Monday, 23 March 2009

Imantophyllum aitonii

Imantophyllum aitonii Hook.
Bot. Mag. 55: t. 2856. 1828

By perhaps not such an extraordinary coincidence two rival botanical magazines published different names for the same plant ON THE SAME DAY. Hooker's name Imantophyllum was for a long time preferred over Lindley's Clivia, which however eventually prevailed and gained precedence. Even so it was as Imantophyllum that these plants were first grown at Monserrate.

Hooker later wrote the following in a footnote:

It was unfortunate that that plate of I. Aitoni appeared on the same day on which the same plant was figured by Dr. Lindley in the ' Botanical Register' as Clivia nobilis. The name may, we think, thus with propriety be transferred to the present genus, a near ally of, but certainly distinct from, Clivia, Lindl.

This was in relation to Imantophyllum miniata, written in 1854, 26 years after the day on which both names had been published. Quite a grudge! Unfortunately for Hooker this new plant, was also later consigned to Lindley's genus and became Clivia miniata, the most widely grown and beautiful of these plants.

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