Re: P.moranensis forms

Jan Schlauer (
Fri, 4 Mar 1994 20:03:05 +0100

John, Barry, Robert, and others who might be interested,

>I know that ``P.caudata'' and ``P.mexicana'' have been absorbed into
>_P.moranensis_, so I consider the first two names to just indicate
>variants that have been in cultivation. That said, there is a nice
>description of these two forms in Slack's first book, where he writes
>extensively on them on page 116. There is also a photo of the two
>plants on page 106.

I *urgently* recommend not to use the epithet "mexicana" at whatever rank.
"P.mexicana" is an inedited label name on an isotype specimen (i.e.
authentic material from the original collection) of _P.moranensis_ (a
duplicate of Bonpland 4117 at the Paris herbarium does also contain an
isotype of _P.macrophylla_, but this specimen does not belong to the label
"P.mexicana"). Thus, "P.mexicana" (and all subsequent nomenclatural
derivatives of it) is a superfluous NOMENCLATURAL (not only taxonomic)
synonym sharing the same type with _P.moranensis_ (i.e. it is perfectly
identical with and indistinguishable from the very original typical
infrasubform). Any plant showing "mexicana" traits is automatically

>Of the three lower petals of the ``Mexicana'' type, the two that flank the
>>central lower petal are often narrow and pointed.

This interpretation of "mexicana" deviates somewhat from the description of
_P.moranensis_. Similar plants have been given the name _P.potosiensis_ by
SPETA & FUCHS. But possibly typical _P.moranensis_ really shows these
characters. The herbarium material does not allow a decision, and plants
from the locus classicus ("prope Moran mexicanorum") are (?almost) not in

>The ``Caudata'' type has these petals truncate.
>The central bottom petal for ``Caudata'' is often emarginate. Also, there
>are richer, more saturated flecks of carmine pink at the base of the
>petals of ``Caudata''. I have a _P.moranensis_ that fits the ``Caudata''
>description exactly.

>What about the leaf color? I've always wanted the classic "P. caudata"
>which was photographed as having nearly round leaves, with well defined
>upturned margins, and a yellow/light orange leaf color.

P.caudata is based on another type. The name was published validly and
effectively, but it is considered a TAXONOMIC synonym (belonging the same
species even if there are differences) of _P.moranensis_ by most
taxonomists. These plants are far more widespread in cultivation (and maybe
also in the field) than typical _P.moranensis_ or _P.potosiensis_.

As I have mentioned already, it seems best to wait for FUCHS's revision. In
the meanwhile, the safest way is to call the plants _P.moranensis_ s.l..
Even given this collective epithet, some remarkable clones could have been
selected as cultivars, being as you (Barry) said:

>names to just indicate variants that have been in cultivation

But as far as I know, this has never been attempted. SLACK and others
preferred to use invalid, superfluous, or even fancy names rather than to
have a cultivar registered. This kind of love for Latin names can probably
cause more confusion than will ever be resolved by scientific research.

Kind regards