Arisaema hybridization

Jim McClements, Dover, DE z6 JimMcClem at AOL.COM
Mon Aug 7 23:06:55 CEST 2000

I'm glad that John Gwynne and Pascal Bruggeman share my concern about the
risk of huge numbers of new hybrid forms evolving from gardens.

It really is difficult to know how to circumvent this problem, but if anyone
can do anything about it, it should be this group, which probably includes
most of the large arisaema collections in private hands.

We have a wonderful mechanism for exchanging seeds, thanks to Ray Stilwell,
Craig Stubbs and helpers. Last year there was a lot of concern expressed
about how to avoid exchanging misidentified seed, in view of some of the
obvious errors in the IDs of recently imported plants. But now the spectre of
HYBRIDS of misidentified, or even correctly identified, arisaemas looms, and
truly magnifies the problem.

It may be easy to sit back and think that there's no harm to this and that
hybrids may be fun to produce, but, as Pascal points out, we may end up with
a hopeless mess, with few knowing what a species truly is and even fewer
growing one!

Before it comes time for this years seeds to be sent in to the SeedX, we'd
better get some kind of a system set up to identify a seed as a possible
hybrid. When in doubt, don't call it a species. This could lead to such
things as "A-51-98 ?X A-24-99" (a terrifying prospect!) but maybe there's a
better way.

I echo Pascal's call for suggestions.

Jim McClements

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