Monday, September 22, 2014

Hoya identity and seed distribution

variegation obtained by planting a Hoya seed
The picture shows a contrasted variegation from a seed in a pod that was taken on a plant like the green one on the right ( named so far and as far as we know : Hoya biakensis ) Aleyagarden will propagate many cuts before selling the variegated sort, in order to ascertain that the variegation is constant in the cuts. They won't patent the plant.

Some people would say " you have irresponsibly damaged the identity of this species : it is not what it used to be now that you have planted a seed and will distribute the resulting plants and seeds. We have lost the integer, pure, real biakensis. "

So we would expect that giving a new commercial name  ( any name remembering that the original seed pod was on a baikensis, so for instance a silly commercial name like Hoya biakensis Joli Spots, or Hoya Qwert affinis biakensis etc  ) would cancel the accusation.
Not that simple : other critics ( or perhaps the same people ) would say that any choice of a new name could not be accurate as  " you don't know the father with certainty ( the origin of the pollen ) "

Indeed the pollen could have originated in 3 ways : from the individual biakensis that produced the pod ( this is the most probable situation, named self pollination ), or from an other Hoya biakensis probably located nearby, or from a plant at some distance of a non biakensis species that has a compatible pollen ( cross pollination ). Although some people report cross pollination by hand, at Aleyagarden they have never succeeded so far.
 They grow the Hoya in a natural environment ( open pollination ) that promotes either self or cross pollination, without being able to determine which process has acted.
Aleyagarden's setting and methods of cultivation are more or less replicating the non conservative open pollination in nature whereby Hoya species evolution points that " identity ", " integrity ", " correct names " are somehow in these accusations hollow concepts, or at least ideas that are limited by plant science : plants evolve in their environments and they do it not for the sake of matching with names or knowing the fathers. Even less for the sake of protecting patents and businesses.

If one passes off as Labrador a dog from an unknown father then yes the integrity of the breed is a concern. But since the propagation of Hoya, by cuts or by seeds is done like in nature without knowing for sure the father ( the pollen ) then there is no sense to lump together dog breeds and Hoya breeds for the sake of condemning the distribution of Hoya seeds. If a Hoya found in nature or a seedling in a greenhouse appear different from the known breed then a new name has to be found, and regarding the seedling this name should refer to the plant that produced the pod.

Peddlers of pseudo-scientific claptrap are everywhere.

Now if we consider not just names, but more broadly representations, then why not considering other identity problems raised by observing nature, they are even much more embarrassing ( but more interesting ) : at the microscopic scale should we condemn photons because in the double slit experiment they have a double appearance instead of an identity as we like it to be ? is it silly for a particle to refuse to take a slit path when something is observing ? irresponsible to escape a determined location or change retroactively ?

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