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WHAT'S IN A NAME?
by Hilda Martin
[Excerpted from an article in The Hoyan Vol. 1 (1979):60]
Shakespeare observed that "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and Gertrude Stein, bored with the whole bit astutely added, "A rose is a rose is a rose". So it is with hoyas. What you call them depends upon your level of interest and involvement with the particular plant.
Plant people appear to be divided into two groups. One group is vitally interested in knowing the correct names of all the plants they meet. The second group couldn't care less. Oddly enough, most of us start out in the later group but as we become more adept with plants and the collecting bug hits us, then we almost always join the first group, and kick ourselves for having not kept labels in the past.
When we try to obtain plants... it is most important to know the correct names and something about the plants we seek. It would be very handy if all our suppliers knew just which name goes to which plant but they rarely do... It is up to those of us who do care about such things to learn the proper identities in order to save ourselves money... We cannot complain if we do not know the difference ourselves.
Just what makes up a plant name? Of course you know that plant scientists have divided all plants into tribes, families, genus, subgenus and so on. As students of the Hoya, we are not at this time interested in pursuing beyond the Family, ASCLEPIADACEA or Milkweed Family. Let us compare plants with people for a moment and I think you will get an idea of just where each group stands. I always think of ASCLEPIADACEAE as a race... and genus as nationality... I think of the species as an individual family (The Smith's, The Jones's). Subspecies, varieties and cultivars become the children of the individual family.