QBARS - v35n2 Malesian vs. Vireya


Editor's Note: Sometime ago Mr. L. A. Craven from Australia called my attention to an improper reference to the vireya rhododendrons. The following is his suggestion for correct usage:

"Replacement of the biogeographical word "Malesian" when used to refer to what properly should be termed "vireya" rhododendrons. Not all vireya rhododendrons ( Rhododendron subgenus Rhododendron section Vireya ) are from Malesia and not all Malesian rhododendrons belong to section Vireya. The word "Malesian" has not become firmly entrenched yet and I would suggest that the more accurate term for this group should be used in the Bulletin and Seed List, as well as in any other Society publications, before "Malesian" is too deeply implanted in people's minds."

Editor's Note: The following is a further comment on the same subject by Jack Evans, California:

"Mr. Craven's recommendation is well founded. It follows the recent trend among us all to try to be more specific in reference to the Vireya species.

When the New Guinea rhododendrons were first introduced, "Malesian" was a commonly accepted name. Rhododendrons within the Vireya section have been found throughout Malesia, and as far as South Indochina, but the term "Malesian" can be misleading. With Dr. Sleumer's extensive explorations and classification of the New Guinea's indigenous rhododendrons in 1962, horticulturists realized that these rhododendrons were a distinctive group. Although varied in their leaf pattern, growth habit and flower, they are specifically characterized by wing shaped seeds.

Therefore, Mr. Craven is correct in drawing our attention to the fact that vireyas are quite distinct in themselves and we have been incorrect in referring to them as 'Malesians'."

Editor's Note: A final comment by Hadley Osborn in the Seattle news letter "Rhododendronland".

If you are growing a population of seedlings of R. javanicum , you might call them javanicums. If you are talking just about rhododendrons of the Malay peninsula or of, say, Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah, you might well call them Malaysians. If you are talking about any of these as well as any of the over 150 species of New Guinea or others from nearby islands, you should call them Malesians. If you are talking about a main branch of the Rhododendron genus (lepidote Rhododendrons with very long-tailed seed) that finds its principal home in Malesia but has a few outlying species elsewhere, you should call them Vireyas. If you try to grow any of these outdoors in any but very mild climates you may soon be calling them dead plants."