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Thread: Proper taxonomy for hybrids?

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    Proper taxonomy for hybrids?

    I'm concerned about nepenthes in particular, but I guess this question applies to all of horticulture. When I write about hybrids I'm never confident that I'm obeying the rules. Here are some of the variations I've seen.

    N. x ventrata

    The "x" indicates that this is a hybrid. I assume that this is more proper than "N. ventrata" because that would imply that we're talking about a species. However when hybrids are named like this, should the epithet be capitalized? Why or why not? If I created this cross myself could I call my grex "N. x ventrata"?

    N. "Miranda"

    This one is typically capitalized. It's also often in quotes. Quote suggest that we're talking about a cultivar cloned from an individual plant (I think). Are quotes preferable to no quotes? Does its status as a cultivar eliminate the need for an "x"? Or would an "x" be better?

    N. maxima xx trusmadiensis

    We have double "x"s here because one of the parents is itself a hybrid. I see double "x"s used very inconsistently. When exactly should we use them? And again, should "trusmadiensis" be capitalized? Does the fact that this is a natural hybrid change the rules? Lowercase hybrids do tend to be natural hybrids, but that may be a coincidence.

    Scientists of TF, help me clear this one up. I don't like unintentionally propagating bad naming conventions.
    Last edited by carbonetc; 09-28-2015 at 05:47 PM.

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    hcarlton's Avatar
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    True N. x ventrata is actually relatively rare, seeing as how the common plant we're familiar with is actually almost certainly a graciliflora hybrid. But, were you to create a new version of the x ventrata cross, it doesn't really matter if that "hybrid name" was used or not as it is not actually a registered Latin name, but keeping the label may help keep confusion down.

    N. 'Miranda' is more or less a cultivar, even though there are multiple clones known to exist (same applies to 'Lady Pauline' nowadays), but it came about before the proper rules for cultivar and cross naming were established so it predates the system, much like its parent, the oft-mentioned N. x mixta (another never-quite-registered but commonly used Latinized name).

    N. x trusmadiensis, not sure where you see double x's around, and it does not have a hybrid as a parent as the background of the cross is macrophylla x lowii, both pure species. The nothospecies name designation is never capitalized, whether or not it's a natural hybrid or a horticultural named hybrid. The latter, however, are typically not given nothospecies names either anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    N. x trusmadiensis, not sure where you see double x's around, and it does not have a hybrid as a parent
    Oops. I had a complete brain fart when I wrote that. I was thinking of hybrids of trusmadiensis. Any time you see one, such as maxima xx trusmadiensis, you see the two "x"s. I'll edit the original post to eliminate confusion.
    Last edited by carbonetc; 09-28-2015 at 05:41 PM.

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    SerMuncherIV's Avatar
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    The first x denotes that the plant is a hybrid, the second x is applicable to the N. x trusmadiensis and shows that it is a hybrid as well. It may be helpful to think of it like N. maxima X (x trusmadiensis).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    the common plant we're familiar with is actually almost certainly a graciliflora hybrid
    Wow. I hadn't heard about this and just did some reading on it. I'm convinced. Guess I'll be mentally calling it "ventriflora".

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    hcarlton's Avatar
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    There are actual "x ventrata" hybrids out there though, just not commonly sold. They look better in my opinion too. As SerMuncherIV noted also, now that I understand what you mean by the double x's, yes one denotes the named hybrid and the other x denotes that it has been crossed with something new. The use of parentheses as he showed does help show what is going on. Not everyone uses both x's though, and I often don't, mostly because I know already that trusmadiensis is a hybrid, or in the case of other natural or named hybrids.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
    There is far more to everything than meets the eye.
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