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ISSUE 6 (7):

Complete articles list
Contents The Book
Сontents of this issue


Igor M. Skulkin, biologist, Ph.D.

Continuation. See the beginning in N 2/3


Unfortunately there is no unified nomenclature of abnormal colored forms (ACF) of cacti. That is why in different countries the same forms, mostly of the Japanese selection, are called either by their original Japanese names like "Hibotan", "Nishiki", or by the European names like "Ruby Ball", "Black Botan", but most often they have no name at all. Even in Holland where they are grown on commercial basis catalogs usually contain only botanical names of the initial genus - "Gymnocalycium", that is Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var.friedrichii - without the name of the particular ACF.

As similar chlorophyll mutants are found among the species of different families of flowering plants there were numerous attempts to make a unified classification of their types ((Walles, 1971; Kalam, Orav, 1974). The first group included one-color mutants (atroviridis, viridis, xantha, albina), the second - variegated leaves (maculata, striata, tigrina, apicalis, marginata, costata), the third and the forth - mutants the color of whose leaves changes during ontogenesis (virescens, lutescens, albescens and others). This classification is not universal, and it is practically impossible to apply it to ACF of cacti whose coloring is more diverse and can not be referred to any of these groups.

Walery Kalishev

Photo 1.

It is difficult for me to judge classifications, as I am an amateur. At the same time I would like to have a classification that an AMATUER could understand. Is it possible? Igor M. Skoulkin says: ":one should remember that mutants that LOOK ALIKE may have different genetic and physical-biochemical characteristics. To determine to which type a mutation belongs one should make a hybridologic test, the test of action of genes, phenocopies and other rather complicated genetic researches."

Now two question arise:

  1. If you happen to get a mutant out of seedlings or any other way will you come to a scientist to ask him/her to determine its genetic and physical-biochemical characteristics?
  2. Do you have the equipment for such researches?

Photo 2.

In both cases you will probably answer NO.

So, taking into consideration the difficulty of the researches and lack of information on the question, I would suggest for the beginning two kinds of classification - amateurish and scientific. I do not exclude the possibility that the amateurish classification may help to work out the scientific classification clear for amateurs.

I like the names of the first two categories of classification by Kalam and Orav:
1. One-color mutants.
2. Variegated leaves (variegated) mutants.

As for changing coloring, both one-color and variegated plants can change it in our latitudes. I do not see any sense in classifying them according to this characteristic. I suggest referring to the first group the plant of the following coloring of stem:

Photo 3.

1. Red
2. Purple
3. Pink
4. Yellow
5. Orange
6. Dark violet
7. Brown
The second group can include the rest, that is the plants of two and more colors.

The general name of mutants of the two mentioned groups is determined by the Supplement to the International Code of Botanic Classification as CULTIVAR (cv). This name is used in USA and Europe, in Japan it is Nishiki, in Russia most often chlorophyll free.

It is not about the structure of plants - how much there is chlorophyll, chloroplasts, carotinoids and so on. This is for scientists. We are interested only in one factor - the visible coloring of the stem.

As far as I know one-color mutants are not singled out in a separate group in any countries. Neither they have a special name. But I would like to start the unified nomenclature of names of Cultivar exactly from this group. Especially from the plants that are constantly cloned (Photo 1). As the name for this group we could use the term "one-color" itself (INOCOLOR in Latin, MONOCOLOR in Greek).

As for the second group it already has the name variegata (-um. -us, -ten) (variegated) (Photo 2). It is necessary to decide if they require the unified nomenclature or the name of the genus is enough. Out of the seeds of one variegated plant one can get lots of plant unique in their coloring. If we describe them, it is better just to enumerate colors without giving details. The only thing that I fear is that it is the flower that will be the main characteristics, not the color of stem, the number of ribs, auxiles and spines. That means you will have to check it on several dozens of plants.

Clones of one-color plants copy in most cases the color of their parent. It repeats in several generations.

Though there are rare exceptions. A one-color in several generations Gymnocalycium mihanovichii cv. 'Pottii' suddenly had got a variegated offset (photo 3). What shall we do in this situation? Most probably name it Gymnocalycium mihanovichii cv. 'Pottii' fa variegata) - variegated, but its parent was 'Pottii'.

So, I suggest:

  1. Following strictly the International Code of Botanic Classification that names the plants similar to AFC CULTIVAR (cv);
  2. Dividing cultivar into two groups - one-color (monocolor) and multicolored or variegated (variegata);
  3. Involving amateurs into the process of working out the unified nomenclature of cultivar, starting with cv. monocolor.

What do you think of it?
Dmitriy Rogatskin:

    Smolensk, Russia, 34, doctor. He has grown cacti since 1978, he specializes in Gymnocaluciym and writes a book on them.

There are problems with identifying colored Gymnocaluciym. The fact is that any colored form of Gymn has no original habitus. First, most of them (if not all) are hybrids. But one can identify hybrids on final forms only in the case of F2 (the second generation) if all the fruit is sowed and if you watch splitting characteristics. Second, even a normal Gymn. when grafted acquires features not quite characteristic of the plants growing on own roots. I happened to watch the development of a 3-colored form of Gymn. got out of pure brand seeds. If they had turned green I would have never believe they are what they are called. Habitus can change depending on the light and stock. So, one should divide plants into groups with stable and mobile coloring and also according to the depth of coloring. It may look like this:

    A. Only the skin of the stem is colored.
    B. The skin and below lying layer of issues is colored.
    C. The skin and below lying layer of issues as deep as the core is colored.
    D. The skin, below lying layer of issues and the core totally.

Ekaterina Markina
Chelyabinsk, Russia, gymnasia undergraduate.

Let's look at the possibility of indicating the color of the stem of cultivar similar to the way it is done with the flowers of gladiolus - two-digit number. The first figure is for the main color of the flower, the second is tint. For instance 98 stands for the darkest brown. The second odd figure is for indicating a colored spot on the flower, though the color of the spot is not determined. For cacti one can use not two-, but three- or four-digit number, the main colors are not so numerous: 1. Red; 2.Purple; 3.Pink; 4.Yellow; 5.Orange; 6.Dark violet; 7.Brown; 8.White; 9.Green.

Then the cactus of the lightest red color will have 10, and of the darkest yellow - 49.

It's quite easy to mark a two-colored cactus. The cactus having purple-yellow coloring with prevailing dark purple and the rest of will have 29-40. The cactus having purple-yellow coloring with prevailing dark yellow and the rest of light purple will have 49-20.

The three-colored cactus of middle red, light yellow and dark green will have 15-40-99.
This system allows you to understand the colors of the stem of cultivar without seeing the plant.

From the compiler: Please, send your comments and ideas.


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