Saturday, September 19, 2015

Anthurium no. 0558 "Amber Waves"

Amber would bother me, due to the bloom/name color mismatch,1 except that there is very little chance that she's going to stick around long enough to be a problem, so I'm not changing her name.

I don't know what happened here for sure. There are a number of bacterial and fungal infections that can hit Anthuriums, one of which (anthracnose, caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides) turns spadices black, but I don't think that's what's going on here, because anthracnose doesn't shrivel them up. Though you can tell from looking at the spathe that this bloom was likely having multiple problems, so I suppose we can't rule it out.

Also, while I realize that any bacterial or fungal problem would have to hit some seedling first, it seems like I've had enough Anthuriums here for long enough that if I had some sort of spadix-eating disease lurking around, I would have seen it hit before this. Amber's my 98th Anthurium seedling to produce a finished bloom, after all. That's a lot of spadices coming and going before this particular problem showed up. So I would be surprised to find out that it's a bacterial or fungal problem.

But you never know. I don't deliberately try to find pathogens to expose my seedlings to, but maybe I should: how depressing would it be to come up with a really pretty and interesting hybrid and then discover that it's commercially useless because it contracts a disfiguring disease at the drop of a hat? On the other hand, deliberately bringing diseases into the collection seems like it would impair my ability to create new seeds, and the fewer plants I can get seeds from, the lower my overall genetic diversity; the lower the genetic diversity, the harder it will be for me to come up with a seedling that is simultaneously pretty, interesting, disease-resistant, and not overly bothered by bugs. So maybe the best strategy is to make as many seedlings as I can, select out the prettiest ones, and assume that some of them are going to be nonviable for some reason or another, without worrying too hard about what that reason might be.2

Maybe Amber was just having a really bad day. I've said enough times that it's not a good idea to judge a seedling by the first bloom it produces. So we'll see if the next one is better. I'm not expecting it to be so much better that it saves Amber from the garbage can, but we'll see.

The leaves are at least okay, and the shape is slightly interesting:

Ditto for the plant overall (not crazy about that internodal distance, though):

Even the best-case scenario here has Amber as just another red or pinkish-red, so she's probably not worth waiting on, but I probably will anyway. If nothing else, I'd like to get a better photo to remember her by.


1 This wasn't a problem I'd considered, when I started out, and then a lot of the seedlings saddled with problematic names have died, so for the most part, it hasn't mattered. It's still potentially a problem for 0039 "Honey Mahogany," 0043 "Jade Jolie," 0084 "Chocolate Sunrise," 0490 "Rusty Ryan," 0532 "Amber Alert," 0605 "Rusti Fawcett," 0654 "Rosie Cheeks," 0691 "Jade," and 0949 "Cherri Baum," and so far only two of those (0039 and 0532) have even attempted to bloom, so I'm not going to bother renaming them just yet. Three (0490, 0605, and 0949) are even likely to bloom in name-appropriate colors, should they bloom, so they'll probably work out without me having to do anything.
The only reason this is an issue at all -- because, remember, these were only ever intended as place-holder names -- is that it's a lot easier for me to keep the names straight if they don't contradict the blooms. I still have a tough time with 0237 "Roxy Casbah," because my brain insists that any seedling named "Roxy" has to have red spathes, not pink.
2 Though the don't-get-attached part is a problem.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Anthurium no. 0386: "Violet Chachki"

I said a while back that I had a list of drag queen names that were unusable, because they imply a color, and I can't know what color my plants are going to bloom before I name them, so in order to use that set of names, I'd have to wait until a plant with a crappy name bloomed and then swap the names with something color-appropriate. I didn't figure that would happen anytime soon, and was somewhat resistant to the idea because of all the paperwork I'd have to do to make the name change official, but then seedling 0386 bloomed, and it seemed like a really good time to find out how much of a hassle that would really be.

0386's original name was "Bjorn Innabarn," which seemed good enough at first but grated on me the more I used it, and then he turned out to bloom in purple.

Well, that's obviously not going to happen all the time, and I figured I'd wind up talking about 0386 a lot because of the unusual color, and the idea of seeing and typing "Bjorn Innabarn" a lot was unpleasant. Hence, "Violet Chachki." The paperwork wasn't that bad.

Violet's buds are maybe prettier and more interesting than the actual blooms are; they're at least a better shade of purple. Once the spathes open, they wind up receiving some thrips damage.

For the moment, Violet's the only genuinely purple purple in bloom. Her seed parent, the NOID purple, is still technically alive, but in a much-reduced form that's not likely to bloom anytime soon.1 0200 "Mario Speedwagon" did get around to making a new bud, after keeping me waiting for about a year, but the bud got snapped off accidentally during the shelf restructuring. And 'Joli' has a purple bloom too, but its blooms fade to pink pretty quickly, plus it's having thrips troubles, so the blooms usually don't look very good. So Violet currently has the weight of representing the entire purple-blooming community on her petioles. Which is a lot to ask of a seedling who's only 29 months old.

Obviously Violet's a keeper, by virtue of not being pink or red. The oldest leaves are pretty messed up from something or another:

but the newest ones have been a lot better, so whatever the problem was, she seems to be growing out of it.

And the overall plant is merely okay, but I moved her to a bigger pot, so that should improve soon as well. There's already a second bud (not visible in the below picture, but trust me).

So: Violet could be better, but there's reason for optimism.

Mostly I'm just relieved to see another chance to hang on to any of the NOID purple's genes; it never produced very many seeds to begin with, and its offspring are terrible at staying alive.

I have no blooms or buds from the NOID purple that could produce new seeds, at the moment. There are no seeds still in the germination containers, waiting to be potted up. Of those that were potted up, only 31% survive past the two-year mark. So as of 12 September, the genetic legacy of the NOID purple rests on 19 seedlings, several of which are all but certain to die before blooming.2 So any seedlings that survive long enough to bloom are pretty important.

There are also a few decent-looking grandchildren of the NOID purple around now; none are old enough to bloom yet, but three of them3 look pretty sturdy. I also have some grandchildren in germination containers, waiting to be potted up, but they're all the offspring of 0108 "Deena Sequins," who makes really strange-looking kids. Normal Anthurium seedlings have the same general form as the adults, just smaller, like this blurry one from 'White Gemini:'

Deena's seedlings, on the other hand, often have large numbers of very tiny leaves on the ends of disproportionately long petioles, like so:

I don't know yet whether this is something they'll grow out of or not; the twelve I've potted up so far look fairly normal (though the long-petiole thing does seem to be fairly consistent, and they appear to sucker a lot more than the typical seedling), but then I probably chose to pot up the most normal-looking ones I could find, too.

The only other option for purple-bloom genes is 'Joli.' Even though the blooms change color pretty quickly, it's obvious enough that there are genes in there for making purple pigments, so that's good. The problem is that it's difficult to breed with as well. Many batches of 'Joli' seeds I start have a 0% germination rate; of the seeds that do germinate, most of them grow very slowly.4

So maybe I shouldn't abandon all hope of a nice dark purple bloom, but I'm glad that's not my only Anthurium-related goal, 'cause it looks like it's going to be a lot of trouble.


1 The original plant was on the verge of collapse, possibly from being overpotted, so I cut it back to the soil line and tried to root the tops in water. This worked well enough to get me one pretty sparse-looking 4- or 5-inch pot, but it hasn't grown much or tried to bud, so I don't have high hopes for it. The original plant has sprouted a couple new growing tips from the stump, which is good news, but it'll be a while before they're big enough to consider blooming, and since I haven't moved the plant to a smaller pot (for fear that doing so would disrupt whatever recovery process is happening), it seems like there's a good chance of it rotting before it blooms anyway.
2 It's possible that the NOID purple might have produced pollen at some point, in which case some of its genes would be out there but hidden from me. I don't recall it producing pollen, but by this point I barely recall it blooming at all. So there's a sliver of pollen-related hope.
3 0768 "Glenda Bender" (parent: 0200 "Mario Speedwagon")
0791 "Joslyn Fox" (parent: 0200 "Mario Speedwagon")
0799 "Hope Sandreams" (parent: 0108 "Deena Sequins")
4 Overall stats for 'Joli' seeds:
82 seeds collected and sown (between 27 March and 19 August 2015)
21 seeds germinated (a 26% germination rate)
4 seedlings that look at all vigorous as of 12 September
1 seedling vigorous enough to pot up (1171 "Chris of Hur")
Chris is doing well enough so far, I guess. He's not obviously unhappy about anything, and the thrips seem to be leaving it more or less alone. Also some of the seeds were started recently enough that they might yet germinate and develop well, or grow into something more vigorous-looking, so the situation may not be as dire as it looks. But the seeds started in March and April had an 11% germination rate overall, with only a single seedling that looked strong at all (which was Chris). So 'Joli' is less useful than I'd hoped.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ambiguously pretty pictures: Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Colorful Blue' and Guarianthe x guatemalensis

These were actually perfectly nice plants and flowers (well, the Neostylis was maybe a little on the yellow side, but it was trying hard to be green, you could tell), but my camera just failed to get an in-focus, usable shot of them. Rather than discard the photos, I'm using them anyway, partly because I figure the photos will look more focused after they get shrunk down to fit the blog, and partly because I thought the Guarianthe was pretty, and an imperfectly-focused photo of it is better than no photo at all.

Guarianthe x guatemalensis = Guarianthe aurantiaca x Guarianthe skinneri (naturally occurring hybrid1)

It appears that "Neostylis Lou Sneary" has become obsolete since I looked it up in March, and is now Vandachostylis Lou Sneary. Either that or the orchid registry where I look these things up only just got around to changing it. Or I was rushing through the process so much that I didn't bother to check whether the name was still current. Whichever of these three possibilities applies, my reaction's the same: *sigh*.

Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Colorful Blue' = Vanda falcata x Rhynchostylis coelestis (Ref.)


1 I don't have a reference recorded for this one, but I'm pretty sure I didn't just make it up. How badly do you want to know where it came from?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Anthurium no. 0416 "Holy McGrail"

Holy McGrail is an actual performer, though not a drag queen: she's a "faux queen;" i.e. a biological woman who takes on the general performance style of drag queens. Which is a whole scene unto itself, apparently, though my understanding is that there's a fair amount of drag queen / faux queen cross-pollination.

I no longer remember whether I knew Holy was a faux queen when I added her name to the list, but I've never been super rigid about categorizing, when it comes to the name list, because the borders between different categories (drag king, drag queen, female impersonator, transvestite, faux queen, genderqueer, genderfuck, trans man, trans woman, etc.) are all pretty fuzzy, and people identify in different ways at different points in their lives (sometimes), and so I've mostly just decided that if a performer is anywhere near this general cluster of labels then I'm adding them to the list. And faux queens are close enough. But it all gets really complicated, and I figure I'm bound to offend someone sooner or later, as not all of these groups like one another or necessarily want to be associated with the others (the border between "drag queen" and "trans woman" is sort of particularly fraught lately). So if you've got a problem with faux queens being included, or really anything else about the seedling names, um, I guess e-mail me about it or something.

In Holy's particular case, I think the question is ultimately moot. Because this is an ugly bloom:

With ugly leaves:

I'd have a tough time coming up with anything nice to say about the plant at all, frankly:

So probably the plant's going in the trash soon, and the name will wind up recycled for another seedling down the line somewhere.1 I'm waiting to see whether the second bloom, currently pretty close to opening, will wind up being any better: if it is, then I might wind up hanging on to Holy a little longer. She could turn it all around and be awesome. In theory. I guess. But don't get attached.


1 This happens all the time. The next "Dawn Kekong" will be the fifth seedling saddled with that name. (#s 0102, 0315, 0664, and 1054 are all deceased; if I bother trying it again, the next Dawn Kekong should fall somewhere in the 1700s.)