This was tagged "ORTH. GERKIANA." Googling found the correct name. Wholesalers aren't obliged to care, I guess.
This was unusually expensive for a 4-inch plant at the ex-job; I don't remember the precise number but I want to say $13. (A normal 4-inch plant is $7.) This has been happening a lot there, which concerns me because it seemed to begin with the Anthuriums.
What I know about the Orthophytum genus is that there is one, it's in the Bromeliaceae, and one of the species is called O. gurkenii; beyond that, I have nothing. I suppose if I had one, I would probably try to treat it like a Cryptanthus and see how that went, but I'd never even heard of them before, so that's totally a guess.
I'm not particularly fascinated by crotons, normally, but this was a new type of variegation to me, and I do like it. It didn't make me want to buy the plant -- it's still a croton, whatever flashy new patterns it may be sporting -- but it works for me aesthetically.
Not a new plant, and not a particularly new variety of an old plant, either, but I was struck by the leaves; they seem more intricate than the usual Cyclamen leaf.
I actually would have bought this -- I've decided that I like Cyclamens, even if they do look crappy for a while after they've bloomed -- but it was still a little pricey ($10, I think), and I don't have a good spot for one right now. But it's not like I'm not going to have other opportunities.
I had to look hard at this plant several times before I decided that it probably wasn't a Ficus benjamina. The leaves were too thick and stiff, and the leaf tips seemed wrong in some hard-to-define way.
I think what I was seeing was that the leaf tips are blunter on this plant than on most F. benjaminas, and the branches are less weeping than benjaminas usually are, but investigation in the photo archives shows that it's not quite as clear as that. Microcarpa isn't always blunt-tipped; benjamina isn't always pointed; there's overlap on both ends, and I actually have some plants that grew one type when young and a different type when old. And there's even more variability with the branches, depending on the environment. So I'm left with nothing but my own suspicion that this isn't a benjamina. (I did ask, but the person I asked didn't know.)
It'd either be the first microcarpa I've seen grown to full tree-size and the first variegated microcarpa I've ever seen, or it's the first big variegated benjamina I've seen in a few years. I didn't buy it because I wasn't really interested in buying it, and also because it was $120 (!), but it was interesting.
I've seen these for sale very occasionally -- Wallace's, in the Quad Cities, has had them before -- but I've been leery about trying one because I didn't know anybody who's tried to grow one.
But! WCW was working the day I visited, and she actually has tried to grow one: apparently hers was just kind of miserable all the time. She said she couldn't figure out when to water it. It seemed to complain whether she did or didn't, and eventually it died, or was discarded, or something. (She didn't actually say what happened to it.)
Steve Lucas's page on P. martianum (warning: much taxonomic discussion at the link; not for the faint of Latin) suggests that she was probably keeping it too wet. They can be grown terrestrially or epiphytically, but prefer to be epiphytes (which might explain the need for the enlarged, water-storing petioles), so in theory they'd be accustomed to drying out relatively quickly and then having to wait for more water. I won't be testing this theory, because they wanted $50 for it, but it's a cool-looking plant either way. Maybe someday.
Finally, I don't have a photo, but I saw a Spathoglottis NOID in a hardware store in Iowa City for $10 something. It was in at least a 6-inch pot, too, which a 6-inch pot of anything for $10 is pretty good outside of a big box store. It didn't have any flowers, or an ID, but its leaves were all still dark green and healthy-looking. I thought about it.
In the end, I wound up buying something else, mostly on the grounds that although the Spathoglottis was an incredible deal and I would likely never ever see one that cheap again in my entire life, I've also never really had any desire to own a Spathoglottis. The ones at work always got bleached, black-spotted leaves after they'd been around a while. (My theory was too much sun or heat or both, but we didn't have them around regularly enough to test that.) Orchids and I are getting along much better since people told me about them needing ammonia-based nitrogen instead of urea-based nitrogen, but I'm not quite ready to open my home to any more of them just yet.