Alocasia rugosa is a bad name.

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by photopro, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    The plant commonly called Alocasia rugos is correctly Alocasia melo A.Hay, P.C.Boyce & K.M.Wong. The name "rugosa" for this plant should be completely discarded.

    "Alocasia rugosa" is commonly used but is not an accepted scientific name and does not apply to the plant that it is used to describe. The name was apparently made up by the primary tissue culture company that provides many of the plants many of us grow. The name Alocasia rugosa is a synonym for Alocasia cucullata which looks nothing like the plant called "rugosa". This is Alocasia cucullata: http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Alocasia cuculata pc.html

    I often correspond with botanist Pete Boyce and occasionally with botanist Alistair Hay who are two of the three authors of this species. So far, there is little public info about the correct species on the internet but I have requested a copy of the scientific description from Pete.

    Look up Alocasia melo on the International Aroid Society website and you can find good photos: www.Aroid.org

    http://www.aroid.org/genera/speciespage.php?genus=alocasia&species=melo

    Here is the answer to where this incorrect name appears to have originated.
    My only goal is to research for the truth about the plants I grow as well as try to help others understand the truth. Pete Boyce who is one of the authors of this plant is a friend and we trade email virtually on a weekly basis. Pete just answered my note (12/26/10) with this response, "Apologies that we're a bit late replying, we spent the holidays in Brunei, returned back late last night. This is Alocasia melo. I have told Agri-Starts MANY times that the name rugosa is fictitious!"

    Agri-Starts is a great company as well as a supporter of the IAS. They have made many plants easily available to growers at a low cost. However, they do have a tendency to use "made-up" names when the correct name is known to science. I suppose this is done in order to market the product. As a result, you are going to continue to see it sold as "Alocasia rugosa" but that is not what it truly is.

    As for the name on the net Alocasia melo 'rugosa', that name is not a registered name, simply another made up name. Someone likely did that because they were trying to convey the correct name but included the fictitious name since many people already know the plant by the bad name.

    In order to correctly use single quotes around a name the plant must be a registered cultivar and the International Aroid Society is the registry for aroids. As far as I can determine, no one has ever requested to register that name so it simply becomes a "common name". Any grower is more than free to use any tag they wish on their plants, it is simply up to every grower to refer to any plant by any name they choose but from following some of your threads I know quite a few of you want to know the truth, not fiction.

    I strongly recommend you discard any tag that says Alocasia rugosa and replace it with one that has the correct name: Alocasia melo
    For any of you that would like to meet Pete, he will be the guest of the International Aroid Society at our annual show the third weekend of September in Miami at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. He is great about spending time with growers in order to help you better understand your plants.

    Best wishes,

    Steve Lucas
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

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