Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Matches 3.7 and 3.8

Rules and Stuff
1) It's probably possible to vote more than once per poll, but please don't. If I believe that someone is voting repeatedly, I will throw out those results, repost the poll, and seriously question that person's priorities.
2) If you want to link to a poll on Twitter / Facebook / your blog / whatever and encourage your friends to come and pump up the support for your favorite plants, you are encouraged to do so.
3) You are also encouraged to leave comments on Rumble posts, if so moved.
4) All photos will enlarge if opened in a separate window/tab.
5) You can choose which plant is "best" according to whatever criteria you decide for yourself. My personal process is a bit convoluted.1
6) All polls will be open for three days.

Results of matches 2.29 to 2.32:

I found match 2.29 to be really strange. I don't know what it is about rosette-forming succulents that y'all get so excited about, but Echeveria and its relatives have been cutting quite a swath on the way to the championship, and now Aeonium's doing it too. Worse, Aeonium's done it to Euphorbia milii, which I think was clearly the superior plant. So I don't like this at all. Final score: 58 to 52.
I don't really agree with the results of 2.30 either, but I expected it: the air plant group of Tillandsias defeated Dieffenbachia cvv. 66 to 43.

Aeonium spp. and Tillandsia spp. clash on 22 October, in match 3.15.

I'm more comfortable with the other pair of matches. In match 2.31, Agave spp. pulled ahead of Hippeastrum cvv., 62 to 48, though things were a little shaky there at the beginning.
Last, Calathea cvv. won match 2.32 over Opuntia spp., 62 to 45.

Match 3.16 will pit Agave against Calathea on 22 October. Something about that seems kind of absurd, but I guess if the universe survived the Agave-Cattleya match, it'll survive this one too.

This concludes the second round. Families leaving the competition in the second round were the Araliaceae, Begoniaceae, Commelinaceae, Compositae, Droseraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae, Moraceae, Oxalidaceae, and Urticaceae. Let's give 'em all a hand!

[scattered applause]

The following families still have a (theoretical) chance to claim the championship: Amaryllidaceae (1 competitor remaining), Apocynaceae (2), Araceae (5), Araucariaceae (1), Asparagaceae (8), Bromeliaceae (2), Cactaceae (2), Crassulaceae (2), Cycadaceae (1), Gesneriaceae (2), Malvaceae (1), Marantaceae (1), Orchidaceae (2), Polypodiaceae (1), and Strelitziaceae (1).

My ability to predict the winners improved slightly in the second round: I got 24/32 (75%) correct.

EDITED TO ADD: Forgot to mention that the three plants I'm currently invested in (the two that I think are most likely to win, and the one that I'd most like to see win) made it through the second round intact.

And that's where we are right now. Today's matches:

Match 3.7
Platycerium spp. (staghorn fern) vs. Schlumbergera cvv. (holiday/Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus)

(Unidentified Platycerium spp.)

Center and top left: Schlumbergera 'Caribbean Dancer;' others are NOID.

Match 3.8
Cordyline fruticosa cvv. (ti plant) vs. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (tropical hibiscus)

Clockwise from top left: Cordyline fruticosa 'Florica,' species, NOID, NOID which might be 'Chocolate Queen,' 'Kiwi.'

All unidentified cvv. except left center ('Mrs. Jimmy Spangler') and bottom right ('Sunny Wind').


1 I'm deciding according to a hypothetical situation in which all of my houseplants are gone, as are all the other houseplants of the world, except for one producer/supplier/retailer. Said person is offering to restock me with one or the other of the plants in question but refuses to give me both. Which one would I choose?


Emily said...

Some of these pairings are so painful to decide between, and others I really couldn't care less about either one... these were a great illustration. First round very important plants; second engender little emotion.

Paul said...

I'm really rather surprised that Agave beat Hippeastrum. Though I did vote for Agave, I thought the Hippies would have much stronger support.

Tom said...

I'm really not sure I've voted for ANYTHING that has won. Ok that's not true but I feel like every plant I've strongly cared about has lost.

mr_subjunctive said...


I felt the same way about today's matches. I actually had a really tough time picking, on 3.8, because I was thinking of it in terms of well they're both going to get spider mites and look like shit, so what do I care which one I get? (I eventually picked Cordyline, because they seem to last longer, or look better while they're dying, or whatever.)


Agave has some serious mojo. I don't know how they're doing it either.

On the other hand, both matches so far have been pretty close: Agave got 52% against Cattleya et al. and 56% against Hippeastrum.


If it's really that bad, you may have to switch from rooting for plants you want to win to trying to predict which plants actually will win.

Long Haired Lady Rider said...

I agree with Emily! This process is fascinating to watch. A lot of my favorites have gone down to ignominious defeat (Why? Why? Why?), but I keep logging on every day to see what the latest train wreck or yawner is that's being offered up.

Which kind of makes it similar to the NFL each weekend.

Will there be a consolation bracket?

mr_subjunctive said...

Long Haired Lady Rider:

No consolation bracket, because that would involve nearly as many matches as in the regular bracket, and I'm not sure I could keep up double-posting for another month and a half.

I could see possibly doing this again in some fashion, another year perhaps: I had a number of ideas that I didn't use this time (e.g. dividing the field up into a Blooming Division, Foliage Division, Succulent Division, and . . . whatever the fourth one would have been). I'm also not entirely pleased with the unevenness of making individual species compete against large assemblies of hybrids and cultivars (the difference between, say, Araucaria heterophylla and Saintpaulia cvv. -- obviously Saintpaulia has an advantage there, because it has a lot more range of possible appearances, whereas Araucaria is what it is, nothing more). So the losers this time might have the opportunity to return in a different contest, but this year, I think I'll be content just to see who wins overall.

Long Haired Lady Rider said...

The fourth division would almost have to be plants that are best to have during the Zombie Apocalypse.