This should all be child's play. Or we should try to keep it in that sandbox.
Most of what I see get written is tedious or worse and talks in circles around what we don't know without adequately stressing the fact that we really don't know. I have watched so many conclusions get written or posted over the years that its hard to know even what to think is anyone's opinion today without wading through more tedium talking around what is not known. Please forgive me if I am growing tedious here.
Hence my open question of what do we use to recognize something we almost all do recognize and MAYBE at the end of the process get us all onto the same page with regards to at least one plant.
Whether at the end we call it a species, a subpsecies, a cultivar, nothing at all or just Fred, it would be nice to reach some sort of generalized agreement. If its not possible we are wasting our time and should be doing something else entirely.
None of us have done any real field work, usually I could drop the "any" and be more correct, so in some senses its silly to even discuss it but we love cacti and are possessed of that wonderful tendency to find patterns whether they exist or not.
Still the fruit and flowers are believed by workers much closer to that day than us to be from a Brazilian plant mistakely associated with this one.
This sort of thing was quite common in early taxonomy sadly when plant parts from different vouchers were combined into single botanical drawings by someone other than the collector or describer. In some cases, perhaps even this one, botanical artists would CREATE flowers and fruit they thought might work based on other plants they had seen.
Few if any Cereus species have such broadly rounded ribs strongly suggesting this is a composite drawing.
The flower is clearly neither Cereus not Trichocereus. Cereus flower buds look like hairless Trich flower buds. This thing is not even close to either.
The fruit is of a sort much more broadly encountered than simply in Cereus and actually suggests other genera more than Cereus except for its nudeness.
One truly funny thing is that this drawing and description somehow served as an acceptable type for the entire genus Trichocereus. Go figure.
The best thing for us to do would be to abandon every single name we know and start over basing everything on rigorous field work but I can't in my wildest dreams imagine that will ever happen.
The description and its contained elements do say in no uncertain terms that it is not a Cereus species that is being described.
I need to finish the Latin translation which clearly shows the fruit and flower are not from the same plant as is being named.
What is truly funny about all of this is that despite the flower description being inadequate for a good unique definition, it is by far the best and most detailed original flower description of any of the other species mentioned anywhere above by any of us.
I'll come back to this farther along or if the loading time for this gets too slow due to images I'll continue in another post.
I get easily lost with too many posts though since I too lack adequate time to come out and play much of the time.
The most important thing for everyone to always keep in mind is that taxonomy is NOT a science.
It is a social and often political game of coming up with ways of talking about the same plants with the same names and defining how those plants might relate to each other.
It is a whole lot of opinions about what is significant or not even in terms of molecular systematics which is the only area I think is capable of becoming a true science. That could start a whole nother thread of course.
I do know how to do science since my line of study was chem, biochem and micro which are sciences and I was also employed doing biochemical research so I do know that this is not a science in the wildest stretches of the imagination.
If what we are doing is even marginally science we would not even be discussing this or looking at horticultural plants or inadequate descriptions or other people's photographs or even our own photographs but rather we would be focused on doing real field work to first locate what it was based on (in this case that would have to start in Europe sadly), then in the environs it is supposed to be from to learn what was in the real world, and then expanding it elsewhere if and as needed. Or reaching a point providing a real basis for tossing it in the rubbish can. This would be repeated for every plant we thought might be something whether at teh specific or subspecific level.
We could throw away pachanoi, peruvianus and bridgesii on even more substantial grounds but then there seems no point in discussing any of this.
If or when the waters can become clear we should all move on to watch the next muddy puddle settle as there would be nothing left to discuss here. That seems to be a good goal and is why I started this thread.
I'd suggest that this water can settle if we have patience and that there is no reason to embrace muddy water as a desirable state of being.
That is why having some fun in the process is better than tedium.
Of course one man's fun may well be another man's tedium.
It will likely be another day or two before I get the description translation completed and posted as I too work for a living and this stuff is something that I do for fun and amusement. I can;t say I live for it but certainly do enjoy it.
I LOVE science but I also love to shred bad science and poor methodology whether in or outside of science.
The latter is a lot more fun and educational than the first I think since science is far too often just stuffy and boring and not even real science.
The plants do not care at all what we call them, this is for us.
At least there is a positive move in your (MSS) reference to what we are discussing as shit. That is a truly healthy and quite realistic framework for us to start this undertaking.
The plant in images Boskey took (of my plant not his - he was just a photographer I hired when I still lacked a camera) often gets to around 5.5 inches in diameter. Perhaps larger but I have not ever seen it larger and its usually closer to 4.5 but can be much more slender when its not happy. Someone stole the mother from me and its offspring proved not to handle light freezes so I can't say too much more about it.
Backeberg's plant does not look much like a typical peruvianus to me in terms of its flower but its such a crappy image its hard to say too much about it other than it is a crappy photo.
The flower of macrogonus from what little I have seen is more the size of a puquiensis and a bit smaller than the Matucana peruvianus types. Hard to judge anything about even the column size in this image but I would expect a peruvianus to have more petals in the corolla.
The tube looks short. Shorter than is typical for the Matucana sorts at least if looking at the collapsing flower - probably from the day before the open one. I would hedge my bets though since no real details is possible.
THe Matucana peruvianus sorts tend to flower very near the tip rather than down the sides, although we all know these plants can seemingly do almost anything they want under some circumstances, and the macrogonus sorts seem to commonly like the sides as much as the tip. Hard to say very much about that image really other than it is a crappy picture.
My main point in including it was to summarize the immense difficulties of what we were given to work with.
I do know what to think about Rauh's image: Its a crappy photo too. Still it is important to include so we can glean a tiny bit of something about what Backeberg and Rauh were thinking about the Berlin plant that both of them saw in person.
Back to some images:
The next plant is at the Huntington.
Its value is compromised by the disappearance or lost or misplacing of their accession data.
A coule of things though make it important
1) It is said to be from South America, the same odd general or vague description of the Berlin plant. Many botanical gardens rightful regard themselves as botanical reference libraries and trade their books for that reason.
2) Its accession number is extremely low (three digits) suggesting it was a very early acquisition acquired back in Hertrich's day of creating the gardens. It COULD have come from Berlin although NY or some other place that got theirs as a cutting from Berlin is more likely as a plausibility. It is doubtful that they started it from seed due to the date it clearly would have had to have entered the collection.
Sadly I've never managed to be there when this specimen flowered. At least not yet.
We really do not know but when accessible genetics work becomes possible this one should high be on the testing list to compare to the material from Berlin. The work ongoing in Zurich might be helpful but let's see what she comes up with and what she looked at first before drawing a conclusion about that one way or the other.
Overall it is a nice match for the description. I'll post more soon on that point but want to honor the request from MSS for images instead of sticking to my original plan of laying hte groundwork of what descriptions we were given and then moving into images.
First though elements of macrogonus that are not typical of pachanoi.
Are areoles tend to be grey felted and largish but when really young can show brown or partial brown. This brown is not consitently expressed and seems to be limited to plants with serious shading as sun rapidly wipes out the color when it is even expressed.
The spines are always relatively short compared to the Matucana sorts of peruvianus and relatively long compared to pachanoi.
They are more awl shaped at least when new and usually show at least some clear centrals somewhere on the plant (something pachanoi generally lacks until we start getting to the intermediates/hybrids PERHAPS macrogonus wil turn out to be an intermediate but it seems premature to jump ahead without more info especially as we lack any evidence that pachanoi is really wild anywhere (in its earliest description one single area in Ecuador was conjectured as maybe having a wild population but this was challenged by later workers) and macrogonus, if we try to use the elements of how it is described rather than something more broad and seemingly pulled out of someone's ass somewhere, is fairly consistent and stable or at least it is as consistent and stable as any of the Matucana peruvianus sorts).
The spines are more consistently brown than pachanoi or peruvianus and only occasionally show any yellow or red and that on the base of the youngest spines only. Yellow shows up rarely at the base and is very short lived before becoming grey. Reddish is much more common.
We'll come back to all of this in more detail but here are some images of the Huntington plant with a focus on younger growth and form.
I'll be posting more images of this plants larger form too but as mentioned (partly due to living on a 28.8 dialup service)honoring the request for more images is delaying the more important part of posting descriptive elements since those are what we are supposed to use for recognition rather than a Ptolemic system of fitting the picture to our conclusions. Without hurting ourselves laughing I hope. I do intend to eventually turn to pachanoi, peruvianus and bridgesii for a roast also but one step at a time..
This material is reported to be potent but insanely slimey so most people avoid it. Which seems good since stealing from botanical gardens is like stealing library books. It cheats all of us and the people who will come after us when we are all worm food.
Another macrogonus that gives South America as its point of origin is at the Strybig or I should say was at the Strybig.
Plant thieves had kept it hacked off to a bit more than ankle height suggesting a good potency had been established. It looks a lot like what I've grown from Koehres seed but the latter does not see consistent from one lot to another over the years.
It and many other nice trichs at the Strybig are now completely stolen and gone leaving only their signs.
This is what remains
Gary Lyons made an interesting point about thievery at the Huntington. While it does still occur he commented that the single biggest decrease in theft occurred when they raised admission price to $18 as this kept the "riff-raff" out.
Admission to the Strybig is still free of charge.
This is the RS0004. It originated via horticultural channels.
This next plant is growing at Sasha's
This next one (the last for this morning) is something Voogelbreinder found unlabelled in Vic. but it more or less fits the theme of the above. I do have his permission to use it.
I too need to get my day moving with checking emails and getting to work. Uploading these images swallowed up almost all of my available time this morning which is why I really want to try to focus on groundwork first and then a photo survey of what is out there. The immense amount time it has taken me this morning to finish what I started last night has actually precluded me more than quickly reading the posts above so I will have to do a more thorough job of that tonight and will respond to the comments offered. Thanks to everyone who is participating!
Back with some more unless I begin to bore people at which case please tell me to piss off and leave this alone.