Saturday, March 7, 2015

Anthurium no. 0085 "Carson Trucks"

You may or may not remember that I was eagerly anticipating a new bloom from Carson, back at the beginning of February.

It didn't work out.

What happened here is rare, but not unheard of -- sometimes the developing bud gets stuck on the cataphyll (the sheath the plants build to protect the developing buds and leaves; you can see dead cataphylls from time to time in my photos because I am not super-diligent about picking them out before taking pictures), and then as the peduncle1 grows, it pushes harder and harder on the bud until it can't bend sharply enough anymore and it strangles itself. This is the first time, I think, that Carson's done this, but #0002 "Alexis Mateo" did it on her first bloom attempt, and I'm sure there have been others that I've forgotten about. 'Midori' has attempted to produce four blooms since arriving last summer, and strangled two of them, so some plants are clearly more inclined to it than others.

The picture doesn't show the break that well, because of the angle, but you can see that the peduncle changes abruptly at some point close to the inflorescence, which is where the problem happened. The peduncle remained attached, but got much narrower at that point. The spathe never opened up any further than the photo shows, and the whole bloom was beginning to dry up by the following day. I'm hopeful that Carson will try again shortly, though he's always been a somewhat reluctant bloomer, so I'm not holding my breath waiting.


1 (= the "stem" on which the inflorescence grows; for some reason I have a terrible time remembering that this is the name for it. Some of the problem may be because there's another term, "scape," which has essentially the same meaning -- a flower stalk -- but is more restrictive: my understanding after a cursory look at the internet is that all scapes are peduncles but all peduncles are not scapes, though I can't quite figure out what the difference is between the two. Since the only situation when I ever need to know is for Anthuriums, I'm unlikely to put in the time to figure the whole thing out, but if you know, hey, leave a comment.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

New Plant (But It's an Anthurium)

I bought Anthurium 'Joli' about a year ago (March 16), and haven't even seriously considered buying any other new cultivars since then, mostly because the store plants don't vary a lot. Mostly red / yellow and pink /yellow. (I did see a light pink spathe / red-purple spadix at the ex-job that was interesting last April, but I didn't have the space for it, and it wasn't that cool.1)

But I needed more flats for the Anthurium seedlings about three weeks ago, and went to the ex-job to see if they had some,2 and happened to see this guy for sale:

The greenhouse person wasn't very enthusiastic about it; she said they weren't difficult or anything, but the color wasn't to her taste, especially since the spathes start out green and develop the pink color over time, so any particular bloom spends a while being kind of inconspicuous before you even know it's there. But I'd never seen anything like this before, and I had, you know, visions of seedlings dancing in my head, and all that, plus it was pretty reasonably-priced for the ex-job ($19.99), so I went ahead and got it. A short time later, it did start to produce a new bloom, and . . . well, she's not wrong.

They really are pretty inconspicuous to begin with. After a little while, the spadix had changed color, at least, which made it slightly more noticeable --

-- but I'm still waiting for it to develop any pink. So I see her point, but am nevertheless pleased.3 I mean, I got excited about a plain green one, 'Midori,' not that long ago, so a plain green one that eventually goes on to be not plain green ought to be quite a thrill for me.

The only real problem with it so far is that I can't find a name for it. It had a Costa Farms tag in it, "Allura," but I get the impression from poking around the internet that "Allura" is the name for this particular line of plants, that it's like an Allura Collection, or something, and the name of this specific cultivar is likely something else. So, having had good luck e-mailing Westland Greenhouses a year ago to get the name 'Joli,' I thought well, what the hell, Costa's all over the place on social media and whatnot, and there's an e-mail address on their website, so surely they'll respond to a short, politely-worded request for a variety name like Westland did.

But no. Not even a "we received your question but are unable to answer it, sorry" response. This, combined with that time in 2010 when I had bought one of their Strelitzias at a big box store and I wanted to know if it could plausibly be a Strelitzia reginae, if S. reginae was a plant they produced and sold, when they were also useless, makes me think that Costa Farms is a lot less interested in engaging with the public than they pretend to be.4

(Alternately, it could be that Westland, being Canadian and all, is just that polite, and will respond to any question no matter how ridiculous, and they're the ones being weird.)

So I'm on my own, as far as locating a cultivar name. The best option I've come up with (mostly from looking at and image searches) is 'Fantasy Love.' The main problem is that different sites don't agree on what 'Fantasy Love' even looks like. The image search results that match my plant the best (which mostly derive from this original blog post) show new spathes as being mostly white, whereas my plant's are mostly green, though they change to white shortly thereafter so that's maybe close enough. However, a lot of the results also show red-violet or pinkish spadices, instead of orange like my plant.5 One website claims 'Fantasy Love' spathes are primarily white and purple. And there are a few results with red-purple blush on the spathes, instead of pink (possibly from overzealous photoshopping). I don't think these can all be accurately identifying the same variety. (Also worth noting: the original patent for 'Fantasy Love' claims that spathes start out red and change to green, which if true means that none of the plants identified as 'Fantasy Love' on line are actually 'Fantasy Love.' Though the more detailed description of the color changes, later on in the patent, describes more or less the same sequence of colors as my plant, so maybe.) Nor are there clear photos of many of the other plants in the "Love" line.6 When one looks for "love" on the net, I suppose not knowing exactly what it is you're finding comes with the territory, but this is ridiculous.

In any case. 'Fantasy Love' is far from the only green-white-pink cultivar in existence, but I can't rule it out, and all the others have similar problems, in that it's impossible to tell whether plants with which you are unfamiliar have been correctly identified in image-search results. Even if they are, the same plant will photograph very differently in different lighting conditions, too.

Consequently, I'm going to keep on calling it my NOID green-pink for now. If Costa Farms should ever happen to answer my question, or even if they send a non-answer answer like "we have no idea, believe whatever you like," I'll update this post, probably also make a new post about it, and apologize for saying such awful things about them. Or at least I'll apologize for one of the awful things. But they already have my money, so I'm not sure what would be in it for them to answer, so I'll probably never know for sure.

I don't think I've been able to pollinate the plant yet, though there could be developing berries in a couple spots on some of the old spadices, from pollinations that happened before I bought the plant. I suppose I'll know for sure in a couple months. If they were previously pollinated, and I get viable seeds out of those crosses, that could be great: I don't know who the seed parent is, and not knowing the pollen parent either means there could be a bonus addition to the gene pool. Even if the berries wind up being a self-cross, this plant means the chance to add weird spathe shapes, color-changes, and zones of different colors to my Anthurium gene pool, which may or may not wind up being helpful in five years or something.


1 Anthurium 'White Heart,' which would more accurately be 'Very Very Pale Pink, Or Kinda Pinkish-Lavender, Even, Heart:'

2 They did not. Or, well, they did, but I needed a very specific kind of flat, and they didn't have that one.
3 Though I'm not crazy about the spathe shape.

'Joli' has the same kind of weird saddle-shaped spathes, though this plant's size and shape are more extreme than 'Joli.' It appears that breeders are trying to turn Anthuriums into calla lilies (Zantedeschia) or something. That's fine with me as an eventual goal, I guess, kinda, but the intermediate stages we're getting now are more odd-looking than attractive. I like a nice flat spathe best, personally.
4 So why have a contact e-mail address at all? What's the point in soliciting communication from your customers if you're going to ignore their communications?
5 Though the older spadices are pinkish --

-- so either this is something that will develop over time, or it's something that only develops in certain cultural conditions. I'll find out which eventually.
6 Oh so very many others in addition to 'Fantasy Love:' 'Tender Love,' 'Fresh Love,' 'Sugar Love,' 'True Love,' 'Fresh Love,' 'Red Love,' 'Sunny Love,' 'Lady Love,' 'Exciting Love,' 'Bright Love,' 'Orange Love,' 'Candy Love,' 'Changing Love,' 'Summer Love,' and 'Happy Love,' at least. I have nothing in particular against love, but this makes me kind of want to barf.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Anthurium no. 0241 "Megan Gigaterra"

The first-ever completed bloom from Megan is . . . nice, but a little disappointing. I mean, it's reasonably well-formed, and there's minimal thrips damage, but it's also just another pink / pink in what is turning out to be a very, very long line of pink / pinks.

Not the plant's fault, obviously. I'm sure I'd be quite taken with it if it were the first pink / pink I'd gotten.

Leaves are fine. Nothing special one way or the other. I'd probably be more impressed with the whole sunken-primary-veins thing if I hadn't seen it plenty of times before, too.

Tomorrow's post will have more novelty to it, I promise.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Anthuriums no. 0088, 0132, 0171, 0236, 0237, and 0415

The Anthurium post for today is about seedlings who had produced a bud at one point, aborted it, and are now working on a new one. Until the spathes open, there's little to say about these that I didn't just say in the previous sentence, so it's mostly going to be about the photos.

#0171 "Genevieve la Difference"

#0236 "Roxanne DeBree"

I was pleased when Roxanne re-budded, mostly because I like her name.

#0415 "Darby Dragons"

I'm surprised at how quick Darby was to retry; the previous bud had only aborted a month earlier. This one is at least coming from the center of the plant, near the growing tip, which I think is a good sign.

#0132 "Eve Stropper"

#0237 "Roxy Casbah"

I like Roxanne DeBree's name better, but Roxy has the more interesting bud so far. In person, it's slightly lavender, though I imagine once the spathe opens it's just going to be another in a long line of pink / pinks, like several of her siblings and half-siblings. At least it's a fairly large bud.

#0088 "Charlotte F. Babylon"

Finally, Charlotte is really close to opening (one or two more weeks?).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Anthurium no. 0290 "RuPaul Charles"

So the last thing I'd heard, season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race was supposed to premiere yesterday, March 2, but when I checked on March 1 it was already up at LOGO's website, which was confusing. LOGO's been weird about the timing of the premiere for months now: for a long time they wouldn't name a specific date at all, and then they gave a few different dates, and after seeming to settle on one they don't even stick to it? But then the husband and I watched it on Sunday night1 and all became clear: they were debuting everything except for the final judging at the end, so the actual debut really was yesterday and everything makes sense again. In any event, the point is that I was trying to time this bloom's debut to coincide with the beginning of Drag Race, which I have now done even if it was confusing and adds very little to the post itself.

I'd also like to take the moment to note that one of this season's contestants, Sasha Belle, is from Iowa City, so if she seems at all pleasant on the show, I feel like I kind of have to root for her.2

Anyway. So #0290 "RuPaul Charles." Here she is:

The weird margins are, I think, the result of some kind of stress or damage while the bud was developing, and not something we should expect from every inflorescence, but at least they're symmetrical, and they kinda make it look cool. (Right? It looks cool?)

Eight days later, the spathe did that annoying back-flip thing that spathes often do, rendering the bloom more or less impossible to photograph.

So that was a little disappointing. But I've learned not to assume too much from a first bloom. We'll see if Ru gets her act together in subsequent bloomings.

The foliage is nice.[2] Ru's parents were probably the NOID red and 'White Gemini:' I know 'White Gemini' was the seed parent, and anything with brown new leaves like this probably has the NOID red in its background somewhere.

Final assessment? It's okay. Not my favorite seedling by a long shot, but it has potential, maybe, especially if it can be induced to bloom again, or if I can get it pollinated. We'll see how it goes.


1 On LOGO's spectacularly terrible website, which is so loaded with ads and trackers and goodness knows what else that it is almost impossible to navigate and frequently crashes. My interpretation is that the entire website is some kind of passive-aggressive attempt at getting us to sign up for cable, which we will never do because our local cable TV monopoly, like all cable TV monopolies, is awful to deal with in every conceivable respect (signing up for service, getting service, calling for repairs, getting repairs, pricing tiers, billing, billing disputes, closing accounts, etc.). So I feel like LOGO's just abusing us for no reason, which some pretty ballsy behavior coming from a network with one good show.
2 She also does shows at the club/bar where the husband and I met, which is another small reason to root for her, though she wasn't actually working there that long ago and I've never actually seen her perform in person. And probably never will, because clubs are loud and I am old and the whole thing just seems like it would be totally miserable for me. But I, you know, support her from afar. I guess. In theory. She seemed okay in the 20 minutes or so I've seen.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pretty pictures: Brassocattleya Sunset Glory

This is the last of my favorite orchids from last year's orchid show. It might also be my favorite favorite, if I had to pick just one. Can't explain why. I just dig it.

Brassocattleya Sunset Glory = Brassocattleya Richard Mueller x Cattleya purpurata (Ref.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Anthurium no. 0120 "Eliza Boutisecksis"

Considering that virtually all of the Schlumbergera seedlings so far have been orange, you'd think that an orange Anthurium would be no big deal to me: way more orange than anybody could ever need already, no point in getting excited about more. But no. However common orange Schlumbergeras might be around here, orange Anthuriums are rare, and it can totally make my week to see a first-time bloomer come up orange, like happened recently. (You'll get to meet her soon.)1

And Eliza is as orange as they get, so far.

She doesn't have especially large spathes, which is sort of a problem, but they're at least exceptionally vivid. (I'm not altogether convinced that there isn't a fluorescent pigment in there somewhere, because they seem to reflect more light than is hitting them.) Plus the leaves are different, in a way which stands out to me but probably just looks like another stupid Anthurium leaf to you:


Like #0126 "Erin Dirtylondry," Eliza's been promoted to a 6-inch pot. I haven't been able to pollinate her yet, but I haven't given up trying.


1 Only four members in Orange Club, and two of them don't even attend all the meetings:
#0031 "Sylvester" is orange / white, and #0120 "Eliza Boutisecksis" is orange / orange, and then there are two that are only sort of technically orange: #0118 "Elijah Sturdabowtit" is orange when it first opens but then quickly changes to pink (and then quickly changes to dead -- the blooms are not long-lived at all), and the fourth is the new one that I'll write about shortly, who is also only kind of orange, but in a neat way.
2 (The lobes and tip are both more rounded, the secondary veins leading away from the midrib are slightly sunken compared to the rest of the leaf, giving them a slightly "quilted" look, and the margins curl under very slightly, making the already rounded leaves look even more so.)
Which, um, by the way -- I know I mentioned a while back that I was working on an Anthurium foliage post, and I'm sad to inform you that however long I imagined it taking when I said that, it's going to take me a lot longer than that to finish. It's mainly a problem of not quite having a vocabulary for talking about them yet. I see certain traits popping up in certain seedlings, like, the new leaves on some of them are brown, or all of the veins are slightly sunken, or the lobes at the top of the "heart" are unusually pointed or whatever, and it's easy enough to see those particular bits, but different characteristics also seem to move as a group: a seedling whose immature leaves have a red midrib is also way more likely to have thin, broad, dark-green mature leaves with wavy margins; seedlings with five or seven main veins all radiating out from the point where the petiole meets the leaf also tend to have light yellow-green new leaves. Not only have I not yet sat down and closely examined all of the seedlings' foliage and recorded their descriptions, but I don't even have a terribly good sense of how many characteristics I'm looking for, total, or where to draw the line between trait A and trait B, because characteristics may be more obvious or less obvious, blend together gradually, only appear on leaves after a plant has reached a certain age, only visible under certain lighting conditions, or whatever. I feel fairly certain that I have Things To Say about Anthurium foliage, but I don't know what they are exactly, or even how to go about finding out. So it's probably better if you just forget that I ever promised a foliage post.