Vol. 14, #2

April 15, 2014



Review of Book, “A Collection of Philippine Hoyas and their Culture by Fernando B. Aurigue

I have been told by a critic of this book that only a small number of copies had been distributed when it was withdrawn from publication, due to allegations that it was filled with plagiarism.  Still, there are copies of it out there and, since you may happen upon one, I was asked to review the book.  I will start my critique at the Preface, which is many pages before the first instance of plagiarism is alleged to appear.

1). Preface, page v:  The author said, “I was perplexed by the limited literature lent to me, and browsing through the Internet revealed a dearth of published information.”

My opinion (and that of every hoya researcher I know) is that Aurigue did no research at all.  One does not “research” using only “lent” copies of books and the Internet.  The Internet is the very last place one could hope to find accurate data.  There is no “dearth” of published hoya information!!!!  If there were a “dearth” of published hoya information, I’d not have 15 standard size file cabinet drawers filled with photocopies of published hoya literature, plus several boxes of the same size as those file drawers (I’m too poor to buy more file cabinets).  Aurigue doesn’t appear to know how hoyas (and other plants) get their names.  For his benefit, someone should tell him that it is by publication!

2). On page viii of the “Foreword,” written by Patricio S. Faylon, the statement was made, “This book’s well-researched descriptions and fine pictures make it more than just a hand reference for identifying plants.”  This is a contradiction of statements made by the author in his preface.

My opinion is that this book’s subject was never researched!!!!!!!!!

3).  One might argue that permission to use all the quoted material on pages x and xi, “Acknowledgment.”    I don’t agree though he lists a lot of names, including my own and “God Almighty.”    I have lived a long time and have come to distrust anyone telling me I should accept them and their word because it is God’s word.  When one of those Bible thunkers shakes hands with me, I quickly count my fingers as soon as my hand is free.  Then I wash my hands!   I do not consider the page sufficient. No, I’m not an atheist.  I just have learned, from observation and experience that the old gospel hymn was right and in saying, “Everybody talking ‘bout heaven ain’t agoin’ there.”  Acknowledgements of who wrote what should appear on the page where the quotation appears.

4). The Table of Contents has the same errors that the rest of the book has but is of little interest.

5). Introduction: Page 1.  Aurigue said, “A true Philippine Hoya” was first mentioned in 1845 as “Stepelia Meliflua” by Fr. Manuel Blanco,” etc.

The facts are that a). The first mention of a “True Philippine Hoya” was in 1837  in Blanco’s Flora de Filipinos , pages 202 & 203.  b).  Aurigue misspelled Stapelia.  c).  He upper cased meliflua though species names should be lower cased and  d).  Aurigue failed to mention that Hoya luzonica Schltr. has been sunk into Hoya meliflua as a synonym.

6). Section, The Genus.  He misspelled Sion House as “Scion House.”  This section is subject to change and divisions so I’ll not comment further here.  Just say, I don’t agree with most of it.

7). Section  Natural Distribution.  I haven’t visited their natural habitats so I can’t argue here.  My maps show a Ponape but on page 3 Aurigue spells it Pohnpei.  Which is correct?  Heck if I know but all the maps I could find spelled it Ponape.

8) Skipping over to page 9:  He says that “All hoyas are evergreen.”   That would not be true if one moved Eriostemma back into the Hoya genus, where it belongs.  I, along with most others, consider Eriostemma to be a member of the  Hoya Genus.  In their native habitats, Eriostemmas  shed their leaves in dry seasons.  Of course (unless one is truly negligent in watering) there is no dry season in our homes and greenhouses. Perhaps that is why most of us find Eriostemmas so difficult to grow and flower.

9). As for this book critic’s claims of plagiarism, I don’t see any signs of it.  If it were plagiarized, it had to be from publications I’ve never seen.  This critic highlighted a few phrases of what he considered to be plagiarized material – just parts of sentences.  Some of those parts of sentences may have been copied from something I wrote.  If they were, it is likely that I could be accused of plagiarism after reading an earlier author’s publication.  Some phrases are so universally  used that they should be considered public domain. There are not many ways one can say some things.  For example, if I read in someone else’s book or article the statement, “I got up early this morning and walked to Starbuck’s for coffee,” and wanted to tell someone else that  I had gotten up early and walked to Starbuck’s, to avoid being accused of plagiarism would I need to say that “I arose in the a.m. and matriculated to the HeavenlyBodyDollars”, just to keep from being accused of plagiarism.  That’s just not the way English is spoken by most people. 

If anyone wants me to testify to another’s plagiarism, that person must cite, by title, chapter,  page number and author, so I’ll know  where it appears. Before I’d call it plagiarism  I’d expect to see at least a page or two of recognizable input (inside quotation marks) with credit given to the original authors.  Neither I, not anyone I know has the time to compare every line of this or any other book with all that has been written about hoyas, just to be sure that a few words or a sentence, here or there, contains the same words in the same order!

“Gimme a Break!”  *

*That’s a quote of a quote  Who said it first?   Heck if I know, but I’m sure that Bart Simpson wasn’t the first!   He was just my inspiration!





­QUESTION:     “Believe it or not!  Notice only one flower in the peduncle (or is it possible to have only one flower in a peduncle?}”  

Believe it or not that question was sent to me by Ted Green, along with two pictures of what he presumed to be Hoya wallichii

MY ANSWER, AS NEARLY AS I REMEMBER GIVING IT  ---  with a few elaborations thrown in! 

Dear figment of my overactive imagination:

 First off,  hoya flowers don’t bloom “in” a peduncle.  They, as a rule, bloom on pedicels, which are usually attached to a peduncle.  When more than one flower (on its individual pedicel) is attached to that peduncle, we call that an umbel.  It has been my observation that the first time most of  the hoyas I’ve grown bloom that there is only one to maybe three or  four blooms (each on its own pedicel and each pedicel attached on top of a peduncle.  After that, the following bloomings contain more flowers.  I’ve noticed that those thin leafed species and others with larger flowers seem to be stingiest with their flowers.  Without poring for hours through all the literature, I can think of only one hoya that blooms with only one flower per peduncle and, even it (Hoya retusa Dalz.) sometimes blesses me with two or three flowers at a node, on such short stems that they appear to be sessile on the vine.

DEFINITIONS  as traditionally used by hoya namers and publishers:

Pedicel:  A stalk bearing one flower in an inflorescence.  Individual flowers are attached directly to the pedicel.

Peduncle:  A stalk bearing from one to any additional number of pedicels attached to it.  Note that my English language dictionary defines a peduncle exactly the same as a pedicel, however Schlechter, Blume and all other hoya authors I’ve read define it as I have.

Umbel;  A flower cluster in which the individual stalks arise from about the same point.  The following sketch is rather crudely drawn but I think it is adequate in showing one who never learned the names of hoya flower parts what those parts are.


Now folks, I need a definition for a phenomenon I don’t recall ever seeing defined.  What is the correct name for multiple peduncles crowded in the leaf axles of hoyas.  There is one very commonly grown hoya in my collection that has from three to five umbels in  the leaf axils of  just about every node.  I refer to Hoya shepherdii.   I recall seeing one other species with multiple umbels per node, but my ancient brain doesn’t remember what it is.  It’s raining too hard and too steadily for me to go out and take a look.  I’m going to have to start doing what my sophomore English teacher did --- pin notes to my shirt to remind me of things until I can get to my computer and make a record.  If I remember to do that, I’ll soon be known as a human pin cushion!


ANOTHER DEFINITION:    D. Kloppenburg:  “A sesquipedalian  which is “a lover of long names.”  When a simple one syllable name with an “ii” or an “iae” attached to it would adequately identify a new species honoring an individual, he adds that person’s first and middle names, family rank (i.e., Jr. or Sr.) and ends up with a foot and a half long name that most of us can’t pronounce.   And furthermore, he usually misspells that person’s surname, which adds further confusion.