Piero Ravenna

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Sat, 27 May 2006 21:27:10 PDT
Recently I was looking up information on a new species of bulb from  
South America and discovered that it was described by Ravenna. I know  
that there is a lot of controversy about things he declares to be new  
species. On the other hand, since so few people are doing any plant  
exploring in Latin America, I wonder if at least a few of the new  
species he describes might actually be new species.

Well, it turns out that one of the 'pages gave an email address to  
inquire about getting copies of Onira and Botanica Australis where  
this and many other of Ravenna's new species are described. I had  
heard that these are self-published journals that come out on an  
irregular basis, and are yet another reason there is some controversy  
and some people don't trust him. But I thought it would be  
interesting to look at some of these articles just to see what some  
of these new species are. The address is a yahoo.co.uk address, so I  
wasn't sure who in the UK would be handling these publications. Well,  
it appears that this is an address for Piero Ravenna who I assume is  
The Ravenna.

He told me that all the issues are available except Volume 1 which is  
depleted and Vol. 2 in which the originals were damaged. He's up to  
Vol. 10 of Onira and Vol. 6 of Botanica Australis. (I'm not sure what  
the difference in the two publications is.) However, he wants US $100  
per issue! This seems unusually expensive, even for journals. But I  
am no botanist, so I don't know. He seems very eager to sell me them,  
even offering a 20% discount after I said I didn't want to purchase any.

Are there libraries at places (other than say Kew or MoBot) that have  
these publications? Are they accepted by other botanists and places  
like Kew or MoBot?

And does anyone have first hand experience with any of the many new  
species and even genera that Ravenna has described to say whether  
they are truly new species or genera? Is there any other source other  
than Onira or Botanica Australis that has descriptions or, better  
yet, photos of any of these new species or genera? Is anyone growing  
any of the bulbs he describes?

I sure wish someone or someones would publish a nice Timber Press  
coffee table book on the bulbs of Latin America!

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA, USDA Zone 10a

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