Saturday, January 23, 2016

Anthurium no. 0547 "Cate Sedia"

As recent new Anthurium blooms go, Cate is good. She doesn't do anything amazingly well, when compared to all the seedlings at once, but she does most things better than average.

She's not completely thrips-resistant, but is at least not horribly disfigured by thrips scarring. The color isn't some wild new combination I've never seen before, but hey, at least she's not another pink/pink or red/yellow. Purple-pink/white is a perfectly respectable combination, and the spathe color is one of her better qualities.

First bloom, 5 December 2015. Nice enough, but, you know, whatever.

Also good: she seems to be a relatively prolific bloomer, from what I've seen so far. I accidentally broke off her first bloom during watering, but Cate produced a second one within about a month, and it was incrementally better than the first: a little less scarred, a little bit larger, and it photographed much better.

Second bloom, 14 January 2016. Hello, nurse!

As I write this, on 15 and 16 January, a third bud is barely visible at the center of the plant: if that one winds up developing normally and opening, it's possible Cate will qualify as a fast bloomer, like her sister, 0527 "Ms. Lucia Love."1

If I have a complaint about Cate, it's that her foliage could be better. It's still better than average, I think, and I've promoted seedlings with worse (0386 "Violet Chachki," for example), but it isn't good.2

The whole plant could be fuller, considering she's a little bit past 2 years old now, but I think I can see a sucker beginning to develop, so that might be a temporary flaw.

Granted, this is also an older photo (October); Cate has one or two more leaves now.

I'm not 100% certain these are suckers; neither has yet actually produced a leaf (often the first few leaves on a sucker fail to develop properly; I don't know if the thrips are getting to them or if the baby plant isn't getting enough water or what), but the one on the left, at least, sure looks like a sucker to me.

So, final verdict -- not only is Cate staying around for a while, I've up-potted her already.

Which reminds me: I've promoted a couple other seedlings to 6-inch pots recently, both of which were initially disappointing.

0406 Tricia Nullmaritch, like Cate, had a nice bloom color, but her first bloom was unattractively scarred up and I was disappointed at the time. The second bloom from Tricia was also scarred, but a lot less so, and I decided that I was interested enough in what she'd do that I was okay with moving her to a 6-inch pot.

Tricia's most recent leaf improved significantly on the old ones as well; it's not unblemished, but it's better.

0408 Tex Messich likewise had a lot of spathe scarring, but the second bloom was better, and significantly bigger. The color isn't particularly out of the ordinary -- technically, Tex is merely a pink/beige -- but in some lighting conditions, the spathe is slightly orange or coral or something, which is mildly interesting, and both blooms so far have been held on short peduncles. Short peduncles3 aren't good if I'm aiming for something commercially viable, but I find them sort of intriguing despite myself. (And anyway, not everything in the whole goddamn world has to be turned into money. I'm allowed to keep unsellable seedlings for my own enjoyment if I want to. So there.)

By far the most interesting thing about Tex at the moment is that he's been producing gigantic new leaves. I mean, his leaves were always pretty big for his age, and relatively unscarred, but the latest one is about 8.5 inches (22 cm) long by 5.5 inches (14 cm) wide, which is almost as large as my seedlings' leaves get.4

When the leaf is flattened out a little better than this, and you measure from the top of the lobes to the tip, it comes out just short of 8.5 inches. The photo doesn't show this well, I know.

I already believed that it was good policy to give the seedlings a shot at a second bloom before discarding them, but it seems like that policy has been validated quite a bit lately.


1 All five seedlings in the BH seedling group ('White Gemini' / 23 October 2013) to bloom so far have been unusually enthusiastic about doing so, though that doesn't necessarily make them good seedlings.
Cate and Lucia have begun their third blooms, 0532 Amber Alert is at least on her second, if not third, though they're bad, and 0544 Ida Claire Warren produced two blooms pretty close together, rested for a bit, then started on a third. Ida's aren't very good either -- they photograph well, because there's like a 36-hour period after they first open when they're very nice, but the thrips love them, and the color dulls quickly.
0537 Bridgette of Madison County has also done two full blooms and one bud so far, but Bridgette is competitive for the Worst Seedling Bloom Of All Time title, down in the bottom 10 with 0373 Shangela Laquifa Wadley, 0218 Noah Fence, 0415 Darby Dragons, 0283 Anne Pursand, and 0558 Amber Waves. You'll get to judge for yourself soon; Bridgette's post is scheduled for February 2.
2 Interestingly, the plants that get promoted to 6-inch pots mostly seem to grow out of the scarring, to some degree or another, so it's possible that the thrips aren't solely responsible. Smaller pots also dry out faster and more often, so it could be a thrips/drought combination that causes the bad leaf scarring, or it's possible that having the extra room for roots to grow strengthens the plants and makes them better able to resist thrips. Or maybe the improvement comes first, then the up-potting, and the only reason they seem to get better after up-potting is because I only up-pot plants that are already getting better.
3 (Previously seen in 0335 "Donna Fanuday", who continues to produce them even after getting moved to a bigger pot. So I guess it's genetic.)
4 When I grabbed a ruler and went big-leaf hunting, I found four seedlings with at least one leaf bigger than Tex's: 0275 Yvette Horizon, 0330 Faye Quinette, 0334 Jean Poole, and 0360 Heidi Gosique. Another four either tied Tex or came up just short: 0126 Erin Dirtylondry, 0259 Tasha Salad, 0314 Camille Yen, and 0380 Ewan Watarmi.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 089

As a way to change up the whole seedling-naming thing, and liven up what is, let's be real, one more orange/white in a long series of orange/whites, I've exempted 089A from the TinEye process, and instead am going to try to choose from a hodgepodge of emergency names, previously rejected names, names from web pages about the color orange, and wherever else happens to come along. No rules! Anything can happen!

(Anything, that is, except that the seedling will be orange. The seedlings are always orange.)

Also going to skip the pre-screening process, and assess every name I considered, so you can see how that often goes.

089A was apparently not a very heavy bloomer; I only got two photos, of the same flower, and I think there were only two flowers total. One picture turned out fairly well, considering the flower's wonky shape, and the other turned out poorly, so I'm not sure whether this is a good seedling or not.

So what do we have by way of names? Oh my goodness so many names:

• Emergency names -- Apollo, Daylight Factory, Exothermic, Gato del Sol, Molly Ivins, Sly Fox, Sun and Snow
• Previously rejected -- Oompa, She Heard You, Night Cheese, Firewalk, Fervent (or Fervor), Breakin' the Law, Hellkitten, Fornax, Halloween Moon, Bruce Lee, Tamika Flynn, Heatsink, Powerlady, Uh Hey Baby
Causes that use orange awareness ribbons: Human Rights, Racial Tolerance, Cultural Diversity, Feral Cats, Motorcycle Safety, Underage Drinking, Hunger
• References to orange from around the internet: Persimmon, Benign Warmth, Gut Reaction, Overconfident, Optimistic, Glutton

And okay, let the selection begin.

Well, right off the bat, I regret including the awareness ribbons group, because I feel like if I dismiss any of those names then it means I don't care about the causes they represent. I mean, some of those strike me as more important causes than others, but it's not like I'm all, no, what we need is more feral cats! More drunk middle schoolers!1 So, yeah, bad judgment on my part, there. Strike the whole category.

And we can't have a Sly Fox and a Gallant Fox both. 'Cause too many foxes . . . uh, spoil the chickens. Or something.2

Glutton is terrible; I don't care if it is historically associated with the color orange. Let's try to stay away from the obviously awful names, yeah? Whoever let that into the list should be fired.

Heatsink doesn't make any more sense than it did the first time. Ditto She Heard You and Uh Hey Baby.

Benign Warmth is somehow both bland and vaguely cloying.

The white is maybe not intense enough for Sun and Snow to work.

Firewalk should be redder.

I don't know what color a Tamika Flynn seedling would be, but it's not orange. This doesn't really feel like the right color for Bruce Lee, either.

Breakin' the Law is kind of ridiculous for this seedling: it's orange and white. How much more normal and law-abiding could it be?

I don't think I like any version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory enough for Oompa, and the Oompa-Loompas are one of my least favorite parts of the movie besides.

Hellkitten and Fervent/Fervor are a little overstated.

Exothermic, Overconfident, Apollo, and Optimistic are all fine, I guess, but I feel like they're not quite interesting enough.

The bloom is perhaps a little delicate for Fornax or Gut Reaction.

Daylight Factory is a specific type of building, with reinforced concrete frames that could accommodate large windows and make use of natural light. See this page for examples and more details. I like the term, partly because it could easily mean a factory that produces daylight, but it doesn't make a lot of sense either way, and most people aren't familiar with the architectural meaning, so ennh.

Powerlady showed up because it is/was the name of a magazine, which makes me uneasy; it also appears to be the name of a chain (?) of gyms, which makes me even more hesitant to use it.

This is a better color for a Molly Ivins than the previous candidate, but I think I'll keep this option in reserve for a higher-quality seedling.

Night Cheese is still funny, and I kind of want to go with this, but the three remaining names are better.

Those three names are: Persimmon, Gato del Sol, and Halloween Moon.

Persimmon is a remarkably good color match, at least going by the photos that come up in an image search. (I'm not sure I've ever seen a persimmon in the flesh.) I'm kind of tempted to go with this name for the color alone. It's also the shortest name.

I'm curious about why a racehorse was named Gato del Sol (Spanish, "cat of the sun" / "sun cat"), but can't find an explanation anywhere. The name amuses me regardless. It's probably more amusing because I can't find an explanation.

Halloween Moon is probably the most evocative image, and color-appropriate, though I'm a little uneasy with it because it would appear to promise blooms on Halloween, from a plant that so far has only ever bloomed in late November. It's also the longest name. I have a "sun" already (111A Morning Sun), which either counts in favor (if I have a sun, there should be a moon) or opposition (enough with the astronomical bodies already). Not sure which.

So we basically have an accurate name, a whimsical name, and a poetic name. Which should it be?

Well. There are a lot of names from this year's batch that aren't in English. I don't care that they're not in English, except insofar as my brain stumbles a little when I'm reading a long column of words from various languages,3 so maybe Gato del Sol is droppable. And of the two remaining, I think I like the poetry of Halloween Moon better than the color fidelity of Persimmon. So I guess this one's Halloween Moon.

The plan for the next seedling, 093A, six days from now, is to let the husband go through the list of candidate names and decide which one will be official. Haven't started doing that yet (as of 14 January), or even asked him, so it may not happen, but that's the plan. I figure y'all could use a little time in someone else's brain.


1 I would, however, like to go on record as supporting an increase in the number of drunk feral cats on motorcycles, because that sounds like it would be very exciting.
2 I'm sure there must be a folk saying about what happens when you get too many foxes, and I'm sure having too many foxes must be bad. Probably especially for chickens.
3 So far: 034 Wahine (Polynesian, "woman"), 099B Karma Cobra (Sanskrit, though "karma" may be fully adopted into English), 074A Vroom (it's English but "vr" is such an unusual consonant blend for English that it trips me up regardless), 107A Nova Prospekt (potentially Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, or Serbian: it's deliberately ambiguous in the game I took it from), 079A Yayoi Kusama (Japanese given name), 079B Haleakala (Hawaiian, "house of the sun").
Also 018 Nudibranch is English but may as well not be, given the weird pronunciation and its not being an everyday conversation sort of word.
Last year's list: 019A Belevenissen (German, "experiences"), 030A Diwali (Sanskrit, "festival of lights" or "series of lights"), 035A Patito (Spanish, "duckling")

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Venus

I-Hsin Venus is another of the really pretty phals from the 2015 show.

I got curious about all the "I-Hsin" phals (I've only blogged about our good friend I-Hsin Balloon and I-Hsin Black Jack, but the International Orchid Register site lists another 380 Phalaenopsis hybrids, from I-Hsin Abby to I-Hsin Zoo.

The registrant name for some of these, including I-Hsin Venus, is "I-Hsin Biotech," and for the others it's "W. C. Chien." As best as I can determine from their website, I-Hsin Biotech started out as one guy doing some amateur Phalaenopsis breeding in Taiwan and has turned into an international family-owned phal-production juggernaut, with facilities in Taiwan and the U.S.

So if the I-Hsin plants are amazing, well, they damn well should be: they have 70,000 m2 (750,000 square feet) of greenhouse space for mass production of their plants, and an additional tenth of that amount set aside for flasks. If I had 6300 times more growing space devoted to Anthurium seedlings, I'd probably come up with some pretty cool Anthuriums, too.1, 2 (Also I imagine I'd spend quite a bit more time watering.)

And I-Hsin turns out not even to be unusual, in the Phalaenopsis world. There's another company whose phals show up frequently at the orchid show, OX Orchid Farm,3 who are also based in Taiwan and the U.S. No doubt if I looked long enough, I could find half a dozen more enormous Taiwanese Phalaenopsis companies.

I'm not crazy about the implication. I mean, in theory, there's still nothing stopping an amateur from catching a lucky break and producing an amazing seedling on their own, using a flasking service or whatever. But if you had your own amazing registered hybrid, really all you could do with it would be to sell it to one of the big companies, right? I mean, you can't really do tissue-culture at home,4 and if you can't mass-produce your plants, you can't mass-sell them either.

Not sure there's anything to be done about this really. Capitalism's gonna capital. But I don't like it.

Even if it does result in some pretty amazing plants.

Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Venus = Phalaenopsis Dragon's Gold x Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Viola Tris (Ref.)


1 I mean, not that some of my Anthurium seedlings aren't still cool. They're just maybe not this cool.
2 I have approximately 120 square feet (11 m2) of shelf space devoted to Anthuriums at the moment, including seedlings, parent plants, and germination containers. The Schlumbergeras get about 54 square feet (5 m2).
3 OX Orchid Farm hybrids: OX Spot Queen 'OX1460,' OX Prince 'OX1480,' OX Golden Apple, OX Little Moon, and OX Firebird 'OX1495'
4 Technically, I think artisanal tissue culture is possible, and something people have done before, but because of the need for incredibly sterile facilities, equipment, and culture medium, one would need to be very lucky, skilled, or persistent. And a 70,000 m2 greenhouse for growing out the plants after they're created would help too.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 079 (again)

079B is a perfectly nice orange / pink. I feel like I probably have enough orange / pink blooms at this point and really don't need any more, but the Schlumbergeras disagree. So I suppose I should give it a name.

With emergency names added in, there were somewhere between 35 and 40 name options for this seedling, which I pruned ruthlessly (ruthlessly!) down to 5.

Cyndi Lauper was previously considered for 083A "Psychedelic Bunny," and the name gets points for showing up organically as part of a TinEye search, but if we're going to be naming this one after a musician, I think it should be Annie Lennox, on account of it having significant color overlap with the music video for "Why." Plus the music video for "Why" renders Showgirl a little redundant (even if showgirls did show up twice in the TinEye results). So we'll keep Annie, and maybe the other two will show up again for some other seedling.

Haleakala is the name of the volcano that made the eastern 3/4 of the island of Maui, in Hawaii. It wouldn't normally be on the list, but it's a highly meaningful name to the husband,1 and it's not like I'm opposed to it.

Last one is Easter Egg, which I mean in a couple senses and don't mean in one sense:

1) it's got sort of Eastery colors,
2) it's an unnecessary extra thing (079A already existed, so 079B is a bonus), in sort of the same way easter eggs in computing are unnecessary extras,
3) but on the other hand, it sort of implies that the plant should be blooming at Easter and/or that this is an Easter cactus, which are probably not true and definitely not true, respectively.

Ordinarily, I'd probably end up with Easter Egg, which is most like the kinds of names I gave the seedlings originally ("Brick Wall," "Clownfish," "Sofa Fort"), but I kind of have to go with Haleakala, for the husband. (Sorry, Annie. Maybe next time.)


1 I was actually thinking that as a change of pace, maybe I'd let the husband name one of the seedlings, and I had that idea right before this post, but I figured there was no suspense to it, 'cause he'd choose Haleakala as soon as he saw it, without even looking at the other options. We have eight more Schlumbergera seedlings to get through, that I know of, so odds are good that I'll do that with one of them anyway.