Aroids forum: Alocasia plumbea now A. macrorrhizos?

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Dec 15, 2011 12:18 PM CST

Plants Admin

Is it correct that Alocasia plumbea has been reclassified as A. macrorrhizos? Is there much debate?
Evan

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tropicbreeze
Dec 15, 2011 7:31 PM CST
I checked on the Kew records and found this entry

Alocasia plumbea Van Houtte, Fl. Serres Jard. Paris, II, 11: 93 (1875). This name is a synonym of Alocasia macrorrhizos (L.) G.Don in R.Sweet, Hort. Brit., ed. 3: 631 (1839).

Also, the IAS doesn't have an entry for A. plumbea on its list. Haven't seen any discussions on the issue.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Dec 15, 2011 8:17 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hi Zig, Did you see the Tropicos listing, same as Kew WCSP. http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2100144
They reference the "Flora of China Editorial Committee. 2010." Kew indicates some don't accept it. Shrug! Do you grow either?
Evan

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Dec 17, 2011 1:09 AM CST
I have the "standard" A. macrorrhizos but not the one called A. plumbea. Since A. plumbea was described in 1875 there's probably been a lot of disagreement, and will probably continue to be for another 140 years, LOL.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Dec 17, 2011 11:38 AM CST

Plants Admin

Zig, I was planning on trying 1 or 2 this Spring depending on how successful my overwintering of potted Colocasia goes. Maybe A. plumbea 'Nigra' maybe 'Metallica' and/or a "standard" A. macrorrhizos. Is A. plumbea 'Nigra' now properly A. macrorrhizos 'Nigra'?
Evan

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
tropicbreeze
Dec 17, 2011 2:37 PM CST
Evan, there's so much variation within species, and so much hydridisation going on I would hesitate to make any claim. But logically I would suspect it could properly be named A. macrorrhizos 'Nigra'. (By the way, despite my wording, I'm not a lawyer, LOL.)
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Dec 17, 2011 3:40 PM CST

Plants Admin

LOL Zig. Imagine 140 years from now a room full of Aroid taxonomists each with a personal translator and lawyer.
Evan
Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
When in doubt, do the cross!
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LariAnn
Apr 2, 2012 11:28 AM CST

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In my experience, "A. plumbea" is sterile - the inflorescences produce no pollen. A. macrorrhizos types I've worked with, even such different ones as A. portei, all produce viable pollen. To me, sexual reproduction is a given for a plant to be considered a species. Since "A. plumbea" cannot reproduce itself sexually, it must be either the result of a chance fatal (sexually) mutation or it must be a natural or artificial hybrid.

There is a true A. macrorrhizos "nigra", the true Black Mac, and it is not the same as "A. plumbea". I've gotten some seedlings from crosses last year that are possible throwbacks to the Black Mac, having totally dark leaves and petioles. Unlike "A. plumbea", which is a chimeric plant, the coloration in the true Black Mac is "all over" and completely uniform.

LariAnn
Aroidia Research
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Apr 7, 2012 8:03 AM CST

Plants Admin

Hi Lari Ann,
I think I found some pics of the true Black Mac and I see what you mean about the difference. Does the sterility of A. plumbea suggest a very vigorous plant if a natural hybrid?

Questions re: terminology.
You've placed "A. plumbea" in quotes. Because it's no longer an accepted species?
You've placed "nigra" (A. macrorrhizos "nigra") in quotes and lower case. Because it's a natural variation?
Is this typical convention? With folks growing and selling these plants how should the DB address them?

Thanks,
Evan
Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
When in doubt, do the cross!
Forum moderator Pollen collector Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Aroids Seed Starter
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LariAnn
Apr 8, 2012 5:04 PM CST

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Evan,

I put A. plumbea in quotes because I do not believe it to be a true species. I cannot state that botanical academia agrees with my assessment; however, my assessment is based on actual field studies involving cross pollination. If sterile plants can be considered true species, then the species problem, which is a fundamental weakness in the foundation of the theory of evolution, is worse than I thought!

The convention for varieties of a species is that the varietal name should be in single quotes, not double, and the variety, if valid in terms of the ICNCP (aka Cultivated Plant Code) should start with a capital letter ('NIgra', correct; "nigra", incorrect). However, since I do not know if nigra is a valid variety according to the ICNCP, the distinction may be spurious at this point.

In my experience, A. plumbea is no more or less vigorous than the A. macrorrhizos types I've grown. I'm a little more inclined to believe that the plant is a sterile sport rather than a natural or artificial hybrid.

LariAnn
Aroidia Research
Be the Captain of What's Gonna Happen!
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Apr 8, 2012 6:34 PM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks Lari Ann,
A. plumbea is considered a syn. of A. macrorrhizos by both Kew and Tropicos. I don't find reference to 'Nigra' or a subtaxa nigra except on plant sales sites and there are plenty of those. One exception is the USDA plants database and they're usually very slow to update. One common name you find often is Metallic Taro.

Edit:
What I'm getting at is what do we call this distinct, sterile A. macrorrhizos variation (both "A. plumbea" and "A. plumbea nigra") now?

P.S. Your Alocasia 'sarawakensis Dark' (or is it new A. macrorrhizos variant) is amazing.
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Apr 8, 2012 10:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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eclayne
Jul 28, 2012 1:45 PM CST

Plants Admin

Does anyone know if Alocasia macrorrhizos 'Metallica' and A. plumbea 'Metallica' are the same variation of A. macrorrhizos? Are they naturally occurring or of horticultural origin? Any photos of an inflorescence would be appreciated.
Evan
Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
When in doubt, do the cross!
Forum moderator Pollen collector Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Aroids Seed Starter
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LariAnn
Jul 28, 2012 7:19 PM CST

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Evan,
In my experience, having seen blooms on the plumbea, the 'sarawakensis dark' and macrorrhizos types, I can state with confidence that the first two have similar inflorescences which are more similar to something I would expect from a cross between A. sarawakensis and A. macrorrhizos. Neither of them is like a true macrorrhizos inflorescence. So it may be that my 'sarawakensis dark' actually has some sarawakensis genes in it after all, but so might the plumbea. If so, that might also explain why the two plants are sterile.

To make things more fun, there is a genuine A. marcrorrhizos black type with all black leaves, veins and petioles. I have developed one like that from a cross of several macrorrhizos types, including the "blackstem" mac as one of the parents. However, the black leaves did not come from the "blackstem" mac but from another plant that did not have black leaves, but ones with a somewhat brownish cast.

LariAnn
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Sep 5, 2013 10:37 PM CST
I received this from an Agristarts co-op as Nigra/Metallica. Maybe it isn't an Alocasia plumbea, after all. Confused We're experiencing extremely high temps. here, so I think it will darken as the weather cools a bit.


Thumb of 2013-09-06/Bubbles/01636d


Thumb of 2013-09-06/Bubbles/ed2750

Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Sep 6, 2013 8:27 AM CST

Plants Admin

It's a beauty Sandi and looks very happy.
Evan
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Sep 6, 2013 9:06 AM CST
Thanks! It's just a pup from the original one (in the database). After the above posts, I'm not sure now that it is correctly ID'd.
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator Forum moderator Aroids Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tropicals Foliage Fan Bulbs Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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eclayne
Sep 6, 2013 12:06 PM CST

Plants Admin

Based on LariAnn's explanation and those of others and the lack of a clear definition of A. macrorrhizos (millennium in cultivation?) and, etc. A. plumbea seems to be the easiest way to identify these Sandi. Agristarts is one of the best tc labs too.
Evan
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Sep 6, 2013 1:02 PM CST
I tip my hat to you.
Name: Drew
Piedmont N.C. (Zone 7b)
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homer1958
Sep 6, 2013 1:13 PM CST
Looks like it to me as well Sandi.
Name: LariAnn Garner
south Florida, USA
When in doubt, do the cross!
Forum moderator Pollen collector Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Aroids Seed Starter
Foliage Fan Region: Florida Tropicals Container Gardener
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LariAnn
Sep 6, 2013 4:36 PM CST

Moderator

Every A. plumbea I've worked with, whether "nigra" or regular, has turned up sterile in my experience. To me, sterility cannot be a hallmark of a true species; otherwise, the whole definition of species is thrown to the wind. Species have to be able to reproduce sexually; if they cannot, then they must be sports or cultivars, not species. IMHO.
Be the Captain of What's Gonna Happen!

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