Friday, July 31, 2015

Anthurium no. 0255 "Steph N. Wolfe"

Anthurium 0255 "Steph N. Wolfe" isn't particularly unremarkable. With very long petioles holding the leaves far from the core of the plant, and no suckers to fill in any foliage around the base, she winds up seeming very large and spare-looking, though this is at least partly optical illusion: I didn't have any trouble finding plants that were considerably larger.1

This is sort of the sole point of interest about Steph. Leaves and inflorescences alike are fairly resistant to thrips damage, which is encouraging, and the blooms are, I suppose, about as good as a pink / pink could get.

Don't really have strong feelings about Steph either way, which means she probably gets to hang around for a while. There will be a purge coming, pretty soon, in which some of the stunted, thrips-damaged, non-blooming, or otherwise inadequate older plants will be disposed of somehow, but Steph won't be one of the purged ones.

By the way: I'm not sure whether the planned purge means I throw them in the trash, or take them to the consignment store, or what.2 There are too many plants needing larger pots to continue wasting space on plants that won't step up and be awesome, and I think giving a plant three or four years to prove itself is not unreasonable. We'll see how things go.


1 Notably 0314 "Camille Yen" and 0072 "Beth Rowe," both of whom are just monsters despite still being stuck in 4-inch pots. And they're still in 4-inch pots because they haven't tried to bloom yet. I'm considering moving Camille anyway, just to see what would happen if she had more room for her roots, because the foliage is lovely, and the last time I moved a plant up before it had bloomed, just because the foliage was nice, that wound up being 0334 "Jean Poole," who is now in my favorite five or so seedlings and has three blooms going simultaneously right now.
Though my expectation is that even if Camille did bloom, she would probably be pink / pink, like her seed parent (the NOID pink). Possibly a bad idea to expect lightning to strike twice.
2 Consignment store would be a more appealing option if I knew for sure that there weren't any thrips on the plants. I suppose I could try wiping off all the leaves by hand or something, immediately before bringing them in. I'd have a better shot at eliminating all the thrips from a particular seedling that way than I ever could by keeping the plant here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pretty picture: Odontocidium (?) Margaret(e?) Holm 'Alpine'

I'm not ordinarily a big fan of Oncidiums and their relatives -- objectively, I can be impressed by how many blooms, or an unusual color, or something, but I think my preferences run more toward single (or few) very large and elaborate blooms, instead of lots of smaller, simpler ones. When I come across an exception to that general rule, though, it tends to be a doozy.

I think the main thing I like about this is that the blooms are so large, relative to what I usually see, but the pattern is also great, and I like the colors, too. This one just pleases me in all the ways. (Except possibly for being fragrant, which I don't think it is but even if it were it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't be able to smell it at the show or remember it after the show.)

The ID on this one is confusing and uncertain. Of course. In 2008, I posted a photo of an orchid we were selling at the ex-job, which was tagged as Odontoglossum 'Margarete Holm,' but it didn't look anything like this -- different color, different pattern, smaller blooms. And, obviously, Odontoglossum, instead of Odontocidium.

The orchid registry where I usually get my ancestry information gives two results for "MargaretE Holm," but neither one is listed as an Odontocidium, so I don't know which one is the plant in the photo, or whether either of them is. one is an Oncostele (syn. Odontoglossum), registered in 1983, and the other is an Oncostele (syn. Odontioda), registered in 1988. The site doesn't have photos to go with the listings, which is understandable (it would be a lot more work, and it's hard to confirm the identity of a plant in a photo unless it's very distinctive or common), but that also leaves me without a way to choose one or the other.

An online image search leads me to think that it's probably the 1983 cultivar, making this actually an Odontoglossum instead of an Odontocidium as tagged, though that preference is based on a single Pinterest post. Ideally, one would like to have something a little more solid to base the guess on. I also found a Garden Web thread about a plant that sort of looks like this but with blooms that lean more to the pink/purple side than the dark red in my pictures. That one was sold as Margarete Holm 'Alpine.' A Garden Webber comes down on the Odontoglossum/1983 side, but . . . Garden Web is only barely more trustworthy than Pinterest, and only one commenter weighed in, so I wouldn't, like, want to bet someone's life on that being true.

And none of this explains the photo I took in 2008, which pretty clearly seems to be a different plant than this.

In any case, I like these photos -- if anything, the photos make it look better than it did in person -- and this was one of my favorite orchids at the 2015 show.

Next up, another Anthurium, this time no. 0255 "Steph N. Wolfe." Hopefully it will be less confusing than this.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Anthurium no. 0510 "Victoria 'Porkchop' Parker"

I have wondered, from time to time, why professional Anthurium breeders aren't spending more time focusing on foliage. It's easy enough to find variegated leaves on foliage Anthuriums like A. hookeri (also similar-looking but unidentified plants here and here), and of course there are A. andreanum hybrids with speckled spathes, like 'Peppermint Gemini,' but I've only ever been able to find one A. andreanum hybrid with variegated leaves, via, and I'm not sure that it's variegated on purpose -- there's no cultivar name given,1 the pictures are terrible,2 and I've never seen anything like it for sale.

Anthuriums do occasionally wind up variegated due to viruses; this conversation at mentions dasheen mosaic virus3 specifically, but obviously this is bad for the health of the plant, and of other aroids that happen to be near the plant, and there's no cure for it. The aroid experts in that thread say plants with dasheen mosaic virus should be destroyed, so as to prevent it from being spread to other plants.

Which brings us to 0510 "Victoria 'Porkchop' Parker."

Note: all photos of 0510 have had the color exaggerated somewhat in order to make the shape of the variegation clearer, and to make it easier to see variegation through the light reflected at the camera by the leaf surfaces. In person, the color contrast isn't anywhere near as dramatic, though it's easier to see through the reflections. So: the photos aren't accurate, but they still roughly approximate what you'd see in person.

Victoria has been producing mottled leaves since germination, and was actually one of a quartet of plants from the same sibling group4 that did so. 0405 "Crickett Bardot," 0509 "Felicity Charmichaels," and 0522 "Brandy Sheena Gunn," from the same sibling group,5 also had spotty, variegated-looking leaves, and while Brandy was always kind of sickly and eventually died, and Felicity lost the variegation with age, Victoria seems to be strong enough to continue to grow slightly variegated leaves, the most recent of which is in the photo above, and Crickett, though less vigorous, produces leaves which are thoroughly mottled.

0509 "Felicity Charmichaels" as of 17 March 2014. I would have added a more recent photo of Felicity, but -- she still looks like this except for the color, which is now uniformly green. The entire plant is only about an inch, inch and a half (2.5 - 3.8 cm) across. Not different enough to be worth a photo.

0522 "Brandy Sheena Gunn" on 17 March 2014. Brandy was only five months old in this photo, but you can see she had already pretty much checked out. (Amazingly, she lasted another nine months, not dying until December 2014.)

0405 "Crickett Bardot" on 25 July 25. Similar variegation pattern as Victoria's, but all the leaves are still pretty small. I came this close to moving Crickett into a larger pot last week, out of curiosity about what would happen, but there were other seedlings that seemed to need / deserve it more. I wish I had space to up-pot all the seedlings whenever I want, but alas.

I had zero familiarity with dasheen mosaic virus before I started writing this post. The best photo I could find of DsMV on an Anthurium andraeanum hybrid looks like this, which is sufficiently unlike my plant that I'm sort of inclined to think that that's not what's happening with Victoria,6 but I'm not a plant virus expert or anything.

DsMV is spread through insects. Outdoors, that's usually aphids, though I imagine thrips could do it as well. And if this is a virus, and thrips can spread it, then I should probably just assume that all my Anthuriums are infected even though only three of them have ever shown any signs of infection.

On the other hand, maybe it's not a virus. Maybe it's just variegation. In which case . . . still not that impressed, really. I mean, it's subtle enough to be hard to photograph, and even in person it's not what you'd call pretty.

Maybe that's why nobody bothers with variegated Anthurium foliage: even on the rare occasions when you get it, it doesn't really add anything. Or maybe perfectly lovely variegated Anthuriums have been tried and customers just didn't like them: customers do have notoriously awful and/or boring taste.7 Even if it's not possible to do variegation well, I still think there must be something else to be done with Anthurium leaves. We have plenty of neon yellow aroids: Epipremnum aureum 'Neon,' Philodendron 'Moonlight,' Spathiphyllum 'Golden Glow,' Philodendron hederaceum 'Aureum'/'Lemon-Lime,' Xanthosoma 'Lime Zinger,' Syngonium podophyllum gold something-something, etc. Surely it's not beyond our abilities to come up with a neon yellow Anthurium? Or what about an Anthurium that has red-brown new growth that stays red-brown? Something. I've seen plenty of variation in the shape and texture of my own seedlings' leaves, and we know A. andreanum hybrids can produce a lot of different-colored pigments when they need to; I don't think it's so outlandish to think that foliage could be a lot more diverse than what's on the market already.

In any case. "Victoria 'Porkchop' Parker" is probably not the vanguard of a new era in Anthurium foliage, but she's at least something of a puzzle. And maybe I'll get answers to that puzzle someday.


1 'Variegata' could, I suppose, be an actual variety name, for some species or genera of plant, but its a very generic, well-I-suppose-I-have-to-call-it-something-and-it's-variegated-so-I-guess-I'll-just-go-with-that? sort of name for a plant as heavily bred as Anthurium, so I suspect it's not an official cultivar.
2 Sorry, photographer, but deep in your heart you know it's true.
3 (abbreviated DsMV, presumably to avoid confusion with some other D- mosaic virus)
4 This is the best term I can come up with for identifying seedlings that all came from the same seed parent and were sown close enough to the same time that it's plausible for them to all be from the same pollination. Seedlings within a sibling group are therefore at least all half-siblings with one another, and presumably some of them are full siblings. At this point there are 82 active sibling groups here, with more coming on all the time as new seedlings germinate and get potted up.
5 Group "BF," sown on October 23, 2013 from seed parent 'Gemini.' It's been pretty sucky so far; the only other seedling from BF you've met is the famously terrible 0415 "Darby Dragons". Two others have buds, but they look pretty Darbyish, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
6 The main differences, as I see them: the borders of the areas affected by the virus in the picture are smoother and more rounded than on my plant, the virus seems to be confined to a single layer of the leaf, rather than being in two or three overlapping layers like on Victoria; and the lighter-colored parts on my plant don't follow the veins to the same degree as in the DsMV-infected plant.
The only way to find out for sure would be to send a sample to a plant-virus lab somewhere. At the ex-job, we went a poinsettia sample with a fungus to a lab through the Iowa State University Extension Office, once. It only cost $10, and the identification came back fairly quickly, though it didn't wind up actually help us that much in figuring out what we were supposed to do about it. I checked the ISUEO website and couldn't find anything about that program, so I don't know whether that's an option for me or not, but I'm writing this post way ahead of its publication (19-20 July), so by the time you read this I will probably have looked into this and found something out. (Edit 25 July 2015: I have still not looked into this.)
7 Someone is obviously buying those godawful glitter-and-spray-paint-covered poinsettias.