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Yucca or dracaena...or both?

Steve Hinkson sphinkson at worldnet.att.net
Sat Jul 31 20:54:43 EST 1999

I guess the relationship depends on whether you're a "lumper" or a "splitter"
I'm a lumper.
You'd be amazed how many new orchid and CP species have been ""discovered""
since I was in college.  Now, every Drosera with a slightly different flower,
and/or leaf color is a species unto itself.  It's gone mad !  These
"discoveries" aren't important to horticulture, but for botany, they're getting
almost silly.
You're right, that the plant in question is likely mass propagated, but not
likely a Dracaena, as I can only think of two with stiff leaves.
As to the issue of closely related, I'd have to go with gene count and flower
STRUCTURE.  Looks don't count. Closely related orchids can be terrestrials from
grassland and a succulent epiphyte from a monsoonal desert.

Now, to my ultimate sacrilege.  Plant relationships are going to be hashed, and
rehashed forever.  Moving two plants into different sub-families, or into
separate genera, for that matter, doesn't change the genetics.  I can give you
the arguments for creating "Rhyncholaella", but those arguments don't change
the relationships of the "Brassavolas", nor their ease of hybridization, nor
their growth patterns.

The fact remains, no matter which taxonomy you subscribe to, that by my
criteria, yuccas and dracaenas are closely related.

What does all this have to do with "ET's" plant?
haven't a clue !
got verbose again?

Stephen M Jankalski wrote:

> Not necessarily, there is not that wide a variety of species mass
> propagated in Florida from trunk cuttings and sold "en masse" commercially.
> It extremely unlikely that e.t.'s plant is anything rare or unusual.
> Dracaena fragrans has smooth shiny leaves with smooth margins and Yucca
> elephantipes has faintly glaucous, roughened leaves with minutely serrate
> margins.
> The two genera are only superficially similar in growth form and not
> closely allied.  Yucca is in the Agavaceae and Dracaena is now in the
> Dracaenaceae according to Dahlgren, Clifford & Yeo (1985). Now if you want
> to revert to the long obsolete classification of Bentham & Hooker (1883),
> both are in their vast and vaguely defined concept of the Liliaceae that
> has been followed for so long!
> >
> >

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