Topic I, Thread 2 : Grex Information Oct 24, 2006 7:37:12 GMT 7
Post by leilani on Oct 24, 2006 7:37:12 GMT 7
If someone crosses N. rafflesiana 'Singapore Giant' (male) onto N. ampullaria 'William's Red(female), the progeny are still N. Hookeriana because they will fit the description of that natural hybrid.
N. x Hookeriana is any plant (in the natural world) that fits the published description of this natural hybrid. N. x Hookeriana is “probably the best know natural hybrid in the genus”(Clark) and is atypical of natural hybrids in having a published description. Thus, this example might give one the false impression that any horticulturally created grex with the same respective species parents as a natural hybrid would easily fall within the published description of that respective natural hybrid. But, since there are many natural hybrids (more discovered each year) and “few of these have been formally described.”(Clark) denoting a horticultural creation (composed of species known to hybridize in nature) as a ‘natural hybrid’ would in many cases be putting the cart before the horse.
Some confusion arises perhaps as the result of confusion over the term ‘natural’. It seem to me that there are at least two ways to understand this term: one practical and many more philosophical. Fortunately, for the purpose of grex registration we need only concern ourselves with a practical and pragmatic definition of ‘natural’. This crux of such a definition would be the degree to which mankind is involved in the natural process. If there is no human involvement then, by practical and simplistic definition, the process of generation and the resultant plant is ‘natural’. Conversely, if the course of the natural process is directed by human efforts then, the resultant plant is ‘unnatural’. I have many philosophical problems with such a definition when it comes to the broader field of ecology or when talking about the biosphere in general but no problem whatsoever as long as we restrict our purposed definition to the limited question of how to handle classifying plants that occur in nature and distinguishing them from those that are synthetically produced in the greenhouse.
Your example of ‘Singapore Giant’ crossed to ‘Cantly’s Red’ would seem clear cut to me under a simplistic pragmatic definition of ‘natural’. Since such a creature would never occur without the intervention of man, i.e., it would never occur in nature, it must be considered to be an ‘unnatural hybrid’ and thus treated differently from other ‘naturally occurring’ forms of the same species cross.
We now have two exclusive ways of talking about plants. One devoted to God’s creation and the other to ‘mankind’s’ creation. I would think it unwise to try to bridge these two by sharing nomenclature and think that only further confusion will result. I would see no advantage, other than sentimental, in trying to apply the name ‘N. x Hookeriana’ (denoting a naturally occurring hybrid according to the ICBN) to the ‘unnatural’ creation of a hybrid (of the same parent species) in the greenhouse (and thus governed by a ICNCP).
Suppose a Nepenthephile living in Sarawak were to take the pollen from a richly colored rafflesiana growing in his (or her) back yard, and pollinate an equally select female ampullaria growing 100 meters distant from the raff. Both parents were selected by this person based on their horticultural appeal. The seed is collected and sown on sphagnum on his/her patio. The seed germinates. Are the seedlings N. hookeriana?
What you suppose would be what I would consider a limiting case of our pragmatic definition of ‘natural’ but I think it makes no difference how closely we approximate natural conditions in an artificial environment and that the resultant plants would be ‘unnatural’ by the fact of human assisted pollination. I think it is a simple as this: man cannot, by pragmatic definition, make a ‘natural’ hybrid. I can see why, from a philosophical point of view, this answer might feel uncomfortable but from a practical point of view and for the purpose of establishing consistent rules for grex registration it seems quite clear and simple to me. The plant created in the supposed process might well be co-discriptive with N. x Hookeriana in all but two important factors: First, one is naturally and the other artificially produced and second, the information about this ‘non-natural’ grex would be more complete in that it would contain ‘sex respective’ data as regards parentage.