Adam Fikso
Sat, 23 Jan 2010 16:01:14 PST
Well, re all this misnomenclature.  There's an old adage that says, don't attribute to malice what is likely due to ignorance.   And in this case the sources of  wrong names are manifold.  1) blue and purple are not distinguished as different categories among some folks and subcultures -- perhaps partly because visually "blue" irises photograph purple-- picking up on the red in the anthocyanin spectrum.   

2)  Cheap labor (and that includes college educated folks) can't spell, doesn't care, doesn't know their own native languages,  and in the U.S.,  tend to rely on Spel-Chek-- which should have  given them a clue about spelling.  Spel-Chek has actually introduced grammatical and spelling errors into the language and editors don't much care because publishers save on salaries for copy editors and proofreaders. "Woken" used to be an archaic form of awakened or waked up, and was found mostly in British novels.   Pus (the exudate) is apparently now being spelled "puss", or the people using Spel Chek can't make the distinction between a cat and the result of an infectious process . 

But Dutch bulb company owners, or  brokers,  also don't care or can't make appropriate distinctions.  Off and on for the last 6 years I've been trying vainly to correct  (The Bulb Lady)'s identifications in the Van Bourgondien catalog, where   Amaryllis belladonna is pictured as the proper photo for Lycoris squamigera, or vs. vsa..

Sometimes they get it right and then go back to having it wrong.   Once I even got an argument.  I have begun to think that they cannot see the difference, or they don't share this information  among themselves.

It isn't only bulbs that get misidentified.  Try Tree Peonies--- both Japanese and Chinese.  My personal experience is that misidentification goes back 35 years. Right now, I'm not sure who could offer criterion for these plants.    

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Saturday, January 23, 2010 3:35 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Amaryllises

> On 23 Jan 2010, at 12:29, Michael Phillips lamented regarding misnamed 
> hippeastrums:  
>> How long have these suppliers have been shipping the wrong bulbs, perhaps
>> knowingly, and/or blatantly engaging in false advertising? 
> Since at least the end of World War II. You can go back to the AGS journal from 
> the post war years and find laments about misnamed bulbs sold via the Dutch 
> bulb trade. I've gotten myself in hot water before by making sweeping 
> generalizations about the unethical behavior of the Dutch bulb trade, but I 
> think the facts speak for themselves.
> The thing that really rots my socks is that many of the misnamings are clearly 
> deliberate. Go into any garden center during the fall bulb season and examine 
> the crocus corms. You are quite likely to notice that some of the blue 
> cultivars of the chrysanthus/biflorus persuasion have tunics that shout "I am a 
> Crocus tommasinianus." The naive purchaser buys a "blue" crocus and what 
> flowers in the spring is purple, close enough for government work.
> The moral is that if you are buying bulbs from any ordinary commercial source, 
> you must assume the name is wrong until demonstrated otherwise. For the sake of 
> one's peace of mind, calm digestion, and blood pressure, it's also advisable 
> not to get worked up over misnamings. Just view the whole thing as something of 
> a crap shoot that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
> -- 
> Rodger Whitlock
> Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
> Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
> on beautiful Vancouver Island
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> pbs mailing list

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