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.)

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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.

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1 (Or so says Google Image Search, anyway. See also Wikipedia and www.bigleaforchids.com.)


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.)

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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.

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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.