Friday, May 20, 2011

Pretty picture: Renanetia Sunshine

I guess it's supposed to look like this, but mostly I think, so what's the point of this, exactly?

Once again, the name on this plant was misspelled at the orchid show, so the file name on the photo is incorrect. Which will probably never matter to anyone, of course.

Renanetia, which I'd never heard of before, is an intergeneric cross between Neofinetia and Renanthera. Which I'd likewise never heard of before. Most of the pictures that show up when one googles Renanetia show flowers which are varying shades of red or orange. (Google resists at first, and tries to show you pictures for "Renania" instead, which appears to be the Italian name for the Rhineland, in Germany. No, dear Google, one has to say, believe it or not, I actually meant to search for the word I typed in, so please show me what I asked you to find, okay?) So it's possible that Sunshine is an unusual cross in having pinkish flowers instead. I don't know.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Newish plants

This last month or so is apparently the dawning of the Age of Gesneriads, as far as my personal collection goes. I've gotten a lot of them in trades recently, including my first Columneas, Nautilocalyxes, Codonanthes, Kohlerias, and Chirita. Mostly Episcias, though, because I feel safest with Episcias.

This isn't going to be an exhaustive list of everything I've gotten, because 1) there are too many of them to do that, and 2) some of them literally died before I could get a picture taken.1 These are just the ones I find most interesting.

First up, since I teased you about the gesneriads, let's begin with the gesneriad I'm most excited about. This is Columnea orientandina:

Columnea orientandina.

Why am I so excited about it? I don't know. It just seems cool. All the leaves have that red spot on the tip of the underside, the flowers are smallish but a nice clear yellow --

-- and it just seems, you know, likeable. Possibly the main reason I'm interested in it is because I'd never heard of anything like it before.

Dyckia 'La Rioja.'

This is one of the ones that died, which was tragic and not-tragic simultaneously. The tragic part is that it was a weird color, plus a bromeliad genus that's new to me, and I think Dyckias have a really cool shape to them. It's not tragic in that the hooks on the leaf margins are wicked sharp, and it would have been all but impossible to handle this plant without hurting myself. A lot.

Hatiora NOID.

The Hatiora (better known as Easter cactus, or Rhipsalidopsis2) is one I actually bought. I've wanted an Easter cactus for some time now, but I've never seen one for sale around here until a few weeks ago. They only had two, and both were more or less bloomed-out, but this was such a nice color (the photo doesn't do it justice; it's sort of peach/orange/coral), and I get so few opportunities to buy them, that I went for it anyway. Paid $10 or $11 at Earl May, which is excessive for a plant this small, especially one that's already mostly bloomed-out, but at least now I have it. So far, contrary to the rumors about Easter cacti, it's held together and not disintegrated into a pile of unconnected segments.

Hatiora NOID.

This, on the other hand, is an Easter cactus I got via trade, so essentially for free, from a reader. You'll notice that it's way bigger and nicer. It will have magenta flowers, assuming that I can get it to flower next spring.

Kohleria 'Peridots Kitlope.' Or maybe 'Peridot's Kitlope.' Not sure about the apostrophe.

I forget what it was (possibly a post at Andrew's?), but at some point not that long ago, I decided that I needed to have a Kohleria, so I started trying to get one. I now have three, of which this is the largest. The person who sent it to me was not enthusiastic about the genus, for reasons which were either forgotten or unspecified, but I think I have pretty nearly ideal conditions for it in the basement, so we will see what I think of it after a decent interval of time has elapsed.

Close-up of Kohleria 'Peridot[']s Kitlope' flower.

Nautilocalyx forgetii.

I know next to nothing about Nautilocalyx. So far, one unrooted cutting of N. pemphidius died almost immediately, and this unrooted cutting of N. forgetii seems to be doing okay. Even if it does well for me, it's not likely to be fascinating -- the flowers are smallish and white -- but it's novel. And maybe it'll do well for me. That always makes me like plants better.

Chirita 'Deco.'

Since this picture was taken, the plant seems to be preparing a flower bud, which I'll have to get a picture of so I can show you, I guess.

Billbergia 'Foster's Striate.'

Easily one of the biggest plants I've ever received by trade (that's a 6-inch / 15 cm pot it's in), and if I can ever get flowers, that should be pretty awesome. It might be awesome even without flowers, actually. There are some concerns that I might not have a bright enough spot for it, but so far it seems to be hanging in there.

Episcia 'Pink Acajou.'

One of the more interesting Episcias.

Episcia 'Silver Skies.'

And another.

Episcia 'Faded Jade.'

There were seriously a ton of Episcias.

Episcia 'Kempenfest.'

The USPS basically backed a truck up to the house and I went in the back of the truck with a shovel and just shoveled Episcias out for an hour or two.

Finally, for the pièce de résistance --

Pereskia godseffiana.

I knew of Pereskias before this, from pictures, but had never been that interested. So it's a cactus with leaves,3 big deal. The reality in person is much stranger. First of all, I was not prepared for the color. Pereskias are usually green, but this is hot pink and brownish yellow. It looked more like a badly-wilted pink poinsettia than a cactus. Second, even though there are leaves, there are also thorns/spines/whatever, which are seriously sharp, and hide at the base of the leaves, which wouldn't be that big of a problem except that I had to try to bend the leaves upward in order to keep from planting them along with the stem, and they don't really want to bend, so I was stabbing myself repeatedly while trying to pot the cutting up.

I'm a little worried about it: they're supposed to be incredibly easy to root, but nothing seems to have happened so far, and the leaves are a little floppier now than they were, which is possibly a bad sign. Granted, it's only been here a week, and I should give it time.

If it does work out like it's supposed to, then I will have a fast-growing, hot pink and brownish yellow plant on my hands that longs to be a thirty-foot vine that bristles with thorns.


1 Not really my fault or the sender's fault. First of all, they weren't a trade so much as a gift, and there were time constraints on it such that they had to be shipped during a cold spell in late April. They're still in the process of sorting themselves out, as far as who's going to live and who's going to die, but at the moment about 2/3 of that group are still technically alive. How many of them will stay that way, on the other hand, I have no idea.
2 But Plant List will back me up on Rhipsalidopsis being a botanically obsolete name.
3 If memory serves, Pereskias are thought to be the living group of cacti most similar to the ancestral cactus from which all the others descended. Hence, they still have actual leaves, and need a fair amount of water, and so on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Question for the Hive Mind: unidentified plant

This has been bothering me for at least a year; I don't know why I haven't gotten around to asking until now.

What we have is a plant. I've seen it outside, both in spots that looked deliberately cultivated (as with this plant) and spots that did not. Or at least I think I'm seeing the same plant in both places.

The specific specimen I've taken pictures of appeared to be deliberately cultivated, because there were three or four of them, in a row.

The above is less for ID purposes than because it's sort of borderline pretty, but if seeing the flowers help with the ID then great.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random plant event: Kalanchoe prolifera

It's not a huge deal, but my Kalanchoe prolifera has now matured to the point where it's producing pinnate leaves.

For comparison, this is what it looked like eight months ago:

Most of the stem actually died and had to be cut off; the stuff you can see in the picture is mostly growth from buried or almost-buried nodes that came up after most of the stump was dead, when it was becoming questionable whether anything was going to happen at all.

So far, K. prolifera looks like one of those plants that's never pretty, but is really vigorous and easy to grow, like Euphorbia tirucalli or Pandanus veitchii. Which is okay by me. I mean, most of my favorite plants fit that general description.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pretty pictures: Purple and Blue

I've been taking tons of pictures lately, and then not doing much with them, blogularly speaking. Part of this is because I've been taking so many that the thought of trying to sort them all out makes me exhausted before I even start. Today, I'm going to at least try to get a few of them out of the way.

Hyacinthus orientalis NOID. In somebody's yard, here in town.

Glechoma hederacea. Ditto. I like this picture not because it's a great photo in and of itself, but because it's closeish to an accurate depiction of the weird luminous quality G. hederacea flowers have in certain lighting situations. Like all blue/purple things, they rarely photograph in anything close to accurate color, but I'll settle for them glowing slightly. The leaves are reddish, incidentally, because this photo was taken when it was still pretty cold at night, and Glechoma turns reddish in the cold. Like a lot of plants do.

Bacopa 'Colossal Blue.' Or possibly Sutera 'Colossal Blue.' I've lost track of which one is supposed to be current. This was at the ex-job, and whether or not I find it interesting depends mostly on what I'm comparing it to. So like, comparing it to the overall options available in the outdoor annual category, I think it kinda sucks. But comparing it to the other Bacopa/Sutera varieties I'm familiar with, all of which were white, it's interesting. A quick googling suggests that I should actually be even less impressed than I am, because this is far from the only lavender Bacopa in the world.

Lobelia erinus 'Laguna Sky Blue.' This was more impressive in person than in the photograph. I'm not sure what went wrong with the picture. I don't think I'm likely to try to grow Lobelias again, having had uniformly negative experiences with them, but there's no arguing that they're pretty.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost.' Also at the ex-job, and unfortunately a little bit past prime bloom, but nevertheless blue, so it fits, so here it is.

Delphinium 'Summer Skies Pacific Giant.' Delphinium cultivar names appear to be getting as ridiculous as those of orchids.

Viola sp. From our lawn. The plant's nothing special, but I thought this picture turned out remarkably well. Hence my remarking on it.

Viola sp. I don't actually remember where this one was taken. They're everywhere right now, you know.

Scilla siberica? An older photo, from someone's lawn. Really like this picture too.

Anchusa arvensis. Taken at a garden center that's not the ex-job. I hadn't actually heard of this before this year, and now that I've heard of it and seen it, I'm not sure how I feel about it.