Croton Naming Conventions

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by fawnridge, Nov 21, 2011.

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  1. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    I have spent quite some time reading a variety of botanical naming convention guidelines and, regardless of the Family, Genus, or Species, there seems to be one common thread - every variety, whether naturally developed or by the hand of man, has a unique name. There is no reason why this should not apply to Crotons.

    At the meeting, this past weekend, one variety of Croton held significant interest for me - the one I've dubbed Suzi Silverado. Jeff has a magnificent specimen by his pool, however it has a tag marked "Van Houttii". A check of the Wiki and discussion with several experts led to the conclusion that neither my plant nor Jeff's were Van Houttii and no one seemed to know exactly what they were. Several of our experts (and I use that word in its broadest definition) said that both plants are in the "General Marshall subgroup" or some such wording.

    Well, I'm sorry folks. There can't be a "subgroup" or a "variant" when it comes to Crotons. If the plant is different, then it's different in every way including its name. We cannot possibly expect the rest of the Croton-picking world to recognize this website and its participants as "experts" unless we can agree on this one basic principle.

    This is why I have a hard time buying into Petra and Super Petra. Add to that, Gloriosa and Gloriosa Superba, Dreadlocks and Super Dreadlocks, and what I'm certain are dozens of other examples, including this business about a General Marshall subgroup.

    We are in a position to establish a true bank of experts that the Internet community can call upon to name a particular Croton or to acknowledge that it's one that's never been seen before. Let's try not to screw this up.
     
  2. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    Ricky - I think you may be referring to "the MacArthur Complex".

    You forgot "Super Thea" LOL :rolleyes:
     
  3. koki

    koki Active Member

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    vanhouti.jpg
    This is what Ray gave me as Van Houtii. It looks just like the one in the book. I remember seeing it at Ray's place before the freeze and the leaves were huge. The one in the picture was air-layered after defoliation. The leaves are getting bigger but still only a third of what they were before the freeze.
     
  4. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    And that looks NOTHING like what Jeff has labeled as Van Houtii. Nothing like the other 2 plants that were for auction on Saturday as Van Houtii.
     
  5. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    Ricky -
    Back to your initial query on naming conventions. We're dealing with one species of limited horticultural and economic value. Most members of this board and of the old Croton Society are amateurs in the fields of botany, plant taxonomy, and several other disciplines I'm forgetting to mention. Plant taxonomy is based upon morphological characteristics, floral details and now DNA analysis. Most other plant species we are likely to encounter (cycads, palms, bamboos, etc.) have one big advantage over crotons - they pretty much look the same, e.g., a Royal palm always looks like a Royal. It does not start branching, change leaf shape or size, change color, sport a palmate or pink frond. Every Royal looks pretty much like any other - even among different species of Roystonea.
    Unfortunately, our crotons lack this consistency in appearance as evidenced by the numerous threads on this board and our never ending questions and conversations on 'what's its name?' Those who insist on almost mathematical precision in naming are doomed to the looney bin with crotons. We do not even have a defintive reference book since some of the photos got swapped around in the best reference we do have, Crotons of the World So, where do we go from here.....??? especially with no society to coordinate anything.
    The best thing we have going now is the Wiki here and the on-going discussions. So unless some knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers want to undertake the long term task of making some taxonomic sense of the wierd genetically unstable plant that we call Crotons, we're doomed to blissful ignorance or mass stupidity or a combination of both. Anyone know any grad students or post docs looking for a challenging assignment? If we ever get a viable society going again, this would be an outstanding long-term project.
    Ricky - do you have any more definitive thoughts other than we gotta do something? Anyone else got any thoughts or ideas ???

    and FWIW, the van Houti I have (purchased at Searle sale in Oct 2009) looks quite a bit like the one in the book on p108. I'd take a pic now except it's raining here, but there's an earleir thread with pics on what to do with a vanH when it gets whomped by a falling palm frond.
     
  6. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    ...rain let up so here's a few pics of the plant mentioned above. It is in too much shade to develop its full color potential.
     

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  7. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

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    Toby,

    The mother Van Houtii your air layer came from looks better now than before the freeze. To say it came back with a vengeance would be an undertstament.

    Phil,

    What rain??

    Ricky,

    Gloriosa and Gloriosum Superbum are completely unrelated.

    Ray
     
  8. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    less than 0.1" - few passing clouds...
     
  9. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

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    .1" inches more rain than I've seen in a month.
     
  10. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Ray - Thanks for the correction on the name. Well, that's one less problem to deal with.

    Phil (and everyone else) - Here are some suggestions for Croton naming.

    1. Has the variety been verified by some previous source? My only source is The Book and its list of corrections. There are others and they should be accepted as verified.
    2. Has the variety been verified by an expert? I'm tempted to say a team of experts, but many of you rely on just one, and I'm not in a position to dispute this person.
    3. Who is an expert? Someone who has grown that variety for long enough that they can look at the plant and say without any shadow of doubt that it is the same as what they've been growing. I consider myself an expert on about 200 varieties; beyond that, I need to have verification from someone else.
    4. Who is an expert, part 2? Someone who has seen that variety in enough different gardens that they can say without any shadow of doubt that they are seeing it again.

    What happens when the experts disagree? I'd have to go with the majority. If three experts say the variety is Major Winky Dink and one says it's a Van Dumpy, we should accept the Dink.

    Failing those tests, the plant is open to naming by the first person to tag it. This goes for seedlings, as well.
     
  11. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

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    test,test
     
  12. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    Should I be adding Major Winky Dink and Van Dumpy to my wish list? :rolleyes:

    LOL :D
     
  13. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    All valid points, so far, but no real solutions. Jeff makes an interesting point about seedlings that grow up to be similar or exactly the same as a known variety. I think if a seedling DOES that closely resemble a known variety then it IS that variety. But if there's enough difference that doubt is brought into play, then it's a seedling that the owner or anyone can name.

    I'm going to post the pictures of "Suzi Silverado" to this thread and ask that they be added to the Wiki with that name. Thanks.
    #1 - Jeff Searle's Suzi Silverado
    #2 - From my garden
    #3 - Closeup
     

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  14. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

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    Ricky,

    I don't see the pink outside edging on Jeff's plant. It seems very prevalent on yours.
     
  15. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

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    Ricky - I don't give a crap what you are calling it! Your plant is simply gorgeous !!! :cool:


     

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  16. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Jeff's plant is in deep shade. Trust me, Randy and I got up close and personal with Jeff's plant. There's no doubt in either of our minds that his and mine are the exact same. There was another one, also labeled Van Houttii, that was identical to mine. Everyone who looked at them said there was no way they were that variety.
     
  17. pocomo

    pocomo Active Member

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    Yeah a beautiful plant and you have every right to name it. And being that every seedling whether it looks like another croton or not, it is still genetically different and should be given its own name, if it's worthy of a name and if not should probably just be tossed. In naming orchids every plant of a particular hybrid will be given the same name but every plant from that same cross will have a different cultivar name. I think that as someone finds that they have a plant worthy of a name then it should be presented to this group and given a name. Not by the group but by the originator. Then the plant could be put on the wiki for reference. I for one think it's appropriate to name my own plants as they are all individuals. If only for me to differentiate them for myself. Chris
     
  18. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    Ricky - Good points above:
    1. We do have some earlier sources than the 2nd edition of Crotons of the World, and the earliest name usually has precedence. Unfortunately, most of these earlier sources have B&W prints (if any) and a verbal description which is nothing like the formal verbal descriptions given to plant species. Nevertheless, it may be better than nothing.

    2. I'll use the analogy of expert certificates in stamp collecting. Some expert committees will stand-by their work with a guarantee of sorts. Most indidividual experts are expert in very limited areas. The quality of work done by expert committees varies with team compostion and time. Waaay back when, I bought at auction a piece of mail that was on the airship Hindenburg when it crashed. The first thing I did was send it off to the Philatelic Foundation for a certificate. It came back with a clean or good cert. Some 20 years later, and after selling it in a good faith transaction, this particular piece of mail and others were revealed to be mediocre fakes.
    NB - a good one sells now for $10K+. A cert is only as good as the experts and your confidence in him or them.

    3. Another good question! I myself prefer the committee approach. When a philatelic expert committee does not agree unanimously, it is so noted on the cert. A good reference library is one thing an expert should have - or at least access to one.

    Anyone have any experience with other expert committees that may or may not issue certificates of authenticity - Chinese porcelains, coins, or any other plants???

    Genetics are usually considered the 'gold standard' for a plant ID; anyone have any expertise in plant genetics? or know where you can hire it?

    Right now we all have more questions than answers and may not be asking the right questions, but it is a good start.
     
  19. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    ...and to add to the specific confusion, here's some pics of some unknowns similar to Suzi Silverado. Are we having fun yet ????
     

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  20. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    ...but wait, there's more:
     

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  21. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

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    I agree,that worthy seedlings must be named,there is so much confusion already.Can you imagine how many unnnamed hybrids would exist if they were not named!!


     
  22. crotons.net

    crotons.net Active Member

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    I would like to post my 2 cents for what it is worth.
    This is a hotly debated topic for such a long time . Everyone wants to name these plants it starts getting ridiculous any unknown croton( which is a nickname for these plants anyway) should be called unknown hybrid. I can pollinate every plant in my yard and next year I will have tons of different plants so I name them all guess what I wait a year or two and the majority die due to weakness or they are just ugly plants ,does that mean the plant I named is extinct or no longer exists. A lot of plants with names have been growing for many years 50 60 70 years ago there were many less varieties these plants are so unstable the original hybridizers did not have to contend with 2000 variations so they named a few plants (after the plant was growing for a period of time and was propagated) many plants were just unknown hybrids that is what it is unknown ....the problem is everyone is so gung ho to name a plant they end up with 3 and 4 different names half of these names I have never even heard of. My thought is if it is not in any literature such as reasoners exotica or dr browns book etc (and yes I know there may be a few errors in dr browns book) then it should be called unknown hybrid unless the plant has been in existence for more than 5 or 10 years to make sure it survives and can be propagated. I have been doing this for many years and I have seedlings sports etc and never named a plant and never will.The whole thing muddies the water per say The people on the west coast have one name people on the east coast have another .You can go to many nurseries and the same plant has 10 different names. What happens if 2 different people have the same stoplight for instance and they sport the same variation? I air layer mine and call it whatever the other person does the same now we have two different names his plant dies who is to say the correct name? In my opinion no plant should be named unless it is 5 to 10 years old as I said before until then it should be UNKNOWN HYBRID
     
  23. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Phil - The last 2 in your second group appear to be Suzi Silverado.
     
  24. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

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    croton.net makes a good point: For a variety to get an 'official' name (and I use the term loosely), it should be able to survive for 5-10 years from seedling stage, i.e., it's gotta be able to live and be propagated.

    ..and for you taxonomy lovers out there, one undated paper by Wm. A geiger, Mr. Christian of the Christian Nursery, Mr. Van der Lean, and Mr. George L. Peacock proposes a leaf taxonomy of 25 different (and illustrated) leaf forms - instead of the usual 9 most of us use as per Dr. Brown's book.

    ...and while browsing though a copy of this old paper (it's typewritten) , I note a description for a SENOR GONZALASm described as follows:
    SENOR GONZALAS; Type J, 1-1/2" x 6", - Body of leaf is black green irregularly splashed and mottled pink and salmon pink. Reverse of leaf has dark red ground with deepo rose markings. (Original name unknown but brought from collection of Senor Gonzallas of Porto Rico.) - Any botanical artists or illustrators want to conjur up a color sketch of a leaf based upon that description? Nevertheless, these old papers, catalogs, and books mention many varieties that we see today (and more than a few that elicit blank stares...)
    onward through the fog....
     
  25. pocomo

    pocomo Active Member

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    This is going nowhere. I can see it now. What's the name of that. Unknown hybrid. How about that. Unknown hybrid. etc....
     
  26. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    That's a bit too optimistic for a plant in Florida and it has NOTHING to do with identifying the variety. Just think about how many plants we all lost in the two back-to-back cold winters or how many vanished in the multitude of hurricanes we had several years before that.
     
  27. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

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    I agree,plants need names.We cannot have 300-400 different plants called unnamed hybrids!!The book was written 40 years ago ,we cannot say anything not in the book is a unnamed hybrid.Once a few "experts" agree on a name that is sufficient for me.I refuse to have a garden of 100 unnamed hybrids :) Please remember that at one time there was only one variety and every variety after that was given a name by some individual.Some crotons were named after dogs,cats etc.


     
  28. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

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    I added Suzi to the WIKI
     
  29. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

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    Sure you can, that's why we have numbers. I've got unknown hybrid #1 thorugh 34 in my collection right now. Ron's plant for example, is referred to as Grandma only as a reference but not the official name. It is officially unknown hybrid #19 right now. I won't name something unless it's a seedling. Any of these plants we find could be an old cultivar that hasn't been identified. Until a better eye than I have sees it, identifies it or says they don't know, I won't name a plant. Call me a purist.
     
  30. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Randy posted another picture of Suzi Silverado in a previous thread.
     
  31. crotons.net

    crotons.net Active Member

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    Who are the experts that are going to confirm the new names? You can get 10 collectors in one location and 5 of them will disagree on the plant name .The only problem I have is every plant that sprouts someone will name it who knows what the new plant will look like or if it will be worthwhile after several years and yes a lot of plants were lost to freeze and hurricanes that goes back to my point that if your plant was lost and there were no others propagated should it have been named to begin with?
    Of the named plants I lost due to freeze and storms I can replace as they are available to me either where I found them originally or I have air layers or cuttings as backups
    I understand the need to catalog the plants I have been working for 12 years to do just that but they cannot have some random name someone decides to throw at the plant.

    Other plants are not named this way I suppose that is why I just do my own thing and keep to myself thanks for the interesting discussion.
     
  32. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

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    I think that this discussion is healthy but I doubt there will be any consensus here.Very valid arguments on all sides but I prefer names over numbers.I have asked the question before about how many Davis Hybrids existed.I am guessing at least 87 since there is a Davis 87 but no one knows.I wonder if this confusion would exist if his seedlings were named??

     
  33. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    So, if we follow this logic, as soon as the first rooted cutting or airlayer appears it's okay to name the plant? Damn, I better get airlayers going on my named seedlings right away!
     
  34. Plant Nut

    Plant Nut Active Member

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    Suzi Silverado was just added to the WIKI. What is the history on it? Where, when and how did it originate and who named and introduced it?
     
  35. crotons.net

    crotons.net Active Member

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    No I said that the plant must be at least 5 years old to be a mature plant. Always going to have the wise guys who cant have a serious discussion.Listen I stated as I said my 2 cents this forum is for discussions so at least be courteous and discuss this topic as an adult I am not an expert nor do I claim to be but I have been collecting these plants for a long time if this is to go forward then there must be a compromise somewhere. I understand no one wants to have unnamed plants in the garden but if the plant is not mature it should not be named just to have a name.
     
  36. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Suzi Silverado was discovered by Randy (PalmIsland). It was planted quite a few years ago by some homeowner association at the entrance to their community. It's origin is unknown, however, there are several of them in existence, including the very large one at Jeff Searle's pool. It's entirely possible that this is a very old variety that may have had a name years ago, but the experts at the meeting this past weekend were unable to identify it. I have given it the name Suzi Silverado. And if you don't make a big deal out of it, you might at some point in the not too distant future be able to buy a rooted cutting for a reasonable price.
     
  37. Crazy for Crotons

    Crazy for Crotons Well-Known Member

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    I want to name one Ford F150. If Chevy's Silverado can get a croton name, why should Ford and Chrysler be left behind?
     
  38. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

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    Ray - No reason not to, but Suzi Silverado has nothing to do with cars. It's a short, but funny story, about how the US Government renamed my girlfriend. The Croton is named for her.
     
  39. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

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    Phil's 1st pic in #20 sure looks like my clipper I bought from Searle
     

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  40. crotons.net

    crotons.net Active Member

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    I was not speaking of suzi silverado the topic of the thread was croton naming convention so I was discussing crotons in general


    I do not and have never bought crotons I find them and always have I have over 15000 photos and thousands of locations for these plants as I said I have been doing this for many years
     

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