A Rose by any other name...

greedygh0stJune 30, 2011

So, I'm curious. We all know that plant identification can at times be an imperfect science.

We know that even scientific publications can get it wrong.

We know that plants are sold and traded under false names both purposefully and accidentally.

How much do you care about this? Would you care at all if you were guaranteed never to receive a duplicate?

Do you find plant identification interesting or boring?

Click here for poll!

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Why is there no option pls. for Somewhat important (correct labeling)? That's how I feel.

Because I'm here since the Hoya Forum began (Leslie/GA if you lurk, I miss 'seeing you around') I feel the naming thing gotten a bit beaten to death over the time I've been here (also has engendered some serious bad blood in other places).

I feel sorry for those who buy on Ebay who seem to believe some of those names. The plants might be nice, but from what I've read it seems folks sometimes just invent the names, not helpful IMO.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:29PM
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I consider it pretty important, but that's just part of my OCD that I developed somewhere along the way. I'm not going to punch someone in the face over it, literally or figuratively, though. It's not THAT important. I don't argue by nature, and certainly over something like this. It's cool if you have an opinion that differs from mine :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Excuse me, I meant certainly NOT over something like this. lol That's what I get for not actually reading the preview post page.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:38PM
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I'm with Karen - it's somewhat important. I like to know a plant's name, but I wouldn't pass up a plant if I didn't know it's name and knew I never would. I used to be a bit obsessive about names, but Haworthias cured me of that. They're very slutty plants and cross-cross-cross all over the place and it's almost impossible to know anymore if you have a true species or not. But I do think it's important to try to keep track of a plant's name once you know it so that when you trade, you know you're giving out the correct name.

One of my oldest Hoyas has always been a big ??? for me. I think I have it figured out, then something changes my mind. Now that we're talking about this, I think I might just send off a piece of it to Carol in Hawaii and see if she can definitively tell me what it is! (Uh-oh... you may have triggered that obsessive nerve...)

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Too right you are; there should be an option for "somewhat important"! I thought about using a 5 point Likert scale, (which has somewhat important and somewhat unimportant) and then opted (stupidly) to keep things more simple.

Personally my opinion tends to be that I very very much desire the correct identification of my plants. I care about it because I care about being accurate. I also find plant identification very interesting, as it is a good way to learn more about plants, their anatomy and vocabulary, and to notice subtle interesting things I might otherwise have overlooked.

That said, I like my plants for themselves, not because I desire a comprehensive collection of every species. So, if I discovered I was wrong about an identification, it wouldn't affect my fondness of the plant or my perception of whoever sent it my way. (He who has never misidentified a plant cast the first stone, right?)

I think there are exceptions to this rule, of course, and they come about when several Hoyas have similar foliage but vastly different flowers, and one purchased the plant specifically for the flower. However, even in such cases, such a discovery inevitably lead to new knowledge and understanding of a plant's tells and that's pretty cool too.

Luckily, in most cases, I purchase Hoyas for their foliage, so that cuts down on the possibility of too many surprises. That makes it feel more like a fun game of detective, versus the dread that my heirloom necklace might be costume jewelry.

I think you're right, PG, and it's unfortunate when names create bad blood. I certainly don't want this conversation to veer into that dark territory. I feel like collecting plants, particularly plants like Hoyas, where there are a lot more unknowns than knowns, is a venture with a lot of built in risk. If you want to play the game, you have to be prepared to lose sometimes. You don't have to like it, but your life will be better if you can make your peace with it.

It's a bit like love, right? You have to risk getting your heart broken to have a shot at winning the big soulmate prize. You can't always see what you're getting into and usually the other players can't completely predict what they are going to be handing you either. I guess my point is: that's life.

Although we'd like to be able to rely upon other traders and vendors to give it to us straight AND know what they are talking about, neither one of those assumptions is a given. Thus, we need to arm ourselves with realism, self-education, and a heaping dose of stay-positive. That's the great thing about these forums is you get [1] a network of people you can trust not to intentionally screw you and [2] a vehicle for educating each other. Because, really, the more you know, the less likely you are to be surprised when your Hoya publicalyx 'Seymour Butz' turns out to be

...'Pink Silver.'

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:42PM
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I totally agree with GG. I haven't taken the poll yet, but will soon. I prefer to have correctly named hoya, but if it turns out to be something else, no big deal. I prefer the variety of the leaves, then the flowers. But it takes a while for blooms, so I just enjoy the leaves. I have a hoya I received as 'phylura' and was told it was clemensorium (spelling?) I love the leaves so it's OK. To me, I like being a detective to discover the correct names. Not even the professionals can agree sometimes. LOL
I will not argue over plant names. I'm very passive. I just enjoy the variety of them. Right now I have three hoya with yellow name tags that I can't read. I'm busy going thru my database to see who I traded with to find out what they are. I will leave them as they are (unamed) until I get blooms. Then I'll post a picture and someone out there will know definitely what it is. Well maybe definitely. :D

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:28PM
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GG - Your love comment made me think of a song lyric. "Is the power of love worth the pain of loss"

One thing I dislike about my local nurserymen is that there are a few that will give me misinformation rather than admitting that they do not know. That goes with plant care instructions as well as plant ids in this case. I certainly do not make up stories about what I do to electronics that I fix nor am I shy to admit if I do not know something off the top of my head.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Maybe it's my orchid background, but proper naming is important to me.

One reason why, by knowing what plant it is, you can look up it's culture, and with that possibly figure out why a plant isn't growing or blooming like it should.

But, I'm not so intense about it, that I would get rid of one that is misnamed. And as for the bad blood, well, botany and horticulture are two different things. And botany is a science, which should evolve as more things are discovered. (Just my opinion)

And for those not involved in the orchid world, well bad blood there is just crazy.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Accuracy is important to me in all parts of my life. I also understand that sometimes it is practically impossible. But if someone tries to get the right name and doesn't, that's fine.

I usually keep my emotions separate from information. For instance, I grew up with lots of farm cats. I was told they were calico. That's what I believed until I got into high school and came across a book that said they were actually dilute tortishell. I did more looking until I was satisfied that I did, in fact, have torties and that was that. I remember feeling a little upset that I had believed incorrect information for so long but I knew it wasn't my parents' fault they got the wrong info.

The two things that make me mad are when someone refuses correct info based on pride or something, and when they just don't care if it's right or not (EA). "I don't know" is much preferable to inaccuracy.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:27PM
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Well said, TD! I KNOW several of my plants are incorrectly labelled, and I make sure people know, BEFORE they get one of those cuttings that I'm unsure of the identity and it's just labelled as it as when I received it. :)

For my collection . . . I LOVE HAVING CORRECT NAMES AND IML's. But if I get one that's NOT correct, I just stick it on the NOID shelf and wait. ;) What else can ya do? They're still pretty!

Oh, and dilute tortoiseshell cats are BEAUTIFUL! One of my fave colors.

Have a great day, all!!!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:37PM
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Coming from an orchid background I strive to have properly identified plants whenever possible. Because Hoyas are much less studies than orchids it is just par for the course that you will encounter more unknowns. At the same time there are far too many common Hoyas floating around out there with the wrong names and this can make things confusing for new Hoya growers.
I tend to search out Hoyas that are unidentified as much as I do the named species. I can't think of anything more exciting than getting an unknown Hoya to bloom that really blows you away. Not knowing the name of a plant adds a bit of mystery but having a Hoya carnosa masquerading as something else is no fun at all.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:50AM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

It's important to me. That said I feel sure the plant I received in trade as meredithii x crassicaulis is something other than it's labeled. While I'm still thrilled with the plant, I probably have 3 other plants at the moment (2 from trades, 1 purchased) that are all australis although the labels all indicate something not so common. That's what I don't like about incorrect labeling - ending up with plants similar or the same as what I already have, especially since I have limited space and am not on a quest to be the keeper of ALL hoyas!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 8:00AM
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paul_(z5 MI)

I'm in the "yes it matters" group. Like a few others here, I am also into orchids and that could be part of it far all the reasons mentioned. But simply put, a big part of the reason is I have VERY limited space. As such, no I don't want any duplicates and I am likely to be unhappy if what I got turned out to be something else.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:34PM
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