Eranthis hyemalis Tubergenii Group 'Guinea Gold'

Jim McKenney
Tue, 18 Mar 2008 14:35:15 PDT
Thanks, David and Paul.

David, you sort of touched on the aspect of the capital G Group concept
which appeals to me so greatly, and which makes it such a useful tool when
sorting out plants without pedigrees: while it's axiomatic that the
categories of formal botany not be polyphyletic, the elements which make up
a capital G Group may be polyphyletic.
Has no subset (i.e. capital G Group) of Tubergenii Group been named for the
group of cultivars which are candidates for consideration as 'Guinea Gold'? 

The plants which make up Tubergenii Group as I know it range widely in
characters. Many are not particularly desirable as garden plants.

But every once and a while one runs across a plant which has the sort of
characteristics which make an exceptional garden plant and seems to answer
to one's preconceived notion of what 'Guinea Gold' should be. These have
presumably been the source of the "false Guinea Golds" said to be making the

When the question before us is "which is the true 'Guinea Gold', that subset
is the one we need to focus on. 

Paul mentioned the despicable practice (no bad reflection meant on you,
Paul) of using the abbreviation aff. in naming plants. Aff. is neo-Latin for
"beats me, I guess it's [fill in the blank]" Since all living things are
presumably related at one level or another, every living thing is "aff"
every other living thing to some degree. And so this aff. business doesn't
tell us much. We gardeners are by and large optimistic sorts. Does hope
bloom anywhere else so eternally as it does among gardeners? 

To answer your other question, Paul, I think I've read that the original
'Guinea Gold' is/was "sterile". I'll repeat my usual caveat here: claims of
sterility in the older literature have to be taken with caution. Often the
"sterility" in question is the result of a triploid condition in a
population which is otherwise diploid. Such triploids often give abundant
viable seed when pollinated by tetraploids. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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