Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Hampshire Medallion

I like paphs in general, but I really like Hampshire Medallion. Big, flattish, light-colored, spotted but not bumpy: something about that combination pleases me.1

There have been a few "Hampshire" paphs previously (Hampshire White Light, Hampshire Greenfield); although they don't appear to be particularly related to Hampshire Medallion, all three plants are registered by the same hybridizer (Arnold J. Klehm), so this appears to be yet another case of a breeder staking a claim on a particular word and naming their entire output after that word, as I-Hsin Biotech has done with "I-Hsin" and OX Orchid Farm has done with "OX."

As I churn through lists of words, looking for names for the Schlumbergera seedlings,2 I'm more and more sympathetic to this approach. I didn't realize before I started doing it just how quickly the list of all possible names gets whittled down, when you're talking about a particular seedling.

Like, soon, I have to come up with a name for an orange Schlumbergera. Rule out all the options that are inappropriate / offensive ('Piss Christ,' 'Nazi Party'), not offensive exactly but still unappealing ('Maggot Infestation'), deliberately confusing or misleading ('Gardenia Perfume,' 'Sky Blue Sky,' 'Hylocactus'), technical or jargony ('Undisenfranchised,' 'Cholecystectomy'), likely to step on another hybridizer's toes ('Interpretive Dancer,' which I love as a concept, but would probably lead to a fight with whoever has been producing the "Dancer" plants: 'Caribbean Dancer,' 'Cyber Dancer,' 'Exotic Dancer,' 'Limelight Dancer,' 'Polka Dancer,' etc.), overly similar to names I've already used ('Strawberry Shortcake;' close enough to 082A "Strawberry Madeleine" as to give me pause), or too obvious ('Sunset Orange,' 'Tangerine Dream'), and there are surprisingly few options left. After a while, the only way to generate usable novelty is to start throwing random words together.

Which is presumably how we've wound up with orchid names that sound like someone threw random words together, e.g. Masdevallia Copper Angel 'Highland' or Goodaleara Pacific Truffle 'Surrogate Star.' I'm not 100% convinced that this is necessarily a problem,3 and if it is a problem then I'm not sure every breeder picking a special word to identify their output is a particularly good solution,4 but whatever the solution, I have a much deeper understanding of the problem than I did when I started blogging about them back in 2007. If Arnold J. Klehm wants to stake a claim on the word "Hampshire," more power to him, I guess.

Paphiopedilum Hampshire Medallion = Paph. Hanes' Medallion x Paph. Barbi Playmate (Ref.)


1 See also Paph. Lunacy, Paph. concolor, Paph. bellatulum, Paph. Huddle 'Joan,' Paph. delenatii x Paph. Doctor Jack, etc. Though the stripey ones are still better.
2 Which I thought was over for the year, but then Schlumbergera 200 produced a bud -- in June! -- down in the basement, which is in the process of opening as I write this (on Tuesday the 21st). I'll give you three guesses what color it is, and the first two don't count.
3 (I suppose it depends on how comfortable one is with nonsensical and surreal names. It occurs to me that orchid names could make fantastic strong passwords, à la "correct horse battery staple," if one chose an obscure enough orchid. And clonal names even automatically include two single-quotes as non-alphanumeric symbols, making them that much stronger.)
4 Another option for generating large numbers of names would be to choose a single word that can be paired with a large number of others and still make some kind of sense, as with the "Dancer" line of Schlumbergeras or the "Love" Anthuriums. Though there are even fewer words that combine sensibly with a large number of other words, so the number of ways to do that successfully is probably limited.


Pattock said...

Subjunct? Subjuncted? Subjunction? Subjunctivity?

mr_subjunctive said...

Pat the Plant:

I mean, I have seriously considered "Subjunctive."

Cultivar names can, realistically, only be so long, and "Subjunctive" plus a space is 12 characters, so "subjunctive" doesn't leave a ton of room for other words. Not that I'd need to be using particularly long other words, I suppose.