Excerpt from Dr. Eric Christenson

Discussion in 'Taxonomy' started by SlipperFan, Dec 19, 2008.

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  1. Dec 19, 2008 #1

    SlipperFan

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    Posted here with his permission:

    It is easy to glaze over the name changes by Chase, Williams. et al. in the December issue of Orchids/Lindleyana. Given our interest in conservation, however, one of the new names (nom. nov.) is worth noticing:

    Oncidium manuelariasii Chase & N. H. Wms. (p. 25)

    Manuel Arias is, of course, a wanted felon in the United States for his involvement in the commercial smuggling of Phragmipedium (CITES Appendix I). While awaiting sentencing he bribed someone at the Peruvian Consulate, obtained a duplicate passport, and skipped the country. His partner, George Norris, spent 18 months in Federal Prison in Texas for his part. But here he is being honored by Chase et al. in the pages of the American Orchid Society flagship publication.

    The Florida State Museum (FLAS - Williams & Whitten) has already shown their solidarity with orchid smugglers most notably with the renaming of Stellilabium peruvianum to Telipogon selbyanus, named for the only botanical garden ever indicted for orchid smuggling. A direct insult to Peru and a bid of solidarity with the smugglers at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

    The American Orchid Society, of course unconditionally supports orchid smuggling. It is hardly surprising that they celebrate orchid smugglers.

    I am, however, surprised that Mark Chase would have such contempt for decency. More to the point, I am astonished that RBG Kew would tolerate his linking the institution to a wanted fugitive. I really had thought that Kew's garbage with Cribb that led to Orchid Fever was now in the past. Apparently not. So now everything done by Kew must again be suspect.
     
  2. Dec 19, 2008 #2

    NYEric

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    Wow; I wonder if that includes the transfer of natural products from their place of origin to be cultivated in foreign lands to control the trade? British self-excusing snobbery finally hits upon the truth. "You are not better than us."
     
  3. Dec 19, 2008 #3

    aquacorps

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    Another reason for not being a member of the AOS.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2008 #4
    Well, its not without precedent...Paph henryanum is named after Henry Azadehdel, a convicted paph smuggler....But the ironic thing is...the smuggled paphs that Arias and George Norris brought in were all propagated Phrags that would have been perfectly legal....if they hadn't been intentionally labeled "Maxillaria".................................Take care, Eric
     
  5. Dec 20, 2008 #5

    orchidmaven

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    It reminds me of the movie Casa Blanca where the gendarme says, ' I am shocked, shocked, that gambling is going on in Ricks Place!

    Everyone needs to read, "Fredrick Sander: The Orchid King" by, Arthur Swinson

    Some of the plants we grow in our greenhouses are plants for which some Murdered, theft being a good outcome.
    Plant genocide was conducted for the sake of being the first to introduce or gain the profit from the introduction of a single plant!
    Whole cargo holds were purposely destroyed by rival collectors.

    None of us should take delight in Manuel Arias misfortune! Especially Dr. Christenson who himself has been in many a greenhouse were plants he handled and studied were less than pure!


    Theresa.
    Hillsview
     
  6. Dec 21, 2008 #6

    Hien

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    My sentiment is aggreeing with Eric M. & Theresa.
    All are entittled to their sentiments about what methods are best in conservation. However we can all detect a single minded rigid sentiment from Dr. Christenson that can not be cooled (I have to say though, that I am not sure what would I do, how would I feel & act if I am in his situation).
    We are all human with our blindness & weakness (myself not excluded) so of course, we tend to view peoples who do not take our view regarding our enemy as our future to be enemies as well.
    Here is the truth that every conservationist noble soul chose to ignore out of convenience.
    -All orchids, species & hybrids that now exist (on your own window sill, private green house, to the benches at Home Depots) have a family tree that could be traced back to the jungles.
    -rain forests are cleared, thousand of acres a day without a single protestation by orchid conservateurs (have any of you look at the images from the sky of south american countries like Brazil etc.. lately, gigantic patches of brown where forests are cleared to grow soybeans, to harvest wood for China).
    -legalled or not, flasking have produced millions of orchids. One or two deemed illegalled can still generate thousands & thousands of plants.
    - a few bull dozers can make thousands & thousands of orchids disappear in a blink of an eye which scientists like Dr. Christenson never ever will study & describe (if you don't describe them, they do not exist).

    Here is a sample

    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...eforestation&start=80&ndsp=20&um=1&hl=en&sa=N
     
  7. Dec 21, 2008 #7

    Phrag-Plus

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    I’m entirely agreeing with you Hien…
     
  8. Dec 21, 2008 #8

    paphreek

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    I would have to take issue with this statement, at least when it comes to judging rules. I bloomed a Paph Ho Chi Min that I had purchased from another Slippertalk member a couple years ago. It was pulled for judging, but not judged when I could not produce paperwork to prove that the vietnamense used was legal. It may have come from a legal flask of Ho Chi Mins produced by Antec, but being the second or third owner of the plant, I did not have the original receipt. This policy demonstrates that the AOS does not support unconditional orchid smuggling, but instead supports the extreme position of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife concerning seedlings produced from illegally obtained plants. While I personally don't support this policy, I understand the reasoning of the AOS and continue to remain a member.
     
  9. Dec 21, 2008 #9

    slippertalker

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    By the way, the AOS will now accept all Paph Vietnamense and their hybrids without back up paperwork. Included are such hybrids as Paph Ho Chi Minh.
    At this point the "legal" and "illegal" plants are impossible to differentiate and F2 strains have been created.
     
  10. Dec 21, 2008 #10

    gonewild

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    So what you are saying is the AOS conditionally supports smuggling rather than unconditionally?
     
  11. Dec 21, 2008 #11
    Well, I think I am with Hien...!
     
  12. Dec 21, 2008 #12

    SlipperFan

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    I don't quite understand why Manuel Arias is considered unfortunate. He escaped this country without being put in jail. He got off scott-free and is now making a bundle from us in the States selling kovachii and it's hybrids.

    Perhaps Dr. Christenson has "been in many a greenhouse..." but I don't see that in the same light as the problems he has pointed out in his statement.
     
  13. Dec 22, 2008 #13

    Scooby5757

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    So I had to pull out my issue of Orchids. Took me a minute to find what we were talking about. I was expecting a photo of Manuel Arias holding some plant and smiling, with a honorarium type page about this naming, none was found. (I did end up googling him, just to see a picture of who this is all about.)

    Instead, listed amongst all of the oncidums listed (about 140), with no extra emphasis, is listed the name and small discription Oncidium manuelariasii.

    Now it says here that it was changed by Chase and Williams, who seem to be associatied with Kew, from the previous name of Odontoglossum ariasii named by Dalstrom, who is associated with Selby. It seems the plant was already named after him.

    Now I've heard loads of stories about Selby and kovachii, even from Dalstrom at the WOC. Ive also heard stories about Manuel Arias before. Now while I don't agree that this man deserves something "nice" done to honor him, can someone please explain to me how the AOS is responsible? Just for printing this? I would be super-pissed if they started not including cultural or taxonomic information because a "panel of experts" or "orchid big brother" have deemed it unsuitable for print. The Lindleyana section, while tedious and often a really boring read, is scientific/taxonomic information, and this is the information I do not want diluted or filtered.

    So, if it is not the printing of the information, which it seems is not the real issue, <do you really shoot the messenger?> I'm left with a few questions.

    1. Is there some sort of secret alliance that Im not aware of that ties the AOS back to Manuel Arias or even the choosing of the name(s) of this plant?

    2. There is something almost nasty in the way he jabs at the AOS. People get nasty when something gets personal. What's gone down between the AOS and Eric Christenson?

    3. Is there some other piece of the puzzle that we're not getting here that makes what Dr. Christenson said make more sense?
     
  14. Dec 22, 2008 #14

    orchidmaven

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    Perhaps this article may explain some issues.
    http://www.greenzoo.net/trouble.htm

    Theresa.
     
  15. Dec 22, 2008 #15

    cnycharles

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    the article explains some why he doesn't like selby, but doesn't really explain why he might be mad at the aos. this orchid seems to have made a lot of people mad at each other, and probably mad in general...
     
  16. Dec 22, 2008 #16

    SlipperFan

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    Theresa, I knew all that. The key is that what Dr. Eric did, or was attempting to do, was legal. As the article said, he was using detailed photos sent to him by friends in Peru. What Arias did was not legal.
     
  17. Dec 22, 2008 #17

    orchidmaven

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    I am not pleased with anyone getting away with playing fast and loose with the law. Especially fleeing justice. I just have a hard time with the tone of the remarks.

    Life is not fair. I wish it were.

    Theresa.
     
  18. Dec 22, 2008 #18

    NYEric

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    AS I previously stated Christiensen is suffering from pompous @$$ syndrome. If he had published his article on Pk the plants still would not have been legally obtained. The Royal Gardens were built on plants seized by subjegating and colonizing established nations. At least Kovach didn't kill any natives to get his piece of the action. Just my opinion.
     
  19. Dec 22, 2008 #19

    SlipperKing

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    I have to agree with NYEric. People with the biggest egos boohoo the loudest.
     
  20. Dec 22, 2008 #20

    SlipperFan

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    You are wrong, Eric. Dr. Christenson was in no way involved with Pk illegally obtained.

    And now we are judging the messenger by the "tone" of his message, not the content.

    There are some incorrect statements in the article Theresa pointed us to. For one thing, Kovach took the plant he first saw at the roadside stand and brought it to Selby. He did not go back a year later for it, as stated in the article.

    Another thing: Christenson's description of P. peruvianum preceeded Selby's. However, Selby rushed their publication of Selbyana before the AOS magazine came out.

    Know your facts, folks. Best not to judge unless you have all the facts.
     

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