About Cultivars and Hybrids
A work in progress

Platycerium cultivar and hybrids are common among platyceriums, and they account for many of the problems in species definition.   When you mix the spore from two different species of platycerium, sometimes you get a new plant which tends to show the traits of both of its parent species and they may or may not be sterile.  This author argues that to be a new cultivar or hybrid, it should be able to propagate the new characteristics, otherwise it will be just a sport of the mixture and possibly short lived.   In many cases, a cultivar (cultured variety) is a hybrid, but not all cultivars are hybrids.  Many cultivars are "mutations" occurring in nature but pure to the species. Cultivars and hybrids should be able to propagate a true duplicate. 

Hobbyists have created many new hybrids, and probably some new ones have been created in nature through the breakdown  of isolating mechanisms.  Some times just growing two different species in the same greenhouse will result in a new hybrid.   Then when you cross the spore from two different cultivars of a species, you may get a new cultivar, or a new hybrid.  It is wise to consider it a cultivar until more experience is obtained growing new pups or sporelings. This cross index is designed to identify the common and known crosses or hybrids.  Then of course, when you start crossing spore from two hybrids, you can possibly get another new hybrid.  And the chain continues endlessly as is the case in many flowers. 

If you develop a cultivar/hybrid, it is wise to send pups to other growers in other parts of the state or country to see if they maintain the same growing characteristics as your cultivar/hybrid.  Or are your findings a product of your environment?  If the same characteristics continue to appear, and its pups display the same characteristic, then we can start to build an argument for a new cultivar or hybrid.  But this takes years and should not be done hastily.

To use this cross index, identify the first species in the left column and move right until you find the cross and the name of the hybrid when known.

Platycerium Hybrid or Plant Cross Index




Andinum Bifurcatum Coronarium Elephantotis Ellisii Grande Hillii Holttumii Madagascariense Quadridichotomum


Stemaria Superbum Veitchii Wandae Wallichii Willinckii
                    'Larry Weed'                
Andinum                     'Roy Vail' 'Callard'              
Bifurcatum                 'Diversifolium'                    
Coronarium                         'Mt Kitshakood'            
Elephantotis     Elemaria                     'Neptune'          
Madagascariense 'Dawboy' 'Larry Weed' 'Roy Vail'                 'Harry Luther'              
Quadridichotomum                     'Harry Luther'                
Ridleyi         'Mt
Stemaria           'Neptune'                          
Superbum                             'Mentelosii'        
Veitchii       'Electrofolia'         'Majus'                    
Wandae                         'Charles Alford'            
Willinckii           'Silver' Velvet     'Yanid'                    

List of common platycerium hybrids, or cultivars, and their cross

No. Name First Parent Second Parent
1 Charles Alford   Ridleyi   Wandae
2 'Callard' Andinum Quadridichotomum
3 'Dawboy'   Alcicorne African form (Vassei)   Madagascariense
4 'Diversifoilium'   Bifurctum   Hillii
5 'Electrofilia'   Bifurcatum   Veitchii
6 'Elemaria'**   Andinum   Elephantotis
7 'Erawan'   Elephantotis   Madagascariense
8 'Horn's Surprise' Alcicorne Madagascariense
9 'Larry Weed'   Alcicorne Madagascar form   Madagascariense
10 'Luaentii'   Elephantotis   Stamaria
11 No mame yet   Madagascariense   Quadridichotomum
12 'Majus'   Hillii   Veitchii
13 'Mt Kitshakood'   Coronarium   Ridleyi
14 'Roy Vail'   Andinum   Madagascariense
15 'Silver Fond'   Willlinckii   Veitchii
16 'Silver Velvet'   Elephantotis   Willinckii
17 'Yanid'   Hillii   Willinckii
18 'x Mentelosii'   Stemaria   Superbum
19 No name yet *   Alcicorne   Coronarium
20 No name yet *   Alcicorne   Ridleyi
21 No name yet *   Alcicorne African form (Vassei)   Ellisii
22 No name yet *   Coronarium   Stemaria
23 No name yet *   Diversifolium   Stemaria
24 No name yet *   Ellisii   Wandae
25 No name yet *   Grande   Ridleyi
26 No name yet *



27 'Lucy'



28 'African Oddity'



* Indicated hybrids have been crossed and no recognized name available at this time.
** Elemaria parantage is confirmed via DNA testing

The above list is not intended to be the final word on hybrid identification.  Until more research is completed, including DNA testing, the above list is more a guide than a final definition.

The reader must realize that many hybrids or cultivars are a result of accidental mixing of spore when similar plants are grown in close proximity.  When a new cross is identified, it is considered a cultivar until further research is completed and documented in a botanical journal.   Then it may be considered a hybrid. or possibly a new species. Even when spore from two species are intentionally crossed, it is always possible for a spore from an unintended species to contaminate the intended cross. After repeated attempts and proof that their progeny have the same traits, then we can agree as to the parentage and define it as a new hybrid and not just a sport or cultivar of a species.  This can take a long time with slow growing platyceriums and experienced growers are hesitant to jump the gun and name a hybrid.  So when we discuss hybrids, we need to consider all the variables.  Soon we will have more definite DNA studies.  Until DNA testing is more readily available, and established parent base lines defined, we must look at and compare traits from other species and deduct a logical inference to the actual parentage and these are considered individual plants and not necessarily a hybrid.


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