Vol. 11, #7

October 1, 2011



Hoya elliptica Hook. f.

The above photo was sent to me by Chanin Thorut of Bangkok, Thailand.  On the back of it he wrote, “Nearly actual size, on 4th day of blooming.”  Note that Thailand extends down into the Malayan Peninsula where this species was originally found.


This species has been a difficult one to pin down.  Chanin sent cuttings to me a long time ago……….   Since that time I’ve had trouble obtaining a true Hoya elliptica.  Also, I had doubts that any of us really knew which hoya was it.  I wrote to David Liddle and sent him pictures or two different hoyas circulating as this species. I asked his opinion.  My question to him referred to a hoya picture posted on the HoyasRUs Forum as Hoya elliptica.  I hadn’t thought that it was that species.  I told David, “My speculation that a hoya picture posted by  Antone might be one of two different hoyas on your list.  You might be able to set me straight on this.”  David replied, “I don’t know this plant at all.  It is nothing I have.” 

David added, “On Hoya elliptica.  While there are some visual similarities between the two plants, the Philippines plant is not Hoya elliptica.  It differs in a number of ways.

(1). While the nerves in the leaf are visually obvious, the term used in the type description is, “nerves very prominent,” this is a physical description, not a visual one.

(2). The corolla is described as, “glabrous without, puberulous within.”  The Philippine plant is pilose, with long woolly indumentum on the upper  corolla surface.  The description of Hoya elliptica lobe shape is, “obcordate” which best describes the broad lobes of the Malay Peninsula plant, whereas the Philippines plant has more of less lanceolate shaped lobes.

(3). The shape of the corona lobes are described as, “ovate-oblong, obtuse.”  The Philippines plant has corolla lobes  could be described as broadly-ovate or possibly round.”

There is one thing I’d like to add.  When I started the first hoya society in 1978, most of us could be fairly certain that if we got a hoya from Thailand, China, Australia, the Philippines, or any other place that it was most likely to be a native of the place from which we obtained it.  In 2011 that is often not the case.  I know that Chanin Thorut of Bangkok, Thailand obtained many hoyas from me and from Ted Green  as long ago as 20 years.  Species get spread about the globe and are traded back and forth by pen pals.  As long ago as the early 1800s, plant collectors  and their employers falsified collection data to keep their competitors from going to the same places to collect. Thomas Lobb, for whom Hoya lobbii was named is an example.  According to accounts I have read, not many of the hoyas he collected are native to the places where he claimed to have found them. 

I believe that many of the hoyas in the Apodagis collection are things that Chanin Thorut obtained from Ted Green and from me.  The reason I believe that is that I believe Sutthisak Sangkhakorn and Chanin are friends.  I say that because about 20 years ago, Chanin sent me a picture of Sutthisak,  holding one of his prized hoyas.  So, just because you got a hoya from Apodagis, doesn’t mean it is a native of Thailand.

Also, just because you got a hoya from David Beardsell, Andrew Savio, Peter Tsang, Robin Beavis, York Meredith or David Liddle, doesn’t mean it is a native of Australia, though it could be.  How do I know?  Let me tell you a true account.  There was an HSI member by the name of Margaret Telfer.  She lived in Australia.  Like most of us hoya “nuts,” she obtained and tried to grow every hoya she found on dealer sales’ lists all over the world.  Like most of us, there were some species that she just couldn’t get to grow into lovely blooming specimens.  She wrote me a letter and told me she was giving up on Hoya serpens but she hated to just compost it so, she said, “I took it out into the bush and planted it at the base of a forest tree.”    A year or two later I got a letter from David Liddle.  He told me that he’d discovered that Hoya serpens was native to a much wider range than anyone had thought before.  He said that he and Paul Forster had found it growing up a tree trunk in Queensland, Australia.  I replied that he should talk to Margaret before jumping to that conclusion.  He did and later told me that the Hoya serpens he found was exactly where Margaret said she’d planted her ailing Hoya serpens.  Every time I wrote to David (when he returned to hoya study and collecting, after several years out of it)  I wanted to ask if he’d kept track of that hoya over the years and, if so, was it still growing on that same tree but for some reason, the subject  veered off in another direction and I never got around to it.

Another example of a hoya being thought to be native of a place foreign to it is the one that D. A. Kloppenburg published as Hoya memoria.  He was convinced that it was a Philippine native because he found it growing on Dexter Heuschkel’s  cemetery fence.  Kloppenburg was really a late comer when it came to collecting and learning about hoyas.  Dexter Heuschkel and Peter Tsang were close friends.  Peter Tsang and I were close friends.*  Dexter traveled around Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia (wherever plants that interested him were native).  He collected them and sent cuttings to Peter and to me.  He mailed them to us from the locations where he found them.  Peter reciprocated so when Peter’s sister and her husband found that hoya on a trip they took to the island of Ceram, Peter gave his sister my address and Dexter’s address.  His sister’s husband found that hoya and he mailed cuttings, per Peter’s instruction, to both Dexter and to me.  He mailed them from the closest post office to the collection site. When Kloppenburg became interested in hoyas about 15 years later, Kloppenburg, like the dog August, jumped to the conclusion that because Dexter had planted it on his cemetery fence that it had to be a Philippine native.  He then argued that I had to be wrong about Peter’s brother-in-law collecting and sending that hoya to me and to Dexter, saying, “Peter hated his brother-in-law.”  True, there was no love lost between Peter and his ex-wife’s brother, but Peter’s sister’s husband was someone he cared a great deal about.  Peter sent me a picture of his sister and her husband.  On the back of it he wrote, “This is man who sent hoya to you from Ceram.”

·                           How close were Peter and I?  Well, it was this way.  I received a phone call one evening about 8 p.m.  It was Peter Tsang.  He had enrolled his daughter, Tiki, in the Atlanta School of Ballet.  He told me that he had an appointment in about an hour with his attorney, who had drawn up papers which he would sign giving me legal custody of Tiki (the most precious thing in his life) for the duration of her stay in Atlanta, GA.  Tiki was a talented dancer and Peter wanted to get her away from her mother and her mother’s abusive boy friend, in addition to wanting to give Tiki the best training a dancer could obtain.  Atlanta Ballet had the reputation of being the best the US had to offer at that time.  About eight hours later, I got a phone call from Robin Beavis, telling me that Peter was dead.  His mail man found water pouring out the front door when he came to deliver the mail.  He investigated and found that Peter had a heart attack while in the shower.  He must have died just minutes after talking to me.  I never learned what happened to Tiki.


Hoyas get moved about these days so that it is becoming more and more difficult to know where they originated, especially when there are so many people who don’t care and throw away the labels as soon as they get their plants.  Some people even don’t like it that other people label their plants.  Proof of that came home to me when we had an HSI meeting in Atlanta and I invited those attending to my house for lunch and let them roam through my greenhouse at will.  The husband of that narrow minded female I wrote about in the last issue of PS-TheHoyan, went in the greenhouse and when he came out, he handed me a couple of  hundred name tags, which he’d removed from my plants.  He claimed that the labels made an otherwise beautiful display look cheap.  I had a row of iris seedlings in my garden that I’d hybridized and wanted to introduce.  When all were gone, I discovered that my labels on those were also gone.  You can bet your first born (and not lose) that man didn’t dare touch one of his wife’s plant labels.  I was able to put the labels back in their proper places only because I kept an inventory of my greenhouse plants showing where each was located in the greenhouse.



What Species is IML-1513?


One thing is for certain.  It is not Hoya oreogena Kerr.  I believe it will prove to be Hoya graveolens Kerr.   My reasons for thinking that follow:

1).  Kerr cited his own specimen #10857 as holotype of Hoya oreogena.  The entire specimen is too large to post here but here is a picture of a portion of it, showing three of its leaves (all the other leaves on the specimen are about the same size and shape).


Above:  Three leaves of Kerr #10857



Above:  A typical leaf of IML-1513, which is sold by the Liddle Nursery as Hoya oreogena.


There is no way, even if one dried this leaf, that it could be recognized as belonging to the same species as the species on Kerr #10857.  The Code says that the Holotype is the “One specimen or other element used by the author or designated by him as the nomenclatural type.”   It also says,  It may not be rejected.”




Above:  Flowers of Kerr #10857, which is the Hoya oreogena holotype.

Note the extremely acute outer tips of the corona scales and the raised ridge running down the center of the scales.


Now, let us take a closer look at the flowers of  IML-1513:




Above:  The picture was given to me by Chanin Thorut.  It was labeled Hoya graveolens.  Its foliage matches that of IML-1513.  Compare the flowers, especially the outer tips of the corona lobes, with those on the Hoya oreogena Holotype.  They simply don’t match. 



I can only conclude one thing after seeing this.  IML-1513 is NOT Hoya oreogena!  This picture was supplied to me by Sutthisak  of Apodagis.





It’s hanging so low it’s almost dragging in the dirt!  I refer to a la--- errr a female.  I started to say lady but, in my opinion she’s  no lady!  She is just an ignorant excuse for a human being, in my opinion.  Just count the number of people on the mainland that she has visited or had visit her and ask yourself, “How many of these people did she turn into enemies?  The answer is, “Most of Them!”

I just received  two copies of a letter Wannabe posted on a forum called Cubits. I do not know who sent one of them.  It was from an address I do not recognize. The other copy came from a pin pal who lives in SE Asia. I do not belong to that forum but judging from what was in the copies of the thread that was sent to me, I doubt I’m missing much.  I found what I read to be untrue and repulsive.


The first untruth written in that thread was about a book that some Russian is said to have written about hoyas.  The statement was made that Chris Burton had bought a copy and would be reviewing it on line.  The fact is that I had  never heard of the book until then and I certainly did not buy a copy.  I don’t intend to.  If someone wants me to review it, I will, but only if they will lend me a copy.  If after seeing it, if I think it is worth anything, I will then buy it, if copies are still available.


Next this dumb broad said, “Let’s say the book deals with H. pimenteliana and uses the last word I hear and that the Hoya pimenteliana I got 6 years ago is realy (sic) H. cagayanensis … per David Liddle). Chris Burton will disagree with all of it, so we won’t talk about her.”

Well the dumb broad brought up my name so she already talked about me.  Do I disagree with David Liddle’s assessment, that Hoya pimenteliana  is a synonymous name for Hoya cagayanensis?  NO, I DON’T !!!  I wonder just where she thinks David Liddle got the idea that it  was Hoya cagayanensis in the first place.   From me, that’s who!!!!  When I first suggested it, he was doubtful but after I suggested he dry a specimen and then compare it with the type and original publication, he wrote back and told me that he agreed with me.   Also, Torill Nyhuus acknowledged the name Hoya cagayanensis was the correct name for the Hoya published by Kloppenburg as Hoya pimenteliana.  Hoya cagayanensis is correct because it was the first name given it in a valid publication.   She also quoted something about Emilio’s  cultivars as presented in  Anders Wennstrőm’s book, The Genus Hoya.  I think she must have that book or have seen it so she must know that Anders also agrees that Hoya cagayanensis is the correct name for the one Kloppenburg republished as Hoya pimenteliana..


Wannabe didn’t go to college so maybe she can be forgiven for not being able to spell.  Someone should tell her that there is no such person as Torill Hyhuss… The lady’s name is Torill Nyhuus.

UNTRUTH #4:  It was said there that the writer from Rainforest was really Chris Burton.  What a laugh to think that someone who lives in the state of Hawaii doesn’t know that the Rainforest guy is Michael Miyashiro, who lives in Honolulu.  Michael is one of my favorite hoya friends. I hope his participation in that forum means that he has renewed his interest in hoyas.

You have surely heard the expression saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Wannabe is very talented at making very good first impressions so when I first heard from her, I was favorably impressed so when she asked me to copy my hoya research papers for her, though I was unwilling to do that (too time consuming), my reply was that I didn’t have time but that if she wanted to make copies that she was welcome to come here and stand at my copy machine for as long as it took and make the copies herself, provided she bought the toner and the paper.  I was surprised when she agreed.  What I didn’t expect was that she’d invite someone else to come and visit me too.  That lady wrote and told me that Wannabe had invited her to visit and she wanted to know if I was okay with it.  I was shocked that anyone had the gall to invite a stranger to another person’s home.  I asked around and found someone who knew this person and learned she was okay.  I met Wannabe at the airport and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I hope you are having artichokes for dinner because I adore them but they are too expensive in Hawaii.”  My reply to that was that, “Since it is too hot to grow them in central Georgia, they are too expensive for me to buy here so if you want them you’ll have to buy them yourself.”  She insisted on stopping at a Publix on the way home from the airport, where she bought artichokes and a gallon bottle of Chablis.  During the four days she was here, we had to stop at Publix for another gallon of wine. My friend, Lesli bought a bottle of champagne and brought it over when she brought Wannabe’s guest from the airport, as she was on a flight that came in two hours later.  I’d invited a couple of others to meet Wannabe and her guest.  I want to say that I love champagne but I never got a chance to drink a drop out of that bottle and I never drank a drop from those two gallons of wine that Wannabe brought into my home.  I don’t much like wine (other than the sparkly kind).  Wine gives me heartburn.  Wannabe’s guest only stayed two days and she preferred tea.  She brought me a large canister of tea from her native country, which was (I think) South Africa.

Bed time came and you should have heard the ruckus when Wannabe found that the window frames had swollen in the hot humid weather and she couldn’t open the bedroom windows.  I told her that I didn’t have whole house air conditioning so that I could cool the whole outdoors and that I wanted the windows closed to save on cooling and to keep ragweed pollen from making me sick.  She carried on for what seemed like an eternity saying that she must be able to open the windows and breathe in fresh air.  I never would and I never knew anyone else who’d go into someone else’s home and make such demands.  It just isn’t done by people with proper upbringing.

The purpose of this visit was supposed to be that Wannabe would make copies of  all the original Hoya name publications that I had collected.  Well, once here, I couldn’t get her near that copy machine.  First day, I drove to Office Depot so she could get a toner cartridge and some paper.  She spied Home Depot next to it and its nursery department and headed straight there, where she spent most of the morning buying bulbs of species that will not grow in Hawaii.  Oh, they’ll grow once and bloom beautifully if you refrigerate them for two or three months before planting them but that’ll be about all you’ll ever see of them in the tropics where she lives.  Even in Central Georgia, the bulbs she bought are treated as annuals.

We then went to several other nurseries as that’s what Wannabe wanted to do.  I couldn’t get her nearer to Office Depot than the closest Home Depot and I couldn’t get her to stay at home and make those copies that were her excuse for visiting me in the first place.  In all the nurseries she visited, she bought more and more of those temperate zone bulbs to plant in her yard in Hawaii.  By then I’d stopped advising her that they wouldn’t do well there.  I just figured that the old saying was true, “A fool and his money are soon parted,” and that lady parted with a pile of it.”  At the end of that day, it was back to the airport to speed her guest home.  Next day:  I thought that we’d run into Office Depot and get her a toner cartridge and some paper but, NO, she wanted to go to a department store.  Rich’s was still Rich’s then (now Macy’s).  Wannabe  needed some new foundation garments. It took all morning of trying on and selecting, as I stood around and waited with no place to sit, just shifting from one leg to the other all the while.  Then I was asked to go back to Publix (for more artichokes and that second gallon of wine).

Not once did Wannabe even open one of my file drawers and look at a single one of my hoya papers.  The only time she even entered my office was to use the telephone there.  I would not have known what or who she was phoning except that she put speaker phone on and I could hear both sides of the conversation.  The phone call was to her sister-in-law who lived somewhere out west (Arizona or Nevada – I don’t remember which).  She was begging the sister-in-law to tell her the name and address of the assisted care facility where their mother-in-law was living.  Sister-in-law wouldn’t tell her. After hanging up, Wannabe blurted out that she intended to stop off out there and visit her mother-in-law on her way home and that her sister-in-law wouldn’t tell her where she was.  She sounded a lot like Lady Macbeth in “protesting” how much she and her mother-in-law loved one another.  She’d forgotten, apparently that it was her own husband who, only a short time earlier,  had come to North Carolina and settled his mother’s affairs and took her out to the assisted care facility in his brother’s town.  Wannabe’s husband had to know where his mother was and yet, Wannabe was begging the sister-in-law to tell her where the old lady was.  Sounded to me like there was no love lost between the two at least from mother-in-law’s side. 

One thing I totally agree with that Wannabe said in that anonymous e-mail I got.  “She said, “Sorry…but I have no respect for someone who publishes obviously wrong data.”  I agree with that statement and, because I do, I have absolutely no respect for Wannabe.”

Wannabe decided to go home after 4 days, not having copied a single page of Hoya research, which included copies of all original hoya publications, up to that date (they occupied 14 file cabinet drawers, plus 5 three ft. long shelves and several boxes filled to their brims). I can understand why she’d be overwhelmed by so much data.  She packed her bags but, having bought so many bulbs and foundation garments, she didn’t have room for all.  She tossed her old foundation garments and a pair of garden clogs in a pile and told me I could have them.  I didn’t want them, especially those clogs (I’d have broken every bone in my body trying to walk in them).  I suggested she put them in a shopping bag and take them on board with her. “ No,” she said, “I don’t want them.”  So, as soon as she left, I put them in a shopping bag and took them to the local Salvation Army Store.  A few days later, I got a letter from her asking me to mail those items to her and also, she asked me to give her the collection of tea that her guest had brought to me as a gift.  I’m not much of a tea drinker, myself so that tea had also gone to the Salvation Army Store.  I was shocked that anyone had the gall to ask someone to give them a gift someone else had given them.



        The anonymous letter writer also said that  Wannabe claimed Chris Burton was wrong in saying that certain hoyas pictured on eBay and in some other people’s catalogs were not labeled correctly because Chris Burton herself said that “Pictures lie,” so she can’t identify a hoya by a picture.”

  FACTS:  Pictures do lie but statements taken out of context, as that statement was, lie even more.

  Fact #1:  If you show me a picture of Hoya australis subsp. tenuipes and a picture of Hoya calycina without any scale showing flower size and without any leaves showing in either picture, I will not be able to tell you with 100% certainty which is which.  I know people who, at one time sold Hoya calycina mislabeled as Hoya australis. That’s because they “identified” it from a picture found in a library book.  That picture lied. 

Fact #2:  There are some hoyas that I can identify easily with or without flowers, in pictures or in life.  I think just about any hoya hobby grower can look at Hoya polyneura and tell you right off exactly what it is. I think anyone can look at a picture of Hoya linearis and tell you which species it is but not which of the two published varieties it is, unless close ups of the flowers are also pictured.  Hoya serpens and Hoya engleriana are two others that I can easily identify in a picture, provided both foliage and flowers are pictured.

Fact #3:  When someone has grown as many hoyas as I have for as many years as I have, one learns to recognize a few that have been in circulation for the same length of time and no picture is going to fool her.  For example, the first hoya I ever saw was Hoya kerrii.  It was in the sunroom of the house next door to me.  The lady who owned it didn’t know what it was and she was a stingy old biddy.  I was only 5 or 6  years old and begged for a piece of it as I already had the plant growing disease at that tender age. I caught it from my Aunt Alma.  That neighbor wouldn’t part with even a leaf.  I drew a picture of it and kept it until I finally found another one like it about 25 years later. Ain’t no way that a picture of Hoya kerrii could lie to me.  I’d recognize it in a NY minute.

Fact #4:  Then there is a case of varietas and subspecies.  I believe I was criticized for saying that a picture of an all greenish-yellow flowered hoya could not be Hoya chlorantha var. tutuilensis.  I said it was Hoya chlorantha var. chlorantha.  I could tell that from the picture because NOT ALL PICTURES LIE.  Some are honest.  Others have claimed that  the hoya in the picture I critiqued could not be Hoya chlorantha var. chlorantha because Hoya chlorantha var. chlorantha’s corolla was campanulate and the pictured flowers were not.  Sometimes, actually growing a species and having it bloom for you educates you to recognize a species a day or two after the flowers open and one knows then that the flowers in the picture you took just an hour or two after the flowers first open don’t look the same as they do 24 or 36 hours later.  Also one knows, when one has the author’s original publication in front of one that the flowers of Hoya chlorantha var. tutuilensis are a different colour and that the corona lobes are slightly different in shape.  See PS-TheHoyan vol. 11, #6 for pictures of these two.

Wannabe brags that she has grown hoyas for 8 years.  I don’t think she’ll live long enough to match my record.  I caught the bug when I was 5 years old but didn’t get my first hoya until I was 15. I am now 84 years old. Once I got that first one (Hoya carnosa), I added Hoya compacta  within a year, as I found it in J.J. Newberry’s when passing the plant section,  on my way to meet my friends at the soda fountain after school one day.  I got my next one from my friend, Ginny Burton (no relation), who brought a variegated Hoya bella to me from Germany where her husband had been stationed after WW-2.  It was many years before I found a plain green leafed Hoya bella.  Ginny said that everyone she met in Germany had a large plant of the variegated one.  The thing that really got me into collecting hoyas was seeing an ad in the Georgia Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin.  That was around 1960.  Someone advertised that they were looking for a start of Hoya carnosa.  I had several pots of it which I kept for people who saw my then 20 plus year old plant and wanted one.  I packed up a pot and sent it to the lady who lived in Valdosta, GA.  I didn’t ask for payment and I guess that shocked the lady more than anything.  She wrote and asked if I had other species.  I no longer had the variegated bella which never showed up in the moving van when we moved from Glen Ellyn, Illinois to Walterboro, SC.  The movers knew something good when they saw it.  They also made off with a couple of chairs my g-grandpa made for my wedding present (exactly like those he made for the Queen of England and shipped to her at Windsor Castle). 

The lady from Valdosta, on learning I didn’t have any but the Hoya carnosa sent me a copy of Loyce Andrew’s hoya list, which at that time had about 65 hoya names listed.  Her list quickly grew to over 200 names, most of them a single species with different labels on them.  I know, because I bought every single one of them.  I am prepared to say that Loyce Andrews had 7 correctly identified species out of the entire list of over 200 species names.  One of those 7 was only partially correct. Her claim was that her hoyas were labeled the same as when she got them and that she got most (not all) of them from Ted Green.

There are scores of hoyas that I cannot tell you the names of without dissecting the flowers and examining the various flower parts microscopically. Then, I’d still need a type specimen to make comparison.  Drying the flowers  to make them more like the dried herbarium specimen is often necessary.  Just looking at a picture in a book (often a book by a horticulturist, with no knowledge of plant taxonomy) is just not the way to identify most hoya species, especially those that are so newly discovered that no one has had time to learn their habits.  

Warning to Hoya Forum Members:  If you enjoy belonging to a hoya forum and find such a forum useful, for goodness sake, don’t let Wannabe even have a hint that you know more about hoyas than she does.  If you do, she’ll get you bumped from the forum.  Don’t know how she does it but eliminating the competition so that she can appear to be the final authority is her special talent.  So if you want to remain, “Play dumb!”



Hoya villosa Cost.


If there is anyone who reads this that has the hoya in circulation as Hoya villosa (IML-1663?*) and has a picture of his or her plant in bloom, I’ really like to see what the flowers are like.  You may have it with a different IML-#.  The year I got this one from David Liddle, he sent me three extremely different species, each labeled IML-1663.  He was able to identify each of them for me later on but I’ve always been a bit afraid that the number 1663 is jinxed.

Needless to say, my plant hasn’t bloomed and it looks so like Hoya globulosa that I can barely tell them apart.  Makes me wonder if it is that species.  I’ve just been comparing my plant with the original Hoya villosa publication in Flore Generale de Indo-Chine 4: 137 (1912) and with the illustration in Flore Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae 63: 485 (1977).  What I see there doesn’t look much like my plant.

If someone has bloomed a “Hoya villosa” from the Liddle Nursery, I’d appreciate it if you could send me a picture of both flowers and foliage.  If you can also send a few flowers wrapped in alcohol soaked paper toweling and packed in a crush proof container, I’d really appreciate it.  Maybe I have another hoya that you’d like and will give it to you for your trouble.





First to Guess Correctly What Species Grew this Leaf

and a Start of It is Yours! 


Deadline for guessing is January 1, 2012.


As you may already have guessed, this is a case where a picture lies!