Vol. 13, #3

December 1, 2013



Hoya retusa Dalz.

In vol. 12, #7, I wrote about this species but, apparently, I failed to illustrate it with a picture so this is to make up for that omission. I thought it a good time to feature this again because I got a question about it.


Reader Questions


Question #1:  I looked up the name Hoya retusa on IPNI after seeing your comments on it in an earlier issue.  I found two listed there. The name following one was the same as you wrote it, “Dalz.” The name following the other one was “Warb.”. I’m new to this naming and identifying.  Can two different hoyas have the same name?  What gives here?  Tami Fowler.


Answer #1:  Sometimes a collector finds a hoya (or a plant of any genera) and thinks that it is something that has never been named or published.  It has a feature that he thinks describes it quite well so, he gives it that name and submits it for publication (in Latin) to a botanical publication.  Once published, it is learned that another species had already received valid publication and it had the same name.  The first one named and validly published gets to keep the name.  The second one (and all subsequent ones) with the same name, must be given a new name.  The later publications become synonyms..  Example:  Hoya retusa Dalz. was published in 1852.  It gets to keep that name because Hoya retusa Warb. wasn’t named and  published until 1907.  It needed a new name.  Unless a lot of us have overlooked another earlier publication of the same species, its new name is  Hoya tsiangiana P. T. Li.


Me:     I would like to see a knowledgeable taxonomist compare Hoya tsiangiana with Hoya deykeae.  I see, in P. T. Li’s description, several things that seem to me to apply to that species.  Please don’t quote me as saying Hoya deykeae IS a synonym for Hoya tsiangiana.  I don’t know if it is or isn’t.  I’d just like for a knowledgeable taxonomist to check it…. And NO, I do not consider Kloppenburg a knowledgeable taxonomist!  He isn’t even a knowledgeable amateur writer of  the subject.

          The following is an example of R. D. Kloppenburg’s writing and research:

I should have said, “lack of research,” and we have his own words as proof that he did no research.  You can find that in his book,  The Hoya Handbook,”   on     page i.  Page i is titled, “Preface.”  Here he said, “I would have loved to continue my research work into the scientific end of this interesting genus, and watched from the sidelines while someone else did the writing. However, nobody else volunteered, so after much persistant  (sic) prodding from friends and Hoya growers, I reluctantly said…“Why not! ”

          Note:  He called me a “Nobody!”  I have been writing about hoyas since before he knew what a hoya is.

          An example of Kloppenburg’s research follows.  Note here that this may be a repeat (my index page is not adequate for my needs and my age isn’t much help)!





  The  two pictures above are, obviously, pollinia of the same species.  The originals were sent to me by Dale Kloppenburg.  I photocopied them.  The writing on the right was on the backs of the two pictures.  The numbers indicate the film roll number, i.e., the top picture was (according to the label) taken on film roll #9 and the bottom one on film roll #37, frame #21.  Of course, I believe that both pictures were from the same roll of film.  Even identical things, photographed  at different times will have enough differences to tell them apart if you have only a moderate dose of observational skill.  Note the circle near the base and to the right of each pollinium and note the number 3 beside each of those circles.  There is a white dot in each circle, though the dot in the upper picture doesn’t show up in this photocopy.

      Now take a look at Kloppenburg’s labeling.  The first one he labeled Hoya minima and then drew a line through that name.  Then he labeled it Hoya sp. 297 ex India.  He changed his mind and drew a line through that.  Finally, he labeled it IML-64.

          The lower picture, which he wrote came from film roll #37, frame #21, he wrote that it was Hoya shepherdii.

          I returned those two pictures to him, asking him to explain the discrepancies in his labeling, he replied, “Both were roll #37. Where did you get the idea that one was roll #9?”   This really dense dude must not have bothered to turn the pictures over to see his own labeling on the backs of those pictures.  Then he added, “I couldn’t have confused this with  # 297 ex India or IML-64 because I never had any hoyas with those numbers.”   That statement was a bold-faced lie.  I checked the last sales’ catalog I had from him prior to that and both those numbers were listed there for sale and I also found Hoya sp. #297 ex India illustrated in his Acanthostemma Book.  If he never had them, what was he trying to sell as them?

That isn’t the worst of it.  It took 4 pages to list all the errors  I found in a single five and one half  line paragraph in the same Acanthostemma book mentioned above.

           There is still another example of Kloppenburg’s  mislabeling: He sent a photo to me.  It was labeled as:   #41-18 A. Loher 45454 (with a line drawn through the number). Then the name Hoya burtoniae. As with the  previous one, I scanned the picture and then returned his original to him and asked him to explain the discrepancy.  I wrote, “I presume that you consider this to be Hoya burtoniae (81064) and I added that I was certain that he had erred in  labeling. He replied, “Don’t assume.  The crown is entirely different.  This has nothing to do with  Hoya burtoniae (81064). What gave you that impression?  It is 45454 of Ramos and Edaño.  Looks similar to one collected by Loher at Mantalban w/o# filmed on Roll 46.”   Remember?  I returned his own picture to him.  All he needed do was turn it over and read the labeling, put there by him, in his very own distinct handwriting.  I got the impression that he thought it was Hoya burtoniae because that’s what he wrote there!!!       But it doesn’t end there.  In the next issue of Fraterna I saw, he had Ramos and Edaño’s  45454 listed as being Hoya mindorensis.  Then on an inventory he sent to me of his hoyas and collected hoya literature, he had Ramos and Edaño #45454 listed as Hoya obscura.

          If you want other examples, write.  I can supply more but I think this person’s record speaks for itself!



Note to Hoya Fans on Garden Web


          I just got a question regarding a hoya featured there.  There were lovely pictures of both foliage and flowers, but typical of all the on line hoya forums people have directed me to, there is simply no such hoya as Hoya thompsonii.  The hoya pictured there appears to be Hoya thomsonii.   Oh, you say, “But you know which hoya was meant!”  Yes, I do but I’m sure that many people probably don’t know that (those that rely on the Internet as their only source of information). If you want to know more about this species, and expect to find it on line, you must remember that computers are even dumber than you appear to me so, if you expect to learn anything on line,  you are going to have to learn to spell!!!!!!!!  But then, if you are truly serious about wanting to know the truth about anything, an internet chat room is just about the last place you’re likely to find it.  That’s mostly because a thorn in my side, that I have nicknamed, “Wannabe,” somehow, gets anyone on any forum who knows more than she does,  banned from the forums. When everyone on a Wannabe forum knows less than she does, she then appears to be the “Queen Bee!”



                Once More


                         Now, I know (or think I know) that I’ve covered this one before, but I keep being told by people that have purchased Hoya cumingiana  from me, that what I sold them was Hoya densifolia.  They demand refunds because they already purchased that one from Mr. Green.  In most cases, I gladly refund cost of items a customer says he or she is unhappy with and even tell them not to return said item but in the case of these two, I insist that if the buyer thinks I have sent the wrong species, that the customer return the plant before I issue a refund.  E-Bay policy says I should anyway.

                         No matter what Mr. Green tells you, Hoya cumingiana and Hoya densifolia are not the same.  You do not even have to see flowers, in this case to recognize the differences.   I’ve illustrated this on PS-TheHoyan before but, due to continued arguments sent to me, I feel I must repeat it again.  How do the non-flowering plants differ?  Take a look!

Leaf on left:  Hoya densifolia leaf.  Note shape.  Looks like a green egg, doesn’t it?  Note, also,  the leaf apex, which is obtuse to only barely pointed.  Not seen is the petiole on the back of the leaf.  The petioles on leaves of Hoya densifolia  are almost non-existent. Many of the leaves are actually sessile but I’ve found a few petioles. None I’ve seen measure more than about half a millimeter long.

Leaf on right: Hoya cumingiana leaf.  Note the longer leaf and the acute tip.  Not seen is the leaf petiole on the back of the leaf.  As with the other, it can’t be seen from the front because it points down.  Most of those I’ve seen measure from two to five millimeters long and are easily seen when the leaves are viewed in profile.



The picture was given to me by David Liddle, with permission to use it as I see fit.


           To be sure you get the one you want, I suggest you order by IML-#.  I have Hoya cumingiana as IML-1330 and IML-1773.  I have Hoya densifolia as IML-1772.  Warning: These IML-#s were listed as Hoya cumingiana when first listed so you’ll want to order from the latest Liddle catalogs.

           I thought, for a little while earlier this year that Hoya densifolia might bring me a small fortune in eBay sales.  It sported  by putting out a 6-foot long branch with all nodes having 3 leaves.  I cut that branch out and then into 2-node cuttings.  I rooted those 2-node cuttings and have waited for them to root and put on more growth.  They have all rooted.  So far, they haven’t put on much top growth and the little they have put out is  plain old 2 leaves per node.  I still have hope, but not  much!



Corrections of a Few Entries in Hoyas I Know & Love


                    This book and the identities of the species featured in it, was based on what most of the collectors back in 1981thought we knew about the subject.  We were soon to know how little we really knew.

Identification error #1:  On page 17 and on the picture page opposite it, the species featured there is not Hoya coronaria.  I thought it was because it was sold to me as Hoya coronaria.  It is actually, Hoya calycina.

Identification error #2:  On page 20 and on the picture page opposite it, the species featured there is not Hoya fraterna.  I do not yet have proof of its correct identity but I believe that it is Hoya treubiana.

Identification error #3:  On page 28 and on the picture page opposite it, the species featured there is not Hoya macgillivrayi.  It is Hoya onychoides (a species not yet published when I wrote Hoyas I know and Love).

                           Identification error #4:  On page 33 and on the picture page opposite it, the species featured there is not Hoya pubera. It is Hoya nummularioides.  Oh, and the correct spelling is puber, not pubera.

                          So much for what all of us thought we knew ‘way back when.



This & That

                 Question:  Why do you say that the hoya I bought from Ted Green several years ago as Hoya plicata is not that species? (My former neighbor, whose name I will

                not mention as I may want her to place another order for me one day)! 

                Answer: Because it does not match King & Gamble’s name publication description and it does not match its lectotype specimen.


                Here is what Mr. Green had to say about it in his 2011 on line catalog, “Rintz says that it is a synonym of Hoya revoluta but I don’t agree.” 

                 Fact:  Rintz didn’t say that.  What Rintz said was that Hoya plicata was a synonym of Hoya micrantha.  See The Malayan Nature Journal 30(3/4): 486 & 487 (1978).  Actually, I don’t believe Rintz either.  In fact, he didn’t get much right.



My Skin is Thick


                           After getting me bumped from every known English language Hoya Forum, the lady (a term I use loosely) writes on one of her forums a letter that she, obviously, expected me to read.  So one of her members sent a copy of it to me.  I won’t say who, to protect the guilty.  The letter began, “It appears the Hawaiian dog has come out from under her porch to bark again. She appears to have appointed herself an authority to critique your entries on PS-TheHoyan.”

                          So the Hawaiian Dog that I call Wannabe, says, “This latest issue of Ms. Burton’s observations and annoyances seems to be well tempered, especially the part where she states that 3 hoyas, H. sipitanguensis (sic), H. walliniana and H. yapuensis (sic) are synonymous.  I have thought they looked so very much alike, as well (I think I would throw H. nabuanensis (sic).  I am not a taxonomist. My question  is, however, what about fragrance”  To me Hoya sipitanuensis (sic) and H. walliniana  have two very distinct (from each other) fragrances.”    Among other things, she added, “Chris Burton could do the world a GREAT favor by  sharing her knowledge with us, but holding her biased opinions to herself.”

                           I’ll comment on that last statement first.  At this time an individual’s opinion, whether biased or otherwise is the only real authority for any hoya identification.  Certainly, the holotype specimen and the name publication are important but it takes a human being to interpret what is found there and see if a specific plant agrees with those items.  When chemical testing is fast and cheap, that is going to change.  Until then my opinion counts as much as anyone else’s.  If Ms Wannabe doesn’t agree with me, she has every right to say so.    

                         I don’t know who misspelled all those names, Ms. Wannabe or the person who copied her diatribe and sent it to me but, as noted over and over again, anyone expecting to learn anything on the internet must learn to spell!

                          As for the scent of the flowers.  It is my opinion, based on observation, and other people’s reactions and comparisons,  that scent is the most unreliable trait of all.  I completely write it off.  I recall a hoya smelling session at an HSI meeting in my back yard a few years back.  No time to look up the exact date or species tested (the account is in a copy of The Hoyan, somewhere).  There was a hoya that I thought had the most “heavenly scent” of all. Another “smeller” said that the same one smelled like gasoline (or turpentine).  She joked that she was afraid its fumes would catch fire and burn her nose.  I asked her and she told me that, “Yes, I just stopped and filled my gas tank a mile or two up the road and there was no place to wash my hands afterward.”  Some people describe some hoya scents as being lemony and some say they smell like chocolate. 

                            My theory (and though I believe I am right, I reiterate that it is only a theory) is that when we stick our noses close enough to the more faintly scented hoyas, our breath backs up and what we smell is whatever was last in our mouths or on our hands.  Now, I don’t believe anyone washed their mouths out with gasoline but some mouthwashes do smell strongly of something just as caustic.   I suspect that the “heavenly scent” I smell is Elizabeth Arden’s “Red Door” and the chocolate scent that I (and others) smell is Hershey’s.   I know of only one hoya that has a scent so strong that I smell it as soon as I open my greenhouse door.  I know it is Hoya obscura because it was the only hoya in bloom on the several occasions when I noticed the scent.  That hoya blooms almost constantly.



Hoya blashernaezii Kloppenb.


               Hoya blashernaezii Kloppenb. (syn. Hoya siariae Kloppenb.; syn. Hoya valmayoriana Kloppenb. et al; syn. IML-831; syn. Hoya sp. Mindoro #2.

                          I believe it is possible (even likely) that Hoya blashernaezii may,  at a future date, be sunk into synonymy with an earlier published species.  I haven’t found one so, until I do, if I do,  I’ll assume Hoya blashernaezii to be the correct name for this species.

                         David Liddle sent me flowers of IML-831, which differed from Hoya blashernaezii only in the colour of the flowers (IML-831 flowers are purple, instead of yellow).  Dexter Heuschkel sent cuttings and flowers of Hoya sp. Mindoro #2.

                          Kloppenburg illustrated his publication of Hoya blashernaezii with corona lobes that were bent in the center, causing their outer apexes to point skyward.  The corona lobes on my plant and on the plant purchased by George Slusser, (which I inherited) do not point skyward.  They do not differ at all from the coronas of Hoya siariae  or from IML-831 and Mindoro #2.  I suspect that Kloppenburg’s flowers were mailed to him by someone else and that the flower he observed had been bent out of shape in the mail. The only difference I’ve seen between the others, may or may not count.  At some stages, the corollas of the purple flowered one become reflexed, but they don’t stay that way.  It seems to be a “coming and going” stage.

                           In an attempt to verify my findings, I solicited flowers from several other sources.  I also wanted cuttings from other sources.  A friend placed an order for me to Ted Green, for Hoya siariae.  He (my friend, not Ted) wrote to me and said that Ted told him, “Hoya siariae is nothing but another name for Hoya blashernaezii.”   It’s nice to know we agree about something!

                           David Liddle asked my opinion of these and I wrote a two page report for him, describing my  study of these and enclosing pictures of all of their flower parts taken by both George Slusser and me.  David wrote back, saying, “I pretty much agree with what you are suggesting on this group of taxa.”  At that time, he was basing that agreement on Kloppenburg’s and my pictures as only two of those mentioned had bloomed for him at that time.



What is Hoya macgregorii Schltr.?


Here’s what it isn’t!



                          Turn to pages 150 & 151 in Kloppenburg’s The World of Hoyas.  There you’ll find what Hoya macgregorii isn’t.  Kloppenburg makes the false statement here that Hoya macgregorii has umbels containing up to 120 flowers, which he says are more flowers per umbel than any other hoya species.  I say, “Hogwash!”

                          On page 151, Kloppenburg illustrates with a picture.  Just above the out of focus picture of a rather ordinary looking umbel of white flowers, you’ll see a scanned copy of a section of a hoya vine.  Now turn back to page 125.  There you will find an identical scanned copy of the very same section of the very same vine.  No, I didn’t just say a scan of another part of the same species.  I reiterate, it is the very same section of the same vine!  The only difference is that he turned the vine  so that what was pointing up in the one on page 151 was pointing to the right on page 125.  He also called the one on page 125,  Hoya incrassata and Hoya crassicaulis. On page 124 he appeared to use the two names as if they were one species yet other places he is adamant in saying they are different species.  Are they?  Heck if I know!  Neither looks attractive enough for me to want to find out! 


                           The above isn’t Hoya macgregorii  either.  Note that the vine is, as I said above, the same section of the same vine as the one Kloppenburg mislabeled as Hoya macgregorii.

                           Oh and on page 81 of the same publication, he pictured a portion of the same vine with a picture of the same flowers as on page 125.  This he labeled Hoya crassicaulis.


               Now, that I’ve shown you what Hoya macgregorii  ISN’T, how about, what it is?


                         The above is the top portion of Schlechter’s holotype specimen of the hoya he published as Hoya macgregorii Schltr.  This was reduced in size to make it fit.  The attached scale at upper right should give you a better idea as to size.  It differs from Kloppenburg’s phony in several ways: 

                                 1).  The average number of flowers per umbel is about 15 to no more than 20.  The entire umbel measures about one inch in diameter.  Kloppenburg’s phony is about the size of a small grapefruit!

                                 2).  The corona lobes are obcordate in shape, while those of Kloppenburg’s phony are ovate, with outer tips sharply pointed.

                                 3).  The foliage differs from Kloppenburg’s phony in being quinque-nerved instead of  pinnately veined. 



                Note: Vol. 11, #2 There is a blank spot that is labeled as being a picture of the Hoya plicata pollinium.  I don’t know how that space became blank, as my  original copy contains the picture.  You will find a copy of this pollinium elsewhere in the same article.  Note that it differs from those Kloppenburg is trying to force feed us, in showing the pollinia’s upper extremities to be straight lines, appearing almost as if someone had taken a sharp knife and cut their tips off.



                I promise that the next issue will not be so long in coming.  It will contain a history, written by David Gray, of the hoya cultivar, Snowball.  I’ve had two inquiries about that one recently.  I think you’ll find it interesting.


               The promised review of the Aurigue book will have to wait until after the New year.  I just don’t have time to do a thorough search for what my reporter says can be found in it. 


         HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!  Please keep your questions coming!  And please let them be about something not covered here before