Phrag. besseae discovery stories

Discussion in 'Taxonomy' started by Mahon, Oct 29, 2006.

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  1. Nov 6, 2006 #21

    gonewild

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    Not true.
     
  2. Nov 6, 2006 #22

    kentuckiense

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    That's back when it was in new, less water retentive mix. The top would dry out every afternoon because of the air from the fan. Right under the surface it was nice and moist.
     
  3. Nov 6, 2006 #23

    Heather

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    I'd like to hear Kyle's opinion on this.
     
  4. Nov 6, 2006 #24

    Kyle

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    Thanks for asking Heather! I would say besseae from the picture. I can't see the staminod very clearly, but the pouch just doesn't look right. dalessandroi has a more compact pouch.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have seen besseae in Ecuageneras collection that don't appear to have the climbing trait, or at the very least, have a minimal tendency to climb. Where they came from, I don't know.

    So, if I was to extrapolate the information.... It was Besse, Halton, Luther, Dodson, or Kuhn who over-collected all the plants from the habitat? Cause what your saying is that they are the only people who know where it is. Therefore, if all the plants are gone, it could only have been them who took them all. That's not cool....

    Further, I will add my bit to the tail of how the plant was discovered: Liz Besse was out collecting plants with a group of people. She had to go to the bathroom so she went away from the group to get a bit of privacy. She squatted, and looked up at a beautiful red flower. The rest is history...

    Kyle
     
  5. Nov 6, 2006 #25

    Heather

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    Personally, it looks to me a lot like my Phrag that was sold as dalessandroi (by Dennis), was the clumpy habit, and I thought was maybe Jersey. However, if this is a collected plant (and couldn't the Fischer's purchase from one of Mahon's people?), I'd say Peruvian is a good bet. But that's just me of course. :)
     
  6. Nov 6, 2006 #26

    bwester

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    ya'll are ALL WRONG! I discovered phrag. besseae and it was hidden in a patch of poison ivy behind my back yard, so get your facts righ dammit!!
     
  7. Nov 6, 2006 #27

    kentuckiense

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    I should add this:

    photo credit for the bloom shot goes to John.
     
  8. Nov 6, 2006 #28

    Mahon

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    Not at all what I am saying. They visited the site only once. The type location for Phrag. besseae is incorrect. The other city they visited was the actual type locality... I shouldn't have been so adament upon there are no plants are left in the true type locality, it is really hard to completely wipe out an entire species from its in situ habitat. There may be a few plants, but not plentiful.

    I will add that I have confirmed the plants that originated from Peru are stolonous, as are typical plants of Phrag. besseae... confirmed by Cal Dodson and others.

    I do think that the lack of available information about the Peruvian Phrag. besseae has led to quite a bit of uncertainty, especially since no one (to the best of my knowledge) has re-discovered the taxon in Peru...

    This was the story that I mentioned that I wouldn't mention... it was specially requested by Besse for it not to mentioned to anyone. I guess it is too late. ;)

    -Pat
     
  9. Nov 7, 2006 #29

    PHRAG

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    Kyle, I remember your thread on the old forum and after it bloomed, I looked it over to make sure it followed the traits of besseae that you and Olaf Gruss both told me of.

    I am going to throw this out there, because I feel confident enough in the people I spoke to to say it...

    Peruvian Phragmipedium besseae, the real deal, grows without stolons. It grows in clumps. Olaf Gruss told me this. It also has a longer pouch according to Kyle, who has seen them in bloom side by side with dalessandroi. See his photo above. Jerry Fischer sold me the division of the above plant, and I gave a couple of growths to Zach. If that isn't enough of a history to make this discussion interesting, I don't know what is.
     
  10. Nov 7, 2006 #30

    Mahon

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    Olaf, any ideas? Dodson and others are confident that the Peruvian no longer exist in the wild in Peru, and those collected in Peru are the same as the Ecuadorian Phrag. besseae specimens...

    Also, don't forget... the type for Phrag. besseae was described by the herbarium specimen Besse provided with pickled flower... the type describes stolonous plants, and this is 3 years before it was discovered in Ecuador by Dodson (which is the area of stolonous Phrag. besseae)... did they predict the future?

    The non-stolonous one you have is either Phrag. Jersey or Phrag. dallesandroi... it does have a keen resemblance to Phrag. Jersey the more I look at it, as there is great besseae influence, yet those dallesandroi characterisitcs... I think I have seen Olaf discuss this hybrid, it is passed off too often as Phrag. dallesandroi... which I guess could be passed of as a VERY rare Phrag. besseae found in Peru, from non-existing type localities...

    Also, if the petal tips are rounded, then it mostly points to Phrag. dallesandroi. If the tips are pointed, then is mostly points to Phrag. besseae. According to Dodson, when he examined plants of Phrag. besseae and Phrag. dallesandroi collected from Ecuador, there is almost no difference in staminodial shields. He did note that Phrag. dallesandroi staminodes are quite variable in size and coloration, and that no key feature was of any classificational use... that shield helps in other species, but in these two taxa, it doesn't... I asked him about the horn, and he said "it occurs in many plants of both species"...

    -Pat
     
  11. Nov 7, 2006 #31

    SlipperFan

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    And that is why I added the statement that there is a lot at stake for the originators of the story.
    I just find it difficult to believe, considering the photos I've seen of besseae in her habitat, that someone could simply find one along side a road.
    But you were there, Lance. What do you think?
     
  12. Nov 7, 2006 #32

    Kyle

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    Just to clear up the above statement, The besseaes I have seen growing at Ecuagenera, are of Ecuadorian origin. I'm not 100%, but pretty sure.

    So to change PHRAG's sentence, it should read:

    'It also has a longer pouch according to Kyle, who has seen the Ecuadorian besseae blomming side by side with dalessandroi. See his photo above'

    I have seen lots of besseaes growing along road sides in Ecuador. I've taken pictures from a truck. So, yes, its possible.

    Lance, do you have any pictures of besseaes in Peru, I would like to compare what the habitats look like. Last month I was able to see the Paute population of besseae and was suprised to find it drier and more overgrown then the population I was used to seeing elsewhere in Ecuador. I'll post some pictures in a new thread later tonight.

    Kyle
     
  13. Nov 7, 2006 #33
    Do you know if it had a clonal name? If so I can verrify where it came from (I can ask Jerry). I do know that Jerry got some plants back in the 80's from both Ecuador and from Peru (and they are not man made hybrids). At the time they were all considered to be Phrag. besseae, but that does not mean that the ones from Peru may have been Phrag. dalessandroi.

    Robert
     
  14. Nov 7, 2006 #34

    gonewild

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    Yes it is entirely possible someone found it growing beside the road. You must consider that "beside the road" in the cloud forest of Peru is a different situation than the "beside the road" we have here here in our temperate climate.

    Considering the discovery was some 20 years ago we can assume the road was not much of a road. It may have even been a dirt road with very little traffic other than cargo trucks. From elevations of 500 meters on up to over 2500 meters the roads are mostly carved along steep mountain sides. The areas along the roads that were cleared of trees for construction and road maintenance are riddled with a small red flowering begonia.

    [​IMG]

    It would in fact be very easy to assume a small spot of red color a ways up the road clearing was a begonia. You would need to stop and focus on the flower to decide for sure. Easy to miss it. This could have been the case with besseae.

    The Peruvian forest is huge and it has not yet to this day been throughly explored for "ornamental" plants. Roads cut through the area are a great flora transect to explore from. In the same type of habitat that besseae was found but in the southeast of Peru I made 12 trips in one year looking for plants. I was specifically looking for Heliconia. I was assured by a Peruvian botanist with high credentials that the region only had about 5 species of Heliconia and he provided a list from the museum. On my expeditions I collected over 90 distinct varieties which may represent close to 20 species. When I showed the Peruvian botanist my photos of the flowers he was dumb founded and amazed. He told me he and his fellow colleagues walked every meter of the road cataloging all the plant species. He could not believe they missed the ones I found. I found most of them simply by "road hunting", driving slowly down the road and looking from the car. But I focused my concentration looking for colors and objects that might be a Heliconia. I quickly learned to ignore all the red begonias.

    Now, I wonder how many of those red begonias were something else?

    I can't tell you how many times I had my driver stop because I saw a red spot up high along a waterfall. Tangled among other foliage sometimes I was never sure the plant was a begonia. It would literally take a lifetime to check out every possible new plant.

    The other thing to consider is the blooming season. Besseae blooms during the rains and this fact alone could have kept the roadside flower undiscovered for years after a road opened a zone. During the rains, travel in the cloud forest is minimal and if the road was dirt perhaps no one went there. The road from Puerto Maldonado to Cuzco, which is used to supply the town of 50,000 people, is dirt. During the dry season it is a two day drive. During the rainy season the trip sometimes takes 30 days. So I've yet to explore up there during the peak of the rains. I wonder how many great plants I did not see? Perhaps in the 80's besseae was in the same situation?

    Another Peruvian factor that could have kept the roadside flower undiscovered is terrorism. Prior to the early 90's it was absolutely not safe for anyone to travel in that zone. The time of the Shinning Path was a time in Peru history when people did not dare to go into the mountains.

    There are many more examples I could site to give you an idea why I believe besseae could have been found beside the road. Now, do I think it was? Yes I do, because few people will take the effort to cut a trail through the jungle, it is very hard work and usually unproductive. A botanist or orchid collector just can not come from a temperate climate and go out into the jungle and do extreme activities for any extended period of time.

    [​IMG]

    Now besseae habitat is a little more open than this :wink: but without a road you would have to deal with access.

    OK, here are a couple important questions we need to have answered to make up our minds about the roadside discovery.

    How long before besseae was discovered was the road actually built and open to travel?

    Was it a "road" for cars or a road for local the people"?
    (there is a big difference).
     
  15. Nov 7, 2006 #35

    gonewild

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    No, I've not been to the besseae habitat. It is farther north than where I lived. But now with all these unanswered questions, I feel compelled to go see for myself, maybe in February. I would love to see your habitat photos.
     
  16. Nov 7, 2006 #36

    PHRAG

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    Hi Robert,

    I asked Jerry for a division of besseae, and he sold me the plant that was pictured above called 'Peru 1988'. It was my understanding that it was a collected plant from Peru (purchased legally), and I still believe this to be true according to what others have told me about besseae.
     
  17. Nov 7, 2006 #37

    Mahon

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    If in fact your plant is from Peru, it is illegal. But of course, we know (including Dodson) that the species is not existent in Peru anymore...

    And to think that the Peruvian population was different from the Ecuadorian populations is ridiculus... the split between Ecuador and Peru is merely artificial... perhaps the rumor of the Phrag. besseae collected from Peru after Besse 1981, is to sell the species at a similar price as to the ones sold here at Selby for $1,700 a plant...

    I will end here and wait for other replies... :)

    -Pat
     
  18. Nov 7, 2006 #38

    gonewild

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    Visit the habitat before you make assumptions about the possibility of specie variations.

    In the geographically challenged terrain of the Andean jungles specie populations do in fact differ from location to location. Not based on a line drawn by man but by the isolation of geography. Plants of the same specie can differ greatly from each other both in appearance and growth habit when you change even from one river drainage to another.

    The names Ecuador or Peru do not influence the genetic makeup of a specie population buy isolation does. And in the cloud forest, isolation happens in a very short distance.
     
  19. Nov 7, 2006 #39

    Mahon

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    I am not making an assumption... I am going off the information regarded in the type specimen, and the species description of Phrag. besseae. The species description refers to the Holotype having stolons.

    I am very aware of the geography and elevation factor for variations within a single taxon. That is the primary reason why Phrag. dallesandroi is a seperate species from Phrag. besseae, despite the extra pair of chromosomes and morphological characteristics...

    -Pat

    PS: this is a pretty good thread! :)
     
  20. Nov 7, 2006 #40

    gonewild

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    Ask your info providers (including Dodson) if they know for a fact besseae does not exist in Peru. Perhaps you are taking information that is assumed to be true and accepting it as a fact of certainty.
     

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