the species had been named by a leading Chinese botanist and that she
believed them to be truly correct.  Was that true?

I believe it was!  I have actually met the botanist involved.  He is one of
the very top botanists in the country, in his early 70s.   He has published
many books and is respected world wide.  So what is the problem?

Araceae is not his field of expertise.  How many "experts on Arisaema" are
there in China?  I would suggest that Li Heng is probably the most
competent,  then the expertise falls away quickly.

But just what is involved in getting the right name?

On last year's expedition one of my first collections was a lovely fruiting
specimen of what we named "Arisaema erubescens".   From the material in
front of us Li Heng and I agreed!!  Now it has flowered.  All I can say is
that if the plant is Arisaema erubescens then there is a dramatic difference
between that speciezs and Arisaema consanguineum.  This is why all my
material was distributed under field numbers , rather than names, and the
growers were encouraged to grow the plants under the numbers.  I have
however had subscribers contact me complaining that material was only
labeled Arisaema sp. with a number rather than a name.

In my discussions with Chen Yi she agreed that as soon as we could put a
correct name on a species then she would correct it on her list  I believe
that her intentions have been entirely honourable.

Looking at the experience and knowledge that is available on the AEG we
still do not seem to have made much in the way of inroads on the "naming"
problem, yet the Chinese supplier (for whom the Arisaema are but one part of
the trade) is expected to get it right.

Oh and by the way, Chen Yi has been selling these plants for many years,
mainly through Japan.  It is unreasonable to suggest that she is just
putting names on plants for the greedy capitalist American and European
nursery trade.

>are buying in her stock for resale want a name-- any name-- to give to
>their customers, not just a number. Some nurseries are taking the time to
>grow the stock on for a year to identify it (bless them...), but most
>aren't. I just stumbled across a web site today (Dragon Agro or something),
>that had each and every one of the Kaichen arisaemas offered for sale (at a
>standard ~10x markup), and had all of the bogus pictures on display.

How is Chen Yi expected to know that they will do this before she supplies
the material?

>I'm sure that Wilbert, Guy, Greg, and others are making progress toward
>positive ID's on this material, and that the AEG shouldn't worry about
>getting erroneous seed into distribution. Beyond suggesting an ID for the
>mixed-up du-bois-reymondii, Wilbert has also proposed that the material

This is exactly my point.  We must be cautious of this.  Having set such a
high standard we must not make the problem worse.  I am pleased to see
recent correspondents using the Kaichen numbers.  I would pose this
question.  If seed resulting from any of the Kaichen plants is distributed
through the AEG, what name will appear on the packet?

>shipped as A. dilatatum is actually A. wilsonii. Pictures of these will
>follow later this week. Please look at them-- it's for your own education.
>Where possible, I will also add the Kaichen number. Happy?

Greg Ruckert
Australian Areae Collection

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