Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Norman's Jade

By now, the reader will have noticed that PATSP has been nothing but orchids for the last six weeks or so, and I feel like I should explain. The plants, led by the Anthurium seedlings, chose November to try to break my heart. It's not yet clear whether they succeeded in breaking it, exactly, but it's at least pretty damaged. And this is on top of the episodic panic attacks and what have you; the plants waited until I was weak to strike. As they do.

November was shitty.

How did they try to break your heart, you may be asking. Well, on top of the scale that I've been trying to get rid of for the last five years or so, which I periodically get really close to eliminating via imidacloprid and then discover that nope, it's still here, and on top of the thrips, which have been uglifying the Anthurium flowers and leaves for nearly as long, and for which the only remotely effective cure is "white oil," which not only makes the whole house smell like rancid vegetable oil for weeks afterward but also causes all the Anthuriums to drop any flowers or buds they might have, and doesn't even eliminate the thrips, I've added two new ongoing and ineradicable1 plagues to the Anthurium seedlings.

The Xanthomonas infection has been spreading through the Anthuriums for most of this year (also likely before this year -- I suspect it came in on the NOID pink/green Anthurium -- but bacteria that spread via water droplets really go nuts when you start spraying all the foliage with water every time you water, in an attempt to blast off the thrips, which didn't even work), and is now uglifying some of the seedlings which had remained more or less pristine through the thrips and scale. There's also, as far as I can tell, nothing I can actually do about it, save for throwing out all the affected seedlings. I'm aware of a treatment that places beneficial, or at least non-harmful, bacteria on the leaves, making it harder for Xanthomonas to establish itself, but as far as I can tell, that's only a preventative measure, and doesn't do anything to cure plants once they've been infected. If there's a way to cure infected plants, I haven't run across it yet, and if I did run across it, odds are good that I wouldn't be able to afford it. So it's possible that the only option I've got is to throw out all the affected plants and hope to outrun the Xanthomonas, which I'd be more optimistic about if that had worked for me with any plant pest or disease ever.

And then in just the last couple months, the mysterious unidentified mites from this post in 2014 have made their way to the Anthuriums downstairs. (They'd been on the upstairs ones, intermittently, for longer, but I hadn't made the connection between the mites and the leaf damage until the last few weeks: I'd been assuming thrips. The ghost mites2 prefer to feed on larger leaf veins, and appear in such numbers that affected leaves wind up looking like they've been hit by especially anal-retentive thrips: dead brown streaks that follow all the large veins, with relatively little damage in the spaces between them. The ghost mites also seem to be perfectly happy hitting older leaves, as opposed to the thrips, which prefer new growth, so really there was no reason to ever think that this was thrips damage, but perhaps I can be forgiven for not being willing to believe that I had another plant pest in the house, given the circumstances.

And it hasn't just been the Anthuriums, of course. Had a scary bunch of defoliation happen on the Neofinetia falcata out of nowhere, which briefly had me convinced that it was in the process of dying. (It has since stabilized, or at least wants me to think it has. No doubt waiting until I'm weak again.) A number of Dracaenas have broken out in spots that remind me of pictures I've seen somewhere. I can't remember if the pictures were of a bacterial leaf spot disease or a fungal leaf spot disease, as if the distinction matters. A very tall Pilosocereus pachycladus fell into my shoulder during watering, which hurt (spines in the shoulder! Lots of them!) and then hurt (the part of the cactus that hit me the hardest hollowed out and turned blue, purple, and finally black -- it's not clear whether the damage is continuing to spread).

I had decided in the spring of 2016 that I was done with the Euphorbia grandicornis. It was a salvaged cutting from a much larger plant that had never done very well for me, due to inadequate light, but I couldn't quite bear to just throw it out, so instead I planted it in one of the Canna beds, figuring that it could live (for a while) if it wanted to, and we'd see how that went. Naturally it loved it outside, even after the Cannas grew over it and I forgot that it was even there. Saw it in the fall and was like, holy crap, that's pretty impressive, maybe it deserves a chance to live in the house after all.

So I pulled it up and brought it inside,

You can probably figure out which is this year's new growth, yes?

and gave it its own pot of fresh soil. Whereupon it immediately shriveled, blackened, and died, proving once and for all that the Euphorbiaceae is the least appreciative plant family. A Gasteria seedling (the last one in this post, the light green one with thin leaves) died on me without warning or explanation. Lost another Polyscias seedling (#10), and now #8 isn't looking so hot.

Even the Schlumbergera seedlings are letting me down a little bit this year. As predicted, I've finally seen some colors outside of the red / orange-red / red-orange / orange / light orange spectrum, which should be good. But A) not nearly as many as I had expected, and B) the non-red/non-orange seedlings have been very similar to plants I already had: the NOID white seedlings have been either white/white or magenta/white, and the NOID magenta seedlings have been magenta/white, white/white, or in the red-to-orange spectrum. The three second-generation seedlings (all from 025A Clownfish) have been orange/white (239A), orange/pink (240A), and red/pink (244A). So I'm not breaking any new ground at all, color-wise.3 Plus, the most recent first blooms have been all chewed-up,

(Seedling 069A, first bloom)

because the thrips have finally eaten enough Schlumbergera petals from the early-blooming seedlings that they've multiplied and prospered. Now the thrips can start attacking the late-blooming buds, meaning the late blooms look like shit as soon as they open.

And this isn't even all; there's one plant-related thing from November/December that is literally still too painful for me to tell you about,4 there's the usual steady stream of Anthurium-seedlings hitting the walls and exploding5 (28 seedlings since mid-November), there are the mostly-disappointing new Anthurium blooms,6 there's the first scale sighting on a Clivia since I've had Clivias. And, mostly, there's the increasingly firm conviction that nothing I do is going to make any of these things go away. There are too many plants, too many hiding places -- the only way forward is to dump a bunch of them, cure the remaining ones, and then build back up again. Or maybe the smart thing would be not to build back up again.

So the reason I haven't been blogging about the plant collection is that the plant collection is horrible, and hurts just to think about, and I've been on the verge of throwing out like 95% of the Anthuriums for something like the last six weeks but haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Throwing them all out is clearly an overreaction, throwing none of them out is obviously an underreaction, throwing some of them out requires hard choices about who lives and who dies and why, plus if I keep a seedling I should have thrown out then I don't even get rid of the problem. So I've been continuing to water and despair, postponing the decision, while everything gets worse. I'm no longer starting new Anthurium seeds already, as of 23 October: the berries just wither and die on the spadices now. This wasn't originally a conscious decision, but once I realized I was doing it, I decided it was just as well, so it's a conscious decision now. Not sure whether I'm going to bother potting up all the seedlings that have already germinated: I'm postponing that decision too.

I'm toying with the idea of going on indefinite hiatus from the blog as of late March, when the last of the 2016 orchid photos is scheduled.7 This is more likely to happen than not, I think, because the plants have been steadily less and less fun over the last five years and there are things I would rather do with my time,8 but I do still want to get the Schlumbergeras named -- hardly urgent, but I've come up with some names I like and want to use them -- and although I'm not sure you need to see all ten, at least half of the Anthurium blooms since the last Anthurium seedling post are interesting in one way or another. So there will probably be some non-orchid posts coming eventually. We'll see how I feel about plants in March. (If you hear me humming "Freedom 90" a lot in February,9 brace yourself.10)

Almost doesn't seem worth bothering with the orchid, but I promised a Phalaenopsis in the title, so here you go.

*deep breath*

"Jade" seems like an exaggeration. I mean, yeah, yellow jade is a thing, as an image search will confirm for you, but it's not the color people think of when they hear "jade." I have a note here that the bloom closest to the tip of the spike was darker yellow than the others, but I can't remember whether that means it was the youngest bloom or the oldest bloom. Which direction do Phalaenopsis buds open, again?

I also noted that I got really tired of light yellow, when I was going through the photos from this year's show. Didn't notice it as a theme when I was taking the photos, though.

I found photos of a couple named clones of Norman's Jade ('Green Angel' and 'Montclair Canary'), the first of which seemed sort of green, but alas, both were on a site that sells orchids, and the pages have been taken down since I found them, presumably because they're no longer selling those particular clones.

I suppose in the abstract, this is a nice color,11 but it doesn't do much for me as a Phalaenopsis.

Phalaenopsis Norman's Jade = Phalaenopsis Prospector's Dream x Phalaenopsis Norman's Mist (Ref.)


1 (?)
2 (My own term; I still don't know what they are. I'm positive they're not cyclamen mites or spider mites, though. Or at least not the normal species of cyclamen/spider mites: they're not rounded and shiny enough to be cyclamen mites, and they're the wrong color, and not mobile enough, to be spider mites. They also don't produce webbing like spider mites. Therefore: ghost mites. Until I come up with an ID.)
3 It is beginning to seem plausible that the cross that started this whole thing, the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach, was the only cross I could have made that would have resulted in anything new or interesting, and it's just dumb luck that it happened to be the cross I started with.
4 Q: well Jesus, Mr. S., if you're not going to tell us what it is then why even bring it up?
A: I don't know. I'm sorry.
5 Dramatization (you have to imagine that the cars are seedlings):
6 As well as two that weren't disappointing at all. Or, well, one that wasn't disappointing at all -- 0802 Dana International, my first dark(ish) purple -- and one that looks likely to be my first green seedling, provided that the bud doesn't drop (1268 Lil' Miss Hot Mess). It'll be a while before 1268 is officially not disappointing.
7 Why not immediately? Well, I made notes on the orchid posts when I uploaded the pictures, so I don't have to work as hard to come up with something to say about them. Schlumbergera- or Anthurium-seedling posts require more work. Posts about other plants are even more work than that.
8 Like what? I dunno. Maybe I'll dye my hair. Maybe we'll move somewhere. Etc.
More seriously, I'm working out a lot. Like, a lot. It helps with the panic.
9 (♫ Take back your pictured pollen grains / Take back your yellowed, dead dumb canes / I just hope you understand / Sometimes the plants do not make the man ♩♪)
10 Also, RIP George Michael. :^(
11 I mean, if you get abstract enough, any color is as nice as any other. They're just varying proportions of photons, of different energies, hitting your retina and being interpreted as color by your brain. Seems silly to say this combination of photons is beautiful but that combination of photons is disgusting. But we say that. All the time.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum (Mildred Hunter x Adam Hausermann) x Winston Churchill

Well. Chalk up another cross for good ol' Winston Churchill, I guess. This one's nice, if not particularly different. Which is just as well, since it's Christmas and no one is going to see this post anyway.

Ancestry stuff:

Paphiopedilum Mildred Hunter = Paphiopedilum Atlantis x Paphiopedilum Everest (Ref.)

Paphiopedilum Adam Hausermann= Paphiopedilum Telesis x Paphiopedilum Gigi (Ref.)

Paphiopedilum Winston Churchill = Paphiopedilum Eridge x Paphiopedilum Hampden (Ref.)

We've seen Paph. Winston Churchill 'Indomitable' previously, in 2012, and various half-siblings have shown up in 2013 (Paph. Cheryl Ann Boyd) and 2015 (Paph. (Adam Hausermann x Winston Churchill) and Paph. Keyshill). The half-siblings are all pretty similar: some variation of shape, a little variation in color, but otherwise basically the same.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pretty picture: Epidendrum Petticoat Pink

. . . or maybe it's Epi. Sun Valley 'Pink Petticoats.' I couldn't find a "Petticoat Pink" in the International Orchid Registry. I did find a Sun Valley 'Pink Petticoats' on the internet, but the color isn't a close enough match for me to be confident about the ID. So I don't know what this is for sure.

And I mostly don't care, either. Not only am I not that into this kind of Epidendrum (though I like the ones with the orange/green/magenta combination, like Epi. pseudoepidendrum, the hybrids tend to be shaped more like this one, e.g. Rose Valley 'Caribbean Dream' or Neon Valley. I appreciate the distinct shape and arrangement of the hybrids, I guess, but they're just not my thing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum (Mod Maude x Shin-Yi Pie) x Hsinying Rubyweb

It's nice when the dark blooms aren't so dark as to be completely devoid of color, I guess.

Paphiopedilum Mod Maude = Paphiopedilum Maudiae x Paphiopedilum Red Maude (Ref.)

Paphiopedilum Shin-Yi Pie = Paphiopedilum Raisin Pie x Paphiopedilum Magic Flame (Ref.)

Paphiopedilum Hsinying Rubyweb = Paphiopedilum Hsinying Web x Paphiopedilum Ruby Leopard (Ref.)

Somewhat related, from 2008: my own personal Paphiopedilum Supersuk 'Eureka' x Paph. Raisin Pie 'Hsinying' x Sib, which lived here for about three and a half years, and has now been dead for four years. (It is predicted to remain dead for the foreseeable future.)

And from 2009: Paphiopedilum Maudiae Alba NOID.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pretty picture: Dendrobium Spring Bird

I have disliked orchids before, for various reasons. Sometimes the flowers are fine but just didn't photograph well; sometimes they don't do anything for me personally, but I can see why they might appeal to other people, so I just chalk it up to "not my thing" and move on. With this one, though, for reasons which aren't entirely clear to me, I just hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

In this particular case, it didn't photograph especially well either, but I looked at other pictures of the same grex elsewhere on the internet and concluded that the photos were more or less accurate. It really is kind of a muddy and washed-out light orangey pinky yellow. *shrug*

I couldn't find photos of either parent on-line, though I'd be willing to bet that both are prettier than this.

Dendrobium Spring Bird = Dendrobium Demitasse x Dendrobium Sweet Love (Ref.)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pretty picture: Maxillariella Maui Coconut

At some point, a new genus, Maxiarella, was split off from the genus Maxillaria. And I would just like to take a moment to boo and jeer and make rude gestures at the taxonomists who thought it would be a good idea to split one genus into two that are practically anagrams of one another.1 I'm sure you had your reasons, guys, but nobody's ever going to be able to keep those straight. If you're not going to try to make the words recognizably different, maybe just leave them in the same genus, okay? It's not like anyone will know.

And then you get the intergeneric hybrid of the two, which is Maxillariella, also very easily confused for both of the parent genera. I mean Jesus Christ, taxonomists. Is the thrill completely gone from changing the names around every five minutes, that now you have to invent new ways to upset and confuse everybody?

[noise of irritation and disgust]

Anyway. Name aside, I don't have any particularly strong feelings about this one. We've seen previous Maxi[mumble]a species in 2015 (M. cucullata), 2012, and 2014 (both M. tenuifolia) The foliage on Maui Coconut is more interesting than usual, I suppose, but the flowers are small and unshowy.

I'm pretty sure this is supposed to have a fragrance, and my notes say that I might have gotten a whiff of something coconuty at the show but I wasn't sure about that.

I'm also not actually that big a fan of the smell of coconut, so even if I were certain about the fragrance, it wouldn't improve my opinion of the hybrid much.

Maxillariella Maui Coconut = Maxillariella sanguinea x Maxillariella tenuifolia (Ref.)


1 Not quite actual anagrams, but about as close as a pair of non-anagrams could get; they differ by one letter. Both start with "Maxi," both end in "a," both contain a double-L and an "ar," but they remain one letter apart. (maxiarElla; maxillarIa)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis NOID

The tag said 'Phalaenopsis Gigantia "Sunshine,"' but there is no "Phalaenopsis Gigantia" in the IOR records.

There is a species, Phalaenopsis gigantea, which as its name implies is enormous (leaves to 2 feet (0.6 m) long!), with blooms that have dull red or maroon dots sprinkled liberally over a white, cream, or light pink background.1 It sounds pretty incredible, and photos that include the leaves are pretty impressive, both in the size of the leaves and the number of individual flowers per spike.

However, basically none of that description applies to this plant. From the photo, I'm guessing it was in a 4 or 5-inch pot, which would make the leaves maybe 5 or 6 inches long. 2-foot leaves may not be required for blooming, of course, but if the leaves don't look like Phal. gigantea, and the blooms don't look like Phal. gigantea, I'm forced to conclude that either this isn't Phal. gigantea, Phal. gigantea is a lot more variable than Google lets on, or Phal. Gigantia is an actual plant that the International Orchid Registry has somehow just not heard of yet. And I trust Google and the IOR a lot more than I trust orchid show tags.


1 (Or so says Google Image Search, anyway. See also Wikipedia and

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pretty picture: Rhyncanthe (Cattleya Horace 'Maxima' x Rhyncanthe Daffodil 'Bee's Wax')

I've written this post over and over and didn't like any of them, so now the post is like four days late. However, I did warn you I was likely to be quiet for a while, so I don't feel too bad about the lateness.

There is no whole-plant photo because the one I took turned out really badly.

Cattleya Horace = Cattleya trianae x Cattleya Woltersiana (Ref.)

Rhyncanthe Daffodil = Rhyncholaelia glauca x Guarianthe aurantiaca (Ref.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Hawaiian Contrasts

This is another Lehua creation, but I couldn't find it on their site when I was preparing the posts in April.

I really liked the foliage. So few orchids have interesting-looking foliage1 that it's always exciting to run across one that does.

It's possible that I'm forgetting something, but I think this was as close to green as the blooms got this year. Not exactly dazzling, but there's a place for subdued colors too.

Paphiopedilum Hawaiian Contrasts = Paphiopedilum Varuna x Paphiopedilum Jewel Green (Ref.)


1 Search your heart: you know it's true.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pretty picture: Lysudamuloa Red Jewel 'Sweet Baby'

This is the second Lysudamuloa Red Jewel from the show, the one with a clonal name attached. It looks an awful lot like the other specimen; I wouldn't be at all surprised that that one was also 'Sweet Baby,' just without a tag to identify it as such.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Anthurium no. 1095 "Carolina Pineforest"

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I'm experimenting with a coping strategy.1 I ran into it at MetaFilter. I asked the person who posted it via private message whether they wanted to be named specifically, whether they wanted it quoted directly or paraphrased, etc., and they said use it however, it's not even mine.2 So.

It's not exactly a "follow these steps and be saved" kind of strategy. It's not even a "here's how to turn everything back around after a setback" strategy. It's more "here is what you can do when you feel like you can't do anything, as a way of (maybe) building some momentum that will (eventually) enable you to (begin to) turn things around."

Oh yeah, there's also an Anthurium seedling to evaluate. You'll forgive me if it doesn't seem especially important. Though a tiny part of me is pleased with the color. Haven't had an actual white seedling before, only very light pinks.

Improve things. This is not necessarily grandiose like "clean everything in the entire house" or "start a national movement to change public opinion," though I suppose if you feel up to something like that then go ahead. It's more like, clean the bowl that's sitting in the kitchen sink. Make your bed. Do that minor format tweak to your blog that you've been meaning to do for the last six months. You don't have to make it perfect, you don't even have to finish. Just make something better than it was. If dusting all four shelves of the bookshelf seems like too much, tell yourself that doing just one of them is fine. (It is fine.) A lot of self-care sort of winds up in this category, too: remember that you will need to eat things sometimes even if you don't feel hungry,3 that you'll need to rest even if you can't actually sleep, that you still need to take your meds if you can't imagine feeling any more miserable without them, and so forth.

Appreciate things. Again, this need not be "get dressed and drive to the nearest state park so you can walk along the beach and become inspired by the beauty of nature / vastness of the night sky / calming sound of the waves." All you have to do is find something about the world that is pleasant, and take a moment to acknowledge that. Are your holiday cacti blooming? Well, that's something. Do you have a pair of scissors lying around with handles that are a pretty shade of blue? Well, blue is a nice color; let's take a second to focus on that. Do you live with someone who has a nice laugh? Did that home-improvement project from six months ago turn out well? Are you capable of doing an internet search for "cute kitten video?" Can you wear that t-shirt that fits you just right today (even if you can't get it together to shower; even if the shirt isn't clean)? Is the room at a comfortable temperature? Doesn't that bookshelf (or that one shelf on the bookshelf) look nicer now that you've dusted it? Etc.

This is a leaf.

Connect with other people. You don't have to run for office, march in the streets, or volunteer at the food bank if you aren't up to doing those things, but you know somebody who would sympathize with you. Or there's someone out there who needs your sympathy. Or just spend time with your roommate / spouse / relatives4 / pets. (Pro tip: pets are also good for Appreciating.) I've found this one the hardest, because when it comes right down to it, I'm not actually in regular contact with very many people, and a good chunk of the people I am in contact with . . . wouldn't be good people to talk to, for this particular situation.

Protect something or someone. Make a donation to a charity that does work you respect. Get out the old rubbing alcohol and wipe down that cactus that has mealybugs again. When that coworker starts disrespecting that other coworker in your presence, maybe say something this time, or make up any excuse to get the victim out of the situation ("hey, X, can you show me how to change the copier toner again? It's not working for me."). Give your dog his heartworm medicine. Call your kid's school principal and tell him what you think about the lack of an anti-bullying program in the school.

If everything I've just said still feels like it's more than you can handle right now, and/or if you're having thoughts of suicide,5 you may be suffering from acute depression. I can't make you do anything, obviously, but I would encourage you to seek help. If you are in immediate suicidal crisis and in the U.S., you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; they will connect you with a crisis center in your area that provides immediate, confidential emotional support, and can help you get other resources you need after that.

If you're not in an immediate crisis, but still want help and don't know where to start, the National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can refer you to someone in your area who can help with mental or substance abuse problems. The Helpline does not provide immediate emergency counseling over the phone like the NSPL does, though.

The leaves are on a plant.

If you're somehow not feeling paralyzed and hopeless, and you're not in immediate crisis . . . um, that's awesome for you, I guess.

And that's kinda all I've got. Posting was going to be erratic and not very interesting anyway, for mysterious reasons I may or may not ever explain to you, plus the plants are displeasing me lately so I'm not super motivated to write about them, and now . . . well, now, I've got all this scissor-looking-at to do. So, you know, set your expectations really low as far as frequency and quality in the near future.


1 Any co-occurrence with historically significant events is coincidental. In fact, I don't even know what you're talking about.
2 It's apparently adapted/borrowed from two books by Steven Stosny, Love Without Hurt and Living and Loving After Betrayal.
3 I lost 6 pounds (2.7 kg) in the 72 hours between Tuesday morning and Friday morning. I make myself eat, because I know I need to, but I don't enjoy it, and afterward I always kind of wish I hadn't. Still alive, though, so . . . so far, so good, I guess.
4 Not valid for all families, obviously.
5 I will cop to the occasional fleeting "well, all things considered, I guess death might not be so terrible." I don't think this counts as having actual suicidal impulses, since I'm not actually contemplating ways to make that happen, just looking for a silver aluminum cadmium lining in the event that it happens against my will. It is, obviously, debatable whether this qualifies as mentally healthy, but I feel like I'm doing okay compared to a lot of people, and I'm not actually in any imminent danger, also unlike a lot of people, so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pretty picture: Oncostele Midnight Miracles

This was my favorite plant from the whole 2016 show.

I don't usually like the Oncidium-adjacent orchids very much, but this one had a weird depth to the color that I liked. The depth was only sort of capturable in photos. This was as close as I got:

I think what does it for me is the subtle banding across the petals.

I found a Midnight Miracles photo on Flickr; that specimen is darker, lacks the bicolored lip, and although it's difficult to tell the size of the bloom without any context, it looks to me like the flower is smaller overall.

Oncostele Midnight Miracles = Rhynchostele bictoniensis x Oncidium cariniferum (Ref.)

Haven't seen Midnight Miracles in previous years' shows; the most similar previous plant is probably Miltassia Charles M. Fitch x Odontocidium Black Beauty, from the 2012 show.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Anthurium no. 0407 "Maria D'Millionaire"

I appear to have missed the moment when Maria initially unfurled her spathe, though I couldn't have missed it by more than a week, so the odds are good that this was never a pretty inflorescence:

Still, it's unusual for a spathe to flip backward so hard and fast that it actually curls around itself:

Actually, now that I think about it, Maria's most notable for coming up with inventive new ways of being horrible. Her foliage would never be great,

but she went through a spell about a year ago where she would start building leaves and then forget to finish them:

In some cases, she couldn't even be bothered to finish building the petiole, never mind the leaf:

Had she not budded in May,

Maria would have been gone a long time ago, but I kept her around on the off chance that the bloom might have been interesting.

I suppose technically it was. My fault for not being more specific.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Anthurium no. 0811 "Alma Children"

Here's Alma.

Alma's from the BY seedling group (seed parent 0234 Ross Koz; sow date 29 September 2014), which has produced three other blooming plants to date, and her inflorescences don't especially resemble those of her mother or any of her sisters.

0234 Ross Koz (seed parent).

The BY seedling group.
Clockwise from top left: 0807 Lucinda Italic, 0811 Alma Children,
1038 Adlai Lowe, 0855 The Very Miss Dusty O.

I mean, the whole point of propagating Ross in the first place was because I liked his spathe color and size.1 None of the offspring have gotten anywhere close to the same color, and Alma's the first seedling to produce spathes of similar size.2

Although Alma's color is one we've seen before,3 she does it really well, and is therefore probably a keeper regardless of what's happening with the foliage.

Fortunately, the foliage also looks decent. I mean, it's not going to be the centerfold in Verdure magazine4 or anything, and there's an unevenness to the texture that bugs me a little because I can't decide whether it's thrips-related or not. But the foliage is fine, even if there isn't very much of it.

So yeah, a keeper.


1 To a lesser degree I was hoping for foliage like Ross's as well. It's plain-looking, but large, and holds up well against the thrips.
2 It's possible that the seedlings in group BX are also full siblings; the sow date for BX was two weeks earlier (15 September 2014) but it was probably from the same spadix. If so, then 0805 Triana Hill is another sibling with dissimilar color, but similar size.
If it's possible for offspring of 0234 Ross Koz to have similar coloration, we should find out eventually. In addition to the BX and BY seedlings, which should continue to bud for a while, I should be seeing buds on the DB and DT seedlings in January or February. So by May or June 2017, I'm guessing, we'll have seen quite a bit more of what 0234 Ross Koz is capable of as a seed parent.
3 (0108 Deena Sequins, 0110 Delta Badhand, 0112 Dottie A. Rebel, and 0698 Landon Cider)
4 (I buy it for the articles.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Fuller's Sunset

I'm a little confused by the name on this one; I suppose yellow sunsets do happen, but it's not the color I associate with sunsets particularly. Maybe that's the point?

The whole-plant photo below is crappy, but it does at least show that the bloom in the close-up above is a significantly darker shade of yellow than the other flowers on the spike.

The plant doesn't do a lot for me personally, but there's nothing especially wrong with it. Just not my taste, I guess.

Phalaenopsis Fuller's Sunset = Phalaenopsis Taisuco Date x Phalaenopsis Chian Xen Queen (Ref.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Anthurium no. 0765 "Hope Leeze"

Not a lot going on with this one; Hope is one of the relatively small number of seedlings to bloom before being moved up to a 4-inch pot, but she wasn't especially early; I just haven't had room to move plants up lately. So some of them get to around 2 years old and then decide to bloom anyway.

The color is good -- I'm not yet tired of the red / pink combination, though there have been several.1 And even if the bloom isn't huge and gorgeous, I'm surprised at how little visible thrips damage I see. On the other hand, the foliage is kind of uninspiring,

and the plant is already kind of floppy in its pot,

so I'm not seeing strong arguments in favor of keeping it or in favor of throwing it out. Probably I'll keep it for a while and then throw it out when I next need space.

P.S.: I know this post sucked; I suddenly have a lot less time to work on the blog. I'll explain eventually.


1 (Hope's coloration is most similar to 0072 Beth Rowe, 0144 Graham Reaper, and 0575 Darcy Drollinger, but there have been about six others)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Random plant event: Schlumbergera x buckleyi seedlings

Out of bloom, most commercially available Schlumbergeras look more or less identical.

Approximately rectangular, with a deeply serrated margin. We've all seen it.

(The above photo isn't of my seedlings, but it may as well be; that's what their parents looked like, and that's what they look like too.)

So I was curious about what the seedlings from Schlumbergera x buckleyi were going to look like, since buckleyi has several traits that distinguish it from the others: the notches in the stem segments are very shallow, the margin between the notches are rounded rather than coming to a sharp point, the overall segment shape is narrower (sometimes with a triangular base), and the habit of the plant overall is much less upright than the S. truncata hybrids.

This photo was originally taken to highlight the shape of S. x buckleyi fruits, but it works well enough to show segment shape. For what it may be worth to you, perfectly round, smooth fruit is more the exception than the rule, and a number of my seedlings can make "ribbed" fruits like this, though most of the seedlings that do this make 'em round sometimes and ribbed other times. As far as I've seen, buckleyi fruits are always ribbed.

The 28 buckleyi seedlings I started in March 2015 are now producing mature new growth, and it's pretty easy to tell the difference between a group of them and a group of other seedlings of different age, though some of the buckleyi seedlings overlap the others enough in appearance that I don't know that I could accurately pick out the 10 buckleyi seedlings in a group of 30 seedlings.

Top row, L-R: 261, 263, 270
Second row: 273, 274, 275
Bottom row: 260, 268, 276, 277
(It may help to view the photo full-size.)

As you can see from the picture, they're all making attempts at marginal serrations, similar to x buckleyi, though the shapes vary. 274, 260, and 268 have scalloped (crenate) edges, that make the segments look something like a child's drawing of a cloud; most of the others are half-assing it, putting occasional slight waves in the margin without a sharp indentation. They also mostly take after x buckleyi in having longer, narrower segments than usual.

I haven't investigated whether the drooping habit is inherited or not; most of them are still small enough that they'd be upright even if genetically programmed to droop.

Buckleyi's bloom color is nice --

-- and I will be excited to see whether it transfers to any of the offspring, but they'll have to bud up first, and there's a substantial obstacle in the way of that happening. Buckleyi is exceptionally picky about having long, perfectly dark nights, and will not set buds otherwise. In some years, I've gotten no blooms at all from my two buckleyi plants; last year I got maybe ten flowers overall, mostly in the spring,1 and I had to put the flat on a low shelf in the plant room, remove an artificial light from a couple shelves above, and pile up a bunch of plants in front of the buckleyi to block the light, in order to get even that many.

So far, only three of the buckleyi seedlings have moved into the plant room (#s 256, 271, and 272), and none have tried to bud yet. This doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to be fussy about dark nights too -- only about a third of the seedlings capable of producing a new first bud have done so,2, 3 and it's still very early in the season -- but it's not an encouraging sign, either.

In any case. I don't necessarily like the stem segment shapes from this group of seedlings (though 268, one of the "cloud" ones, is intriguing), but they're distinctive enough that I'll probably be able to tell if x buckleyi was the pollen parent for any of the future batches of seedlings. Which will be nice.

I'm thinking about trying to make deliberate crosses this year, if I can figure out how to identify which are which: I have so many random crosses from last year that I don't even have space to start all of the seeds, much less enough space to pot up all the seedlings that result,4 so I either have to switch to specific, deliberate crosses, or convince the husband to add a second basement.

Finally, I wanted to share this picture of seedling 354, because I was impressed with how much branching it thinks it's going to be doing:

354 is a second-generation seedling (seed parent: 082A Strawberry Madeleine), and the photo was taken when it was about two weeks shy of being a year old.


1 Though x buckleyi tends to bloom later in the year than the S. truncata hybrids, and is therefore more deserving of the name "Christmas cactus," they don't have to bloom in late December. The few dated photos I have of mine are from 27 November, 1 December, and 15 February, and I'm pretty sure that my buckleyis were blooming late into the spring last year, after most of the other schlums had stopped. I just wasn't taking their pictures anymore, because by that point I was pretty sick of taking Schlumbergera pictures.
2 By contrast, it seems like all of the seedlings that bloomed in previous years have budded up already; as I write this on 27 October, three have even opened a bloom already: 025A Clownfish, 034A Wahine, and 082A Strawberry Madeleine. Two more (033A Clueless and 057A Pyrotechnic) will have a bloom open by the time you read this.
3 Of some interest, perhaps: one of the second-generation plants (seedling 239) is budding. Its seed parent is 025A Clownfish; I have no idea what the pollen parent was.
4 A very rough headcount of all the Schlumbergera berries suggests that I probably have about 125 ripe berries at the moment. Each berry produces an average of about 80 seedlings (also a pretty rough guess). That means that I have something like 10,000 potential seedlings from ripe berries, on top of the 2000 or so seedlings still in the germination containers.
With the Anthuriums, it's been (somewhat) possible to cross them randomly and start every seed I get (though I'm actually starting to get picky about which seeds I sow and which I let wither on the spadix), because a lot of the seeds fail to germinate, or the seedlings die or are discarded for one reason or another, each individual bloom doesn't produce very many seeds (The record is 121 on a single spadix from 0239 Russ Teanale; average seeds per spadix is closer to 20-25.), and each individual plant doesn't produce that many blooms. None of those apply to Schlumbergera, which virtually all germinate, live forever once germinated whether I pot them up or leave them in the germination containers, produce many seeds per bloom, and bloom several times per season.