Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Out of curiosity --

Of all the houseplants for which I've not yet written profiles, which one strikes you as the most obvious omission?




 





































































13 comments:

Karen715 said...

I voted for Philodendron hederaceum, because it is an extremely common plant--one of the basics--and something that a casual reader looking for plant info might expect to find. (This is not a personal expectation; I enjoy whatever you want to write about.)

Hedera helix, Dracaena marginata, Ficus elastica, and both of the Scheffleras are the other plants on your list I think would be in that "expected" category.

mr_subjunctive said...

Yeah, the ones I tend to feel bad about not having covered yet are Crassula ovata, Dracaena marginata, and the Scheffleras. I've occasionally had ideas for how to do them, and then decided that the idea wasn't that interesting, or was too much like something else I've done, or whatever.

I'm not necessarily asking the question because I'm planning to profile the winner next (though I might). I'm more just curious about what other people think is important. My five most-viewed posts are, as best as I can determine:

Euphorbia trigona (#1!)
Sansevieria trifasciata
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'
Cissus quadrangularis (!)
Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'

I can see how they all made it on the list, but it's not the Top 5 list I would have come up with if I'd had to guess beforehand. Especially the Cissus. Who knew there were so many bodybuilders out there?

mr_subjunctive said...

Should maybe also note that this is not the full extent of the plants that are left to write profiles about; they're just the twenty that I figured would be the most popular.

alenka said...

I voted for Schlumbergera/Zygocactus spp., for the same reason Karen described above, and it was a toss-up between that and Hedera helix and Ficus elastica. It's not that I like any of those plants, I just see them everywhere. But meh, I suppose there are better reasons to write in a blog, than the fact that some plant is everywhere -- I think people come here for your writing, not because you owe the world a free encyclopedia. Now, what do *you* think is the most obvious omission? Like, I don't know, that plant that you had since you were 18 months old, and that taught you your most important life lesson, and that you always have a cutting of, in your pocket, in case someone breaks into your apartment to steal the original plant -- and yet you still haven't written its profile -- ?

Karen715 said...

Well, Hooray for your Euphorbia trigona profile! It was what helped me determine that my much-loved plant is actually a Euphorbia lactea. After a couple of years of searching and looking at many confusingly similar (and possibly misidentified) pictures, your profile finally pinpointed the differences between them enough for me to make an identification. So, a belated thanks.

mr_subjunctive said...

Well, you know, a lot of the motivation for me to write these is because I like finding ways to make boring plants interesting (to myself) again, by finding out something about a plant that the houseplant books don't cover, or finding a way to relate the plant to something bigger than itself (the Rhapis excelsa profile kind of stands out in my mind as an example of that), or whatever. I consider some of the older profiles (e.g. Clivia miniata) more or less failures that way, because for them I couldn't come up with anything particularly interesting or new.

So there's a degree to which it doesn't actually matter which plant I do, commonplace or not, because the plant is not the object: the learning/novelty/perspective-change is the object. If I can't find something about Hedera helix that makes you look at it in a new way, e.g., that makes it more than just some plant you see everywhere, then I think I've failed, even if the writing is otherwise enjoyable to read.

The next profile is kind of a moot point at the moment, because I'm still working on Cordyline terminalis and enjoying that, and I can usually only think effectively about one profile at a time. I've tried it otherwise before, and it doesn't really work.

Cordyline terminalis will be good, by the way. I think.

Perky Skeptic said...

I voted for Aloe barbadensis 'cause it's a plant one sees everywhere and in everything. Also, I thought it odd that you like 'phorbs but not necessarily other dry-climate plants. Then again, 'phorbs are just inherently interesting. Then I thought about how to make aloes interesting. When that train of thought ended in the Robot Wars, I thought maybe I better leave it up to you. :)

James said...

I voted for Ficus elastica but I'd also like to see something about Schefflera. Radermachera sinica is something I'd like to see your take on as well, but I seem to recall that you don't particularly care for them.

mr_subjunctive said...

I don't not like Radermachera -- they're just a bad plant for me to try. Everything I grow is, sooner or later, going to have to go dry for a day or two beyond what it would prefer, and Radermachera won't forgive me for that. I tried once; it didn't go well; it seems like it'd be dumb to try again unless I change the way I water to accommodate the plant. There's still likely to be a profile eventually, but it may not be a profile that's heavy on first-hand experience.

vlmastr said...

For me, the biggest omission wasn't on your list. Philodendron scandens subsp. oxycardium (often just called P. scandens) is much more common than Philodendron hederaceum in my area (Ohio). It isn't as pretty, though, I suppose.

vlmastr said...

Actually, it looks like they're synonymous. I always associated P. hederaceum with velvety leaves, but maybe I was thinking of P. melanochrysum

mr_subjunctive said...

I think scandens, oxycardium, and hederaceum are three names for the same plant. Or at least they are according to Exotic Rainforest.

mr_subjunctive said...

Oh. Right. You got there first.