EPI. 25 Let's Talk with Rachel Colette Conroy

EPI. 25 Let's Talk with Rachel Colette Conroy

We are ecstatic to bring you an episode with Rachel Colette Conroy! If you have heard any of our episodes before, you know, we have talked about Rachel, her love for Hoya and extensive knowledge many times! This is an episode for all you Hoya nerds who want to learn more deeply about the Hoya species, cultivar, nomenclature and other fascinating tid-bits about the genus! Confused on how to write Hoya names? What is a species, anyway? Find out through this episode!


Listen on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or anywhere you prefer to listen!

Episode 25: Let's Talk to Rachel Colette Conroy


Also, a huge thank you to Rachel for taking time out of your weekend to record with us and your continued friendship as we learn and grow!



In the ever growing world of Hoya, properly writing Hoya names has been a tough task! Rachel kindly clarified the meaning of species, cultivar, trade names and best practices for labeling your Hoya: 


The most basic category in taxonomy. A system of classification for things, and in this case, plants. Species as the major bottom ranking means it is the most defined. But every ranking has been described. There is a written description and type for the Genus Hoya and also for Families above that.

Sometimes a new collection will be found and matches nothing else in any known Herbarium or written description and becomes a type specimen representing a new species. That was more common before the days of fast communication on the internet and between institutions with the ability to confirm what was out there already or see new collections from the forest immediately, but it still happens today. Sometimes you will see ‘known only from the type locality’ and that may be the only time a species is ever found, whether or not it exists elsewhere in the world. But the publication is made expressly so that future collections can be compared. This new collection now has a name and type and if it is found elsewhere in time or another location, it can be compared to this new publication.

Most common is to see species with variation among their populations from different regions, some which have even been published again and again into separate species and then that has to be addressed in future publications to clarify that actually those species are the same with variation and not separate species at all.

For familiar examples: Hoya verticillata var.verticillata, Hoya nicholsoniae, Hoya latifolia.

Widespread and common species with variation in the way they they appear depending on the exact collection or population.


Trade Names vs. Cultivar Names:

When a cultivar has a trade name, the trade name should never appear without the cultivar name.

Proper Examples: 

Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ KRIMSON QUEEN

Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra’ KRIMSON PRINCESS

Hoya carnosa ‘Argentea Picta’ SILVER PRINCESS

Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’

Hoya carnosa ‘Rubra’

Hoya carnosa ‘Argentea Picta’

Improper Examples:

Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess

Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’

(this has become a common name after appearing on its own so many times but it is not the name of the cultivar and appearing in this fashion is responsible for swallowing up so many other cultivar)

Especially not acceptable is Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’ since a trade name can never be a synonym.



pc: A simple how-to guide on writing Hoya names! Courtesy of the collaborative work of Let's Talk Hoya and Rachel Colette Conroy. 


Expanded Notes on the How-To Guide: 

1. Published Hoya can also include the author of that species. 

Example: Hoya lacunosa Blume

2. Alleged cultivar, cultigens, or mutations do not have standing. A cultivar is a published and specific status under the ICNCP.

Example: Hoya ('Blessing'). Written within parentheses to note it as an unpublished cultigen that doesn't actually have cultivar status. 

3. Unpublished names circulating on the market are just unpublished names with no standing. No publication means no description or way to know they are referring to a single clone or cultivar. For each of these that someone comes forward to publish these as cultivars that would change but in the meantime they are really not anything since they often come without reference to a cultivar name.

4. Writing received as if it came that way, or from if it was collected there. It best not to assume locality information about a Hoya and should only be noted if a seller has disclosed they are certain of locality information. 


For Labeling Tags or Inventory Writing:

  • It is not suggested to add locality info, characteristics, etc. on tags, rather, on actual notes or in an inventory system like Ruurd von Donkelaar’s.
  • For anyone feeling they need to include descriptors on a tag, they could be included as follows (depending on the characteristic). Writing info before the genus does not need to be in parentheses:

Example: splashy Hoya obovata

Example: Hoya serpens (splashy mutation)

  • For those who don’t keep an inventory / are worried about losing the info / are just making a sales listing it is understandable to put it below/on the tag. 



pc: Rachel Colette Conroy, Hoya lyi 



Interested in knowing more about incorporating the rules and recommendations for naming plants in cultivation? 

Find the ICNCP (International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants) here.

Find the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants by IAPT here.


Want to follow Rachel and some of her amazing work?

Find Rachel on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/myhoyaconservatory/

Find her collaborative efforts with STEMMA Journal here!

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1 comment

Love love love your podcast!! I’ve loved Hoyas since no one one else loved Hoyas BUT I’m so excited that everyone loves them now because so many new ones are available. I’m always looking to add to my collection and listening to your podcast always gives me some wishlist plants, helps with care, and general info to add to my brain. (Now IF my lacunosa would stop hating me……)


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