Monday, July 25, 2016

Pretty picture: Dendrobium Andree Millar

Well. We made it through the RNC with no deaths. Not even any assaults, as far as I'm aware. This should be normal, of course, but I wouldn't have bet on it, so congratulations to the city of Cleveland and their police.1

Only 105.5 days left until the election.2

I'm thinking about ending the orchid-only posting after this week, but no promises; I'm enjoying the break from blogging a lot more than I expected to (I even have time to work out again!). And I still have the problem that nothing new is happening with the plants: lots of new Anthurium blooms (and one very late Schlumbergera), just like it was before the break. We'll see.

Meanwhile, there is an orchid to consider.

I'm unhappy with the photos I got. I don't remember it being nearly this intense of a yellow in person, and the blooms have a sort of . . . hunched-over? look to them that I'm not particularly into, where the tepals bend over to cover the lip. The number of blooms is impressive, I guess, but I'm actually more interested in the foliage, particularly how broad the leaves are. I haven't seen a lot of Dendrobiums with leaves like this.

The patterning on the flowers' labellums (labella?) is interesting, too; I wish it had photographed better.

I couldn't confirm this one at the International Orchid Registry site, but I don't know why. I did find it elsewhere on the net, so I assume it exists, but it's weird for something not to be in the IOR database. The photos I found elsewhere on-line don't match my pictures very closely -- in particular, a lot of them have purple lips, rather than brown, as my photos show. The closest match I found was at

The few places that had ancestry for Dendrobium Andree Millar have it as:

Dendrobium Andree Millar = Dendrobium atroviolaceum x Dendrobium convolutum

and I suppose I'm prepared to believe that that's the truth.

This is the first time I've seen this particular plant at the orchid show, but there have been some relatives in previous shows, which all look like Den. Andree Millar to some degree or another.

Related via Den. atroviolaceum:
Dendrobium Aussie's Chip (2013): 1/2 Den. atroviolaceum
Dendrobium Spider Lily (2011): 1/4 Den. atroviolaceum

Den. convolutum previously:
Dendrobium convolutum 'WK' x self (2014)


1 No, seriously. I mean it.
2 I feel like there might be bipartisan popular support for limiting the length of our election cycles, as many other countries already have. It's certainly no fun to be in a early primary/caucus state, which is also a swing state, for the 24 months leading up to an election, and I bet residents of New Hampshire would back me up on this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Jiuhbao Black Rose

I'm pretty meh about the actual flowers here, though I remember them seeming larger than standard, so that's something. And I can't deny that it's not well-grown. I just don't, you know, care.

The tag had "Jiuhbao Black Rose #1" on it, but I didn't see anything confirming the "#1" as part of the official name and am not sure what it's supposed to signify. A clonal designation, maybe?

Ran into a confirmatory image here, so I'm pretty sure the plant was accurately identified.

Phalaenopsis Jiuhbao Black Rose = Phalaenopsis Lioulin Black Rose x Phalaenopsis Jiuhbao Sweetie (Ref.)

In other news, as I write this on Tuesday morning, the U.S. has successfully passed through the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio with only the usual number of national shootings. It sucks that I've had to set the bar that low, but at least the RNC has managed to clear it.

I'm going to stop writing now, while the above is still true.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pretty picture: Bulbophyllum lobbii

I responded to some of the comments people left on the previous post, but if you don't feel like checking on them:

The U.S. has not devolved into a Mad Max-style wasteland full of people shooting at one another, as it appeared might be the case following Dallas. So we have that going for us, at least, and I'm genuinely a little surprised. I remain really anxious about next week's Republican National Convention -- it would be difficult to create a more powder-keggy situation on purpose -- but maybe that, too, will pass without the country falling to pieces. Maybe there will even be no bloodshed. We can hope, at least. 2016 really should throw us a break sooner or later.

And as far as taking comfort from nature goes, of course that's a good thing. Election years are always1 hard on me, but this year has been especially bad. It's much easier for things like Orlando / Philando Castile / Alton Sterling / Dallas to knock me off balance if there's also an election happening. And things get even worse if I start making weird assumptions like "calm" = "unconcerned," as I was kind of doing in that last post. So if looking at pictures of orchids is part of how you manage to stay functional, I apologize for making it more difficult to do that.

At the moment, I would really like to find something to do, but either don't have the resources or the temperament or both for most of the Black-Lives-Matter-related things I can think of, and to be honest I'm probably not in the right frame of mind to be useful at the moment even if presented with something useful to do.2

But we have an orchid, at least. And it's a pretty nice one, even. Bulbophyllum lobbii is apparently another really variable orchid species; the previously-seen B. lobbii specimens haven't looked much like this at all:

Bulbophyllum lobbii 'Kathy's Gold' (2013)

Bulbophyllum lobbii 'Sonoma Gold' (2015)

I suppose the other possibility is that some of these are misidentified, but on-line image searches show a lot of different-looking plants. I'm assuming it's probably just that variable.3 This year's plant is easily the prettiest of the three. Lucky for us.

In other news, I can now report that all five Amorphophallus are alive and working on leaves (or maybe blooms, but I'm assuming leaves):

It's still ridiculously late for this to be happening, and some of the leaf buds are still so short you can barely see them in the picture, but everybody's accounted for, and at least I don't have to worry that they've rotted. Hopefully they'll have time for photosynthesis before fall arrives.


1 (For values of "always" greater than or equal to 1998.)
I paid attention to elections, and cared who won, prior to 1998, but it became personal in '98 because that was the year that all politicians of both parties ran against Ellen DeGeneres, and I was pretty newly out to people myself, and it was really, really tough to hear some of the things people were saying about LGBT Americans.
2004 and 2010 were also unusually difficult -- '04 because that was the year of "maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent the gays from getting married," and '10 because that was the year when Iowa's elections were partly focused on recalling the judges who had ruled in favor of gay marriage in 2009. So every six years, I guess, is an especially bad election for me, but none of them are ever actually good. And none of the especially bad ones were competitive with 1998 until this year.
2 But e-mail or comment anyway, if you hear of something.
3 Like Rhynchostylis gigantea, it has a pretty large natural habitat -- Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines -- which probably explains a lot of the variation. It's also possible that they look different depending on growing conditions; I believe the 2015 and 2016 specimens were entered in the show by different exhibitors, based on how they were tagged and displayed.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pretty picture: Phragmipedium Samuel Crothers

(Video may be barely NSFW, due to one word.)

See also.

I spent all day Friday upset. Again. And I'm torn between using this post to say look, not everything is awful, there is still beauty in the world, on the one hand, and being so rage-depressed about my country that I rant-sob at you for several paragraphs, on the other.

What good is an orchid? Should my priority really be to try to be soothing and calming right now? Wouldn't anger, directed at the appropriate targets, do more good in the long run? Ah, but: who or what are the appropriate targets? And which do you start with? What do you say?

And why yell at you? You didn't kill anybody. You're probably as upset about it as I am (if you're American, anyway; I wouldn't expect non-Americans to care as much). You don't have any more power to change this than I do, or have secret knowledge about how to turn everything around.

So I think I'm going to split the difference and just stop talking.

Here's your stupid orchid. Don't you dare find it comforting.

Phragmipedium Samuel Crothers = Phragmipedium kovachii x Phragmipedium fischeri (Ref.)

Related via Phrag. kovachii:

Phragmipedium Peruflora's Cirila Alca (2012 show), Phragmipedium Haley Decker (2013), Phragmipedium Peruflora's Spirit (2015).

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pretty picture: Dendrochilum latifolium / Random plant event: Amorphophallus konjac

Most of the photos of this plant I found on-line show the flowers closer together than on this particular specimen. I don't know if this is significant or not, but it seemed worth noting. The species naturally varies a bit, and D. latifolium has at least two natural varieties (D. latifolium var. latifolium and D. latifolium var. macranthum, so the difference could be genetic, cultural, or both.

Though the individual flowers aren't particularly beautiful, the sheer number of them is striking.

In other news, one of my five Amorphophallus tubers has pushed above the soil line, finally. They're all running very late this year, which makes me either anxious or angry or both, depending on how responsible I feel for the delay.

I've also recently discovered the Amorphophallus offerings at Plant Delights Nursery, and am very tempted by A. henryi and A. ongsakulii in particular. Any readers have experience with either of these?

Failing that, would anyone like to try to reassure me that the rest of my A. konjac (plus one A. bulbiferum) bulbs still intend to do something?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pretty picture: Cattleya Love Castle 'Kurenai'

Not a lot to say about this one; it's a perfectly normal and lovely Cattleya, but my camera kind of balked at the color.

Cattleya Love Castle 'Kurenai' = Cattleya Psyche (1902) x Cattleya José Dias Castro (Ref.)

One of the things I'm doing during the semi-hiatus, that I didn't have time for previously, is taking Schlumbergera cuttings, for eventual sale.1 I don't have enough space to get cuttings of every single seedling, I don't know how many cuttings each plant will be able to give, and I'm unsure how many cuttings will actually root, so it's not yet clear exactly which seedlings I'll be selling,2 but I'll let you know when we get closer to September.


1 Yes, thrips are a problem, but I haven't been seeing them around since the plants stopped blooming. They don't appear to be able to eat the Schlumbergera stems, only petals, pollen, and the skin on fruits. Consequently, I think cuttings are a low risk for transmitting thrips, as long as they sell before they start to bud.
2 Though I already have multiples of some 2014-15 plants, so these are pretty safe bets: 012A Sofa Fort, 023A Stoked, 026A Brick Wall, 028A Phil Collen, 054A Helpful Gesture, 055B Fort Venus, and 088A Cyborg Unicorn.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


I've been having a tough time keeping up with the posts as scheduled, and I haven't been feeling like I was doing a particularly good job making them interesting anyway, so I'm going to take a break of undetermined length. Everything's fine; I'm just tired.

Orchid posts will continue as usual.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Hampshire Medallion

I like paphs in general, but I really like Hampshire Medallion. Big, flattish, light-colored, spotted but not bumpy: something about that combination pleases me.1

There have been a few "Hampshire" paphs previously (Hampshire White Light, Hampshire Greenfield); although they don't appear to be particularly related to Hampshire Medallion, all three plants are registered by the same hybridizer (Arnold J. Klehm), so this appears to be yet another case of a breeder staking a claim on a particular word and naming their entire output after that word, as I-Hsin Biotech has done with "I-Hsin" and OX Orchid Farm has done with "OX."

As I churn through lists of words, looking for names for the Schlumbergera seedlings,2 I'm more and more sympathetic to this approach. I didn't realize before I started doing it just how quickly the list of all possible names gets whittled down, when you're talking about a particular seedling.

Like, soon, I have to come up with a name for an orange Schlumbergera. Rule out all the options that are inappropriate / offensive ('Piss Christ,' 'Nazi Party'), not offensive exactly but still unappealing ('Maggot Infestation'), deliberately confusing or misleading ('Gardenia Perfume,' 'Sky Blue Sky,' 'Hylocactus'), technical or jargony ('Undisenfranchised,' 'Cholecystectomy'), likely to step on another hybridizer's toes ('Interpretive Dancer,' which I love as a concept, but would probably lead to a fight with whoever has been producing the "Dancer" plants: 'Caribbean Dancer,' 'Cyber Dancer,' 'Exotic Dancer,' 'Limelight Dancer,' 'Polka Dancer,' etc.), overly similar to names I've already used ('Strawberry Shortcake;' close enough to 082A "Strawberry Madeleine" as to give me pause), or too obvious ('Sunset Orange,' 'Tangerine Dream'), and there are surprisingly few options left. After a while, the only way to generate usable novelty is to start throwing random words together.

Which is presumably how we've wound up with orchid names that sound like someone threw random words together, e.g. Masdevallia Copper Angel 'Highland' or Goodaleara Pacific Truffle 'Surrogate Star.' I'm not 100% convinced that this is necessarily a problem,3 and if it is a problem then I'm not sure every breeder picking a special word to identify their output is a particularly good solution,4 but whatever the solution, I have a much deeper understanding of the problem than I did when I started blogging about them back in 2007. If Arnold J. Klehm wants to stake a claim on the word "Hampshire," more power to him, I guess.

Paphiopedilum Hampshire Medallion = Paph. Hanes' Medallion x Paph. Barbi Playmate (Ref.)


1 See also Paph. Lunacy, Paph. concolor, Paph. bellatulum, Paph. Huddle 'Joan,' Paph. delenatii x Paph. Doctor Jack, etc. Though the stripey ones are still better.
2 Which I thought was over for the year, but then Schlumbergera 200 produced a bud -- in June! -- down in the basement, which is in the process of opening as I write this (on Tuesday the 21st). I'll give you three guesses what color it is, and the first two don't count.
3 (I suppose it depends on how comfortable one is with nonsensical and surreal names. It occurs to me that orchid names could make fantastic strong passwords, à la "correct horse battery staple," if one chose an obscure enough orchid. And clonal names even automatically include two single-quotes as non-alphanumeric symbols, making them that much stronger.)
4 Another option for generating large numbers of names would be to choose a single word that can be paired with a large number of others and still make some kind of sense, as with the "Dancer" line of Schlumbergeras or the "Love" Anthuriums. Though there are even fewer words that combine sensibly with a large number of other words, so the number of ways to do that successfully is probably limited.