Oxalis melanosticta vs. O. purpurea 'Ken Aslet'

Ron Vanderhoff rvanderhoff@sbcglobal.net
Tue, 11 Jul 2006 21:29:21 PDT
Oxalis melanosticta was originally described by Sonder in the South African publication Flora Capensis in 1860.
  However, for many years an Oxalis form was circulated under the name Oxalis purpurea 'Ken Aslet'.  Even within this name, there appears to be at least two distinct clones. One which blooms well with nice somewhat overlapping petals and another with thinner petals that is a very shy bloomer.
  In 2002 it was determined (I'm not sure by who) that Oxalis purpurea 'Ken Aslet' was indeed the same as the species O. melanosticta.  Nonetheless, many catalogs and other sources still use the now defunct name O. purpurea 'Ken Aslet'.
Don't be confused with by yellow-flowered clones of O. purpurea.  These look nothing like the silver-haired plants mentioned here.
  Ron Vanderhoff
  Southern California, where South African oxalis grow very well
totototo@telus.net wrote:
  I have an oxalis bought years ago from Avon Bulbs as "Oxalis 
melanosticta." Somewhere along the line, the word went out (perhaps 
via a later catalogue from Avon Bulbs) that this was improperly named 
and the correct name is(was) "Oxalis purpurea 'Ken Aslet'.

[Ken Aslet was head gardener at the RHS Wisley garden and there are 
other plants he picked out that memorialize him, Tropaeolum tuberosum 
'Ken Aslet' being perhaps the best known.]

Checking the wiki, I see that the entry for O. melanosticta says it 
is usually is commonly grown as O. purpurea 'Ken Aslet' with the 
implication that this latter name is wrong. There is also a picture 
of O. purpurea w. yellow flowers and it sure doesn't look like my 

Can anyone give us an authoritative rundown on this nomenclatural 
confusion? What *is* the right name of that silvery leaved yellow 
flowered tuberous oxalis? Is there really an Oxalis purpurea 'Ken 
Aslet' as well? Is it the same as the yellow flowered O. purpurea 
that has been wikificated?

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island
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