Re: S.flava 'Maxima' problems, RHS Colour charts

From: Phil Wilson (
Date: Wed Mar 24 1999 - 14:09:03 PST

Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 22:09:03 +0000
From: Phil Wilson <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg926$foo@default>
Subject: Re: S.flava 'Maxima' problems, RHS Colour charts

> Firstly Phils S.flava 'maxima' problem
Well I would never lay claim to ownership..:-)

> >The plant described by Slack in Insect Eating Plants and
> >how to Grow Them is not the same as the plant described
> by >Masters and later Schnell. The plant described by
> Slack is >certainly distinct enough to be regarded as
> different from >other horticultural forms of the species.
> Unfortunately Slack introduced all sort of cv's in his
> IEPAHTGT but the descriptions in the text are rather
> limited
There is a rather nice picture on page 7 of IEPAHTGT. I've always
wondered if the fly was real or "planted".

> >While I agree with all the above comments it does leave
> the >grower with a dilemma - what name do we use when we
> refer >to this plant. There is no questioning that Slack
> was wrong >to use the term "Maxima" to describe this plant
> though >given the level of knowledge of carnivorous plants
> at the >time Slack was writing it is perhaps an
> understandable >error.
> We perhaps have a more fundamental problem as I am sure
> you will find more than one plant labelled 'Maxima'.
> Slacks book came out in '87 if my memory is correct. In
> the late '80's 'Maxima' started to be used as a term to
> incorrectly describe large clones of S.flava not just
> Slacks plant in informal horticultural circles. To add to
> the confusion seed has been distributed as 'Maxima' with
> the result that these seed raised plants have been passed
> around as Slacks 'Maxima'. Add another 10 years of
> horticultural confusion as material is traded around,
> labels get mixed up etc. and even reputable nurserymen
> make genuine mistakes. So will the real 'Maxima' step
> forward please! This problem is not confined to 'Maxima',
> plants were passing around, some again via reputable
> nurserymen of mis labelled 'Burgundy' in the early
> nineties.

AFAIK the term of Maxima to describe any large clone of S. flava was
pretty well limited to the states. As far as the problem of controlling
the propagation of a Sarracenia cultivar to prevent just this problem
this surely applies to any cultivar Sarracenia species which can breed
reasonably true from seed. A cultivar which is the result of a complex
hybridisation program is far less susceptible to this problem since
selfing the plant is unlikely to produce offspring even closely
resembling the parent. Indeed if a cultivar can be bred true from seed -
i.e. the resulting plants are either identical or extremely close to the
parent - then there is no reason why this should not be adopted as a
method of propagation.
> >More so when so many people are growing and referring to
> >this particularplant as Maxima it does make life very
> >difficult. This is of course a prime example of why
> there >should be rules defining not only taxonomical
> >naming but also the naming of horticultural cultivars.
> >Perhaps once you have finalised the form for the
> >registration of cultivars this is one more plant which
> can >be added to the list!
> Phil, if you think you have the genuine Slack plant I
> guess there is nothing to stop you from correcting Slacks
> error and properly registering this cultivar with a non
> latin name. Or am I missing something?
No but I am. I have to admit that I don't even grow the thing! It is
definitely not a favourite of mine.

Phil Wilson
Check out my Sarracenia seed list at:

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