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Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other= Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other=
Sun Aug 26 12:04:08 CEST 2001

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From: "P.Bruggeman" <pbruggeman at WISH.NET>
Subject: Re: Fargesianum
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Now hear ye, peoples,

A considerable while ago, I swamped you with a lengthy comment on the
confusion surrounding the taxonomy of Ar. franchetianum  and fargesii. Yo=u
may remember that the issues in recognising those species were stigma-sha=pe,
stigma surface, appendix base thickness, spathe shape. In the meantime mu=ch
new material of these species has been grown in our collections and betwe=en
Pascal Bruggeman's collection and mine, we have continuously been monitor=ing
characters of these species to see if new insights/ideas could be
formulated. This contribution is to report back to you all about the thin=gs
we saw and the ideas we have now. Illustrations of what I will mention be=low
will in the future be visible on a forthcoming website of Pascal,
dedicated largely to Arisaema as grown in his and my collection.

1) the discussion about the stigma being penicillate or not (having a
surface with tiny, transparent stickles, looking like a Penicillium fungu=s)
seems to be obsolete, as all plants of whatever shape and character
combination seem to be penicillate. So that character doesn't separate
anything. I never ever observed a plant with a smooth stigma, and the
length of the stickles does vary and they can be quite short.

2) the shape of the stigma is quite uniform throughout all plants I
examined. All slightly dome-shaped, so no help there.

3) base of appendix: first off the male spadices are very uniform through=out
the plants and their base is usually oblique and slightly thickened, only
very rarely more distinctly thickened or with a more straight base. The
female spadices show this variation too, but more distinctly and more
prominent. There are those with the base oblique and ca. 9 mm in diameter=,
and those with very thick, horizontally truncated bases of ca. 15 mm thic=k.
This distinction is quite clear and I observed no intermediate situations.

In trying to find out whether this distinction correlates with any other
distinction, I examined the spathe shape (galeate [helmet-shaped] versus
hooded (hood much flatter than the galeate situation), and the length of =the
syle (near-absent or distinct). Although all these separations occur, non=e
of them coincides well with either one of the others. Specimens with shor=t
styles have either hooded or galeate spathes, specimens with a truncate
spadix base may have either hooded or galeate spathes and either style
shape, etc.

So, basically, the whole separation between anything that could safely be
called franchetianum or fargesii is messed up in the material that we
cultivate. The first conclusion would be that all this material represent=s
one and the same species. But WHICH one?????

The names competing for our plants are then: fargesii, franchetianum (inc=l.
purpureogaleatum) and bogneri (a recent name by Li Heng published in: Act=a
Botanica Yunnanica, 1999, suppl. 11: 55). I have combined some opinions
recently ventilated in personal discussions and derived from manuscripts
dealing with these plants, as well as published literature, mainly
pertaining to the upcoming Flora of China (English edition). The conclusi=ons
from those sources are:

- Spathe oblique truncate, not auriculate at mouth; appendix base truncat=e,
distinctly stipitate =  A. bogneri

- Spathe horizontally truncate, auriculate, appendix base attenuated
(gradually narrowed) into a stipe, base diameter 4 mm, spathe acuminate
at apex, short or long tailed, tail 3=9610 cm long, stigma discoid, centr=al
leaflet of leaf as large as or slighly larger than laterals = A.

- like above but tail always short, appendix base robust, 7 - 8 mm in
diameter, stigma penicillate, central leaflet of leaf distinctly larger t=han
laterals = A. fargesii

My comments to this are:

1) in the original description of A. bogneri, Li writes: "..., throat
margins slightly recurved outward, non auriculate." Looking at the pictur=es
of bogneri in that same publication, one can see those narrow recurved
margins but in ALL plants I have seen from China of this fargesianum
alliance, that exact situation exists, rarely slightly larger than in
bogneri, once even totally absent. It is thus found to be present in
association with all the varying characters of spathe, spadix etc. and as
such cannot separate bogneri. The truncate appendix base is also common t=o
all plants I have seen. The spadix base is attenuate in ALL male spadices=I
have seen save one, and is present in many a female spadix associated wit=h
characters that do not fit bogneri sensu Li. Quite curious is the all-whi=te
appendix in the plant Li shows in that publication. I have seen only one
in our collection with that character but do not consider this a
dramatically important character.
A. bogneri seems to have a distinct style. The spathe is very strongly
galeate, with the appendix tip directing backwards and fully horizontally.
This character is present in our plants too and sometimes even more
pronounced in such a way, that the spathe tip is even further curved full=y
vertically and the spathe makes a 360 degree turn along the vertical axis.
The spathe of bogneri being obliquely truncate cannot be concluded from t=he
original description nor from the pictures given there. This character is
used as a key character for Flora of China, but seems to be in error.

The comparisons Li made 1999 of bogneri with other species, were with
candidissimum and lobatum, but this clouds the issue considerably since
candidissimum is readily recognisable from bogneri, and lobatum is so vas=tly
different, that one might as well have compared bogneri with flavum and
conclude they are different. The only relevant comparison would have been
with fargesii and franchetianum. Unfortunately, this has not been done
properly in said publication.

For all that's been said above, I think bogneri perfectly falls into the
great variation range of what is known as fargesii and franchetianum and
does not seem to need recognition. Certainly not when considering that th=e
whole issue surrounding fargesii and franchetianum is unsatisfactory and
badly studied.

2) the differences mentioned above between fargesii and franchetianum as
opined by recent literature are clearly vindicated by our plants, showing
every sort of overlap and character combination, up to the point where th=e
character mentioned for the central leaflets falls too (it being distinct=ly
larger or equal in size to the lateral leaflets).

I conclude that based on older and more recent data, franchetianum and
fargesii do not seem to be separable in a satisfactory way, the oldest an=d
then priorable name being Engler's (1881) A. franchetianum.

Having said that, there seems to be a slight qualitative aspect to two
character combinations because they seem to occur more often than any oth=er.
This is:

Comb. 1 (female plants!): spathe hooded, opening quite wide, appendix bas=e
oblique, narrowed to the stipe, only 9 mm in diam., styles near absent
(examples of this in pictures of my collection on Roy Herolds webpage)

Comb. 2 (female plants!): spathe galeate (helmet-shaped), appendix base
truncate, abruptly narrowing to stipe, 15 mm in diam., styles prominent

Comb. 1 would come closer to the original Ar. fargesii and Comb. 2 would
seem closer to the original description of A. fargesii

In case anyone of you wants to know if this mumbo-jumbo has any effect on
the labels used for these plants, I'd have to say that I must still leave
that up to you. Mine are all going to be changed to Ar. franchetianum.

Happy nightmares..............


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