Plant Database forum: Perilla or Coleus?

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Name: Greene
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greene
Jun 11, 2014 10:30 PM CST
Question please, and I apologize if this has already been talked about, if so please ignore this.

Regarding this plant:
Perilla (Perilla 'Magilla')

I came across an article which states that this plant, Magilla Perilla as well as Magilla Vanilla are the same species as Coleus, just different cultivars; that the name is Solenostemon scutellarioides. The article states that even DG and the Royal Horticultural Society has it wrong - that's what got my attention.

http://www.botanicalaccuracy.com/2014/01/magilla-gorilla-and...

I am not claiming there is any mistake, only asking which is correct. Thank you.
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Name: Zuzu
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zuzu
Jun 12, 2014 12:12 AM CST

Plants Admin

It's an interesting article and if the author is correct, it could necessitate bigger changes in our database than the Perilla Magilla entry. The author states:

"'Magilla Perilla' and 'Magilla Vanilla' are the same species as the commonly grown coleus, just different cultivars. Their scientific name is Solenostemon scutellarioides."

I would question his second sentence. Our database lists Solenostemon scutellarioides as a synonym for Plectranthus scutellarioides, and this agrees with the information in The Plant List and GRIN.

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-158489

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?317409

ITIS, on the other hand, lists Solenostemon scutellarioides as a synonym for Plectranthus amboinicus.

http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/117848...

There's a conflict here, to be sure, but the main thing is that I don't find any sources listing Solenostemon scutellarioides as an accepted name. In view of this apparent mistake on the part of the article's author, I'm not certain that his other information is credible.

(Edited to correct a couple of pronouns after realizing that the author is a man.)
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Name: Ron
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rattlebox
Jun 12, 2014 7:47 AM CST
I'm also uncomfortable with the declaration that not being Perilla frutescens means "Magilla Perilla" is exactly the same species as the plant we know as Coleus.

Might it not be another species, just more closely related to our Coleus than Perilla frutescens?
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Name: Greene
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greene
Jun 12, 2014 9:44 AM CST
For the Perilla Magilla Vanilla which ATP has in their database as a Perilla, and lists a trade name of 'Balmagnilla', I find that the CanadianFood Inspection Agency lists this plant as a Solenostemon, isn't that the name for Coleus.? http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/pbrpov/cropreport...

The Royal Horticulture society lists 'Balmagnilla' as an accepted name for a Perilla. http://apps.rhs.org.uk/horticulturaldatabase/hortdatabase.as...

http://www.google.com/patents/USPP19217
And someone has made a cross between a Solenostemon scutellarioidesxPerilla frutescens naming it 'Gage's Shadow'; so is that a Coleus/Perilla hybrid?

This gets more confusing the more I search. If this keeps up I may just plant Petunias! Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Ron
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rattlebox
Jun 12, 2014 1:24 PM CST
Interestingly, the Catalogue of Life lists Plectranthus scutellarioides as an accepted name, as well as Plectranthus amboinicus.
http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/117784...
http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/117848...

So here's a thought (unresearched): Maybe Coleus = Plectranthus scutellarioides, while Magilla Perilla = Plectranthus amboinicus?

Dr. Arthur O. Tucker of Delaware State University makes a compelling argument in his article (referenced above by Greene) regarding Magilla not being Perilla frutescens.

But Zuzu makes a good point in that his repeatedly waving in our faces the rather universally non-accepted name Solenostemon scutellarioides for Coleus calls into question the credibility of the rest of his research.

A pretty basic fact-checking mistake for any type of authoritative/scientific publishing.

Or does Dr. Tucker know something about Coleus taxonomy no one else seems to know?
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purpleinopp
Jun 13, 2014 9:25 AM CST
I've wondered what Perilla 'Magilla' is also. After growing hundreds of PM plants in various exposures over the past few years in AL (very long season and I usually start spring with cuttings and plants saved over winter, so up to 4-year old material,) and countless Coleus over decades in OH and AL, I believe they are different plants.

I have nothing concrete to offer for evidence, just casual observation of plants in close proximity and sometimes in a same pot. I've never seen PM bloom, which has puzzled me for years. Is there such a thing as a plant that doesn't bloom? I don't think so. What else could it possibly need to do so? One year the plants were in the ground for almost 10 months. A tropical plant should find days any shorter than that quite foreign, so wouldn't it be safe to say it experience any expected variation in light that would occur in a tropical location? It's definitely hot and humid here. Not a nutrient issue, they look great and Coleus inches away make profuse blooms.

I've always questioned calling Coleus by the name Plectranthus. Don't most (all?) other Plectranthus have scented leaves? Aren't the leaves much more meaty/plump? Most Plectranthus I've had would not wilt before I can get inside the house to run a cup of water if I take a cutting.

Once geneticists get to it, the mystery should be solved, and a new name forthcoming, or confirmation of one of many existing names. My money's on confirming Coleus blumeii. No idea what 'they' will say about PM but definitely curious.

But, by any name... they would look as sweet.

Coleus blooming, PM not...
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Name: Greene
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greene
Jun 13, 2014 2:15 PM CST
Check out this link; it explains that Perilla Magilla is a Coleus.

http://www.herbsociety.org/documents/Fall2010.pdf
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Name: Zuzu
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zuzu
Jun 13, 2014 3:23 PM CST

Plants Admin

Once again, the credibility of Dr. Tucker's argument is challenged by his carelessness in listing the names of genera:

"The correct name of our common coleus is also up for grabs. RHS and GRIN (see "The Name Game" on this page) used to list it as Solenostemon scutellarioides (L.) Codd, but now GRIN lists it as Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R. Br. Flora of China lists it as Coleus scutellarioides. Take your pick!"

We can't take our pick! Coleus and Solenostemon no longer exist as accepted names of genera.

There is another possibility. After reading your comment in the entry for XPerilla 'Gage's Shadow,' greene, I wondered whether Magilla Perilla and Magilla Vanilla might belong to this genus. The XPerilla (or X Perilla) genus was created by crossing Perilla frutescens with Plectranthus scutellarioides (referred to as Solenostemon scutellarioides in the patent, which was filed in 2007, before that name became obsolete).

Beefsteak Plant (XPerilla 'Gage's Shadow')
Name: Greene
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greene
Jun 13, 2014 4:12 PM CST
It was never my intention that anyone should be attacking Dr Tucker. I only offered information that he wrote in an article.
I am not a taxonomist; heck, I'm not even a good housekeeper.

In case anyone missed it, here again is an article which tries to explain that the Perilla Magilla is a Coleus. It may well have been written by Dr Tucker, but it was published in the Herb Society of America so at least they think his opinion has some value.
http://www.herbsociety.org/documents/Fall2010.pdf
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Name: Zuzu
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zuzu
Jun 13, 2014 4:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

I just noticed something else in that 2007 patent for Gage's Shadow that suggests Perilla Magilla is indeed a cultivar of Perilla frutescens:

Parentage:

Female, or seed, parent.โ€”Solenostemon scutellarioides cultivar Felix, not patented.
Male, or pollen, parent.โ€”Perilla frutescens cultivar Magilla, not patented.
Name: Greene
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greene
Jun 13, 2014 4:16 PM CST
You have fun with that. Blinking
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rattlebox
Oct 9, 2014 1:39 PM CST
There is new information about this, worth shouting from the rooftops!

See here: http://garden.org/blogs/entry/1690/

I have submitted the information for publication as an article, where it would reach a wider audience, but because the information is somewhat time-sensitive, I have, in the meantime, posted in the blog system.
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
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Name: Zuzu
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zuzu
Oct 9, 2014 2:44 PM CST

Plants Admin

This is very interesting, and it's particularly interesting that so many different people are conducting research into this relationship. The research cited in Dr. Struwe's blog should lead to changes in the major taxonomic databases, at which time we will update our database to reflect these changes. I'll be particularly happy to separate Coleus from Plectranthus, which have never seemed to be as closely related as the current listings show.
Name: Ron
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rattlebox
Oct 16, 2014 9:43 AM CST
@purpleinopp Your earlier post in this thread proved to be rather prophetic. Or psychic. Or something.

Whatever the reason, your observations proved to be pretty much on the money!

Thumbs up Thumbs up I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up Thumbs up

Good for you!

Ron
[He] decided that if a few quiet beers wouldn't allow him to see things in a different light, then a few more probably would. - Terry Pratchett
Name: Greene
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greene
Oct 16, 2014 10:01 AM CST
.
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purpleinopp
Oct 17, 2014 10:16 AM CST
Nice things to say, TY.

In another recent discussion on ATP, it was implied (in very polite terms, and genuinely helpful spirit that I admittedly paraphrase coarsely here to put it in the simplest terms) that I shouldn't care because I'm not a taxonomist, and don't really understand it anyway. Thoughts I'm sure most plant-o-philes have had, either in regard to self, or when reading the thoughts of others. The latter is absolutely true, I don't understand it fully, and have no education besides the self-sought kind. But my comprehension increases as I spend time "in" the subject, through books, searches, discussions, which I have been actively doing for about 30 years. It's always been very important to me to know the botanical names of my plants, as it is to many others.

If one frames the subject in regard to the ornamental and decorative uses of plants, it seems quite trivial, agreed. But the issue goes way beyond such minor uses of plants, into areas such as medicine, food, and toxicity. The rest of my post will address the issue of caring about binomial nomenclature, why I care, and why I think the issue is relevant and of importance to me, and to any person, to humanity.

Until geneticists involved themselves in binomial nomenclature of plants, AFAIK, they were only renamed if it was discovered that a same plant had been given more than 1 name. (Someone visiting a location in April, for example, would see plants in a quite different state than someone who visits in September.) So this has happened with many plants over the past 260 years, since Linnaeus invented his system. The name first published is given the status of preferred, with any names published later called synonyms. But! This isn't renaming a plant. It's reconciling a same plant with 2 names, one of which it was given by accident. Since a name works best if it is unique and stable, this is a necessary, positive, helpful, *good* thing to do.

Coleus in particular, a glaring example of renaming abuse/madness, whatever it was that happened. I think this one plant is an important lesson about the pitfalls of renaming plants. The one about the value of people's time. There are now pics of the same plant out there labeled as 3 different things, entries in databases, articles, books pamphlets, that are not all dynamic and will never all be reconciled with an explanation of what happened to the names - that they are all the same roses by a diff name, so to speak. It's mind boggling to try to imagine how many people have spent time on this confusion to date, and in the future, how much time they will spend on google, forums, - for this one simple plant - just trying to know what to call it - before pursuit about its' attributes can be investigated.

The obsoletion of books via publishing new names for same plants really bothers me. Plant names are the focus of publications from those about gardening to medical texts, everyone's very expensive copy of Hortus III, herbals, fiction, history, journals.

A name need only be unique and stable, to serve its' purpose. Once we know what a plant is, (which can only be done by giving it a name that no other plant has, that others also use to indicate that particular plant,) any particular knowledge sought about it can be reliably attached to the name. Many botanical epithets translate into someone's name, a color, an aspect of the plant such as fuzzy, reference to leaf shape. The notion of connecting genetics to binomial nomenclature is new, and the implications of doing it are not taken seriously enough, IMVHO/E.

There seems to be no stopping the idea that binomial nomenclature must somehow indicate some kind of genetic info, and/or be 'genetically correct,' so I hope whatever changes are made are indeed correct. I don't see any reason to connect the specific info called genetics to a plant name, and don't consider such renaming of plants to be progress (which implies a change for the *better*.)

When a name is changed, everyone using that name to attach knowledge to the plant now has a new field in their database for the 2nd name, and the possibility for info transfer fail is raised, and a certainty in general. Every plant lover who has a spreadsheet, every website with a database such as the excellent one here, every book previously published with the old name is now obsolete, people spend time arguing about which plant is in a picture because there's 2 names, and the 2 people may not know one is a synonym of another.

Were there a single place to reference such info, where botanists/taxonomists agreed about every name, it would be an easy thing to check. Unfortunately this isn't the case, as anyone who dabbles in binomial nomenclature knows well. Until geneticists got involved, the instability was minor, rarely something a dabbler would notice. But lately, it's pervasive, and something I notice almost daily, and on which I spend a lot of time, as I know others do. So it is definitely a concern of mine, whether I have all of the facts or not. Anyone who has read this far into this discussion is also probably spending time investigating plant names.

Native north American people had a name for every plant they had investigated (for edibility, medicinal purposes, suitability for so many uses,) that was unique and stable to that plant, making it easy to transfer any knowledge about it. When the Europeans came, they did not adopt all of the same names for plants, resulting in the loss of unknown quantities of facts about unknown number of plants. The potential loss to humanity from any instance of knowledge transfer failure could mean the difference between finding a cure for a disease, or not. Another extremely important area of lost knowledge of which I'm aware is in regard to pest management and companion planting. We no longer know how to produce food without chemicals, partially because knowledge like this failed to transfer across different names for same plants.

What are the financial implications? How many stores have lost sales because they told callers they didn't have any _____ (insert renamed plant of choice?)

These are my heartfelt sentiments to the cosmos in general, not as argument to anything said here, as someone who cares, and has fears about changing that which isn't broken for reasons that don't seem to be beneficial to anyone but the people doing it. Any research about a plant is good, beneficial. Losing any info because of confusion about a name is unacceptable.
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Name: Greene
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greene
Oct 17, 2014 10:49 AM CST
That is all very interesting. It is good to have an opinion. Please know that I personally have nothing to do with the proposed taxonomic changes over at Kew.

I only started this thread to ask the question: 'Perilla or Coleus' because I did not want people to eat Perilla Magilla. It is my opinion that ...well, never mind - I don't happen to think microwaving food is a good thing but I don't expect the world to agree.

I see two possible new threads in your words: One would be 'why I don't like genetic/molecular testing AND THE RESULTING RENAMING OF PLANTS' and Two would be 'Our Native Americans had all the answers'.

Regarding the Native Americans and their names and uses for every plant; each tribe had their own names and their own uses and they did not always agree which was correct.

Anyway, I asked the question and got an answer, so I guess I would like to close this thread and mark it 'done'.
Thank You! everyone for your input.

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purpleinopp
Oct 17, 2014 1:51 PM CST
I appreciate your desire to stop discussing it, but can't leave your incorrect assessment of what I said unaddressed. Please know, nothing I said was at all in the area of "why I don't like genetic/molecular testing."

I explicitly said the opposite: "Any research about a plant is good, beneficial."

I didn't intend to imply that native Americans had all of the answers to anything. TY for saying that what I had written gave that impression, so I can say that was not the intention, and I don't believe my words say that. I said only that unknown quantity of knowledge about unknown plants was lost. I also did not say they had investigated every plant.

If we knew what was lost, it wouldn't be lost.
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KentPfeiffer
Oct 18, 2014 2:29 PM CST

Plants Admin

Unfortunately, Tiffany, your argument is founded on some inaccurate assumptions. Sad

purpleinopp said:

Until geneticists involved themselves in binomial nomenclature of plants, AFAIK, they were only renamed if it was discovered that a same plant had been given more than 1 name. (Someone visiting a location in April, for example, would see plants in a quite different state than someone who visits in September.) So this has happened with many plants over the past 260 years, since Linnaeus invented his system. The name first published is given the status of preferred, with any names published later called synonyms. But! This isn't renaming a plant. It's reconciling a same plant with 2 names, one of which it was given by accident. Since a name works best if it is unique and stable, this is a necessary, positive, helpful, *good* thing to do.


Scientific names have never been stable. When I was in graduate school, at a time when working with DNA was relatively new and far too expensive to apply to plants on any kind of scale, I couldn't understand why the old professors insisted on using obsolete names for plants. I have more empathy for them now than I did then, but they were dealing with the same issue you are. The names changed and they didn't like it. The names didn't change just because of the "mistakes" you mentioned. They largely changed for the same reason they do now. Research revealed new information that altered our understanding of how organisms are related to each other (which is really what taxonomy is about).

I'm not even sure the pace of change is much faster now than it was then. It's certainly easier to find out about changes now, though. You used to have to sit in a university library, flipping through index journals, hoping to come across the relevant reference. Now, it takes a fraction of a second with Google Scholar.

purpleinopp said:
Since a name works best if it is unique and stable, this is a necessary, positive, helpful, *good* thing to do.


Unique, yes. Stable, absolutely not. The only way for the names to be stable is for scientists to quit studying plants. That would be a tragedy infinitely greater than occasionally asking people to learn new names. Look at it this way, whales were once classified as fish. Should we be stuck with what we know now to be a ludicrous idea in the name of stability?

The RULES regarding how names are given or changed need to be stable, and they largely have been for over two centuries. The names themselves CAN'T be.


purpleinopp said:


A name need only be unique and stable, to serve its' purpose. Once we know what a plant is, (which can only be done by giving it a name that no other plant has, that others also use to indicate that particular plant,) any particular knowledge sought about it can be reliably attached to the name. Many botanical epithets translate into someone's name, a color, an aspect of the plant such as fuzzy, reference to leaf shape. The notion of connecting genetics to binomial nomenclature is new, and the implications of doing it are not taken seriously enough, IMVHO/E.

There seems to be no stopping the idea that binomial nomenclature must somehow indicate some kind of genetic info, and/or be 'genetically correct,' so I hope whatever changes are made are indeed correct. I don't see any reason to connect the specific info called genetics to a plant name, and don't consider such renaming of plants to be progress (which implies a change for the *better*.)



Binomial nomenclature is just a a basic element of taxonomy. Taxonomy, at its most fundamental level, is the study of how organisms are related to each other. It would, frankly, be insane to not use genetics to further that study. I guarantee you the people involved in it take the work seriously. They devote a significant chunk of their lives to it.

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purpleinopp
Oct 20, 2014 10:22 AM CST
"Research revealed new information that altered our understanding...".

Yes, that's great!

"The only way for the names to be stable is for scientists to quit studying plants."

Absolutely & hopefully not! Any info about a thing, and the name of the thing to which the info attaches, are 2 different things. The name doesn't need to comprise any info, to serve its' purpose, just to be unique and stable. It just needs to lead us to whatever info is available about it. Info needs to attach to something - a name - that, IMVHO, shouldn't change, except for reasons I mentioned, never because someone discovered something new.

Giving a thing a new name doesn't eliminate the old name. And it's then necessary to find the old name to know what the new info is about. Unless/until all info attached to the old name is transferred to the new name, even those learning the new name first will need to seek the old name to find the info still only attached to the old name. Unless/until all people using a name adopt the new one, discussion about name history before discussion about attributes will be necessary to make sure everyone is talking about the same thing.

"Taxonomy, at its most fundamental level, is the study of how organisms are related to each other. It would, frankly, be insane to not use genetics to further that study. I guarantee you the people involved in it take the work seriously. They devote a significant chunk of their lives to it."

Absolutely, I don't dispute or disrespect that in any way. It is because I think such info is so valuable that I am concerned. As I keep saying, any investigation and increased knowledge is good. Appending the found info to a known name makes it most useful, and doesn't unnecessarily put the info at risk of being lost because the name of thing to which the info attaches has been changed. Results of investigation about a thing need only be reflected by/in its' name if it is decided to change names to do that.

Genetics is the pinnacle of scientific knowledge about such things today. What will be being investigated in the future? Humans find a thing, give it a name, and begin investigating through the tools available at the time, accumulating info about the thing that they can share by attaching the info to its' name. Changing the name because what is known today conflicts with what was known yesterday creates unnecessary confusion and potential info transfer fail. If we lose track of what's being discussed, all of the investigation and gleaned info is a moot and lost point, tragic. Humans used to "know" many things which are now "known" to be false. Comprehension is always expanding, who knows what we will "know" tomorrow, a lot of which will conflict with current supposed facts. Thank goodness somebody kept investigating that "earth is flat" thing even though we knew it was true.

"I'm not even sure the pace of change is much faster now than it was then."
Good point, very helpful. Possible, even likely, that it only *seems* like many changes are recent since the WWW is there to check such things at whim in regard to anything previously printed. I don't investigate changes to the point of the date when the change was made, and just because I discover a newer name recently doesn't mean a change has just happened. Even years after a change but still before the WWW, researching such a thing before publishing a book, for example, would have been much more cumbersome and probably not considered a usual or necessary process. So date of publication probably shouldn't cause an assumption that every newest possible name at the time was used.

Were the changed names of plants not something so pervasive in my life, a subject of daily involvement, I would never notice that it's happening. My only reasons for being involved are some potted plants and average landscape interests, extremely common non-professional interests into which the subject is unavoidable if one wants to know what their plants are called. All garden/plant forums have a facility for "naming the plants," even Facebook. Throughout all of them, countless people daily feel compelled to find the name of a plant. Probably like most people who don't want to be involved, and aren't professionally, but also find that they are sometimes involved in a discussion about a changed plant name, I feel forced into binomial nomenclature and taxonomy, a subject I don't find particularly interesting, but necessary to investigate enough to use to the degree that it's relevant to me and one of my most consuming hobbies.

Kent, thank you for taking the time to read what I said share info and your thoughts. I want to be able to support the changing of plant names. If I wasn't so anxious to get my mind in that camp, I'd have very little to say about this, if anything. Whatever my opinion may be, using changed names can't be avoided, so it would be easier to not have an opinion dead set against it.

Supposing Coleus is given preferred/accepted status again, what is the taxonomy/genetics class lesson about the tale of the Coleus ID crisis?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

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