PS-The Hoyan

Vol. 3, # 2


(Back to the Cover Page)



Unidentified Hoya sp. CMF-8

Photograph by George Slusser


Unidentified Hoya species #CMF-8 is probably the most maligned of all hoyas and one of the loveliest.  It was collected by the well known professional photographer, Charles Marden Fitch, in the early 1980s. Cuttings were sent by him to me.  I thought then that it was Hoya bordenii.  I was wrong.  I still think it very close to that species in many ways.  After getting an expensive microscope and some photographer  helpers (both degreed scientists) I was able to get a better look at the flowers of this and many others.  This made me realize my error.  So far it has not helped me identify this species.

Mr. Kloppenburg has made a career, more or less, of misidentifying this hoya.  He first misidentified it, in his Phillipine (sic) Hoya Species  as Hoya macgregorii  Schltr.  Although I don’t believe it is that species, I have heard at least one very convincing argument in favor of that  identity.  The arguer stated that the since all other parts appeared to match that, perhaps the one really radically different part might look as Schlechter’s type did when pressed, dried and mounted on a piece of paper.  That radically different part is the corona.  The Hoya macgregorii type’s corona lobes are obcordate (heart shaped with broad end pointing out).  The corona lobes on CMF-8 are more or less elliptic in shape and rather acutely tipped at both ends.

After several books in which he featured this species as Hoya macgregorii, Mr. Kloppenburg has decided that the “correct” name for it is, Hoya cagayanensis.  Actually, he first said that in Fraterna, several issues back and in his book, World of Hoyas.   Now his “Little Miss Echo,” Ann Wayman, in Fraterna 17 #1 is claiming that it was she, not he, who made this erroneous determination. That explains a lot.  Makes one wonder how much of DK’s writing is his own and how much is Ms. Wayman’s.  One thing of which I am 100% certain is that Ms. Wayman has neither the background nor the ability to make correct hoya identity determinations.  Calling this by the name of Hoya cagayanensis  is, by far, the most off the wall, totally wrong identification that pair has made.  It looks like a case of wanting a name for something and thinking that, “If we say it often enough, everyone will HAVE TO ACCEPT IT AS CORRECT!  --- It’s a case of, “If it doesn’t fit, use a bigger hammer!”

Before his death, the late Hon. Douglas H. Kent and I were working on a Hoya Check List.  I must say that 90% of the work was done by Douglas, though I contributed too.  The manuscript was almost completed when he died.  The only thing left to do was proof and type it up before submitting it


Here is Douglas Kent’s Hoya cagayanensis  entry in that manuscript:  Hoya cagayanensis Schltr. ex C. M. Burton, Hoyan 8(4), Part-2: 6 (1987).  Holotype: Philippines, Cagayan, Tayabas, Luzon, 1909, M. Ramos, Philippine Bureau of Science No. 7374 (B); photograph (BM!), Hoya benguetensis Elmer, non Schltr. (1906); Hoya elmeri Schltr. ined. non Merrill.”


To that he added a list of literary citations, all of which he had seen and most of which I have seen.


It is a real mystery to me how Mr. Kloppenburg and Ms. Wayman ever got the ridiculous notion that this species could possibly be Hoya cagayanensis. Is it blindness?  Something they smoke? Senility? Did some men in white coats, or from a space ship, tell them it is Hoya cagayanensis?  Can anyone think of a logical explanation?


Here is a copy of Schlechter’s Hoya cagayanensis  flower parts picture:



Figure 1. This is a set of sketches, drawn by R. Schlechter and attached to the holotype specimen by him.  I added the letters to the parts for easy reference.


Having had the entire extant Schlechter herbarium collection on loan here, at Fernbank Science Center, in Atlanta, for several months,  I had the opportunity to see and compare the actual flowers on it with Schlechter’s sketches.  I found them to be accurate though, rather crudely drawn.  I am 100% sure that Ms. Wayman, who claims to have made this ridiculous determination has seen no more than a Xerox copy of it, if that.

Figure 2:  A set of sketches, by Christine M. Burton of Unidentified species CMF-8.  These sketches are actually tracings of photomicrographic pictures of the various flower parts of this species.


Please note the following differences between the various parts of Schlechter’s sketches of Hoya cagayanensis & Unidentified Hoya sp. CMF-8: 

Figure 1, part a. (the calyx) shows sepals that are long in ratio to width and rather thickly ciliate.

Figure 2, part a. (the calyx) shows sepals that  are short and rather broad with all sides almost equal and with only an occasional hair, growing here and there around their margins.


Figure 1, part h. (a single corona lobe viewed from directly above) and part i (a  single corona lobe’s profile).  Part h shows us a corona lobe with broadly rounded sides and a top that looks flat but with an umbo in the center of the upper half.  Go on down to part i and you can see that what appears to be a flat corona in part h is an optical illusion, caused by the artist’s lack of drawing skills. He succeeded in the profile view to show us that  sucker as deeply concave.  Had Schlechter written the description himself, there is little doubt that he’d have described the upper surface of the corona lobe as “canoe shaped.”  I have seen and examined the holotype specimen so I know that I have described these parts correctly. Ms. Wayman cannot make that claim!


Figure 2, part b (upper surface of corona, showing all lobes).  The lobes appear almost flat but they are very shallowly concave near the lateral margins with a raised area in the center.  This raised area covers a large portion of the lobe.  It isn’t just a small umbo set in the center, as is true of Hoya cagayanensis.  Part d. is the corona profile.  Note the extremely different shape of this one.


Left:  The little figure on the left is a cross section view of a CMF-8 corona lobe..

Right:  The little figure on the right is a cross section view of a Hoya cagayanensis  corona lobe.


The best way I can describe the corona lobes of Hoya cagayanensis  is to say that they appear to be flat and that someone put a tiny little canoe on top of each of them and left them there.  Inside the canoe  of some (not all) some kid left a wee little ball that settled near the center.  The absence of the wee little balls (umbos or bosses) in some (or their presence) may be due to over or under pressing of the material as it dried.


IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, how about the leaves?



The above leaf, with the folded under apex and rolled up lower margins,  is one of three leaves found on the holotype specimen of Hoya cagayanensis.  Veins could not be seen clearly on the other two leaves due to them being so wrinkled.  They appear to have been dried without pressing.  If you look closely at the above, you can see that the veins are arranged in a pinnate pattern.  I counted 7 pairs of veins before reaching the folded under tip.



The green leaves, above are leaves of Hoya sp. CMF-8.  .


It is very easy to see that CMF-8  leaf  veins conform to the pattern which Stearn’s Botanical Latin defines as “triplinervis” and “quintuplinervis.”  This type of nervation differs from trinerved and quinquenerved  in having one pair of lateral  nerves originate slightly above, instead of right at the base of the leaf. These lateral nerves run more or less parallel to the midrib in the same manner as trinerved and quinquenerved. The outer pair of nerves extend almost to the leaf apex.




When I see someone using a name for a hoya that I know to be wrong, I always ask the question, “If you call this one by that name, what are you going to call the real one when you find it?”


I do not know what it is.  I suggest that, to avoid confusion, that you retain the CMF-8 label or, if a true identity is never found, until it is published and given a proper name. The longer it is called by the misnomer of Hoya cagayanensis the harder it is going to be to find it correctly labeled in the future.




The above misidentification is only one of many things in Vol. 17 #1 that I found provably wrong.  It is just the worst.  The entire issue is a big mess. 


“If seven maids with seven mops swept for half a year, do you suppose the Walrus said, that they could get it clear?”  I doubt it said the carpenter and shed a bitter tear!”  (Lewis Carroll).


That is how many of us feel every time an issue of Fraterna or a new Kloppenburg book appears.