Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So which one is it?

I’m finally getting around to reading a couple of books that were gifted to me back when I was taking the Master Gardener classes in 2007 (or was that 2008? God where does the time go?)…

Partway through ‘The Subtropical Garden’ this picture caught my eye… (please forgive the poor scan quality)

They identify the tall plant “with its skirt of spent leaves” as a Furcurea species. I am mildly obsessed with Fucerea at the moment and want to learn everything I can, I studied the picture.

Then later in the book (49 pages later to be exact) I see this picture…
It looks familiar…very familiar. It’s the same as the previous picture, just not cropped. And this time the plant is identified as a Yucca aloifolia showing the “characteristic skirt of spent leaves.”

So which is it? And how many times do you suppose this type of mislabeling happens?


  1. The top photo was taken from a different angle.I can't tell if its a Furcurea or yucca-I don't think Furcurea forms skirts. The book was first published way back in 1996, before many people in N America and Europe except for specialists really knew tropical/sub-tropical plants-in my nursery I have bought yucca under the name cordyline and Furcurea under the name agave.

  2. may be Furcraea bedinghausii

  3. Ohhhh.....that is a good catch. And I have no idea.

  4. Nicole, I thought about the date was first published in 1992 and then republished in '97, '99 and 2000 (according to the info on my copy). If it had been caught it would have been corrected in a later publication right? Or maybe not...I guess I don't know how that all works. Perhaps a question for Timber Press. And thank you for the San Marcos link...that's a good one! I think that's it!

    K&V, thanks. Editing words I'm not terribly good at but you give me a picture of a spiky plant and watch out!

  5. Ah, I mislabel all the time.
    Oh, you meant "professionals". A LOT! I see it all the time when I go looking for plant IDs on the internet. One catalog will call it this and the other catalog will call it that - even though it is exactly the same picture. I have seen the same catalog use the same picture for two different varieties.

    That skirted plant is very nice.

  6. love the agave... sounds like a book worth checking out, thanks!

  7. The local nursery here has mislabelled a few times and I only discover it when I ask... Maybe that;s why sometimes my new plants die.

    Hope you get to the bottom of this mystery...

  8. Ee gads, Loree. As a writer with an admittedly limited knowledge of the publishing world, I find this kind of thing embarrassing and annoying. The publisher's fact checker was ultimately at fault. As you probably know, before publication a manuscript yo-yos several times [for about a year] between editors and author and back again with several required revisions including syntactical. You'd think the author [most are perfectionists] would have caught this and insisted it be corrected but if not, it ultimately was the responsibility of the editors and publisher who employs the editors.

    I believe we gardeners are an esoteric bunch to the rest of society. To them a plant is a plant is a plant. Details don't mean squat which was, I believe, the attitude with this blunder. I'm sure once the author is made aware s/he will be mortified. I know I would be.

  9. happens alot, and often frustrates me. Last night reading the Bountiful Container one of the garden diagrams was mislabelled, confusing until I realized that two number tags simply got switched but I still think it should have been caught in editing before publishing :\

  10. Sylvana, I guess it's consumer beware then eh?

    Dirty Girl, welcome!

    Evelyn, I guess I expect mistakes to sometimes happen at a nursery. There the stock is always moving and the customer may move tags/signs around. I want to hold books to a higher standard.

    Grace, I agree with your comment about a plant being a plant to a non-gardener. And thank you for the info about the publishing world. I figured this was the case.

    Mary C, so do you suppose they will fix it in future editions? Did you report the error?


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