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Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other= Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other=
Sun May 2 18:48:43 CEST 1999

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From: Paul Christian <paul at RAREPLANTS.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: Naming caution (long and tetchy)
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Dear All, 

I tend to lurk these days and have lost count of the responses that I hav=e
typed in the heat of the moment but binned before they were sent, BUT I=
try and restrain myself from getting involved on this one.=A0 

I don't feel that anything dishonest is being done with the names.=A0 M=ost o=
shots at names are on target, some are real bull's eyes. Yes there are a =few
that miss the mark by a mile but by and large most of what we have had ha=s
well-named and good material, and we have done a lot of trade with her.==A0
may not arrive with a name that was verified by Kew 10 years ago when a
specialist visited or the names may not always be in accord with current

Half of the new offerings from Chenyi have not been seen since they were
described in the first place.=A0 The types are often sketchy or inadequ=ate=
were bombed out in WW2.=A0 They are things that were perhaps collected =by=
one of
the French missionaries or Forrest or Rock and have never been seen since=,
did not even make it into cultivation in the first place.=A0 If you hav=e
specimens from all across the range of the plant and you know its=
and you can positively identify it then great, but Chinese taxonomy is no=t=
in that state.=A0 It is still in its infancy in a country bigger than t=he US=
which has been little botanised so far.=A0=A0 If we are being honest,=how ma=
had even heard of Arisaema du-bois reymondiae before Chenyi listed it, 5 =?
6 ?=A0
and we are folks particularly interested in the genus.=A0 Hands up who =can
and quickly give the essential differences between Arisaema franchetianum=,
rhombiforme, fargesii and their ilk ? - I couldn't. What are the exact
differences between A.saxatile and A.odorum ? Consider the discussions th=at
have taken place here on a numbered or possibly wrongly named species
over 12 or 18 months before a name that seems right has emerged.=A0=
this has had to be reversed.=A0 Lets not start slinging jibes at the na=ming,
no-one here could do better, most here would do a lot worse.=A0=A0= 

On the subject of quality of plants rather than names, someone (a while=
said something (to the effect) that all their plants from Chenyi had all=
and that they were not happy.=A0 I don't know who said it, I don't want=to=
personal and thus I am not looking back to see, but it is another example=of
how things have sometimes been presented in these discussions.=A0 The=
is obvious even if the poster did not actually type the words " the plant=s
rubbish ".=A0 I would bet that it was poor cultivation that killed them=, not
quality.=A0 It is very easy to get three plants, kill them and spout of=f=
the supplier.=A0 Things get badly mistreated by some growers even when =they
that what they are doing is just what a plant needs. Leaving poor=
aside, whose "fault" is it if a plant actually proves to be difficult to=
such things do exist !=A0 It is easy and face-saving to make it the=
fault if the grower is not actually very good at growing (and who wants t=o=
up to this ?).=A0 My own, first-hand, experiences based on a large samp=le
size is
that there are few faults with quality. I can give a example of how I cou=ld
have felt the opposite and I am not making it up for illustration, even i=f I
have over simplified it a touch.

We bought some 500 Fritillaria in five species in our first year's dealin=gs
with Chenyi.=A0 They arrived later than I would have liked, that is the=way=
they and others in China deal in the particular genus.=A0 I had raised =the
in advance but their grower in turn supllied late and things are more
geared to
medicinal supply in this genus, but I digress.=A0 The late arrival was =not=
to my
liking but I wanted to grow Chinese Fritillaria so took the chance.=A0= 

One species survived gloriously well, I probably didn't lose more than on=e=
two and essentially they did well, the other 400 or so I killed.=A0 The=y=
die, they were not bad plants - I killed them, my fault not Chenyi's.=A=0 I a=
trying to blame anyone else on this or besmirch the quality of the stock.==A0=
alone killed these plants. I could have ranted, raved and blamed Chenyi b=ut=
acknowledge that it was my fault.=A0 I handled them incorrectly and pai=d the

Why am I so sure I did it ? well because this year I bought more like 100=0
Fritillaria and doubt that I have lost any, because I treated them proper=ly
used my brain in handling Fritillaria that arrived late, anticipating=
that I could see (and had found) in establishing them.=A0 I headed off =the
problems and it worked, I didn't kill them and I take full credit for tha=t
too.=A0=A0 Poor cultivation killed them, correct cultivation worked a=nd some
are in
flower as I type. ( In case these quantities scare people and this is spa=rks
off another tiresome thread, can I add that these are nursery-grown plant=s,
bulbs were and are pristine perfect even bulbs, and the ones that I kille=d
the same.)=A0 

In general I have lost remarkably few plants, odd ones here and there,=
across many species.=A0 That is to be expected, it happens in the real=
world.=A0 I
have it occur in stocks that have been here for years, it happens in the=
beds all the time.=A0 It happens.=A0 Only in one case have I actually=been=
able to
say that poor quality plants were supplied, and frankly I wondered about=
ordering this particular genus in the first place, as I have had problems==
other species from Japanese and European nurseries. I won't say what it
was, it
could have just been my particular bag-full and may not happen if you ord=er
same thing.

I don't feel that I am being over-forgiving with all of this, simply
acknowledging the state of things in the real world. These are new things
coming half way around the planet.=A0 Before they leave the certificati=on
means that some will be damaged beyond viability, it happens.=A0 I expe=ct=
on the way, I expect some deaths after - again "it happens"=A0 and it i=s=
to expect otherwise.=A0 I am very grateful for being given the chance t=o get=
hands on these plants and grow them, cherish them, worship their wierdnes=s,
discuss their variability but I have no gripes with their provider, who i=s
doing a VERY good job, so lets lay off huh ?

I find the slinging of mud at names and quality to be totally unfounded a=nd
cannot understand why anyone feels the need. Much of the "evidence" seems
to be
based on a sample size of a pot-full and extrapolated to cover the entire
supply of that species, at worst some of it is anecdotal.=A0 A great de=al of
has been said against Chenyi is in direct contradiction to my own persona=l
experiences based on good numbers of my own plants growing here, and not=
on something told to me by someone who heard it that it happened to someo=ne
else's plant.

I would rather that we got back to the plants too, but whatever we do let=us
get off this stupid silly thread that should never have been started in t=he
first place, and certainly deserves to be buried as quickly as possible.

Now I am going back to lurking and will not even enter the thread about t=he
Arisaema sikokianum that always faces the path ( they don't by the way ) =I
just wasted even more time going out with a ruler and a pencil, and ahh
it got me, that one really got to me, 

look they just don't - they really, really don't,=A0 it is a total an u=tter
no-no,=A0 take my word for it but don't make me defend it, okay :-)=A=0 

Paul Christian BSc PhD 
P.O.Box 468, WREXHAM, LL13 9XR, U.K. 
Tel 01978 -366399=A0=A0 Fax 01978 266466 
email=A0=A0 paul at 
website "" 

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