Monday, February 22, 2016

Anthurium no. 0366 "Maureen Biologist"

Nothing too unusual about Maureen. The blooms are smaller than I expected, but she's otherwise similar to her siblings 0365 Murray Hill (whitish spadix) and 0371 Deb Autry (small spathes, similar color). The spadix turned a little bit pink as it aged, which I think made it slightly prettier (at least more interesting), but you can judge for yourself.

The leaves are okay to good (I like the venation), though some of the newest ones have holes in them that I can't explain.

She offsets fine, too.

So really not a lot to say yet, even though she's bloomed. I like the blooms well enough that I've thought about moving her to a 6-inch pot, but so far, I'm not deeming her promotion-worthy. And that's about all I have to say about Maureen.

But that's okay, because I had something else to talk about: the progress, or lack thereof, at incorporating the genes from my recent Anthurium purchases, with "recent" being defined as "since 2013."

'Peppermint Gemini' (maybe)1

I bought 'Peppermint Gemini' in March 2013. It's the only Anthurium with speckled spathes I've ever seen in person, and I was really excited about getting to play with those genes, but it's been a disappointment, because it never blooms.

Not literally, but close to it. The plant had one open bloom and one bud when I bought it; the bud eventually opened. It then went on to produce one bloom in July 2014. And that's it. I got six seedlings from the bloom that was open when I bought the plant, of which only one survives, 0389 Eileen N. Vation.

0389 Eileen N. Vation. Pot diameter: 4 inches (10 cm).

The second bloom got me 21 seedlings, of which four have survived. The third bloom got me 13 seedlings, with four surviving. And that is all.

'Peppermint Gemini' seedlings tend to be weak, by which I mean that they just sit there without getting any bigger, or they grow leaves that dry out immediately, or they just up and die for no reason. This could be my fault: it may be that I've potted them up before they're ready. If I ever get another chance to sow some 'Peppermint Gemini' seeds, I'll have to let them sit in the germination container longer and see if that helps.

In any case, even when they survive, 'Peppermint Gemini' seedlings don't impress. Of the nine survivors, only two have ever been good enough to move up to 4-inch pots: 0389 Eileen N. Vation and 0610 Nina Levin. Eileen has had an ongoing problem with scale2 and will probably ultimately find herself in a landfill, wondering where it all went wrong. Nina has her shit more together but doesn't particularly impress. Neither has ever attempted to bud, though they're 29 and 24 months old, respectively, and 29 months is the current average age at first bud. So either of them could bud at any moment. Fingers crossed.

0610 Nina Levin. Pot diameter: 4 inches (10 cm).

There are no seedlings of 'Peppermint Gemini' waiting in the germination containers, nor any blooms from which seeds might eventually come.


I bought 'Joli' in March 2014, because the spathes are a very nice purple when they first open. I was then pleased to find out that it blooms constantly, is very easy to pollinate, and produces a ton of berries from every spadix. Just, like, a firehose of berries. 'Joli' is everything I could ever want from a parent, except:

The seeds have a terrible germination rate. Usually they're overrun by a fungus within a couple days. I don't have this problem with any other plant's seeds. As a result, though I've started at least 100 seeds from 'Joli,' I'm left with all of nine official seedlings.3 So 'Joli' hasn't been much help yet, on the genetic diversity front.

The oldest surviving seedling of 'Joli' is 1171 Chris of Hur, who will be a year old on March 7. Promising so far.

1171 Chris of Hur. Pot diagonal: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

I have 13 unofficial 'Joli' seedlings waiting to leave the germination containers, though only about half of those look good. There are ripe berries on the plant as I type this, plus I don't even know how many pollinated spadices with unripe berries, so the number of 'Joli' seedlings should climb slowly but steadily for the foreseeable future, just with lots of incidental fungus.


'Midori' was of interest because it's green, and I didn't already have a green. I bought it by mail order in June 2014. It was easy to bloom. Pollination didn't result in as many berries as I expected, but there were still some, and the seeds mostly germinated once I sowed them. The problem in this case is that 'Midori' died on me, 13 months after I bought it. Then the seedlings weren't very vigorous, so most of them also died before I could transplant them,4 and the seedlings that were strong enough to transplant have mostly not been strong enough to live. There have been eleven official seedlings, four of which survive. The oldest survivor is 1094 Ella Vawaydego, who is a little over 13 months old.

1094 Ella Vawaydego. Pot diagonal: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

There's only one 'Midori' seedling still in the germination containers, but it's looking awfully unsteady so far. I'm thinking 'Midori' will have to accept whatever genetic legacy its four current seedlings can produce.

NOID green-and-pink

The NOID green-and-pink (which might be the variety 'Fantasy Love' but it wasn't tagged and I have no idea really) I bought in February 2015 was strange in multiple ways at once: not only multiple colors in the same spathe (green, pink, white), but the pink follows the major veins in the spathe, any green in spathes is unusual,5 the spathe is a weird saddle shape I've not seen elsewhere, it blooms plentifully, and the spathes are large. So it had a lot of possible traits it could impart to the gene pool here, even if I'm not necessarily that crazy about the plant itself.

And, of course, being the one I'm not that crazy about, it's probably been the most successful introduction. It blooms a lot, the blooms are easily pollinated, the seeds germinate well, and the germinated seedlings seem pretty vigorous so far. Twelve official seedlings, all of which are still with us. They were all sown in August 2015; some were potted up in December and some were potted up in February.6 The best-looking one of the group is probably 1369 Tahara, who is now about seven months old.

1369 Tahara. Pot diagonal: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Another 12 or 13 seedlings are in the germination containers now, awaiting names and numbers, plus I have a bunch of berries ripening. The plant also throws out a new bloom every so often, so the NOID green-pink should have an ongoing genetic contribution to make for quite a while.

NOID dark red

And finally the NOID dark red, which I wanted for its foliage: the leaves are huge and dark. It had a couple blooms on it when I bought it in March 2015, though they were both too old to pollinate, and it hasn't produced any new buds since. (It did do something this winter, at one point, which could have been a new bloom or a new leaf, but whatever it was died before I could tell what it was going to turn into.)

Too soon to tell whether it's genes might be useful, but the lack of blooming is a concern, and obviously there are no seedlings to speak of yet. I'm not optimistic, but I'm willing to wait a while before I give up.


1 ID is a guess; there was no name on the tag, but there was a tag saying that Twyford had produced it, and I could only locate one Twyford plant with red blotches on a white background, so I'm assuming that that's the one I've got.
2 The reason she looks so sparse and lopsided in her photo is because sometimes I just remove the affected leaves if they appear to have scale, instead of throwing plants out entirely. It's not clear that this has ever actually resolved a scale infestation for me, but in the moment, it's less work than throwing plants away, so I'll probably keep doing it.
3 "Official seedlings" being the ones that looked promising enough for me to take them out of the germination container and give them their own pot. Once that happens, they're assigned a name and ID number and go on the spreadsheets. Trying to keep track of each individual seed from sowing to blooming is too much even for me, and I've never even been tempted to try.
4 Some of this was also my fault, for letting the vermiculite in the germination containers dry out too much.
5 In commerce, not in nature. In nature, a lot of Anthuriums produce green spathes. But customers don't buy them, so there's no incentive for wholesalers to produce them. It was difficult to find a 'Midori' to buy, and when I did, I got it from a business that deals mainly in cut flowers, where green is a more commercially viable color.
6 Which is why all twelve are still around: they haven't had time to die yet.


Pat the Plant said...

A sprinkling of turmeric and cinnamon cured my problem with fungus on seeds. Cinnamon should also work with blight on tomatoes but I haven't tried that yet. I can quote scientific articles on antifungal properties of these two spices, it isn't just an old wives' tale.

Paul said...

Too bad about Midori and Peppermint. I like the size and texture of Midori's spathe, and Peppermint's spathe coloration is quite interesting. Wonder if they are perhaps more finicky as to their cultural conditions?

mr_subjunctive said...

Pat the Plant:

No, I believe you. I've never actually tried the cinnamon thing myself, but I've seen enough people swear by it in various places on-line that I'm well convinced that it's a real thing. There's some question whether I actually want all the 'Joli' seeds to germinate, given how many of them there are, but if I decide that I do, I'll dust with cinnamon and see how it goes.


My guess is that 'Midori' is mostly or totally my fault somehow, probably because of a watering error. I mean, I don't have any specific watering error in mind. Something along those lines seemed to be going on in its last month or two, though.

I don't have a guess about 'Peppermint Gemini.' Most of the Anthurium parents upstairs have slowed down noticeably in their blooming recently ("recently" = the last year or two, maybe?), and there's no obvious common factor in which ones have slowed down ('Gemini,' 'White Gemini,' NOID pink, 'Orange Hot,' 'Pandola,' 'Red Hot') and which have stayed more or less the same ('Florida,' NOID red), so I don't really have any working theories yet. If I were willing to risk it getting scale, I would try moving 'Pep. Gem.' downstairs under lights for a while and see if that helped at all, but I'd rather have it alive and not blooming than blooming but covered in scale.