Christmas Edition

DECEMBER 1, 2011


          Christmas is almost here and I’m betting that a lot of you are planning to buy a copy of just about any book devoted to hoyas that you can find. Maybe you plan it as a gift for yourself  (After all, haven’t you earned one?) or as a gift for a family member or a friend.

            Please, Please, Please!!!! Do not waste your money on a book entitled, Hoya Catalogue by Nikolai Bilenko.  It is a slick looking 79 page book, printed on very expensive paper.  It is filled with colour pictures, mostly of single leaves, many of which are damaged and appear not to have been taken from a mature part of the plant.  Such leaves leave a wrong impression of the plant’s appearance.

            A few examples of things wrong with the book.

             1).  He credits Kloppenburg for having authored Hoya macgregorii in 1990. Fact: Hoya macgregorii was authored by R. Schlechter in 1906.He credits Kloppenburg and Gilding with authoring Hoya ariadna in 1844, which would have been impossible because neither of them had been born in 1844, and neither had their parents!  

         2). He credits scores of hoyas as being hybrids when they are actually species. 

         3). He credits wrong authors.  For example, he says that Hoya cagayanensis was authored by “F. Schlechter and A. Elmer in 1938.  Fact: The correct citation for that one is Hoya cagayanensis R. Schltr. ex C.M. Burton.  In the body of the  A. D. E. Elmer publication, Elmer cited a specimen, which he had under observation which he thought might be the same species.  It wasn’t.  I examined that specimen and learned that it was Hoya obscura Elmer ex. C. M. Burton

         4)/He cites lots of references but doesn’t connect them to any of the species featured.  The strangest reference citation is The Century Dictionary, co-titled, An Encyclopedic Lexicon of English Language, published per the author of this dish of tripe, in 1906.  Surely, he should have been able to find a more up to date reference than that?????

         5).  I think it was intended to be a catalogue of all hoya species and cultivars but I could list at least a hundred that aren’t listed and almost as many as are listed that are cited incorrectly.

         6).  He lists single species  with multiple labels, such as Hoya heuschkeliana, Hoya heuschkeliana ssp. cadanoae, Hoya heuschkeliana gul, Hoya heuschkeliana rosa and Hoya heuschkeliana subsp. cajanoe.  I’ve never before heard of a “gul,  arosa” or a “cadanoae”.  Plus that the cajanoe is misspelled.

         7). The man doesn’t know how to correctly cite names and publications.  Surely he should know that cultivar names should always be uppercase and species names should always be lower case.  He doesn’t know that if a plant is a species that he cannot claim that it is a hybrid.  Of course, he can theorize that it is a natural hybrid but  if  he does, he should cite compelling reasons for thinking it a hybrid as plants found in tropical jungles don’t come with labels on them saying, “Hey, folks, I am Hoya carnosa  X Hoya kerrii.”  One of his examples of calling something species and a hybrid was his listing “Hoya sp. Gold Star” which he was a hybrid.  Gold Star  is a Genevieve McDonald cultivar.  Where it is a hybrid or not isn’t known.  It was grown from a seed, taken from a follicle that formed on one of Mrs. McDonald’s hoyas which she grew outdoors in her yard on Merritt’s Island, Florida. I have a letter in my file from her telling me that.  Too many people, and Bilenko appears to be one of them, think that a cultivar is always a hybrid.  T’ain’t so!  Some are hybrids; some are  mutations and some are grown from “selfed”  pollination.  Some think that all selfed seedlings will be exactly like the parent plant but that isn’t true.  You can improve upon a single species by crossing it with itself and selecting the best of the seedlings and pollinating them.  Then taking the best of those seedlings and growing them on.  It  is very time consuming and best results are obtained with plants that don’t take long to grow from seed to fruit but, if one lives long enough, one could illustrate a wide variety of differences in seedlings of a single hoya species.  This is called “Selective Breeding.”    Mr. Bilenko needs to  take himself to a nearby Land Grant College, such as University of Florida and audit some botany and taxonomy classes.

         These are just a few examples of what to expect in that book.  No single page is free of error!


Trust Me!  You don’t want that piece of trash.  It isn’t even fit for the landfill as the dyes used to colour the pictures are toxic.




            If you want to give yourself a well deserved Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukkah present or gift a family member or special friend, give a subscription to Hoyatelegrafen.  The English Language edition will come out in January 2012.  Being a quarterly publication you get to enjoy your gift all year and so will those who receive your gift.    It won’t be 100% accurate (no human endeavor ever is) but it will come closer to being 100% accurate than any other modern hoya publication.


            Place you order right away and put a card under the tree with your receipt in it.  Here’s how to order.:




Ms. Karlsen told me that SEK-320 equals about $47 US.  Don’t delay—it’s a gift that “keeps on giving!”



Merry Christmas (and whatever day you’re celebrating) to all and

a very Happy Birthday to all who share our birthday!!!!!!

The above was a cartoon that ran in the Atlanta Journal & Constitution one Christmas about 18 years ago.  My grandson, who was about 6 years old, at the time, applied colour; mounted it on stiff cardboard; and then sprinkled it with glitter.  I got it in my Christmas stocking that year.  I treasure it.  It has faded and is hard to read.  The little girl says, “When your birthday’s on Christmas, everyone’s too busy with toys, gifts and merry making to remember it.”  Jesus replies, “Tell me about it”