Vol. 15, #1

Sept, 15, 2014



Two interesting finds of mine: 

                                                  1).  I  was house cleaning and came upon a scrapbook, kept during my high school years.  I only had one hoya in those years and I didn’t know it was a hoya.  In fact, I’d never heard of a hoya.  I did find in that scrapbook a picture of a man that I think anyone age 50 and over would recognize.  It was a picture taken from the New York times.  It showed a man with two plants.  In his left hand there is a green onion with both top and roots exposed.  In his right hand, there is a pot with a single node of what appears to me to be  two hoya leaves and from between those two leaves is a long leafless stretch of vine, just like those often seen growing out of young rooted hoya cuttings.  The man holding those two plants was Don Herbert, better known by all who watched Saturday morning kid’s programs on public TV as “Mr. Wizard.”  Don Herbert lived three houses up the street from me.  How I wish I’d known the right questions to ask in those years.  If I could have gotten him interested in hoya taxonomy and hoya nomenclature, maybe our labeling wouldn’t be so tangled up now!  We really need a “Hoya Wizard.” *

 * Even living that close and later on with both of us working for General Electric, I never met Mr. Wizard, but I saw him from a distance, frequently. My friend, Mary Wyand Rankin, lived next door to him and was the children’s frequent baby sitter.

                                                2).  The other interesting house cleaning find is something that has, apparently, been on line for a long time but I only just bumped into it.  It is called “473 Images Found at PhytoImages: Images 1-473 .”    I found this appalling!  I have never seen so many mislabeled hoyas pictured anywhere else, in all the years I’ve been studying hoyas!!!!!!!!!    Use that site for identification and 100 to 1, you’ll be proved wrong!



Hoya ovalifolia Wight   Does anyone have it?


This is, to some extent a repetition of vol.  4, #2.  e-mail questions keep coming about it so I keep writing about it.  This will be the last time… I promise.


 Back in 2005 I was gifted  (by a hoya friend, Berit Karlgren)  with a small start of a hoya she got as GPS7401.  She wrote that she had also gotten one from Ted  Green as “Hoya ovalifolia (IPPS-7401)”.  I’ve been unable to find that plant in my greenhouse. I must have lost it or its label so I started looking for a replacement.  I started by typing Hoya ovalifolia in the Google search spot at the top of my internet screen.  I didn’t expect to find anything there, but, lo and behold, it belched up several hundred spots to check.  I only opened four pages. That was more than enough. 

            What I found on those four pages horrified me.  I was looking for a picture of a blooming plant.  About a third of the pictures had no blooms, just foliage.  That foliage, sure as heck, was NOT Hoya ovalifolia foliage.  It looked like Hoya balansae foliage and one of the page owners stated, without qualification, that Hoya ovalifolia is a synonym for Hoya balansae.  That is NOT true.  They are two completely different species.

            A lot of those web pages showed pictures of Hoya pubicalyx cv. Pink Silver mislabeled as Hoya ovalifolia.

            Only one site in those 4 pages described and pictured a true Hoya ovalifolia. 

 If you want to know how it looks, here is where you’ll find it: .   Just in case I copied that wrong, just type the name Hoya ovalifolia in your search engine and look for Sahya Tropicals.  The only thing I checked on this site was Hoya ovalifolia so I can ‘t say that any of their other plants are or are not what they are labeled.

One reason for so much confusion about the identity of Hoya ovalifolia is because Wight must have run out of mounting paper when he made his type specimens.  He mounted two different species on the same sheets.  Decaisne was a sharp observer.  He seems to have been the only other hoya author to observe correctly that there were two different species on that one specimen sheet.  You’ll find his statement concerning it in his publication in DeCandolle’s Prodromus, vol. 8, page 638. 

            Wight had noted a Neelgherry specimen, Wight #1522, and a Singapore  specimen.  Decaisne noted that the Singapore species was actually Wallich’s and a different species than Wight’s Hoya ovalifolia. He did not say what species it was.

            I had to copy Wight’s  type specimen in 2 pieces (to save a long drive and a few bucks to the nearest overhead copier).  Here are the scans of the two halves (just a tad smaller than the originals.



Top half of Wight’s 1522

Left:  Hoya balansae  

 Right:  Hoya ovalifolia




Bottom half of Wight’s #1522

Left:  Hoya balansae

Right:  Hoya ovalifolia



You’ll find Wight’s illustration of Hoya ovalifolia in earlier editions of PS-TheHoyan.  As noted above, I found this isotype in New York Botanical Garden.  An Isotype is a specimen from the same gathering as the holotype.  Both specimens collected and mounted at the same time.