Alocasia zebrina/tigrina

Discussion in 'Araceae' started by Eric in SF, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. Eric in SF

    Eric in SF Member

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    Does anyone know the difference between Alocasia zebrina/tigrina?

    I photographed this specimen at the Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/111085521/

    and in researching it, I'm finding many references that the plant pictured is Alocasia tigrina. Unfortunately, that name is not valid in either IPNI or W3Tropicos.

    Thanks for taking a look!

    -Eric in SF
    www.plantworld.org
     
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I'm sending a note to botanist Pete Boyce who is one of the world's two leading Alocasia sp. experts.

    According to TROPICOS (a service of the Missouri Botanical Garden), Alocasia zebrina is found on only a few islands of the Philippines. BUT, the same Google Earth map shows it all over southern Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, parts of Peru and western Brazil. I know from conversations with Pete many of these species are endemic (exclusive to) the Philippines. So we shall see if the information posted is correct or an input error. No technical data is posted.

    Also, according to TROPICOS, there is no such species known to science as "Alocasia tigrina". I also checked the International Plant Names Index (IPNI) and got the same response. That may simply be a common name.
     
  3. Eric in SF

    Eric in SF Member

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    Excellent, thanks!
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    This may take a day or two to get a response. Pete is located in Singapore and unless we're real lucky, is likely in bed at this hour! But sometime during the night I'll likely receive a response unless he's out traipsing in a rain forest somewhere in Indonesia! He is normally quite quick at responding and I'll post his response verbatim. (Well, unless he tells me some big secret.)
     
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Eric,

    Excellent websites and great photographs! I'm a retired professional Nikon user who used to teach for Nikon upon occasion. With your permission, I'd like to add your links to my links page on the ExoticRainforest website.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    This is an exact quote of the response I received from botanist Pete Boyce regarding your request. I think it answers your question in full, although a bit technically. The "technical" stuff is easily figured out,

    The name A. tigrina does not exist. It has been applied to A. zebrina in the trade for the clone with the very well-marked petioles.

    Alocasia zebrina is endemic to the Philippines and restricted to the islands of Luzon, Mindanao, Leyte, Samar, Biliran and Alabat. It is easily distinguished from all other Philippine Alocasia species by the rather narrowly sagittate leaves with striped petioles and rather long acute posterior lobes bearing lamina to the sinus but not or only very narrowly peltate.

    Very best

    Pete
     
  7. Eric in SF

    Eric in SF Member

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    Thanks a million for tracking that one down!

    (Now go to bed! =)
     
  8. angsaidso

    angsaidso Member

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    May I ask another question regarding these plants, please? I also have been trying to figure out the difference between zebrina, tigrina and reticulata for some time. Call me silly, but I have three plants here in my home with very distinct differences (and more on the way to compare them to). I read above with great interest. The plant I purchased as A. zebrina has a striped green on green stem and patterned leaves (also green on green). The plant I purchased as A. tigrina has a seemingly translucent white and grey stem with solid very dark green leaves (no patterning). The plant I purchased for fun because it was labeled as an A. reticulata zebrina has a combination of both of the previous mentioned characteristics. It has a white and tannish/grey stem with patterned leaves. While I understand that variation occurs in the plant world, these differences fascinate me. I understood, before finding your posts that it was a debate within the aroid world as to whether or not tigrina or reticulata actually existed or were simply variants of the same plant. Does anyone have any ideas as to why I have three very distinct plants here? I would be happy to send pics of them to anyone interested. At the moment I do not have them posted on the web, but could do so if anyone wanted to see them. These variations are amazing to me so I keep trying to compare them with other people's plants with different labels as well! Peace ~ Ang
     
  9. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Do you pics of the 3 plants?

    Ed
     
  10. angsaidso

    angsaidso Member

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    I will take them now and post a link to them give me a few minutes to take them and get them listed on my site! :-) Peace ~ Ang
     
  11. angsaidso

    angsaidso Member

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    http://angsaidso.multiply.com/photos/album/9/Is_it_Tigrina_zebrina_or_reticulata

    I think you can access my pictures from this link. Please let me know if it doesn't work. Also note at the moment, my "zebrina" had a rough time shipping and is just bouncing back, so I only had an older leaf with a little yellowing to photograph. The greens on the stem of this plant are fabulous! The "reticulata" is just a pup with a very sharp leaf pattern. Also, you will notice that "tigrina" has no raised vein patterning in the leaves like the other two. "reticulata" seems to look a combination of the other two sporting the stem of one and the leaf of the other. If these are all the same plant and just different variants, I am content with that, but I think it is fabulous the way I have three very unique plants, all different even if they are one and the same! Peace ~ Ang
     
  12. angsaidso

    angsaidso Member

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    Oh! PS ... if you click on the first picture, it give syou the option to scroll through them in a larger view.
     
  13. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Ang this link may help explain what you are seeking.

    Ed
     
  14. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I just ran across this post one year later.

    The difference in your plants is only natural variation. Lots of people tend to believe if the leaves of plants don't look exactly alike they must be a different species but that is not correct. If the DNA of the three was checked you'd find only a single species..... Alocasia zebrina.

    Here's another way to look at it. I'm sure you know individuals that have dark hair, dark skin and dark eyes. You also know people that have light skin, light hair and blue or green eyes. One may be very heavy and the other very thin so they don't look exactly alike. One may be very tall and the other very short but none of us would ever pretend the two individuals were a different species.

    For some reason people have trouble applying this concept of variation in humans to plants.

    If we see any slight variation we immediately assume the plants must be different species. NASA has stated that one out of every 8 plant species exhibits natural variation. In the 1800's botanists often granted new names to many plants simply because they didn't look alike but once the science advanced they learned they had given different names to the same exact species. That is now known as the second plant (or third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) is a synonym of the correctly accepted name. Aroids are extremely variable and I can show you plants in my atrium with 5 to 8 totally different looking leaves on a single plant. Some are long and thin while others are very wide. Some demonstrate leaf margins that are ragged while others exhibit leaves with little to no edge differences. But they are all growing on the same plant.

    That is typical of aroids. A botanist looks for the shape of the cataphyll which protects any newly opening blade, the vein structure (venation), the shape of the petiole (which everyone wants to call the "stem", and the node spacing on the true stem which is the central axis of the plant as well as the general shape of the inflorescence to determine the species. They don't look at the leaf blade first and if you were to read a scientific description you'd quickly realize the botanist began at the bottom of the plant and worked up wards. The leaf is one of the least important details in determining the species of the plant. http://www.exoticrainforest.com/What is a stem. What is a petiole.html

    In Alocasia zebrina, Alocasia Reticulata Zebrina, and Alocasia Tigrina those factors are nearly identical yet the leaf blades are very different. Of the three only Alocasia zebrina is a species. The others are simply horticultural names given by plant growers and sellers to plants that "appear" to be unique.

    Here are two links that may helo:

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Alocasia zebrina pc.html


    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Natural variation within aroid and plant species.html

    The problem is explained in full with the help of several of the world's top aroid botanists. I realize it can be confusing but if you look at it scientifically it all makes sense.

    The bigger problem is many people disregard science in favor of horticulture. Horticulture is not based in science but is primarily based in the sale of plant species and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Horticulture came up with the names Alocasia Reticulata and Alocasis Tigrina to sell plants. Both names are little more than common names. Science had nothing to do with either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  15. LariAnn

    LariAnn Active Member

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    I'm going to throw my $0.02 into the fray as I have "hands-on" observations based on actual hybridizing work I've done with all three plants in question.

    First, the plant reference in post #1 of this thread is the one sold and known in the trade as "Alocasia tigrina superba". This is not to say that is a valid scientific name, but it is the name under which the plant is sold. I have crossed this plant with A. brisbanensis and the offspring look consistently similar to "A. tigrina". Were "tigrina" a natural hybrid, I would expect a range of variants in the progeny. Keep this in mind when reading what follows.

    I crossed "A. reticulata" with both A. macrorrhizos 'Borneo Giant' and A. odora and obtained good numbers of progeny from both crosses. Without exception, the progeny came out with the reticulate veination, but broader leaf shapes, as I would expect from crossing with the two parents I used. None of the progeny looked like "A. tigrina" or A. zebrina.

    I crossed A. zebrina with A. macrorrhizos 'Borneo Giant' and obtained plenty of seedlings. Without exception, they were very similar to A. zebrina, even though all seed was set on the Borneo Giant. None of them looked like "tigrina" and none of them looked like "reticulata".

    What do these results mean to me? They tell me that even if the three plants are not considered distinct species, they are genetically stable enough to pass their characteristics on to progeny. They do not seem to carry any recessive or masked genes coding for the other two variant types (assuming that all three are truly of the same species).

    Now, to add sauce to the goose, I obtained recently a plant which is like an intermediate between "tigrina" and "reticulata"! This plant is still too young to bloom, and is very similar in some ways to my hybrid of "tigrina" and A. brisbanensis, except that I have never released that hybrid to anyone. Should this one pass characteristics to progeny without variation, that will certainly make this whole group even more interesting!

    So for now, until someone does a DNA analysis of the three (or perhaps four) "variants", the only way to check for speciation is to do seed set and grow off the progeny, watching for variation or for uniformity in gene expression. If the three plants breed true to their morphotypes, that seems to be a major criterion for defining a species, IMHO.

    LariAnn Garner
    Aroidia Research
     
  16. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting. It is my understanding such DNA tests either are being done or have been done. I hope the guys on the other side of the world will tell us what they learn. At this point both Alistair Hay and Pete Boyce believe all three are one and the same although they've left open the possibility the A. zebrina reticulata form could be a hybrid.
     

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