Friday, January 17, 2014

More Anthurium seedling updates

It's been a while since the last Anthurium update, and it's January besides, so let's look at some flowers. (Admittedly, they're going to look a lot like the same two or three flowers, over and over. Only so much I can do about that. And besides, it's January: you can't afford to be too picky.)

The Anthurium Report: since September, there have been confirmed flowers or flower buds on twenty-one different seedlings. Nineteen of those have flowers or buds at the moment, most of which look a lot like 'Gemini,' with pinkish-red spathes and contrasting yellow or white spadices. This is because 'Gemini' and 'White Gemini' (a white-flowering sport of 'Gemini') were the seed parents for 5/6 of the seedlings: they're just more fertile than the other varieties I've got. Even within that uniformity, though, some of the seedlings are managing to distinguish themselves in one way or another.

The Sexiest Man Alive (#276, "Zach Religious")

The standout seedling from the last couple months has been Zach. The spathe was really pale when the bud first formed, leading me to think that maybe he was going to be the first white-blooming seedling from 'White Gemini,' but then the edges turned pinkish, and gradually the whole thing turned light pink. Initially the spadix was yellow --

-- but that, too, has darkened with age, to the point where now the spathe and spadix pretty much match.

Also I think Zach may be pregnant; the spadix is looking a bit lumpy in the latest pictures. That would be nice; he's looking like a pretty decent plant overall. Decent foliage and everything. Though it's maybe a problem that I don't know who donated the pollen, because I've tried to cross-pollinate without writing down what I was doing. Shame on me.

In any case, Zach is a notable seedling that I expect to be spending a lot more time with.

The Pioneer (#059, "Bijoux Tuit")

Bijoux was the first seedling to bloom, and she hasn't stopped cranking out the flowers.

They're still prone to crack at the edges as they age, but now they're waiting for a month or two before they crack, and not cracking as badly, so maybe this is a cultural problem I'll eventually figure out. (I suspect it's drought stress.)

Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please (#035, "Alyssa Edwards")

The specialness doesn't maybe show up as well in the photo as it might, but Alyssa has a really pretty purple-pink bud at the moment. If it darkens a little as it develops, like most of them do, the flower will be fantastic. If not, we'll have to settle for merely pretty.

Damn It, Bob. You Had ONE Job. (#076, "Bob Humbug")

Bob has aborted yet another bud. I've lost track of how many times this has happened now, but it's at least four since September. There's another bud developing, as you can see, but the remains of the last bud to abort is in that picture too (down and to the right of the current bud, between the stem of the main plant and the sucker). Lovely though Bob's foliage is, I've pretty much given up on him producing any flowers. It's a toss-up whether Bob has the most appropriate name, or merely the second-most appropriate name (after Bijoux Tuit).

. . . But What I Really Want to do is Direct (#002, "Alexis Mateo")

Alexis has yet to make a flower bud, but what she does have is this striking new foliage. Several of the seedlings produce new leaves that are reddish, or red-brown, but Alexis is unusual in that the leaves have a deeper color, are larger at maturity, and seem less prone to cracking or distorting during development.

I don't have a good handle on exactly how many of the Anthurium seedlings have red-brown new foliage, because the plants take breaks between growing new leaves (so at any given moment, only a fraction of the plants that can make neat leaves are actually doing it). I'd guess about 20-30%, overall, have non-green new growth. It's a nice trait.

I'm Trying Very Hard Not To Get Excited (#118, "Elijah Sturdabowtit")

Elijah comes from 'Orange Hot,' and so far has a similar color, but Anthurium spathes (sometimes) change color as they develop, and there's another level of uncertainty introduced by my camera, which often just makes up colors when it's taking pictures in fluorescent light. This was as close as I could get to the true color, though I think the reality is slightly less obviously orange than this.

It's also important to note that 'Orange Hot' doesn't have such a great color in the first place. It's different, certainly: outside the usual Anthurium range of pink to red. I just don't actually like it: it's not quite orange, not quite pink, and a bit too light and washed-out to be appealing. The hope is that Elijah's pollen parent, whoever that was, will have a moderating influence on the color somehow. It'll be very exciting if Elijah ends up with a nicer color than 'Orange Hot.'

An Illegible Message (#209, "Muffy Stopheles")

Muffy is one of two seedlings (the other being #053, "Aaron Watershow") that I was pretty sure were producing buds, sure enough that I recorded them as such on the spreadsheet, only to find no sign of a bud the next time I looked. I've spent a lot of time studying this picture, and I honestly can't tell if that's a bud or a cataphyll; the weirdest part is the white thing sticking out of the top, looking sort of like the Loch Ness Monster blowing a raspberry. That's not normal for flower buds, certainly. But it's not typical of cataphylls either. So who knows what Muffy was trying to say here.

Well Hello, Sawyer. (#245, "Sawyer Ad")


More rowr. The true color, if you're wondering, is closer to the first photo than the second.

Nooooooooooooo! (#046, "Aurora Boreanaz")

I got so excited when I saw Aurora making buds. Not only does she have one of my favorite names (shoutout to the A.V. Club commenter from whom I stole borrowed the name), her mother is the NOID purple-bloomer that I desperately want to mix into the gene pool as much as I possibly can. However, I'm losing hope pretty quickly. One bud has already died in development; this one's not dead, but it doesn't look good.

Oh! Well. That's . . . Different. (#235, "Rowan DeBoate")

The main point of interest about Rowan, who like Zach started out very pale, is how she looked when the spathe first opened: dark spadix, light spathe. I think Rowan is the only seedling to do this so far; usually it's the reverse. Over time, spathe and spadix have converged on the same fairly boring medium-pink, but that was a striking-looking flower when it first opened. (Notice I said "striking-looking" and not "attractive:" I thought it was noteworthy, but I didn't really like it. The photo is a little better-looking than it was in person.)

Another Failure (#247, "Selma Carr")

I suppose there's an argument to be made that without some of the seedlings dropping buds, I wouldn't be appreciating the ones that hold on to them nearly as much.

And I suppose having failures is part of the point, too: you can't breed ever-better varieties of a plant without throwing the worse ones away. But this was still a bummer.

Betty Goes Legit (#058, "Betty Larsony")

Betty is basically a 'Gemini' clone, maybe a little redder, and nothing all that special. This is nevertheless noteworthy, because it's a bud that's actually a bud (she fooled me with a brightly-colored cataphyll once), and it's actually developing (she teased me with a bud and then aborted it once as well).

Slow the Fuck Down, Deena (#108, "Deena Sequins")

The slightly-purplish red that was initially so appealing has more or less gone away. Deena still has a distinctly different color than most of the 'Gemini' lookalikes, but it's gotten less interesting. Perhaps more importantly, she's impatient. In the photo above, there's one opened flower, one bud almost ready to open (right center), and one bud just beginning to poke out from the plant's base (bottom center). This is great, except that as with Bijoux, she's making flowers too fast, and they're cracking. Deena has potential, but only if she can be convinced to pace herself a little.

The Sweetheart (#126, "Erin Dirtylondry")

Erin is another medium pink, in the same general color neighborhood as Zach and Rowan, but I felt this picture was too nice to leave out.

Like Zach and Rowan, Erin's spathe was initially very pale.

Sorry, I'm on My Break (#238, "Rudy Day")

Rudy is presently taking a vacation from blooming, but promises to get back to it shortly.

Maybe He's Just Shy (#243, "Sal Monella")

Sal is doing fine, and thanks you for asking. My main concern about Sal is that his flower stalks all seem a lot shorter than those of the other seedlings, and shorter than the petioles on his leaves, and I don't know if this is cultural or genetic. It doesn't seem very commercially viable, in any case, though the flowers themselves are a nice, solid red, and not prone to cracking.

The Next Big Thing (#234, "Ross Koz")

Ross first caught my attention a couple weeks ago, when I saw how big and perfect his newest leaf was. And not just big and perfect, but oddly-shaped. Most Anthuriums grown for their flowers have leaves that are heart-shaped, as seen here on "Rudy Day." A minority have oval / lens-shaped leaves, like "Deena Sequins." Ross's leaves are closer to hearts than to ovals, but the points on the heart are unusually angular: less a heart than an arrowhead. It's hard to explain, and I don't think the photos illustrate it particularly well, so you might just have to trust me on the unusualness. In any case, I thought that was kind of neat, and made a note of it, and then a week or two later, there was a flower bud too.

At this point, the bud doesn't look especially interesting -- another 'Gemini,' ho hum -- but if the flowers are nice at all, Ross will be important to future breeding plans.

I should maybe also point out that the same variation between heart-shaped and oval occurs among the spathes. This makes sense, because spathes are just modified leaves.


Dave Trading (#282) continues to bloom, after an early aborted bud, though the spadix on the last one was sort of misshapen and weird. I'm thinking maybe Dave is just kind of a weirdo.

Peaches Christ (#026) currently has a bud in development along with an old open flower; the spathe is plain red and the spadix is yellow. It seems to be resistant to cracking, but the thrips seem to like it a lot, so I'm not sure Peaches is a winner.

Anne Pursand (#283) is also medium pink so far; the first bloom hasn't completely opened yet.

Russ Teanale (#239) has a really pretty light-pink bud at the moment, which would be his first. I'm expecting something like Zach and Erin. If I paid better attention, I could tell you whether the triangular shape of this bud means the spathe will be heart-shaped when open, but I don't, so that's just a hunch.

Carson Trucks (#085) is pink with maybe a hint of purple. Still a bud at the moment, but pretty close to opening, so we'll know more in a couple months. If I'm right about the triangular buds being hearts, then the cigar-shaped buds like this would be ovals, probably.

Wanda Reulthemal (#271) looks like a medium-pink so far. Pretty close to opening.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pretty picture: Cattleya amethystoglossa

Still with the itching. Petroleum jelly is the most effective thing I've tried so far, though 1) it's still not that effective, and 2) it's not entirely comfortable by itself. At this point, my spirit is basically broken, w/r/t the itching, and I don't expect to find an actual fix for the problem.

So, on to the orchid. This is a nice one.