Saturday, June 18, 2016

Pretty picture: Coelogyne tomentosa

Coelogyne tomentosa was unusually difficult to photograph, largely because it was backlit by a greenhouse wall instead of a backdrop. The individual flower pictures came out passably well, because the pot was wrapped in black cloth,1 but the full-plant photo was bad, and even after working with it a lot, I could only clean it up partway. I'm including it anyway because the leaves are interesting.

This was the first time I'd seen C. tomentosa at the show, and Kev's Orchids has an explanation why: the flowers bruise very easily, so they're very difficult to transport. (That link is also worthwhile for some much better photos of the species than I have.)

The species name is officially C. tomentosa, though it's still often sold as C. massangeana. I was happy to see the tag acknowledge this,

but disappointed that it did so while inserting a typo. Ah, well.


1 Are roots and pots considered unsightly now? Something that needs to be covered up? It's possible that I'm just late to notice, but it sure seems like I'm seeing a lot more references to top-dressing soil with decorative rocks / glass / sand / moss / etc. than I used to. Perhaps Pinterest is to blame.
Or is it maybe that C. tomentosa roots are as delicate and easily-damaged as the flowers, and the pot covering is protective?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Anthurium no. 0217 "Vivacious"

Apologies, but this post is going to have to be pretty quick and basic, because yesterday's post took me an awful lot of time to write1 and I had been hoping to get yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's posts all written in one sitting. So.

0217 Vivacious has pretty nice blooms, or would if the thrips didn't chew them up so much:

Nothing particularly new, colorwise; they're similar to those of 0083 Carmen Adairya, 0214 Anita Knapp, or 0440 Elsa Friesanova.2 The blooms are medium-large, and decently long-lived, though the thrips continue to attack them throughout their whole life, so by the time the spathe begins to die, the inflorescence is no longer even remotely attractive. Bloom frequency is about average.

The foliage has improved since I started blasting the leaves with water,3 though not enough.

Nothing particularly notable about Vivacious overall; there are a moderate number of suckers. It doesn't show up well in the photo below, but the internodal distance is something of a concern too:

Vivacious would probably be a keeper if the thrips could be eradicated. But that's quite the if.


1 Not that most of the words I wrote were actually published -- I wrote a lot and then deleted a lot. Which, honestly, you should probably thank me for. I was pretty upset.
2 (as well as Carmen's likely clones 0555 Mystique Summers Madison and 0556 Frank Lee Grande)
3 Though there are indications lately that spraying with water might be encouraging and spreading a bacterial pathogen. Because I need a third thing to fight. I'll have to tell you more about that when I have more time.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anthurium no. 0716 "Herbie Hind"

And now we have the first real second-generation Anthurium seedling.1 Herbie is the son of 0239 Russ Teanale, a nice reddish-pink / yellow; Russ's positive qualities mostly didn't get passed down to Herbie, alas.

Herbie would be fine -- maybe not fantastic, but good enough to keep -- if not for the thrips. When the first spathe initially opened, it had a few little scars on it, and one smallish hole, which were both enough to distort the bloom's overall shape, but at least the spathe was a nice strong highlighter-pink color. Thrips damage got more severe as the bloom aged, though:

and the second bloom was pretty heavily scarred from the moment it opened, with a less intense color.

There's a third bud on it as I write this, but considering how the first two have gone, I don't have a lot of hope that number three will turn the whole thing around for Herbie. Prolific blooming is good, but if the thrips resistance isn't any better than this then it sort of cancels out. If you want a nice F2 seedling, you'll have to wait for another month, for 0805 Triana Hill.

Herbie's foliage isn't terrible -- for whatever reason, the thrips have focused on the spathes and nearly ignored the leaves.

And there's something to be said for an early bloomer, too.2 On balance, Herbie's good enough to keep, but only just. We'll see how long that lasts.

[Multiple ragey paragraphs about the whole Orlando thing redacted; just read John Scalzi on the subject of "our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time."]

Speaking of doing easy things in lieu of making substantial changes: I've changed my Blogger avatar picture to a rainbow flag made out of Anthurium photos.

I had to cheat on the blue,3 because no part of any Anthurium I have is blue, but the other five bars are all slices taken from photos of a spathe (red, orange, purple), spadix (yellow), or leaf (green). The decision to do this has less to do with a desire to show support for the families and victims of the Orlando shooting (obviously I do support them, but this has no actual impact on their lives and they all have other things on their minds right now than how a plant breeder / blogger 1500 miles away feels about them) and more to do with this MetaFilter question, which reminded me that there have been times in my life when seeing a rainbow flag made me feel less alone. Times have changed since then, but obviously not quite enough. And then also it was an opportunity to play around with the Anthurium pictures.4

Changing my avatar doesn't make me feel significantly better, and it's no substitute for actually doing something. I suppose the next step is trying to contact my representatives in Congress about, you know, maybe passing some laws that would make it tougher for people to massacre crowds of people. I get angry just imagining the form letter Chuck Grassley will send me in response,5 so it may take some time for me to work up to that. I'll let you know.


1 Technically, 1038 Adlai Lowe, son of 0234 Ross Koz, was the first F2 to bloom, but Adlai was so strange, in so many different ways, that his first inflorescence doesn't quite count.
2 Herbie produced his first bud at 18 months old: not a record, but in the earliest 10% of all seedlings.
3 It's a photo of 'Florida,' with the blue and red channels swapped in Irfanview.
4 Though about half an hour after I finished, I realized that I should have used one of the Schlumbergeras for the orange stripe, as they make oranger oranges than the Anthuriums do. As it is, I don't think the red (I think from a photo of 0059 Bijoux Tuit) and orange (0031 Sylvester) are too close in hue to read as distinct stripes.
5 I've contacted his office before, in 2007 or 2008, though I can't remember what about. Reading between the lines a bit, his reply was basically, wow, you sure do feel strongly about this; congratulations for having strong feelings! However, Sen. Grassley is a lot smarter than you, and wants you to know that your letter will have no impact on the decision he eventually makes. Please sincerely fuck off, Sen. Chuck Grassley. Not an encouraging response, but I suppose that's probably intentional.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Kaoda Twinkle 'Dusty's Midnight'

The photos make this plant look a lot larger than it actually was. I was actually surprised by the size.

Last year's show had a Phalaenopsis Kaoda Twinkle as well, with no varietal name; this is probably not the same specimen as that one, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Don't really have much to add to this; in February I said it was one of the few Phalaenopsis I would actually want to have personally, and that remains the case. My track record with orchids is bad enough that I'm not actually trying to locate one (I'm actually pretty desperate to get rid of plants right now: I need more space for Anthurium and Schlumbergera seedlings and have nowhere to put them.), but I'd have a tough time turning one down if I saw a reasonably-priced one in a store.

Phalaenopsis Kaoda Twinkle 'Dusty's Midnight' = Phalaenopsis schilleriana x Phalaenopsis Malvarosa Valentine Pearl (Ref.)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Anthurium no. 0581 "Adam All"

Adam is one of the divisions from 0115 Erlene Adopter. His flowers look the same as all the other Erlenes,

0581 Adam All.

(L-R): 0115 Erlene Adopter, 0580 Marsha Marsha Marsha, 0586 Vera Special.

he offsets just as much as the rest of them, and his leaves do that weird thing where some of the smaller veins turn yellow for no discernible reason.

0581 Adam All, on 25 February 2016.

Theories regarding the yellow veining have been advanced, one at considerable length. I don't think that's the actual explanation,1 but I don't have an alternate theory that fits the facts.

Hell, I don't even know for sure that this is a problem: on all the Erlenes to bloom so far, the leaves are huge and shiny, the blooms plentiful, and pests leave them alone (mostly).2 Not a lot of other seedlings I can say that about. Maybe I'm trying to pathologize a harmless idiosyncrasy. Maybe it's quirky. Maybe I have a manic pixie dream Anthurium on my hands.3 I suppose the odds are against it, but I can't prove that I don't. So.


1 It makes no sense to insist that my soil, water, and fertilizer are all so terrible that they've led to iron-deficient plants and the soil and water must be changed immediately, while at the same time ignoring the not-quite-1600 closely-related plants in exactly the same conditions which are not yellowing.
It also doesn't make any sense to insist that yellow veining on a green background is green veining on a yellow background. So I'm not sure making sense is a high priority.
It even might not ever make sense to propose iron deficiency in any Anthurium, considering that a study specifically set up to produce iron deficient-Anthuriums, by withholding it entirely from plants for four years, concluded:
Anthurium plants showed no deficiency symptoms from lack of iron. Plants were large and green and large flowers were produced regularly. Tissue Fe content (103.25 ppm) was similar to that of control tissues (105.25 ppm). Iron reserves in plants at the start of the experiment were apparently sufficient to maintain plant development. Alternatively, there may have been a source of Fe contamination in the experimental setup.
And my growers' guide (Griffith, Lynn P., Jr., Tropical Foliage Plants: A Grower's Guide, 1998, Ball Publishing, Batavia, IL, USA, pp. 12-13) uses that 1984 study as the basis for its own discussion of nutrient deficiencies in Anthuriums, suggesting that nobody had been able to induce it in subsequent experiments either. So how likely is it that I, who am deliberately adding iron to my plants every time I water, have plants with lower iron content than plants grown completely without any iron at all for four years? My feeling is that it's not very damned likely. You can tell me in English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Polish, and Italian that Anthuriums renounce calcium and all of its works (high calcium is known to impair iron uptake in some plants, so extremely hard, calcium-rich water could induce iron deficiencies in susceptible plants: this is a known, scientifically-supported thing), but that doesn't make iron my problem, it doesn't turn yellow veins green, and it doesn't explain why seven genetically identical plants are the only ones to show this symptom, out of hundreds.
I was more sympathetic to Pat the Plant's theory that it's a magnesium deficiency, as Anthuriums are known to need a lot of magnesium. The growers' guide:
Anthuriums may have the highest magnesium requirement of any foliage plant, though a relatively low demand for trace elements. Lack of magnesium results in chlorotic margins in the older foliage, and in some varieties there are chlorotic bands moving in toward the midrib. Magnesium requirements are higher in bright light.
If you tilt your head the right way, the yellow veining is plausibly "chlorotic bands moving in toward the midrib," but no amount of squinting is going to make those margins yellow, and the description of magnesium deficiency from the previously-quoted study doesn't match up with what I'm seeing at all:
Older leaves and edges of younger leaves became yellow. At 18 months, plants were severely stunted, older leaves showed interveinal chlorosis, and new leaves were bright green and distorted. At 20 to 24 months, all except very young leaves were yellow with necrotic areas. Main terminals died and small side shoots were produced on which leaf deficiency symptoms were also apparent. Very few medium-sized flowers were produced; when symptoms became severe, flower production ceased.
In contrast, my plants are a very nice, dark green aside from these small veins, the margins are unaffected, plants and leaves both continue to get larger, and blooming is frequent, with decent-sized spathes.
I tried adding a small amount of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the fertilizer for a few weeks, on the theory that if the plants were magnesium-deficient, this would give them magnesium and the yellow veins would go away, and if hard water was making them iron-deficient, making the water even harder would make the problem worse. I didn't see any change in either direction, which means that 1) magnesium isn't the issue either, 2) I didn't add enough of it, 3) I didn't add it for a long enough period, or 4) there's some second factor to address, in addition to the magnesium.
2 I spot thrips in the photos often enough that I'm sure they're not leaving the plants alone entirely, but I'm not sure I've seen any actual thrips damage on the Erlenes.
3 (That would explain all the offsetting.)