Paph affine & gratrixianum with source info

Discussion in 'Taxonomy' started by Sirius, Sep 5, 2011.

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  1. Sep 7, 2011 #21

    Sirius

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    Do I at least have the mechanics of evolution straight in my confused brain? At some point in time these plants all looked similar, but over time due to ever increasing isolation from each other, and other variables, they all took on their own set of characteristics.

    Is that why you can find plants labeled villosum, exul, gratrixianum etc. that overlap each other and share characteristics from each other even though they may be separated geographically and can't physically cross breed any more?

    On top of that, man brought these plants into cultivation without protecting the true source plants, and interbred them at some point in the past thinking they were pretty much the same plant, muddying up the waters even more.

    I may not be able to satisfy the control freak in me by figuring out what "true" gratrixianum is, but I can at least understand why the classification of these plants is so messed up.
     
  2. Sep 7, 2011 #22

    Marc

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    I have a gratixianum which hasn't bloomed for me yet. In the weekend I'll post pictures of the plant so we can compare it with what is shown here. Because I'm seriously clueless now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2011
  3. Sep 7, 2011 #23

    Sirius

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    Hakone, I have deleted your post, and will be talking with you by private message.

    Marc, I apologize for editing your post, but you quoted Hakone's extremely insensitive post, so I had to correct it.
     
  4. Sep 7, 2011 #24

    mormodes

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    Sorta like the old song Windmills of Your Mind.
    Like a circle in a spiral, or a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning.... *G*
     
  5. Sep 7, 2011 #25

    Hakone

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    Sirius, you got my private message ?
     
  6. Sep 7, 2011 #26

    NYEric

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    I just see future provinces of the Great People's Democratic Republic; Unification for all!! :p
    This thread is great! All the illegal posting of copyrighted materials et al.. :evil:
     
  7. Sep 7, 2011 #27

    Sirius

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    Eh, I will accept the risk of being asked to cease and desist from republishing copyrighted material under the umbrella of fair use. We are just trying to learn something here, after all.

    Do you want to weigh in an opinion on gratrixianum, or are you just needing an excuse to use your favorite smiley?
     
  8. Sep 8, 2011 #28
    John- don't worry about the descriptions of the bloom's dorsal. Much of what goes into the description is based on when the writer observed the flower. While gratrixianum/"affine"/villosum/spicerianum all have reflexed dorsals, they don't open that way. So if the describer saw it when the flower was just opened, he'll see an un-reflexed dorsal. Should he describe it a day or two later, the flower description will be different as regards to dorsal shape. Don't forget- micranthum was described from an unopened flower, so its name says that it is tiny!
     
  9. Sep 8, 2011 #29

    Rick

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    I think the biggest part in the confusion is everyone trying to find bright lines within shades of gray. As you point out yourself, everything started from just a single generalist radiating into different forms. The visual aspects of these different forms often change gradually and there is a lot of variation of detail. So when do you call it a "new" species? Just look around you at the variation of Homo sapiens and consider we are just one species. Even when we stereotype a nationality appearance we don't label variety or subspecies, just race.

    The naming of non human organisms is just as much about politics, history, and art, as science.

    I also stressed the point of visual aspects of characters used for identification. Much of the original nomenclature is based strictly on visual aspects of organisms removed from the wild and observed as preserved specimens in museums/universities on the opposite side of the globe from the point of origin. Much of the collection data was inaccurate or outright fraudulent. You mentioned plants collected from highly separated locals looking the same but named differently. In the old days geography was totally irrelevant, and the naming was for prestige as much as anything, so virtually identical plants could easily been given different names. Also the source material was limited often to a single plant with no descriptions of the range of population variability. So every time you jump a mountain or newly explored valley each new dot and hair generated a "new species" in honor of someone.

    The horse has been out of the barn for hundreds of years now, but try to imagine what the present taxonomy would be like if names were based strictly on description and not somebody's name.

    Also science has (and is) improving at much greater rates than taxonomy can keep up with.

    The whole debate with DNA, the ability to photograph and GPS insitu, viewing flowers with polarized or UV light (what do the pollinators see, taste, smell, feel, hear?) rather than what humans see in the museum. These are things that have true application to evolution and population biology.

    I guess the bottom line is to not expect taxonomy/systematics to tell you anything meaningful about evolution or population biology.
     
  10. Sep 8, 2011 #30

    poozcard

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    Thank you, Sirius for posting.

    I am personally of the opinion that the true type gratrixianum should be "wide-leaf" ones from north Laos and Tonkin-Vietnam. (Which is in Christenson's article)

    And then we should find other new name for "narrow-leaf" ones from south Laos (Champasak province) and/or central Vietnam. (Which are in photos I posted ealier)
     
  11. Sep 8, 2011 #31

    NYEric

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    Smiley! :evil:
     
  12. Sep 8, 2011 #32

    labskaus

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    Ricks post gives a pretty good view of the situation, in my eyes.

    I can't accept that leaf width should be a major feat to distinguish species Paphs. I've got plants with wide, soft, channeled leaves and with narrow, stiff, upright leaves in my collection. The flowers vary just in the amount of purple in the dorsal sepal. Where are the the floral differences between affine and gratrixianum exactly?
    Written descriptions of flowers/plants rely very much a) on the writing skills of the botanist, esp. when done in a foreign language and b) on what the botanist considers important to mention. Descriptions can be pretty short and leave out important things.
    For that reason and others, science invented the type specimen. Type sheets often carry additional drawings by the authors. The type of gratrixianum is at Kew, but according to the electronic herbarium catalogue hasn't been digitalized yet. What about affine? Where's the type? Drawings of this type would be quite helpful. Without the type at hand I wouldn't decide, wether affine is what we used to call gratrixianum, or a hybrid with a Barbata species.
    To the french speakers amongst us: De Wildeman wrote "tachete de violet" Is that a term you would use to describe the dorsal spotting of the plant known to us as gratrixianum or would that be more the term used for, let's say, villosum var. boxallii?
     
  13. Sep 8, 2011 #33

    tenman

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    I think the idea of looking at paph species in muddy groups as 'complexes', is a better way to get a grip on these. One can then enumerate several 'species' as distinct if only to get a handle on the different types, while leaving them all in the same 'folder' or 'complex' as it were. I have often said, the problem is calling the point the line, i.e., we are at a specific node on the timeline trying to fix in place an ever-changing, evolving group of natural plants whose timeline extends through thousands of years, and try to cram them into our artificial notion of 'species'. And sometimes we come up against a mass of plants that are reluctant to fit into neat little boxes - they're in transit from one form to another and we only see them NOW. I see this in trichopilia where Trpla. ramonensis has been viewed as a natural hybrid equivalent to Trpla.Charles, the manmande hybrid of Trpla.marginata x Trpla.suavis. However, Trpla.ramonensis exists in stable wild populations and breeds true. I view it as a species which may have begun as a natural hybrid but has since speciated and stabilized over time. Such processes are at work in paphiopedilum as well, adding to our confusion as we regard them from our limited viewpoint here at this particular node on the timeline.
     
  14. Sep 9, 2011 #34

    poozcard

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  15. Sep 9, 2011 #35

    quietaustralian

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    Although outdated, Cribb in The Genus Paphiopedilum, 1987 wrote "P. Affine (holotype not located)". I don't have the latest edition at hand.


    Lance Birk wrote in this thread http://www.slippertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9553

    "P. affine is still an enigma. Koopowitz shows a picture of a painting by Woodin, labeled as such on p.133 of his new book, but he now says it isn't it. Both Cribb and Averyanov say it is a natural hybrid, like you describe, but the problem is, the original description is very vague and doesn't offer much in the way of definition. As I recall, it even lists the staminode as being upside-down, which I think was due to poor understanding of Latin by DeWilde."

    I don't know what led Lance to believe that De Wildeman had a poor understanding of Latin but its an interesting comment.

    Regards, Mick
     
  16. Sep 9, 2011 #36

    JeanLux

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    "tacheté de violet" could be translated by 'mottled with purple'
    Jean
     
  17. Sep 9, 2011 #37

    labskaus

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    Thanks Jean! That is just what my online translator suggested. There are other words in French to describe "spotted" and I wonder, how De Wildemans plant really looked like, since he kept comparing it to boxallii (as dilectum, a synonym).
     

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