Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture, with bonus Question for the Hive Mind

I mentioned in the last Sheba/Nina post that the Ctenanthe burle-marxii I'd planted in there had died and I wasn't sure what I was going to replace it with.

That question has been settled, at least for the moment: I bought a Peperomia puteolata ($3 at the ex-job) to fill that space, and also put in a Canna seed just for the hell of it.

There's no picture of the latter, because it hasn't actually produced any foliage yet. I just made a hole in the seed coat, soaked it in water until I saw a root emerging, and then planted it in the terrarium, so it may or may not work. If it does work, it will either quickly become too large for the space or struggle along without enough light until I take pity on it and kill it. Not sure which way that will go. But I had a ton of seeds from last year that I never got around to starting, so I figured I may as well try that and see how it goes. Nina, I'm sure, would like something in there that's a bit more climbable.

Meanwhile, Nina is shedding her skin again.

That's not as big of an event as I've made it sound -- she does it all the time, actually -- but I don't very often get a picture of it happening. In the above, the fungusy-looking stuff in the upper left is just dead-leaf debris from the Episcia -- I'm pretty sure there's no actual fungus. The brown and green in the upper right is a Begonia 'Tiger Kitten' leaf that the crickets have eaten a hole into. When the picture was taken, Nina had only managed to clear the old skin from her face, though when I looked in again about half an hour later, none of the dead skin was there anymore.

Speaking of skin: Sheba's whole allergy situation is improving, though slowly and incompletely. We could probably be more aggressive about the Benadryl: I've been giving her 25 mg in the morning when I feed her, but she usually doesn't get a second dose. Even so, her right side is basically filled back in completely. Her left side still has some spots, but they're noticeably better than they were two weeks ago, which I suppose is something.

I also have a weed-ID question for your consideration, which may or may not be related to the Sheba-allergy stuff. When the weeds first started to come up this spring, I decided to let a couple of pokeweeds (Phytolacca americana) stay, because I think they're kind of pretty. One of the pokeweeds turned out to be something else: although the young plants looked more or less identical, and both have developed extremely thick stems (maybe 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter?), the leaves on one of them never got any bigger than about 4 inches (10 cm) long, and are narrower than those on P. americana. Also the stem has stayed green, not pink, and the flowers are tiny and white and obviously something completely different. The non-pokeweed also grew much taller (about 12-15 feet / 3.5-4.5 m), as you can see in this picture:

And here's a close-up of the flowers:

I've let it continue to grow, because . . . I don't know. After the drought got to a certain point, I kind of decided that I was happy enough to see anything growing, and I didn't care what it was. Plus I was curious about what it was going to do. The overall plant shape, and the shape of the leaves, resemble some of the Amaranthus species pictures on line, especially A. tuberculatus, A. australis, and A. cannabinus, but none of those are quite a match (maybe the flowers haven't developed enough yet, though). In any case, I'm wondering if anybody knows what this is, and whether or not it, by itself, could be causing Sheba allergy problems. The flowers are fairly small and inconspicuous, so wind-pollination wouldn't be out of the question, right? And if it's wind-pollinated, maybe it could also be allergenic?


CelticRose said...

Always glad to see Nina, even if she's in a state of dishabille. :)

Glad to hear Sheba's allergies are getting better.

No idea about the weed.

Anonymous said...

Looks like some sort of amaranthus to me - maybe hybridus? Among those I think there is some natural variation among them, so stems (and blooms) could have a pinkish or reddish tint. Noxious weeds, but I don't know how allerginic the pollen might be. Handling the plants can make you itch and sting if you aren't covered well. There are several amaranthus species to choose from and the mature plants can be really large if growing conditions have been to their liking.

Texas Anon

kevsorchids said...

If it wasn't so big, i'd suggest some sort of goosefoot (Chenopodium species).