Identification: Neither Polyscias fruticosa...nor balfouriana ?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by kia796, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    The nursery said it was a Ming Aralia (no latin name given). Despite its horrible pruning job, I consider finding this a real coup. I looked at images on the internet to identify it. Some have huge round leaves...there's so much variation.

    P.fruticosa has white bark, which mine doesn't.
    P. balfouriana has leaves edged in white, which mine doesn't.
    P. victoriae, internet pic didn't look quite like mine. Seems the closest, though.

    Are ALL the above called Ming Aralias? If so, where would the word MING be placed in the Latin description? Pardon the poor quality pics.
     

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2007
  2. TonyR

    TonyR Active Member

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    "Ming aralia" probably originated as a promotional name, the ming part suggestive of some imagined decorative quality or bonsai-like form, aralia for their being in family Araliaceae -- though Polyscias was never included in Aralia even in the broadest sense.

    "Ming" has never in any sense been part of the botanical name of any of these. And yes, they do show great variability of leaf form and variegation, often on the one plant. P. balfourii, P. filicifolia and P. fruticosa are all probable cultigens of uncertain wild ancestry, according to the RHS Dictionary, which gives the geographical origin of each as probably "E Malesia or western Pacific".
     
  3. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    If Aralia are in the family Araliaceae...Polyscias are NOT aralias ???
    So mine is--or isn't--a Polyscias, but probably not an Aralia (forget the Ming).

    Now I'm even less sure what it is than before.

    Actually when I first saw it at the nursery...I thought it was a cutleaf green Japanese maple (but why would they have it indoors?) Heck, maybe it IS a maple!
     
  4. TonyR

    TonyR Active Member

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    I would not use the common name aralia for just ANY members of family Araliaceae. In fact it's highly confusing to use it for any genus other than Aralia itself -- which generally goes by other common names anyway! But that's common names for you.

    Without doubt your plants belong to genus Polyscias.
     
  5. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    No wonder lay people tend to use common names; a quagmire otherwise.
    I was ready to call it a Potato!

    Thanks, TonyR.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Common names are numerous and inconsistent, thus botanical names.
     

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