Phrag. besseae discovery stories

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

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  1. Nov 8, 2006 #41

    Mahon

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    I, and almost everyone, realizes that is is almost impossible to wipe out an entire species of plant from existence. There is bound to be a few plants of Phrag. besseae found in the wild in Peru. The problem, as I discussed before, is that the type locality is not known to you all for the Peruvian site. The type locality for the type of Phrag. besseae is incorrect.

    Another thing that Dodson discussed with me was the possibility of those Phrag. besseae that could still be in Peru will eventually die off. The pollinator for Phrag. besseae is unknown, and plants found in the wild tend to rarely ever have seed pods... the plants would eventually die off.

    -Pat
     
  2. Nov 8, 2006 #42

    SlipperFan

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    Thanks, Kyle and Lance. OK, I'm a believer.
     
  3. Nov 8, 2006 #43

    Mahon

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    Believer of what? :confused:

    -PM
     
  4. Nov 8, 2006 #44

    ORG

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    Dear Kentuckiense,
    also when it is a bit late also my comment about your plant.
    I think also that it is a Phrag. dalessandroi. But it is not so easy to make a finally determination on the base of your pictures. It would be better to have also the pictures of the staminode, the whole inflorescence, the back- and sideview of the flower.


    Best greetings

    Olaf
     
  5. Nov 8, 2006 #45

    gonewild

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  6. Nov 8, 2006 #46

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    Some orchids we have said they are extinct in nature, or a single plant of the taxon is found... similar to the single plant of Masdevallia pinnochio found in Ecuador, then an immense site of this species was found more recently...

    The only thing I can say about recent Peruvian expeditions is no plants of Phrag. besseae have been found... it has been 25 years.

    I think I have made my statement on Phrag. besseae not in Peru quite drastic... I will say that Phrag. besseae was found in a single location. There are possibilities of other populations or a few plants Phrag. besseae existing, but none are known of.

    But yet again, there are "no aliens", and really, we need to say "to the best of our knowledge, there aren't any aliens"... which is more feasible? Until we some aliens, we are the only ones in the entire universe... we have speculations that there is possibly aliens out there somewhere, but we have no real proof... the same mentality can be applied to Phrag. besseae in Peru, no? We have no proof of any Phrag. besseae plants existing in Peru, and no proof that they don't exist in Peru... but there hasn't been a single sighting of Phrag. besseae in Peru since 1981... I am leaning more towards the plants not existing in Peru anymore...


    There are in fact MANY incorrect type localities... the thing is, Phrag. besseae is quite reknown, and has a story to go with it... also, the specified type locality does not, or has not, yielded any plants of Phrag. besseae... that is my point.

    No, the suspected plants of Peruvian Phrag. besseae wouldn't die off because we do not know the pollinator... instead, look closer at the systematics of Phrag. besseae... the species is reported to not be as seed bearing as Phrag. dallesandroi, but has a trailing rhizome... it makes sense that the trailing rhizome of Phrag. besseae is a characteristic of vegetative propagation over seed propagation... Phrag. dallesandroi lacks a stolonous and trailing rhizome, and bears many seeds... it makes sense that the abundance in pods and seeds in Phrag. dallesandroi is a characteristic of seed propagation, while the trailing rhizome on this species is lacking, so vegetative propagation is less likely of occuring.

    I do find that pollinators are VERY important for these species. Since Phrag. dallesandroi has been sighted to be pollinated by hummingbirds, and it propagates mostly with seeds, this species is specialized florally. The pollinator of Phrag. besseae remains unknown, and this species produces trailing rhizomes, so it is specialized vegetatively... do you agree?

    -Pat :)
     
  7. Nov 8, 2006 #47

    gonewild

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  8. Nov 8, 2006 #48

    Mahon

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    I will get back to you on this one. I will have to ask Dodson again... he would know of the serious searches, as I think he may disclose the information to select people, or would have been informed about a serious search.

    Here is an assumption: Phrag. besseae is found in Peru. It wasn't until 3 years later that is was discovered in Ecuador by Dodson... we know that when there is a new species of almost any orchid (especially the really wanted plants that will bring in money) orchid hunters go after the type locality, and try and find more around there. This may have happened, I have no proof, but it would only make sense. But we know that there weren't any Phrag. besseae collected from Peru after Besse 1981... at least legally.

    If that person can produce a true specimen of non-stolonous Phrag. besseae, and can provide in situ pics, I will consider believing Phrag. besseae existing in Peru. How come you haven't made mention of him earlier? Anyways, just a few pics is all anyone needs.

    Real proof can exist when another plant turns up. The possibility of a waif which propagated by way of seed dispersal is more likely than real populations existing in Peru... if we look at the known and main distribution of Ecuadorian Phrag. besseae, we will see that they are in a vast area, but contained in Ecuador... Phrag. dallesandroi is right in the middle of them all. Isn't it maybe possible that some storm or wind dispersed the seeds south into Peru? It happens all the time with Oceoclades maculata... we have plants of this species going from Selby Gardens here in Sarasota County down to Miami-Dade County (where some other escapees of the same species also dispersed)... then there are plants showing up in Ecuador, and I think other South and Central American countries as well... orchid waifs happen quite a bit... I have two new records for Bletia purpurea and Triphora gentianoides for Sarasota County... both species are found in the southern counties of Florida... Zeuxine streumatica disperses everywhere in Florida...

    My second post. What we are discussing now is not the story, but more of the type specimen of Phrag. besseae from Peru.


    Which came first...Phrag. besseae, or the roadside vegetation? I understand what you are saying, the smaller weeds which grow nearer to the road... I believe that most plants of Phrag. besseae perfer a more vertical growing situation, preferably a cliff face or a steep hill... there may be a few exceptions... Phrag. besseae was found on a steep hill though, away from the road in Peru... usually, they are found in quite a bit of light... again, there are some exceptions.

    I think this is up for debate... it depends on who you talk to... the hummingbird visited the flower, but the pollen was dislodged from the flower afterwards... it isn't mentioned, because we have no evidence of another flower being pollinated, so assumuming the hummingbird is the pollinator is just taking a chance...

    Here's what I was getting at and decided not to post it (I don't know why)... I have seen so many in situ pictures of Phrag. besseae and Phrag. dallesandroi, that I get dizzy. I notice that plants of Phrag. besseae usually grow on the cliff faces... where are the many growth specimens? Where is the Phrag. besseae with a thousand growths? I then look at Phrag. dallesandroi, and there are wide clumps of these, growing on the forest floor or horizontally on rocks... so perhaps Phrag. besseae is similar to Fernandezia sanguinea; in the wild, they have life spans. In cultivation, it is a different story (on both)... Fernandezia can be kept alive for a long time in cultivation, instead of being a near-annual type orchid in situ... what do you think?

    I would really enjoy going down there if I went with someone who has been there before...

    Also, Lance, I hope that all of these posts aren't offending you... I am re-reading them, and the way I have written them, seems like they are in an angry tone of voice (though it's being typed)... I am not trying argue with you, but seeing what information we can debate or draw about Phrag. besseae... :) I am tired, so good night,

    -Pat
     
  9. Nov 8, 2006 #49

    I will have Jason respond, but in short Jerry collected these plants legally in Peru back in the 1980's (that was before CITES was around). Jason does think that they may be a natural hybrid between besseae and dallesandroi, but like I said earlier Jerry collected them before dallesandroi was described so at the time they were all labeled as Phrag. besseae.

    Robert
     
  10. Nov 8, 2006 #50

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    I can understand why there was no confusion about the plant back then, but that doesn't explain the confusion less than a year ago when I was sold the plant labeled as a besseae.
     
  11. Nov 8, 2006 #51
    I said Jason believes they may be a natural hybrid. Jerry is the one that probably sold the plant to you, and he still believes they are pure Phrag. besseae (They are all still labeled as Phrag. besseae).


    Robert
     
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  12. Nov 8, 2006 #52

    kentuckiense

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    err... Hasn't d'allesandroi only been observed in Ecuador?
     
  13. Nov 8, 2006 #53
    I am sorry I was mistaken (I edited my above statement)....Yes dallesandroi was first discovered in Ecuador, and that is probably where most are. I was just getting confused about the whole story that no "besseae's" are still in Peru.

    What I was trying to say was that there are 2 extreme populations of what I consider to be the same species. One population is considered by some as being Phrag. besseae and the other as Phrag. dallesandroi, but I think that gene flow still occurs from one population to the other, as it is hard to draw a line between individuals from separate populations, especially if you have so called hybrids that occur in nature (like the one Jerry found in Peru).

    To me these so called "hybrid" populations are just intermediate populations between the 2 extreme populations. Also to me the fact that they have a stolon or are clump forming is not a good characteristic to differentiate between the 2 species. Also the pouch length can vary a lot within a species, so this also is not a good charcteristic.

    And I do think that plants were found in Peru that some people consider to be Phrag. dallesandroi (but I would call them besseae).

    Robert
     
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  14. Nov 8, 2006 #54

    Mahon

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    I realize that you corrected yourself in another post about Phrag. dalessandroi... I too have been adament in saying Phrag. dalessandroi is a mere variety of Phrag. besseae... but doing a little more research will reveal that they are closely related, but distinct... if we go by DNA analysis, it would be assumed that Phrag. dalessandroi is a seperate taxon than Phrag. besseae. A morphological approach would suggest that they are the same species, just a subspecies (as they are both red)... if we go to the distribution of the species, we realize that Phrag. besseae makes a wide coverage area, while Phrag. dalessandroi found right in the middle of the populations... it could be assumed that the merge between both taxa would yield natural hybrids of both species, but no proof that I have heard of yet.

    The type specimen found in Peru by Besse, in bloom, was a typical looking Phrag. besseae with stolons... I don't understand where the rumor of non-stolonous Phrag. besseae from Peru came from... :)

    -Pat
     
  15. Nov 9, 2006 #55

    Jason Fischer

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    Well, Robert asked me to so I'll throw in my 2 'cents' that seem to make 'sense' to me!

    I pulled out the good ol' American Orchid Society Bulletin (for you kids out there, that's what it used to be called before it went to Orchids Magazine) from December 1992 to refresh my memory. There is an article written by Calaway H. Dodson, followed by another article by Arnold Gum which combined describes the discovery of three forms of besseae at that time.

    First off, there was the Zamoran form from Ecuador, which by the old pictures looks like what we call today d'allesandroi. The more commonly used round-shaped besseae referred to as the 'Paute' form was also found in Ecuador. The other form, referred to as the 'Peruvian' form ranged from Peru to Colombia, which has slightly droopy petals that slant forward a bit, which is like the type my father collected back in 1988.

    These were usually discovered in isolated colonies; which means of course the seed was only traveling so far and that particular variety of besseae stuck close to its parents. Why almost 15 years later someone decides to re-name one of the three types to d'allesandroi I don't know. Eric Christensen recently told me at a lecture "If it were any other plant, let's say a coffee plant, it would have a variety name given. But whenever it's a paph or phrag, everybody has to be the first to try and give it a new species name". I'd agree there's truth in that.

    I told Robert that perhaps the 'Paute' form crossed with d'allesandroi would create what my father discovered in Peru, but I can't say for sure, especially because both those forms are not close to where the Peruvian forms were discovered. The only way to be for sure would be to make the cross and then test the DNA. When my father brought those plants back 18 years ago, of course there were known as besseae, and still are known as that today. The truth is besseae has many forms that people don't even know about yet. And in fact, there's a form that does not grow out of the pot on a stolen that also self-pollinates. I know this because we have one!

    Now to further express my opinion, let me say something about 'natural hybrids'. To us as orchid growers and taxonomists, the only thing that justifies us calling something a 'natural hybrid' is the fact that we have a plant that we can re-create because both of the parents are not extinct. The truth is all species we know of today are 'natural hybrids' of some sort. I doubt there's a paph or phrag out there that still looks exactly like they did millions of years ago. From what we know and have seen in the natural hybrid world is a mere blink of an eye to mother nature. Let's take for example paph. x fanaticum (micranthum x malipoense). Tom Kalina has a piece of one collected from the wild. No matter how many micranthum x malipoense us breeders may try to make, nothing can mimic or come close to the actual appearance of what was collected in the wild. Why? Because perhaps x fanaticum was naturally hybridized hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Then a colony formed as pollinators kept it going throughout the years. This is why I beleive you won't be able to create the peruvian species that we have here and that PHRAG bought.

    Now let's look at besseae. It is far more fertile than paph x fanaticum and grows at 3 times the speed. Give a plant like that the chance to evolve over thousands of years and you've got several variety possibilities. That's why we see so many types of besseae. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more varieties still waiting to be discovered.

    We do, of course, have to somehow identify each type, whether it is by variety or new species. It is only logical to keep track of plant data. The problem is people mis-labeling plants or recording false information or forgetting to record information over the years of orchid discovery.

    Some of you may probably know all of this jibber jabber, but for those who don't I hope it gives you a little insight on a complicated subject!
     
  16. Nov 9, 2006 #56

    Mahon

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    Jason,

    Thanks for adding to the discussion! If you can supply pictures of the many types of Phrag. besseae, it would be appreciated! I think I made mention that Dodson believes Phrag. dalessandroi is self-pollinating in the wild... hence, the overload and excess of seed pods. The plants of this taxon are non-stolonous... perhaps you can supply pictures of your self-pollinating plant in bloom?

    Dodson personally does not seperate the population of Phrag. besseae found in Paute, Ecuador from typical Phrag. besseae... it was to sight another locality of the species. I believe in his article, he used it to compare to the poulation in Zamora?

    Populations in Zamora, Ecuador was the original place where Dennis D'Alessandro found the non-stolonous Phrag. besseae... the site and nearby sites were all collected by a local botanical garden. The range of Phrag. dalessandroi is quite large, and located in the middle of typical Phrag. besseae populations... there is huge possiblity that there are natural hybrids occuring at the edge where both species meet...

    The reason of splitting Phrag. dalessandroi from Phrag. besseae is primarily the distribution of the species over morphological characterisitcs. Then, there is DNA Analysis to contribute to a split in the species, to keep them distinct. Phrag. dalessandroi has two more chromosomes than Phrag. besseae... Eric Christenson has a prejudice against any work done by any affiliate at Selby Gardens. He apparently is not welcome here, for reasons not worth discussing. Anyways,

    I do agree about your thoughts on the natural hybrids... who knows, there could have been so much crossing back from Phrag. besseae with Phrag. dalessandroi, and back again or with the resulting hybrid... a DNA Analysis will definitely give some insight as to these wierd forms of Phrag. besseae...

    Also, do you have the records of the Phrag. besseae plants that were collected in Peru?

    -Pat
     
  17. Nov 9, 2006 #57

    gonewild

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    No, Pat you have not offended me in any way. I think you have written well and I did not read it as angry.

    I don't mind if you argue, in fact arguing is what brings out ideas, concepts, thoughts and new discoveries. As long as you don't call names or tell me I am stupid I respect what you write. Since we are writing about uncertain things we both have a chance at being correct. I just know I am more correct than you. :clap:

    I'll be back soon to comment on the other points you raised.
     
  18. Nov 10, 2006 #58

    Jason Fischer

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    Pat,

    Sure, I can post some pics. This will also give me a chance to try my new scanner for some of the pics in the AOS Bulletin. Give me a couple days... tomorrow is my first day off of work in 3 weeks and I'm going to do something that doesn't involve orchids :). And yes, you're right, Dodson compared the Paute form to the Zamoran form in his article.

    I'd also like to comment that you've impressed me with your knowledge, dedication and ambition to learn orchid history and taxonomy at such a young age. The internet has allowed me to learn who some of the future orchid 'Super Stars', as I like to call them, will be for the next generation. You're on the right track. One thing I've learned over the years is knowledge can come and go quickly, but wisdom takes a loooong time to gain. Maybe I've just started to gain a little myself ;). Keep up the good work.

    OK, I'll get new pics up by the weekend.

    Best wishes,

    Jason




     
  19. Nov 10, 2006 #59

    Mahon

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    Jason,

    I have the scanned pictures for the December 1992 AOS Bulletin... here they are:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thank you for your comments, I appreciate it! :) I have sent you a PM...
    ttyl,

    -Pat
     
  20. Nov 13, 2006 #60

    Jason Fischer

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    Here's a pic of a distinct non-stolonous besseae we have that somewhat looks like dallesandroi but then again I think not. It does not hold multiple flowers like dallesaondroi, plus the flowers seem much more 'full'. It also self-pollinates. I don't have foliage pics at the moment, but you know what besseae foliage looks like, nothing different.

    I'm sure many flower types have been crossed and back-crossed so many times that there are several small colonies of slightly different besseae-like species out there.

    [​IMG]
     

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