Unidentified Hybrids

From: MCATALANI@aol.com
Date: Thu Nov 18 1999 - 16:54:18 PST

Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 19:54:18 EST
From: MCATALANI@aol.com
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3932$foo@default>
Subject: Unidentified Hybrids

<< A most dangerous phenomenon associated with the spread of undefined
 hybrids is "tentative identification" by incomplete exclusion: "It
 must be _N. madagascariensis_, the only species I know that is not
 illustrated in my book (_Nepenthes_ of Borneo)." This leads to the
 wrong impression that species that are in fact rarely found in
 cultivation were easy to grow and widespread. JAN >>

Jan makes a very valid point. About 12 years ago I paid $80 for what I
thought was an N. merrilliana from a very reliable grower. After growing it
for a few months, it became clear that the plant was an N. x merrilliata.
Although I was willing to pay $80 for a 4" merrilliana (they were kind of
hard to find back then) I wouldnt have paid $8 for a merrilliata. I now
understand how the mis-labeling occurred. It wasn't due to mis-handling on
the person I bought the plant from, but his supplier who was very big into
hybridizing. The supplier failed in probably one of two places. Either the
hybrid was not labeled when it was created, and after it had matured, was
impoperly labeled as a species based upon general characteristics of the
plant, or the female flowers were not protected from possible pollination of
a different species. In any case, if I had not known the true identity of the
plant, I could have ended up taking cuttings and trading or selling them
under the wrong name, thereby multiplying the problem. Nepenthes isn't the
only problem genus, either. Lately, I have seen quite a few plants labeled as
Sarracenia flava that clearly were hybrids. I don't want anyone to think I am
anti-hybrids, as I have created many a Sarracenia hybrid. Nepenthes and
Sarracenia hybrids occur naturally, and some are absolutely beautiful. But
care must be taken on our part not to destroy a species true indentity
through hap-hazard hybridization.
Michael Catalani

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