H. australis complex IDs question

rennflApril 28, 2012

Hi all,

Recently someone commented that my plant labeled calycina looked like is was australis. Sorry, I forget who right now.

But it got me to thinking. So here are pics of my plant, plus two other that I have listed as ssp. Any suggestions or confirmations would be appreciated. I know different growing conditions can affect the leaf shape and size, but these are all growing pretty much next to each other, and pics of leaves are all leaves grown here.

First the plant I have labeled as calycina. Smooth leaves, roundish leaves. Long vine length between leaves (compared to the other two)

This one I received as H. australis ssp. australis. Fuzzy but roundish leaves. Short vine lenght in between clumps of leaves.

And this one I received as H. australis ssp. keysii. Fuzzy leaves, but more narrow and pointed than the other two. Short vine length in between leaves.

Any opinions or confirmations would be great.

And while I'm asking for IDs, this is a lacunosa, and EA plant. Any idea which one it is?



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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I think that first one looks like Austrailis to me as well...especially if the leaves are smooth. I was under the impression Calycina has fuzzy leaves?

I used to have the second picture and I think you have it right australis ssp. australis. Mine used to be labeled 'keysii' too when I first received it. And it did have fuzzy leaves.

Your EA lacunosa looks like 'ruby sue' to me? Possibly, a few rooted cuttings of 'royal flush' (the ones with the speckled leaves.) My 'royal flush' looks like your leaves with the specks on them and the rest reminds me of 'ruby sue'. I think my 'rf' has dark maroon vines as well... All guesses of course...

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:54AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hi Renee...Correction,lol..I thought I used to have the second picture the australis with the fuzzy leaves (australis ssp. australis). Turns out I still have that one and it actually bloomed for me for the first time last year! Its australis 'tenuipes' (the one one that looks like your first picture....smooth leaves, not fuzzy) that I used to have and that's the one that I don't have any longer...freeze killed it a couple of winters back.

Anyways, just wanted to clarify.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:33AM
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I agree the lacunosa looks like 'Ruby Sue'.

Let me say, at the risk of adding to your confusion, that one can't tell the forms and subspecies of australis from just looking at the leaves.

David Liddle and Paul Forster wrote the definitive article (below) on the austalis complex. In it, they outline the range of characters that each has, how they differ, and illustrate many of the variations of each subsp.. Sadly, there are no easy rules of thumb. One needs to know the flowering period in its natural habitat, and compare other growth habits over time.

The amount and placement of indumentum is one of the things used to separate the ssp., but not that feature alone. And with cultivated specimens there is always the chance that one has a hybrid between two subspecies or species ( such as australis x caycina ).

I would not offer any opinion on your plants, but say just grow and enjoy them as they are.

If you want certainty on plants within the group, order cuttings from Iris Liddle, or get plants with IML numbers from a reliable source.

In my experience, H. calycina is much bigger ( and thirstier ) in most respects than the australis group. Do you think you can keep it happy as a slab-mounted specimen?

FWIW "keysii" is not a valid subspecies. Plants with that name are said to be australis australis.

Sorry to be of no help, but I thought it was perhaps useful to post the article where one can learn about this confusing group. You might be able to get a copy to read through your local library; or if not, contact me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Notes.... Hoya australis R.Br.ex Trail

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Thanks for the link, David - it's great. I love the australises, but I long ago accepted that a couple of my specimens are just going to have to be officially labeled as 'australis' because I don't trust the source ID.

It's interesting to research the differentiating characteristics even if you know you are unlikely to ever conclusively reach a decision. I'm not opposed to including my 'best guess' in the plant record (aka. H. lacunosa (Ruby Sue?) but I have to make a conscious effort to keep my mind open to other possibilities. We should probably all be a little less satisfied our IDs are correct even on the non-NOIDs. But, you know, you have to start somewhere!

Here's a comparison photo of my Ruby Sue (left) and Royal Flush (top right) leaves (and Sno Caps (bottom right)), grown next to each other under artificial light. I agree with Pug that there might be a mixture in your basket.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Pug - thanks for the info, I'm not sure I'll ever get these figured out lol

David - No that is helpful. My library is pretty pathetic, doubtful that I could get a copy even if available on interlibrary loan. And we only have a juco here, not even a full university. I'll contact you if you have a copy of the article.

BTW, another piece of info, the first plant, the one labeled calycina, another piece of it is acutually budding up now, so blooming is soon. I don't know if it will go on to bloom, as it is still very young, and this is it's first penduncle. But can always hope.

As for growing on the mount, it was worth a try. I tried a few different Hoyas that way, I grow many of my orchids on the mounts also. We are pretty humid here most of the year, and it is getting water twice a day, mid afternoon by me or my kids, and then early morning, when we get a very heavy dew most days. I have two other pieces of this growing well, so it was worth the experiment.

I'm finding as I go along that getting IDs on Hoyas is even more difficult than orchid species. lol

GG - that may very well be the best pics showing the differences between them all. No seriously!

I never knew SnoCaps was that pretty. I'll have to hunt one down now.

Thanks to everyone!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Thank you, Renee. Yes, under these lighting conditions the differences become very pronounced - it's helpful. When I first received them it was harder to see what was going on. Sno Caps is my personal favorite - minty and serene.

Good luck with your buds!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Renee, send me a note if you want me to copy the article for your studies - it's about 13 pages, and I could copy it for you.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 3:19AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Wow...those are some really PRETTY leaves on all your Lacunosas GG...just gorgeous!!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:05AM
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For anyone wanting the Hoya australis article I would recommend ordering the back issue of Askelpios. The article is the most current information on this Hoya species and it describes all subspecies in detail including the ones that were officially published and described in that particular article.
I also agree that the plant in the first photo is not Hoya calycina. Hoya calycina has large leaves that are densely covered in short soft hairs, the leaves also have a more silver/grey colour due to those hairs.

Great lacunosa photos GG. I wish my Ruby Sue had that much colour.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 2:34PM
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What kind of lamp do you use? I just love the colours of your lacunosa's leaves, beautiful!!!!!!!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:08AM
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Mitzi, I just switched up my lighting system, so I hope I don't lose the coloring now LOL.

They were growing 6" under two standard daylight fluorescent bulbs, in an ordinary light fixture I found at my local hardware store. So, nothing special.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Great growing GG. Looks like I need to look into light fixtures for the winter months.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:15PM
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