Vol. 4, #1
Hoya vitellinoides Bakh. f. – (Syn. H. meredithii T. Green). - Photograph by George Slusser
(See Letter #5, below).
The first part of this issue is, more or less, a continuation of the last one.
Letter #1: The latest Fraterna (Vol. 17, #4) just arrived. The hoya on the cover looks very similar but can’t offhand recall exactly what it is.---- George Slusser.
Reply: I got the Fraterna on Weds. too and it is by far the worst yet.
Here’s what I find wrong with the “Cover Story!” (And don’t you think it interesting that the man tells us right off that it is a “STORY” instead of fact?). The first page of it is a lie from start to finish, except for his statement that the hoya in question has been sold mislabeled as Hoya gracilis!
#1. First paragraph he says, “In commerce we have a species sold as Hoya gracilis!”
What’s wrong with that? He is certainly right in saying it has been sold in commerce as Hoya gracilis but he doesn’t tell you who sold it as Hoya gracilis. More important, nowhere on this page did he tell you what connection this has to the new publication. The only one I am aware of having sold it as Hoya gracilis is Dale Kloppenburg himself and all the while he was selling it as that Chris Burton was telling him (and the world) that he was mistaken. It really ticks me off that Kloppenburg constantly glosses over mistakes he has made or corrects them in such a way that people who don’t know the score are left with the impression that the all knowing Dale Kloppenburg knew better all along and that it was someone else that made the error.
#2. He said, “It was wrongly said by
This is one of many times that Kloppenburg has tried to make me out to be a liar about
this and each time he’s quoted me as saying a different person sent it from
Ceram. First he quoted me as saying it
was sent to me from
#3. Kloppenburg said, “It was not this species,
if there was one from
#4. He says, “This species is a Philippine
species somewhat common to the
#5. He said, “I have for years written to confirm this assertion and find it false.” To whom did he write? Certainly not to anyone who could be identified and quoted, otherwise such a notorious dropper of names would have presented a long list. We have only his word for this. I have it in Peter’s own hand writing. If one is going to accuse someone of lying, one ought to at least have documentation of the facts instead of just presenting vague innuendo. He says he’s written letters without even saying to whom he wrote the letters and without any documentation that those people had any real knowledge of the facts.
Above is a notarized copy of a picture sent to me by Peter Tsang. I had it notarized to show that the writing on the back of the picture is actually on the back of the picture. I am sure that DK will recognize the handwriting as Peter’s because he was in a robin with Peter for several years.
It says on the back of the picture, “The Hoya Species
Peter’s picture shows only the bottoms of the leaves. This is how the tops look
Here is a picture of more modern vintage. If you look closely you can see at least three leaves with their upper surfaces showing. One is very near the center of the picture. It’s in a shadow but I think the spots show. It is a mystery to me how all the pictures I have of this one, this is the only one I can find where both surfaces show.
DK’s second Paragraph:
In this paragraph entitled, “Varieties and subspecies” he brings in a lot of gibberish that has no bearing on this species at all. Please note that this is supposed to be about a hoya which he is naming, Hoya memoria. Not one word of what follows in this paragraph (nor anywhere else on the rest of the page) has anything at all to do with the subject. NOT A SINGLE VARIETY OR SUBSPECIES WAS EVEN MENTIONED HERE.!!!!!!
First he quotes
from A. D. E. Elmer’s publication in Leaflets of Philippine Botany 10:
358 (1938). In this publication, Elmer (as big a flake as Kloppenburg)
described (very poorly) a specific specimen that he (Elmer) thought was Hoya
gracilis. The fact of the matter is that Elmer was wrong
(as he frequently was). The plant on the
specimen, Elmer #10482, is NOT EVEN IN THE SAME SECTION as Hoya gracilis. That specimen happens to be housed in the US
National Herbarium (Smithsonian) and there is a copy at
DK’s third paragraph (titled, “Comments “):
Here he described
Elmer’s #10482 and then goes on about a specimen, #32378, collected by McGregor
in 1918, having foliage different than Elmer’s #10482. He failed to say what the connection is with
the hoya which he calls Hoya memoria (which I know to be the
hoya species from
DK’s fourth paragraph:
He said, “I have
not found a single herbarium sheet of Philippine hoya species that appears to
be a variety of Hoya
gracilis Schlechter.” In this
paragraph he cited seven different specimens.
Conspicuous by its absence is the one that Schlechter citied as
being Hoya gracilis var. philippinensis.
I have a picture of that
specimen in front of me as I write this.
It is E. D. Merrill’s BS-5653. It
was labeled by Schlechter, himself.
Schlechter was the same one who named and published the type of Hoya
gracilis. Merrill found his specimen BS-5653 on
Just what all that crap about Hoya gracilis had to do with the subject was not explained. Since Vol. 17, #4 of Fraterna came out I’ve been questioned, by several people, about what it all means. The only thing I can think to say is that Mr. Kloppenburg is a very mixed up person, with poor writing skills and a phobia against ever uttering a simple statement admitting that he was ever wrong about anything! When he can’t avoid the subject he double talks! – Reminds me of George W. Bush!
DK’s entire first page was an attempt to discredit Chris Burton and he failed miserably. NOT ONE WORD ON PAGE 1 HAS ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE TITLE, WHICH IS, “HOYA MEMORIA KLOPPENBURG SP. NOVA.”
The actual publication of the name Hoya memoria Kloppenb. begins on page 2. Everything said prior to page 2, has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject. This publication is illustrated with a picture of a flower umbel, the colour of which is like no hoya I’ve ever seen. Following that are pictures of flower parts. All appear authentic to me except the last one on page 3. I do not believe that one belongs to the same species as the rest. The pollinia on page 4 appear to have been allowed to dry out, causing the margins to become distorted.. I presume that the publication is valid but a valid publication does NOT mean, as so many seem to think, that this new name is necessarily tenable. All it means is that the name was published in the manner prescribed by the code. The law of precedence still applies. The first name given to this species is still the right one and that name isn’t H. memoria.
What is this
species? I believe it is Hoya
litoralis. David Liddle leans
toward Hoya inconspicua but seems to be teetering – In a recent letter
to me he said, “I have a collection I made from
Letter #2: What did you learn from Kloppenburg’s piece on Hoya verticillata?
Reply: So far, I’ve no argument with the data presented here, except his assumption that Hoya acuta is what he thinks Hoya acuta is. I’m waiting for the final installment to see where he takes this.
I want to reiterate, from the start, that just because Kloppenburg finds that Vahl’s material doesn’t match what Kloppenburg thinks are Hoya parasitica, Hoya acuta or Hoya anything else, doesn’t necessarily mean anything other than that Kloppenburg probably doesn’t know what Hoya parasitica and Hoya acuta are. One thing is sure and that is that the hoyas Mr. Kloppenburg sold to us as Hoya acuta bronce (sic) and Hoya acuta green (and Malaysian Green) were not correctly identified in the first place.
Letter #3: The picture in the Fraterna “Photo Gallery” labeled Hoya carnosa cv. Krinkle-8, looks like plain old Hoya carnosa to me. What do you think? – George Slusser
Reply: Let me do a run-through of all four of the pictures in the Photo Gallery. I’ll answer your question when I get to it.
Picture #1-Top row: I question the identity of the one labeled Hoya rigida but will not say that it is not that species until (if ever) I have seen actual flowers. The flowers aren’t the same colour as those on any authentic specimen of Hoya rigida that I have seen but flower colour isn’t a reliable i. d. character. I know of only a single authentic collection of it at this time, and this isn’t it. Also, the foliage in the picture doesn’t look authentic, however it is possible that the foliage in that picture might belong to a different nearby species. A true Hoya rigida would be easy to i. d., by its sepals (all else being equal, of course). The one I know to be in US trade, which came to me from Ted Green, looked like this picture and it is definitely NOT Hoya rigida.
Picture #2-Top row: In answer to your question about picture labeled Hoya carnosa cv. Krinkle-8. It didn’t look in the least like Krinkle-8 to me, at first, but when I got it into strong light and looked at it with a magnifying glass, I could see many Krinkle-8-like leaves. I could also see many branches that had reverted to plain old Hoya carnosa leaves. Unless someone does some serious pruning, someday the whole plant may lose its distinct character.
Picture #3 –Bottom row: a). Someone is confused and it isn’t me. First he said, “As with the above species, it is a graceful slender branched loosely leaves species.” Looking above I see two hoyas with very thick leaves and stalks and in the case of Krinkle-8 a plants with closely spaced, extremely thick leaves. There is nothing slender about it. b). He said, also, “Although this and the above species have been combined (made synonymous) this is certainly incorrect.” If it were true it certainly would be incorrect. There is nothing “above” that has ever before been written that associated anything “above” with the species pictured here. c). What the species pictured here is, I’d not even attempt to guess. The picture is too lousy!
#4 –Bottom row: Here we find a
completely mislabeled plant. I believe
it is a variety of Hoya
chlorantha. Yes, the corona is of a different colour and,
if it is the one Mr. Green sells as Hoya filiformis, the flowers are
somewhat smaller but all other parts match.
I suspect (but
not sure) it is one that was published as Hoya attenuata Christopherson, which I believe could be a
smaller flowered Hoya chlorantha. I agree
with Mr. Kloppenburg. This species could not possibly be Hoya filiformis. Mr.
Kloppenburg would do well to study herbarium material from
The plant pictured here is not Hoya filiformis. Neither flowers nor the pictured foliage fit.
Letter #4: What are your thoughts on what Kloppenburg wrote concerning Hoya seed being produced by parthenogenesis? --- ME!
Reply: I think that Mr. Kloppenburg does not know the meaning of the word, parthenogenesis.
In the current issue of Fraterna (page 10), he has an article, “Seed Pods and Pollination.” Here he said, “For over ten years now, I have been studying the flowers that sometimes remain on the ends of hoya seed pods. I hoped to learn something of how hoya flowers are pollinated, etc.”
In paragraph 3, he said that only one of the 9 pods he found had been pollinated. That cannot be. All seed pods come from pollinated flowers. It doesn’t matter how the pollination takes place. Pollination has to take place before a hoya plant can produce seed. As far as I’ve been able to tell there is only one instance (and it rather dubious) of any earth creature (either plant or animal) having produced an offspring without benefit of pollination. When that happened (if it happened) wise men traveled from afar following the light of a very bright star, shining in the east, to find that unpollinated creature to pay homage to mother and child. Is Kloppenburg telling us that we need to provide 8 mangers for eight virgin hoyas to give birth?
He seems to think that because he found eight flowers with undisturbed pollinaria that the flowers were not pollinated. What makes him think that? Many insects pick up pollen (or pollinia) from one flower and deposit it on other flowers . The fact that the pollinaria on the flower that produced the pod are still there doesn’t mean that the pod was not pollinated. Nor does the fact that one can no longer find the pollinating pollinaria mean it wasn’t there once. It only takes a grain of pollen to produce a pod, not the entire pollinarium.
Michael Miyashiro pollinated a lot of hoyas by hand and he told me that one way he did it by taking the flower between his thumb and index finger and gently moving the anther wings gently back and forth. This dislodged the pollinaria causing some of them to slip out of the slots on the anther appendages and land on the wet stigmas where pollination could take place. This is self pollination by artificial means. The same can be accomplished by physically removing pollinia and putting them where they will pollinate the flower. The pods that result will still be pollinated.
Mr. Kloppenburg has implied here that to be pollinated a flower must be pollinated by a foreign pollinator. He says, “The majority had developed by parthenogenesis.” That is a contradiction of his statement concerning the need of a foreign pollinator. He also said that he’d been sent seed pods of which none had pollen in the anther wings. How does he know they never did? If they did and no longer do, isn’t it conceivable that the missing pollinia went with the insect and pollinated another flower? Isn’t it conceivable that after pollinating the flower that the unused portion of the pollinia fell off or was eaten by a hungry insect?
I believe that hoyas can be pollinated by a pollinarium lying on top of the so-called stigma head (now said to be a style) but something has to move it there. It doesn’t get up and walk there by itself. I watched one follicle developing a few years back and could see the pollinium on top of the stigma head. (It was Hoya pachyclada). By the time that follicle was mature, what was left of the pollinium would not have been recognizable as a pollinium had I not been observing it for a couple of months.
Before anyone should buy into Kloppenburg’s theory (and theory is all it is), you should think of a number of things:
1). Is observing 9 follicles of one’s own one year and three or four sent to one by someone else another year a true scientific study? Mr. Kloppenburg says this “study” was a ten year study. By his accounting, he has 12 to 13 follicles. That’s only a hair over 1 follicle a year. Thank goodness he isn’t employed by Smith-Kline! -- 2). What precautions were taken to insure that insects didn’t play a roll or that plant care givers didn’t manipulate a flower unintentionally and cause a pollinium to shift it’s position so that it would come out of the anther appendage slots and lie directly on the wet stigma surface? – 3). It appears to me that either Mr. Kloppenburg doesn’t understand the meaning of “parthenogenesis” or else I don’t. Maybe some of you could clarify this. My dictionary says, “A form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into an new individual.”
Hoyas are hermaphrodites. They have both male and female parts in the same flower. They can be self pollinated or cross pollinated but before they produce seed, they must be pollinated. Pollination must be done by having the male parts come in contact with the female parts. Parthenogenesis says that the female parts make seed without benefit of the male parts. It doesn’t make sense to me that nature would provide a species with both male and female parts if only female parts were needed! -- 4).If hoyas seed production were by parthenogenesis, would we not see more follicles produced? I have grown hoyas for fifty years and have had seed pods on only three hoyas. They were Hoya pubicalyx ‘Bright One’, Hoya padangensis and Hoya pachyclada. The only times I got those were when the hoyas were growing outdoors. I have seen about a dozen other pods on other people’s hoyas and all of them were growing outdoors. Kloppenburg may tell you that his grew in his greenhouse. I was there for four days once and he kept his greenhouse doors propped open the entire time. To me that is the same as growing them outdoors. I’m willing to wager that anyone who ever got a pod indoors either deliberately pollinated the flowers by artificial means or else had some kind of insect infestation.
It has been a long time since I made any inquiries into the subject of parthenogenesis. I had been sent a strong argument by a Catholic priest who wanted to correct what he thought was my blasphemy upon hearing me (a Presbyterian) say that I did not believe in the “Virgin Birth.” The man tried to convince me that it was perfectly natural and scientifically possible for a woman named Mary to give birth to a man named, Jesus (by parthenogenesis). I showed that to my Catholic husband who was also a scientist. His reply was, “If that were true then Jesus was a woman because only women can give birth, and to give birth by parthenogenesis, the resulting offspring would have to be the same sex as the mother”.
Maybe I missed something but would not the same thing be true in plants? I’d think that if a seed pod were formed parthenogenetically that any plants grown from the seed would have only female reproductive parts. I’d think that the very fact that the flower had both male and female reproductive parts, combined in a single column would make the theory of parthenogenesis suspect and completely unprovable. I would suspect that said seed might even be unable to grow into plants. To the scientist among us, “What are your thoughts on this?”
The only plants I can think of that can produce plants parthenogenetically are dandelions and members of the violet family. These have two types of flowers. The only ones that can produce seed are practically invisible and they never open so that no pollinator can reach them. I suspect there are others but I’m sure that hoyas aren’t among them.
Letter #5: This one came from a member of the Hoyas R Us forum on MSN. I tried to reply to it there but my replies keep disappearing into Cyberspace so I decided to reply here. The writer posted a picture of a plant she thought was Hoya meredithii. The picture was actually the hoya published by Ted Green as Hoya callistophylla.
The following is a history of the two species, which accounts for the confusion over their identities:
1982: This is the first time
either was listed in any
“H. sp. 80-05. D- Flowers not seen. Leaves very large, pale green with dark veins. Lasiantha?”
I argued with him over that and his reply (still in my letter file) was, that its leaves were identical in appearance to those of Hoya lasiantha pictured in Curtis (the way he put it was “It’s a ‘dead ringer”). Anybody else can easily see the difference. As late as 2001 I was offered a Hoya lasiantha in trade for something an H.S.I. member wanted and what I got was Hoya vitellinoides (syn. H. meredithii). The person who sent it to me was sure that it was Hoya lasiantha because Ted Green told her it was, or so she said. I think he didn’t but that she jumped on that suggestion in his 1982 catalog.
1983: The second year we find this listing had three changes. It read:
That listing remained unchanged until 1987.
Here we find H. sp. Borneo-80-05 missing and we find the following substituted:
“Hoya meredithii Green (sp.
The name H. meredithii was published in 1987 in Phytologia 64(4): 304-306.
This publication was NOT VALID. Confirmation of this fact was received by me
“Looking close at the way the type of Hoya meredithii has been cited in Phytologia, Ted Green cites TWO collections –
1. T. Green ‘Meredith 80-05’
2. Wallace 851980
The name is invalid as, after 1958, only one type is permitted by the Code. You can therefore dismiss the name Hoya meredithii altogether.”
In addition to the error in citing two collections as types, the two collections, he cited were vastly different. Even a rank amateur should be able to recognize them as two different species. The following two errors should also be pointed out: 1). The collection numbers Mr. Green cited in his publication are NOT the same numbers on the two specimens he deposited in Bishop Museum and labeled as Holotypes of Hoya meredithii. The specimen he deposited in NY Botanical Garden and labeled as Isotype of Hoya meredithii has still another specimen number, which is strange because holotypes and isotypes are supposed to be from the same collection, taken at the same time and both are supposed to have the same collection number.
For some reason
that I haven’t been able to figure out, Mr. Green thought that the
Wallace-851980 and the Borneo-80-05 were identical. In his publication, he referred to the
Wallace specimen as being from “Bau,
Hoya callistophylla Photo by Andrew Savio in Your Garden, May 1992.
Labeled as Hoya meredithii when published.
It was not until 1992 that Green’s catalog listed these as two different species.
1992: Here we find the following listings:
1). Hoya meredithii - no change.
2). Hoya sp.
ordered that one because I wanted to see if it was what I thought it was. It was the one pictured above. The man had finally acknowledged that it
wasn’t the same one as
the one he’d been calling 80-05.
Note that he also changed the location of Bau from
Ted Green wrote somewhere in Fraterna of his frustration at not being able to recollect Hoya meredithii in its original collection location. He claimed that he’d found the place and even the same tree it was found on but that he couldn’t find the species there. I don’t think any of us know where the plant was actually collected. Ted claims to have gotten it from York Meredith. I corresponded for many years with York Meredith’s former business partner who told me that he severed his ties with York Meredith’s business because York Meredith simply refused to or was unable to keep any kind of accurate records. If my correspondent was truthful (and his reputation was considered above reproach by all of our mutual friends) it seems likely that York Meredith didn’t have a clue where he got that plant.
TG continued to list
these two as Hoya meredithii and H. sp.
Published Hoya sp.
Besides what I see as two different species being pictures as the same, I found a couple of statements in the description that don’t exactly ring true. 1). He described the leaves as having a “matte surface” while those I’ve seen are rather glossy – not brightly so but certainly far from being “matte.” The other statement was that the corollas were flat to reflexed. Those I’ve seen were recurved but not reflexed.
I got a laugh over the corolla description too, as it said the colour was yellow with “reddish-red” tips. Colour descriptions seems to be a real hang-up for many hoya describers. I’ve become used to seeing them describe flowers as “pale white” (as if white could be anything but pale) but now I need to learn what “reddish-red” is!
You will find this same identical plant pictured and described in Kloppenburg’s World of Hoyas mislabeled as Hoya finlaysonii.
3 leaves of Hoya vitellinoides Bakh. f. (syn. Hoya meredithii T. Green)
A Miyashiro Photo.
The hoya pictured in Kloppenburg’s World of Hoyas as Hoya vitellinoides is something else – don’t know what yet!