Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good (?) news re: Cereus peruvianus/repandus/hildmannianus confusion

I have decided not to submit photos of my Cereuseses to cactiguide.com for identification as discussed in the comments on this post, because the identification work had already been done for me. I did a search on cactiguide, and encountered this article, which is well worth reading in its own right, but boils down to:

1. You may as well call it a Cereus peruvianus, because
2. the plant in question is probably the result of accidental hybridization while multiple species were cultivated in close proximity, and consequently
3. the plant might contain genes of any of a number of species of Cereus, including C. repandus, C. hildmannianus, or others,
4. all of which are very difficult to distinguish from one another anyway.

A Cereus peruvianus after all.

So in this sense, if I'm understanding the article correctly, Cereus peruvianus, though not the proper scientific name for any species of cactus, is nevertheless the proper scientific name for plants like what I have, and functions more or less like a cultivar name.

The situation is sort of the reverse of the one for Neoregelia 'Fireball:' Neoregelia 'Fireball' has the form of a cultivar name but is probably actually a species; Cereus peruvianus has the form of a species name but is probably actually a cultivar. So my blog earns its title once again.


9 comments:

Claude said...

Works for me.

lynn'sgarden said...

Well, there you go then!

Autumn Belle said...

A cactus is a cactus is a cactus. Any other name, I'm confused. I like your 'Plants are the Strangest People'. Its very unique but I agree with this saying.

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

Ah ... the ins and outs of nomenclature!
I use botanical names because I believe they make things clear, BUT then the powers that be decide to change the genus, and / or species, etc... and everything else must follow.
An interesting post, Mr Subjunctive,
Cheers,
Alice

CelticRose said...

Yep, you understood it correctly! I should have linked you to that article in the first place -- I'm glad you found it on your own. :-)

It gets even crazier when you get into the montrose forms of that species -- I've seen some that don't even have areoles or spines!

Lance said...

I think a DNA test is in order to determine the exact paternity of this individual. Call CSI.

thatcaptjim said...

Totally off topic, but I have been silently following your blog for some time. Alas that I have managed to kill even some of your 'unkillable' plants...but I thought this might interest you re: varegation in plants: http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8108000/8108940.stm

hydrophyte said...

I recently ran into a similar situation with a plant that I keep. A common pond marginal goes by the name Ludwigia peruviana in the horticultural trade, but this species doesn't really exist at all and the plant's true identity is probably L. glandulosa.

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

Never mind what it is called--that's a gorgeous picture with the blueness of the cactus and the orangy background. I love it!