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 Post subject: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:10 am 
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I was using Christenson to lookup the spelling of champornensis and noticed that some 'varities' were noted with 'var.' (Phal pulcherrima var. champornensis) while others were noted with 'f.' (Phal pulcherrima f. alba). Does anyone know the difference?

Pat


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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:45 pm 
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I asked Christenson and here is Eric's reply. I need to sleep on it a few days.

Pat

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Here is a brief explanation for public distribution.

The easiest thing to do is look up my explanation when I published on Encyclia tampensis - AOS Bull. 60(6):548-549. 1991. That said . . .

A subspecies is a population that has a distinct genetic difference and is isolated from the main population. Most commonly the isolation is geographic such as Phal. aphrodite subsp. formosana. The isolation may also be ecological - for example at the species level, Stenorrhynchos albidomaculatum and S. glicensteinii grow "together" but the former is a terrestrial while the latter is a epiphyte at around 10 m off the ground - the pollinators are [presumably] similarly stratified and keep the orchid species separate. Time will tell if a subspecies continues to go on a tangent and become a new species or if the barrier breaks down and the two merge and the differences are eliminated.

A variety is part of a population that has a genetic difference but not a distinct distribution. The genetic difference is part of the permanent/significant makeup of the species. There are many shrubs, for example, that have both yellow and red fruited varieties intermixed - natural selection doesn't push the mix one way or the other. It would probably not hold up under scrutiny, but something like freckles in human beings might qualify as a variety. In Phalaenopsis the leaves having a silver overlay in Phal. sanderiana may be a true variety, albeit one not requiring formal naming.

A form is an insignificant genetic variant that is unlikely to be part of the longterm makeup of a species. An albino human being is a good example as are rare color morphs in orchids. I use forms more than most botanists (although others are now following me) because to me it is a anti-red flag for conservation purposes - forms by definition are unimportant and not worth considering for conservation (outside of horticulture). Thus the "conservation" of the national flower of Guatemala - the white form of Lycaste skinneri - is inherently/genetically silly. As long as the pink-flowered phase exists, white-flowered mutations will periodically arise through mutation over time. Kill every one of them and then just wait 30 years.

The biggest problem in applying these categories to orchids is that almost all variants are described as "varieties". If we have more information, the name can usually be bumped up to a subspecies or down to a form. When no other information is available - like in Phal. pulcherrima var. champornensis - the name kind of occupies a nomenclatural limbo. Was this one clone that got propagated (a form) or an isolated population (subspecies - think of the peloric phase of Phal. intermedia on Leyte island)?

Finally, botanists generally don't want to deal with anything below the species level. That, and there are no indices to these variants so dealing with them requires considerable research and hard work in what is considered archaic and unimportant in academic circles.

Hope that helps, Eric


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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:56 pm 
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Very educational, thanks for posting. I hope we can see more of this!


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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:39 am 
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Could someone please post a reply so I can get my name off this thing?


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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:28 am 
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JimL wrote:
Could someone please post a reply so I can get my name off this thing?


What is it that you are asking?

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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:12 am 
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That is really interesting, thank you for posting.
I find it still difficult to explain the concept to myself even though I find myself grasping it. Somehow no comparison really helps me make it clearer.
Yet one thing is for sure: I love the variety it offers in orchids! Be it an accident in the genetic make up or a permanent change to adapt.

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I did not receive my Hogwart's letter so I left the Shire to become a Jedi... huh... orchid grower!


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 Post subject: Re: f. vs var.?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:43 am 
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thanx for the very intersting summary!

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kindest regards from austria!

markus :)


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