Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pretty picture: Rhyncattleanthe Kurt Hausermann 'Friar's Cove'

I was worried, when I scheduled this post, that maybe late August was the wrong time of year to be looking at a flower with such hot colors: usually by August I'm so sick of the heat that I instinctively gravitate toward anything blue, cold, or dark. But this summer, like last summer, hasn't been that bad so far. As I write this on August 18, the National Weather Service is predicting a high temperature of 69F/21C for Wednesday the 19th. We had one pretty bad week in July -- there is always at least one bad week in July -- but other than that, it hasn't been particularly hot, so I'm not really sick of the heat.

Some of the other summer-related activities, yes. I'm definitely sick of weeding (and stopped doing it altogether about three or four weeks ago). Japanese beetles can kiss my ass (though not literally because that would be horrible). Haven't yet been stung by a wasp, but they are everywhere,1 and I'm tired of having to watch for them. Not sick of summer, but definitely ready for fall.

But so anyway. The tag on this one said Brassolaeliocattleya; it's a Rhyncattleanthe according to the orchid register.

Rhyncattleanthe Kurt Hausermann 'Friar's Cove' = Cattlianthe Ken Battle x Rhyncholaeliocattleya Susan Stromsland (Ref.)


1 They seem to be fond of the Cannas, though I haven't yet determined whether they're getting something directly from the Cannas, like water or nectar, or hunting the various insects that do get something directly from the Cannas. Whatever the explanation, the wasps do nothing to help with the Japanese beetles, which is the only thing I can think of that might make up for the increased sting risk.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Anthurium no. 0288 "Cookie Buffet"

I've let myself get way behind on the blog posts lately, because I've been working on a special, complicated photo for like a week and a half, which has required me to take and sort a bunch more pictures than usual.1 I've also been burning a lot of time outside, catching and drowning Japanese beetles (who discovered the Cannas about a month and a half ago and have been merrily shredding them since), and a couple days went toward beginning a purge of the 4-inch Anthuriums too, which is still technically in progress as I write this (18 August), but I haven't done any purging for a while, because it's very time-consuming, sitting there wringing my hands about whether or not to get rid of a seedling.2

The upshot being that I don't have a lot of time to devote to this particular post and seedling, because so much else has been going on.

Fortunately, Cookie's not the sort of seedling that would inspire a lot of excited chatter anyway. She's a middle-of-the-pack pink / pink:

The bloom wasn't bad when it first opened, as you can see, but it hasn't aged especially well. (I don't have a recent photo, but just trust me.) Cookie also lives in a bad neighborhood: her flat was ground zero for the scale-infested Gasteraloe leaf, a few months back, which means that although I've thrown some imidacloprid around, I'm still finding scale nearby. None actually on Cookie, as far as I can remember, but it's only a matter of time.

Cookie's internodal distance is also a lot longer than I would like. It's not bad enough to condemn her to the wastebasket necessarily, but she's floppy enough to be annoying to water or photograph.

The best thing she's got going for her, really, is her foliage. It's not amazing, but the leaves are relatively unblemished, and they're broad and flat, which I like. I doubt this will be enough to get her moved up to a 6-inch pot; it likely won't even be enough to keep her out of the trash can. As I keep reminding myself, I'm not going to breed awesome, wonderful Anthuriums by holding on to every single seedling forever. Can't make an omelet, gotta know when to hold 'em, etc.


1 The worst part of which is that if everything goes according to plan, y'all won't even get to see it until the end of September.
2 (Even if the plant looks awful, has never even tried to bloom, and is nearly four years old, I still have to really think about whether or not to keep it.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Anthurium no. 0335 "Donna Fanuday"

0335 "Donna Fanuday" has an odd thing in common with 0597 "Raven," from last Friday's post: they both produced first blooms with extremely short peduncles.1 Like Raven, Donna was less extreme about this with her second bloom, but it's still weird. (From time to time, I fantasize about having English-speaking Anthurium seedlings who I could just ask about these things: WHY DID THIS SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA TO YOU ANSWER ME RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY. But you knew that.)

I really wanted to like Donna, because she's large2 and relatively unscathed by the thrips and has decent leaves,

but the bloom is seriously underwhelming. Even if it weren't shorter than the leaves, it's not an interesting color (red/yellow), and the spathe is so badly reflexed that it's difficult to photograph. Here are the best pictures of the first bloom:

And the second, shortly after it opened, before it had had time to raise the spadix and flip back the spathe:

We've seen worse before, and surely will again, and I'm not willing to say that Donna is definitely, for sure, doomed to the wastebasket. But I can't say for sure that she's safe, either.

The silver lining to this sort of thing is that it's a chance to learn something about what makes Anthuriums tick. Had I stuck to the varieties available in the garden centers, I'd never have seen a plant with short peduncles; I'd never even have known that that was a possibility.3 If you really want to get to know a plant and find out what it's capable of doing, breed a few hundred of them. If you're paying attention at all, you'll see something you've never seen before.


1 Peduncle: the modified petiole that supports an Anthurium inflorescence. Or we could call it the "stalk," I guess.
2 I know small, compact plants are desirable, especially because they make it possible for me to keep more individual plants in the same amount of space, but . . . I like big leaves and I cannot lie.
3 Though I might have suspected. Of the dozen or so species genetically compatible with A. andreanum, at least two, A. kamemotoanum and A. hoffmannii, naturally produce inflorescences on very short stalks. I don't know how widespread the genes of either plant might be in modern Anthurium hybrids, though I get the impression that they're pretty well-represented.
It's not clear from reading the Anthurium-breeding book exactly what qualities A. hoffmannii might be used to impart to offspring, though it's mentioned as having contributed to the "tulip-type" hybrids, as is A. kamemotoanum. Hoffmannii also appears to be useful for producing green spathes, though A. nymphaeifolium and A. ravenii are also green, and A. formosum and A. roseospadix are sometimes very slightly green, so there are probably routes to get to a green spathe that don't involve going through Hoffmanniitown. Not that a lot of people are trying to make green-spathed Anthurium hybrids in the first place.
A. kamemotoanum is a really interesting species, and I was surprised to find that I couldn't locate a photo of it online -- the book has one photo of the blooms, plus an illustration of the whole plant on the dust jacket (low-quality image available at Amazon), and that is all. Not only is A. kamemotoanum unusual in having short peduncles, but the spathe flops over the top of the spadix a bit, giving the inflorescence something of a "hood," the two sides of the spathe are different colors (a dark red or purple-red "front," next to the spadix, and a green or green-streaked-with-red "back"), and some of the kamemotoanum hybrids shown in the book have a different color near the top of the spathe (the "acumen," if you're into terminology) than they do at the bottom. The most striking hybrid, a cross with A. lindenianum and A. kamemotoanum, is white or light pink near the base, sort of streaky pink and dark purple-red in the middle, and dark purple-red at the acumen. (It's on p. 39, for those of you following along in your own books at home.)
I don't know anything about the heritability of short peduncles, or the ancestry of my founding varieties of Anthurium, so I have no idea whether Donna's peduncles are a genetic throwback to hoffmannii, kamemotoanum, or both, but it's possible.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pretty picture: Vanda Rachadaporn

I just straight-up hate this one. That color! Ugh.

I'd blame it on the photography, except that I remember being unimpressed in person as well. It's different, and, well, respect for being different, but this does not do it for me at all.

Vanda Rachadaporn = Vanda Thananchai x Vanda denisoniana (Ref.)