Hippeastrum identity

Cynthia Mueller cynthiasbulbs@hotmail.com
Sun, 03 Jun 2018 18:07:48 PDT
...look forward to this publication!

Cynthia W Mueller

> On Jun 3, 2018, at 1:04 PM, Jane McGary <janemcgary@earthlink.net> wrote:
> Diana Chapman brings up a subject of potential interest to PBS members, because we're currently in the later phase of preparing our first sponsored publication: "The genus Hippeastrum in Bolivia," by Dr. Raul Lara and colleagues. I translated the ms. into English for the purpose, so I've read it and seen the photos in detail. It seems clear to me that Hippeastrum species are unlikely to be identifiable by the coloration of the flowers alone (any more than, say, Calochortus). Moreover, there are taxonomic differences that appear to be yet unresolved even in the closely studied Bolivian group, and presumably this is true of populations in adjacent Andean countries as well, such as the two Diana mentions in her first paragraph. As for the Bolivian species Hippeastrum yungacense (note the spelling; "yungacensis" would have been the form applied to the genus name Amaryllis, in which a certain group of botanists placed Hippeastrum for many years), it is one of the more widely distributed
  species and can be presumed to exhibit "different amounts of red in the petals," as Diana mentions.
> Moreover, a few species of Hippeastrum have been described based on a single clone found in cultivation -- a circumstance that worried me. The genus has been cultivated for ornamental and ritual purposes since pre-Columbian times, and hybridization seems likely to have occurred. In addition, the Bolivian researchers were able to rediscover some in the wild that had been unknown since a single specimen had been described as far back as the 19th century; an appendix to the forthcoming publication has photos of the research assistants crossing a swift river on a raft and climbing a vertical cliff to get access to one such. Some of the species grow in places accessible only by mule trails, up on steep slopes, or deep in the forested yungas (a local term for a kind of river valley, and the source of "yungacense"). A few are known only from gardens where local people have transplanted and maintained them. Finally, to be tactful, specimens have been published which other botanists do not 
 regard as distinct from more widely distributed species.
> I think the forthcoming monograph will go some distance toward resolving the view of at least the Bolivian species (some of those described grow in other countries as well), but it would be very helpful to see more research on this beautiful group of plants. I admire them even if I can't grow any of them.
> Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA
>> On 6/3/2018 8:19 AM, Diana Chapman wrote:
>> I was recently contacted by someone who tells me he thinks the bulb I have identified as H. machupijchensis is probably H. cuzcoensis. He sent me photographs of both species to back this up, and if the photographs are correct, he is right.  I am not sure how to correct this problem, since I have been selling H. machupijchensis for some time now.  While I do feel that the person who contacted me is correct, and is expert in this area, I often gets e-mails saying 'it isn't' when I list a new bulb.  Who to believe when you can't back it up through the literature?
>> This does open the question, though, of how to properly identify Hippeastrums.  I spend a great deal of time double checking identities of the bulbs I sell, but without a proper reference to go to, it is very difficult.  I do not depend on photographs on the internet, firstly because you can't see enough detail, and secondly because there is a great deal of misinformation out there.  I have a complete set of Herbertia, but without an index it is a very slow trawl through the many issues to try to find what you are looking for (which might not even be there).  I have, therefore, had to rely on the identity given to me by the collector the bulbs have come from.  My H. machupijchesis bulbs came originally from Harry Hay in England (now deceased).  His reputation was excellent, although I don't believe he ever collected any of his material in the wild.  It is very easy for mistakes to become compounded when collectors trade material back and forth.  I would say that at least 20% of Hi
 ppeastrums I have received this way were not what they were supposed to be, some were species that are very commonly available, or even commercial hybrids.  There is, also, natural variation in a species. I have three different accessions of H. yungacensis, and they all look different, having different amounts of red in the petals, but I feel fairly confident they are all the true species.
>> I would much appreciate any input from Hippeastrum collectors.  I was very appreciative when this person not only sent me this information, but sent me photographs of the true species taken in habitat.
>> Diana Chapman
>> Telos Rare Bulbs
>> http://www.telosrarebulbs.com/
>> _______________________________________________
>> pbs mailing list
>> pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
>> http://lists.pacificbulbsociety.net/cgi-bin/…
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list
> pbs@lists.pacificbulbsociety.net
> http://lists.pacificbulbsociety.net/cgi-bin/…
pbs mailing list

More information about the pbs mailing list