Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2015

Thursday, January 7, 2016


NeoNut wrote, Dec 17, 2015: "One of the questions I have is what would be the name of the seedlings of 'Tamagawa' be. I have seen in the market seedlings of 'Hisui' x self being sold as 'Hisui'. 
This would like x selfing 'Red Delicious' apple and selling its seedlings as 'Red Delicious' which isn't correct since any cross creates a new cultivar. Comments?"

I got this and many more questions from others after my article "NOMENCLATURE NOTES ON FUUKIRAN. CULTIVAR VERSUS VARIETY OR FORM" was posted.

Here are a few thoughts.

It has always been a big mass, to deal with nomenclature! When mentioning "variety", one have to be specific whether mentioning "variety" as a botanical variety (taxonomic rank) OR a horticultural variety OR a legal term.

Botanical variety occurs in the wild within the species rank that is geographically separated from other varieties within the same species and is different. Botanical variety is true to type (plants propagated by seeds look like their parents)

Horticultural variety or a cultivar is a plant selected under cultivation for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation (not always sexual). Although, can be a special selection from the wild. Here is a great explanation of what cultivar is and does:

"Cultivars are not necessarily true to type. In fact cultivar means "cultivated variety." Therefore, a cultivar was selected and cultivated by humans. Some cultivars originate as sports or mutations on plants. Other cultivars could be hybrids of two plants. To propagate true-to-type clones, many cultivars must be propagated vegetatively through cuttings, grafting, and even tissue culture. Propagation by seed usually produces something different than the parent plant." (from the article by Cindy Haynes, "Cultivar versus Variety", published originally on 2/6/2008 at the Horticulture & Home Pest News, Iowa State University).

"Variety" is also a legal term and used by breeders for some legal protection, providing so-called plant breeders' rights.

Regarding Neofinetia falcata, some are true botanical varieties (those that can be still found in the wild). For example, depending on who's view you except Neofinetia xichangensis or N.richardsiana could be botanical varieties of Neofinetia falcata. Majority of neofinetias we grow are cultivars that were selected under cultivation by human.

There is no one solution to resolve the mess within the plant names (especially orchids!), but one can reject or accept someones view and follow it.

Personally, I am rejecting new taxonomic combination for Neofinetia, and will NOT call it Vanda. I am accepting "cultivar" (horticultural rank) and will be writing the name as follows - Neofinetia falcata 'Tamakongo' 玉金剛

Botanical and horticultural nomenclature is not an exact science and heavily depends on expert's personal view (splitters vs. "clumpers").

Now, that I can breathe easier, I have the time to enjoy my fuukiran, instead of chasing one expert view from another.

Finally, answering NeoNut question:
If the seedlings of 'Tamagawa' look like the parent plant, they will be called 'Tamagawa'. If not, get the selected seedling registered with AOS (American Orchid Society) and call it whatever you would like. Japanese Neofinetia registration is whole other system on its own. The rest of the seedlings would be called 'Tamagawa' X self, indicating that plants are NOT true to type.

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