Thursday, May 19, 2016

Metapanawhat?!??

It was at a local nursery "of questionable Means" that I first spotted this plant. It was rather shopworn and looked to be near death. I didn't take a photo and chalked the name up to a labeling mistake, thinking no one who knew better was around to correct it.

But wait a minute there Ms. Smarty Uppity Thinks She Knows Everything Pants (on fire!)...whadda ya think when you see a healthy specimen of the same plant with that same name at your local Garden Fever HUH? Then you take note DON'T YOU?

Yes, yes I do.

Meet Metapanax davidii, which evidently is a real plant...not just some "other plant" mislabeled Metapanax delavayi, spelled wrong.

Follow me there? The first time I saw it I didn't even catch the spelling error and read Metapanax delavayi, even when it clearly says davidii. And dismissed it as a wrong label on a sick looking plant.

Now that I know it's a real plant I'm slightly miffed at Those Who Name. What's up with using two such similar and thus (I feel) confusing species names?

Here's my Metapanax delavayi, which I adore.


davidii - from Horticulture - Plant Names Explained: Botanical Terms and Their Meaning by David & Charles: davidii, davidianum named for the French missionary and plant collector Abbe Jean Pierre Armand David (1826 - 1900)

delavayi - (from the same book): delavayi, delavayanus named for the French botanist and missionary Jean Marie Delavay (1834 - 1895)

Ya that clears it up. Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds this confusing!

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

20 comments:

  1. It can be confusing but I'd happily have both any time!! They're both gorgeous!!

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    1. For some reason the "new" one (M. davidii) isn't really doing it for me.

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    2. And to further the confusion, I thought I was buying delavayi and then davidii turned came off of the delivery truck. Actually, my thought process was more like, "oh, that cool plant with the finger-like leaves. I'll order it!" Not.
      However, I think I will try one in our garden anyway:) Still has nice, tropical looking leaves.

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    3. Ah GF you've got me feeling better about my confusion! And how lucky you are to still have room in your garden...

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  2. Confusing names? Perhaps. Cool plants? Definitely. Although it would be less confusing, I am glad they chose 'delavayi' as a opposed to 'delavayanus'. I purchased Penstemon murrayanus from Plant Delights this year, and Tony Avent rightly pointed out what an unfortunate name that is in English....

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  3. What M & G said! If the taxonomists can constantly change the names of plants, can't they change the names of botanists as well? Maybe change one to Jeanii instead,

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    Replies
    1. I read that as Jedii...hahaha!

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  4. The species names based on plant discoverers really don't help distinguish them, do they? With all the nomenclature changes being made by botanists, it's surprising that names with purely historical reference have remained intact.

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  5. Hah! If anything gets a bummer rap than the weather, it's the geniuses who invent names for plants...then change them...then change them again.

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  6. It is confusing, yes. Thanks for sharing the information on both plants--even if it's still confusing. ;-(

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    Replies
    1. I bet one could author an entire blog on the subject.

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  7. I struggle with normal plant names, let alone when they are that confusing.

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  8. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    I bought my first M. davidii from Cistus. Also my M. delavsyii has changed its leaf shape from five leaflets to three now that it is fifteen feet tall. Maybe a mature leaf form?

    John(Aberdeen)

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    Replies
    1. I have heard of that happening. Mine has both 3 and 5.

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  9. You want confusing? Both Anaphalis margaritacea and Anaphalis margaritaceae are accepted species. I have no idea if the plants are actually different or if it's just a taxonomical f*ck up.

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    Replies
    1. They like to play games with us don't they?

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