Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 094

Naming this one is easy and hard at the same time. Easy because I really like all four name finalists (Deer Devil,1 Harriet Tubman,2 Pele's Lipstick,3 and Some Clowns4), hard because I'm not sure the seedling is worthy of a good name.


Why unworthy? Well, there was some thrips scarring. I've chosen photos for the post that show less damage, but it was there. Also, some of the seedlings have produced petals which shade from white on the "tube," through orange and red, ending with magenta at the very tips,5 and 094A seems to be somewhat inclined that way --


-- but isn't committing to it as much as the others have. Since this was only its first year blooming, I don't know whether it's going to do this with more conviction in the future, or whether it's just experimenting this year. If it's going to get fully on board the magenta-tip train next year, it should get a really good name, and if it's not, I shouldn't worry about it getting a good name.


So, with that in mind, which name do I use?

I think Harriet Tubman is best reserved for a seedling that is unambiguously awesome.

I also feel that way about Pele's Lipstick, but at the same time, I feel pretty strongly that that name should go to a seedling with the white-orange-red-magenta coloration. 094A is the last seedling of that type for the year, so if I don't want to wait until next year to use it, this would be the seedling to use it on.

Deer Devil works just as well, or better, for a red seedling, though it's also a good name for a seedling I'm not sure will be a good one. So I suppose I have to hold on to it too.

Some Clowns is color-appropriate with or without the magenta, and it honors a person I'm fond of, so I don't want to drop it, either.


So I thought about those three options for a few days. Sometimes when I have multiple options available and I'm having trouble settling on one, thinking about how I'd feel if I flipped coins and X result came up can help eliminate a few choices. After running a few of those mental experiments, I decided that Deer Devil would be disappointing, and Pele's Lipstick would make me wonder whether I was wasting a good name on a seedling with the wrong coloration, so it winds up being 094A Some Clowns.

-

1 Previously considered for 106A Jaws of Elmo and 192A Oney Judge, and apparently destined to be one of those names that keeps coming back until I break down and use it.
2 Surely I don't have to explain how and why Harriet Tubman is awesome?
3 (suggested last year by reader Paul for seedling 217A Blood Frenzy)
4 Previously considered for seedling 165A Assertive, and one of the names that would honor a non-famous person who's been personally important to me, for good or ill.
5 Most notably 083A Psychedelic Bunny, but also 067A Cyndi Lauper, 074A Vroom, 079A Yayoi Kusama, 082A Strawberry Madeline, 106A Jaws of Elmo, 107 Nova Prospekt, 176A The Quality Of Mercy, 192A Oney Judge, and 217A Blood Frenzy, to varying degrees.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 120


Seedling 120 was one of the last few seedlings to bloom this year, so I only have one or two flowers1 to evaluate, but it's a nice enough flower, I think. Seed parent was the NOID white, pollen parent presumed to be the NOID magenta because . . . well, because look at it.

Since it arrived late, I didn't have a chance to come up with name finalists for it, but it seems like I've been throwing out a lot of the pre-selected names lately anyway, so maybe that's not so terrible.


I tried plugging these colors into TinEye, just for old times' sake, getting the colors from two different photos on the off chance that they might be different enough that TinEye would deliver different results. Which I did (first set of colors; second set), but neither group was terribly useful: the first was all flowers, breast cancer, and gay pride parades (plus one image of Pepto-Bismol residue in a cup, which pleased me for some reason); the second was almost entirely flowers. I'm surprised there wasn't anything related to Barbie dolls, or to girls' toy aisles in general, 'cause this is exactly that color. Maybe people on Flickr don't take photos of toy aisles.

Anyway.


Initially, I was inclined to go through the normal process of coming up with four options and then eliminating three of them, but the news has been very . . . distracting, lately. (I'm writing this at 9 AM on Thursday; by the time you read it, I expect at least three more bombshells will have dropped.) So not only do I not really have time to go through that whole process, but there's a pretty obvious choice staring me in the face anyway. I already felt kinda bad about rejecting the name Barbara Jordan for seedling 176A, and it sure feels like an appropriate time to invoke her name.


Therefore, 120A Barbara Jordan.

-

1 (can't remember)


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anthurium no. 0378 "Annie Thingeaux"

Annie's mainly notable for her foliage. I mean, the flower is okay, I guess --


-- but it's not doing anything particularly new or interesting. But the leaves, the leaves are remarkable. They don't photograph all that well, because they're a darker green than normal; the camera has a lot of trouble with dark leaves or spathes on a black background. But it's not the color that I'm excited about, it's the almost total lack of thrips damage. Check it out:


Not flawless, but holy crap, that's so much better than most of the other seedlings. The shape is also a little different than usual, though I'm sort of at a loss for how to describe them. More rectangular than triangular, I guess?


All of which is subtle stuff; I don't imagine you care all that much. But it's kind of exciting to me, especially the thrips resistance part.


Of course there's a catch. Annie barely blooms. The first bud was in August 2016, forty-one months after her sow date,1 and she didn't manage an actual open bloom until December 2016, so good luck getting her interesting traits into another generation of seedlings. She's a keeper regardless -- she might even have a shot at a promotion to a 6-inch pot, which sometimes also convinces reluctant bloomers to start producing flowers -- but that may or may not ever actually pay off for me. We'll see.

-

1 The current average, for all 282 seedlings to ever set buds, is slightly over two years. (median 25.5 months; mean 28.5 months) Annie doesn't hold the record for the slowest sow-to-bud time (that record is held by 0105 Deanne T. Christ, who took 54 months), but she's in the slowest 10% of the seedlings.
A surprisingly large proportion of the seedlings in the slowest 10% got thrown out before they managed to produce a bloom.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Question for the Hive Mind: Hippeastrum NOID

A reader sent me this photo of a bloom stalk on their unidentified Hippeastrum.


That sure looks like the plant is building full-sized leaves under the flower buds. I did an image search that turned up a few sort of similar things, but I didn't find any photos that showed anything quite as large and leaf-like as this. Most of the Hippeastrum photos out there don't show anything remotely leaf-like at all.

So I guess the question for readers is just, what exactly is going on here? I know what it looks like -- it looks like this plant is trying to build a plantlet on its bloom stalk, like it's a Phalaenopsis or Agave or something -- but that's not something Hippeastrum actually does, is it?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 009

Seedling 009 finally got around to blooming, but it wasn't really worth the wait. Not many blooms, a color we've seen many times before, lots of thrips damage, and the blooms either opened so hard that the petals practically laid flat against the "tube" or barely opened at all.


Name finalists: In The Moment, Overcorrection, Personal Reasons, Sleeping Dog.

In The Moment is one of the names that honor someone from my life (previously considered for 165A Assertive). Since it's not obvious, I'll note that the reason "in the moment" seems appropriate for this person is because they appear to be completely incapable of anticipating or planning anything ever; it kind of feels to me like this seedling was caught unprepared for blooming, hence the crappy flower.

Overcorrection seemed appropriate for a seedling that would either barely open its petals or would open them way too hard.

I imagine that, if asked why the blooms were so crappy and infrequent, the seedling would claim Personal Reasons and refuse to comment further.

And then Sleeping Dog, because this is an even better "dog" candidate than 104A Needs Practice was, and I don't mind the undertone of menace in the name nearly as much now as I did when I considered it then.


I could probably live with any of these names, and they're all mildly derogatory, so I don't have compelling reasons to choose or reject any of them, but I suppose In The Moment sounds a little more positive than it is, and maybe it would be better to hold that name in reserve for a prettier seedling.

Also Sleeping Dog maybe makes the plant a tougher sell than it would otherwise be, considering what everybody says you're supposed to do with sleeping dogs. Not that it's likely to get sold in the first place, but you know. I should still be prepared for the possibility.


And, of the two remaining options, I find I kind of like Personal Reasons better than Overcorrection, so I guess this will be 009A Personal Reasons. Not entirely satisfying, but whatever, I'm probably not keeping the seedling that much longer anyway.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 097

I seem to be approaching that point in the year where I can't come up with any more names that I like at all. I had four finalist names for this one ready to go, but once it was time to actually work on the post, all four names were problematic in one way or another. (It may also be worth pointing out that each year, more seedlings need new names than the year before: in the 2014-15 season, I had 36 Schlumbergera seedlings bloom for the first time. The next year it was 43. This year it's 50.)


So what qualities of seedling 097A are most notable? Well, the color isn't incredibly consistent. In person, it tended to look red or orange-red, but some of the photos make it look completely orange. The only other thing is that it produced a lot of blooms, though that seems to be fairly common. Like they have a bunch of pent-up blooming energy that has to come out the first time they bloom, and then afterwards are more measured.

Neither quality suggests any particularly good names, alas, and it took me an afternoon of picking through the big list o' names and a question to MetaFilter to come up with ideas I found acceptable. (And then only barely acceptable, but better than the original set of names.)

They are: Apples and Oranges, Dynamite Stick, Hot Nickel Ball, Italian Takeout, and Ladybug Ladybug.1


So. Hot Nickel Ball falls first, because it's part of the title of a ridiculously repetitive and misogynistic song. I didn't know. That's why I search for the names first.

And I guess I'll drop Dynamite Stick too; the colors fit (in reality, they seem to mostly be red, dull red, or brown, but the cartoon / video-game version is almost always red or orange), but the "tube" of the flower is the most stick-like part, and it's also the only part that's not red or orange.


The color's a little vivid for Italian Takeout. Which leaves only Apples and Oranges or Ladybug Ladybug, both of which have problems. Specifically, this isn't a very appley red, and ladybugs have spots, which these flowers don't.2

So. Apples and Oranges is part of a specific phrase about comparing things which are not alike, which doesn't really apply here. I mean, this particular seedling's going to be compared a lot, but mostly only to the other seedlings, which are obvious and appropriate things for it to be getting compared to, so the name doesn't really apply. Ladybug Ladybug is also a reference, to a nursery rhyme. As with a lot of other nursery rhymes, the original meaning is quite a bit darker -- I'm not sure I even knew there were any lines following "ladybug, ladybug, fly away home" until I wrote this post.


So we'll go with 097A Ladybug Ladybug; it's more interesting.

-

1 For whatever it's worth, I appreciated a lot of the MeFi responses I didn't wind up using: some of the ones that were technically what I was asking for were nevertheless not appropriate for this specific problem. Like, the particular shades of red and orange of the suggested item weren't the shades of red and orange I'm trying to come up with a name for. In some cases, I couldn't come up with a name from the suggestion because there were brand names involved, or I couldn't come up with interesting words to pair it with, or whatever.
2 Well. They're not supposed to, anyway. Damn the thrips.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Anthurium no. 0648 "Bianca Del Rio"

Bianca is both special and not. She pretty much reproduces the color scheme of one of her grandparents,1 which is not special. On the other hand, she's the second white-blooming seedling, and the first white/yellow combination.2 And she'd be a pretty nice white/yellow, too, if not for the thrips, which love her, so every photo I've taken of her spathes has little brown scars all over them.



(Sigh.)

Unlike some seedlings, the thrips go for Bianca's leaves as well:


I don't have a very current whole-plant photo of Bianca; I took this one when the first bud appeared, last July,


but that bud aborted, and I didn't see an actual fully mature inflorescence until December. And then there was a backlog of Schlumbergera and Anthurium posts in December, so the whole-plant photo winds up being ten months old. The plant still basically looks like this; it just has a longer stem and more leaves now.

Not sure about the ultimate fate of the seedling; it'd be a keeper if not for the thrips, and, in theory the thrips could be eliminated. I just haven't been able to make that happen so far. So for the moment, I'm undecided.

As for Bianca Del Rio the drag queen, I have really mixed feelings about her. I mostly like her standup (NSFW), but she also does insult comedy,3 and I guess I've never understood the appeal of insult comics. But she also has a movie, Hurricane Bianca,


and, I mean, the movie wasn't high art or anything, but it was a lot better than it needed to be, which is impressive.

Also impressive: at the premiere party for RuPaul's Drag Race season 6, she sewed a passable dress in like three and a half minutes, on stage.4


So on balance, I'm pretty fond of Bianca (who, it should be noted, won season 6 of RPDR; it was never even close, really). If nothing else, she's obviously really quick-witted and smart. I just wish she would use her powers for good.

-

1 Bianca is the daughter of 0276 Zach Religious; my best guess is that Zach is the son of 'White Gemini' (known) and 'Pandola' (speculated).
2 The first white was 1095 Carolina Pineforest, whose spadix was also white.
3 (I looked, but couldn't easily locate a clip on YouTube)
4 Which, it should be pointed out, is not an especially complicated dress, and she used a very stretchy fabric besides, which is a lot more forgiving of irregularities in the cuts and seams than a stiffer fabric would have been. But still: can you sew a wearable dress out of stretchy fabric in three and a half minutes? 'Cause I couldn't.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 215

Not an incredibly interesting Schlumbergera seedling. I mean, it's pretty, but we've seen like ten thousand orange Schlumbergeras by this point and it's difficult to get excited about another one. Also it only produced one bloom, from which I got exactly one photo. So we'd best get to naming.


I had four name finalists but decided that one was stupid, so I dropped it at the last minute, leaving us with Apollo, Aqua Regia, and Unashamed.

Apollo is the Greek and Roman god of music, the sun and light, healing and disease, prophecy and truth, and poetry. I considered the name previously for 089A Halloween Moon and 114A Gallant Fox, and rejected it on the grounds that it wasn't interesting enough and that there's plenty of stuff named for Apollo already, respectively.

Aqua Regia is the mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids mainly used in gold refining. (It has a fancy name because it's been known for a long time.) I considered it previously for seedling 057B Oxomoco, and rejected it on the grounds that 057B was redder than aqua regia normally is (it's usually orange or yellow-orange).

Unashamed doesn't come from anywhere in particular, but I guess seemed appropriate for such a strong color.

So. Unashamed might be more appealing if I hadn't just named a seedling 165A Assertive. Not that the words are synonyms, but they're sort of related ideas, connected via the idea of directness, not being shy, maybe a little confrontational.

The two remaining words both have the problem of being Latin, or Latin-adjacent, which is a no-no for official cultivar naming, but Aqua Regia is much more obviously so than Apollo is. On the other hand, Apollo is much more likely to be in use already; people name things for Apollo all the time.1 And this particular seedling is unlikely to ever be officially registered, which means that the name is just for me and I can call it whatever I want, Latin or not.

I considered combining the two names. The most logical combination would be Apollo Rex, but that's already taken (a proposed TV show; a band). So I thought maybe an anagram?

The problem with anagrams is that there's a Q involved in "apollo aqua regia," which severely limits the number of ways to use all the letters. However, the anagram site I linked will also, if you ask, give you a list of the words that can be made from the input letters, whether or not the whole set of letters can be rearranged into words or not.2 So I looked at the candidate words for a while, and saw "Oriole," which I've considered as a possible seedling name in the past because they're orange birds.3 "Allure" was also on the list, and I kind of like how difficult "oriole allure" is to say clearly. So forget Apollo, forget Aqua Regia, I'm going with 215A Oriole Allure.

-

1 To illustrate, check out what the International Orchid Registry comes up with for orchids named "Apollo:"
• Angulocaste Apollo
• Brassidium Apollo
• Catasetum × apolloi
• Cattleya Apollo (1890)
• Cattleya Apollo (1908)
• Cattleya Apollo Eleven
• Cattleya Apollonia
• Cattleya Seagulls Apollo
• Clowesetum Jumbo Apollo
• Cymbidium Apollo
• Cymbidium Apollo Beach
• Cymbidium Apollo Eleven
• Cymbidium Blue Apollo
• Cymbidium Foxfire Apollo
• Cymbidium Kulnura Apollo
• Dendrobium Apollo
• Epidendrum Apollon Valley
• Epidendrum Big Green Apollo
• Luisanda Apollo
• Oncidium Apollo
• Oncidium Apollo Bay
• Oncidium Apollo Eight
• Paphiopedilum Apollo
• Paphiopedilum Apollo Creed
• Paphiopedilum Hsinying Apollo
• Paphiopedilum Miya Apollon
• Phalaenopsis Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Eight
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Eleven
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Fifteen
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Fourteen
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Nine
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Ten
• Phalaenopsis Apollo Twelve
• Phalaenopsis Apollo's Emerald
• Phalaenopsis Apollo's Gold
• Phalaenopsis Brother Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Golden Apollon
• Phalaenopsis KC Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Nobby's Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Sogo Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Sogo Apollo Sun
• Phalaenopsis Tai-Kan Apollo
• Phalaenopsis Younghome Apollo
• Phragmipedium Apollo
• Rhyncholaeliocattleya Apollo
• Zelenchostele Apollo
If there's not already a Schlumbergera 'Apollo,' surely it's only a matter of time.
2 E.g. the longest word that can be made from the letters in "Apollo Aqua Regia" is the nine-letter "paralegal," though there are no full anagrams containing "paralegal" because the letters left over are a, i, o, o, q, & u.
3 Well, orange and black. And usually the orange is substantially yellowish. Though there are species of oriole closer to this seedling's color.