Saturday, May 7, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum primulinum

This one looked awfully familiar to me -- surely I've seen this small yellow paph some other year? -- but technically, this is the first time we've seen this species at the show:

I wasn't wrong to find it familiar, though; it's the pollen parent for two previous hybrids, 2012's Paphiopedilum Prim-N-Proper (seed parent Paphiopedilum praestans), which doesn't look that much like Paph. primulinum, and 2013's Paphiopedilum Pinocchio (seed parent Paphiopedilum glaucophyllum), which looks almost exactly like Paph. primulinum.

Most of the photos that turn up in on-line searches for this species show greener blooms than my photo does, but this bright yellow isn't unprecedented, either. And even this is a little greenish.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling 092

Seedling 092 isn't terribly special. It's maybe more of a red-orange than orange, but even so, we've seen this before.

However, it did do one thing I've never seen before: as it was winding down for the year, it produced this flower:

I don't know exactly what went wrong here, but I'm fascinated by it, because it went wrong in a very specific-seeming way. It's sort of like, it built the base and the tip of a flower, but left out the whole middle? I bet there's a really interesting sciencey explanation for what happened here, and I bet I never find out what it is.


So. The shape of the later, deformed bloom, with all the little stamens spraying out in different directions, makes me think of sparks from metal-grinding (e.g.). Even though it's not what the plant's normally going to produce, I feel like the fact that it's done it once means I can consider Sparky.

For color, I'm feeling drawn to bringing Kimchi back again. No particular reason; just seems right.

Recently, during a what-things-are-orange brainstorming session, I remembered the movie Run Lola Run (original German title: Lola rennt), starring Franka Potente as the titular Lola. In the movie, she has bright orange/red hair --

-- which may not be an exact color match for the bloom, but it's damn close.

And I really liked the movie. So, the pop cultural slot will be filled by Lola.

(I think I'll just skip the previously-considered category this time; I'm already considering Kimchi again, and none of the other previouslies look good to me today.)

Finally, in the "whatever" category: the very long list of words I mentioned some time ago is still a work in progress (though in the month and a half since I started working on it, I've managed to evaluate 186,000 words -- only 51,000 left to go!), and I'm pretty sure it's going to need considerable tweaking before it's a good way to get name suggestions. I mean, best case scenario, I'm figuring it'll mostly be useful for the 2016-17 crop, not the one I'm currently trying to name. But as a test run, let's see what happens if I allow myself to sort of free-associate off of whatever words the list hands me, and change parts of speech when necessary.

From 45 random word-pairs, I got 23 that I could shoehorn into making any kind of sense, though in one case I had to ask Google for help.1 I cut those 23 down to the three that I found most appealing: Mostly Harmless (the title of a book by Douglas Adams), Everybody's Different (which I like mostly for the irony2), and Where'd You Last See It, which is one of those Culture-Ship names that are always tempting but too long to be practical. The one that I decided to use for the "whatever" slot is Everybody's Different.

So, to recap, we have Sparky, Kimchi, Lola, and Everybody's Different.

I'll drop Kimchi, because I feel like it wants an oranger seedling. And Everybody's Different works well enough, but I really like Sparky and Lola.

Choosing between Sparky and Lola was sort of agonizing, because I like them both a lot, but in the end, I'm going with Sparky. The odds are good that I'll see another Lola-colored bloom before I see another Sparky-shaped one, after all.


1 Names (in bold), and original word pair (italics):
Vicariously Burly (burly vicariously)
Dick Control (control dick)
Caller ID (call telling)
Weeping Tendencies (tendency weepy)
Lever of Immortality (immortality lever)
Aristocrats (maybe aristocrat)
Accidentally Employable (employable accident)
Panpipes (piped finger)
Magician's Dove (theatrical dove)
Nonzero (number infinitesimal)
Everybody's Different (different everybody)
Wastewater Treatment (separates detritus)
Where'd You Last See It (identify point)
If Both (both conditional)
Sacrament of Pills (pharmacy sacrament)
Growing Family (family grow)
Confidential Help (confide help)
Better Brains (synapses better)
Bowling League (together league)
Feel, Play, Love (play feel)
Mostly Harmless (harmlessly most)
Computer Ranch (farmer technical)
Mice as Much (from the Google results for "nearly mice;" appears to be a text-recognition error that returns "nearly mice as" for "nearly twice as" in multiple scanned documents. Original word pair was "near mice.")
2 I mean, sure, technically the Schlumbergera seedlings are all different from one another, but I'd be hard pressed to describe any meaningful difference between, for example, 033 Clueless and 035A Patito. It's more appropriate for this particular seedling, because of the deformed bloom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unfinished Business: Aglaonema seedling

It's been a long time since I mentioned it, but I did get an Aglaonema to grow from a self-produced seed once. I got berries (almost certainly self-pollinated) from a plant in late 2011, and the first had germinated by March 2012. By October 2012, I'd gotten three seedlings, though one never did very well and eventually died, and a second one developed what looked like a ring spot virus so I threw it out. The third one, though, is now four years old and multi-stemmed:

It isn't an amazing-looking plant. I don't especially like this particular variety of Aglaonema (which I've seen identified as 'Marianne' and 'Maria,' probably a few other names too -- it's an old cultivar). Didn't really need more of them. On the other hand, being grown from seed gives it some novelty value.

Had the option been open to me, I would be an Aglaonema breeder instead of an Anthurium / Schlumbergera breeder, because I like the genus generally, and I have a lot of them,1 but this particular variety doesn't do much for me. Sadly, although my ags bloom just fine, usually in spooky unison no matter where they live in the house,2 and the spadices develop bumpy bits that look for all the world like tiny developing berries, nothing ever comes of it: the developing berries dry up and die, and then that's it until the next mass blooming.

I saw something on-line a long time ago that said the plants need really high humidity while berries develop, so that could be the problem, though 1) it's not like we have low humidity in the house, and 2) I don't have a way to increase it, so if that's the hitch then I guess this is the only Aglaonema I'm going to grow from seed. Once, I tried enclosing a bloom in a plastic bag along with a damp paper towel; it didn't help.

If only they could decide to bloom in the summer, I could put them all outside and they'd have all the humidity they could ever want. But no. So ag-breeding is something I only get to do in my dreams. Maybe someday.


1 Mostly NOIDs, but my best guesses for names are: 'Maria,' 'Stripes,' 'Sparkling Sarah,' 'Peacock,' 'Diamond Bay,' 'Gold Dust,' 'Brilliant,' 'Cory,' 'Jewel of India,' 'Jubilee,' 'Silverado,' 'Red Gold,' 'Silver Queen,' and 'Emerald Bay.' When I say I like the genus generally, I'm not fucking around: I really like the genus. The white-stemmed cvv. ('Peacock,' 'Brilliant,' 'Cory,' 'Sparkling Sarah') are particularly great.
2 And not even at the same times of year necessarily: historically it's been mostly January and/or October, depending on the year, but for some reason this year they've all decided to go in April as well.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 015

And we're back to the Schlumbergeras again. I doubt I'll go through the proper stages of grief regarding the Schlumbergera-thrips problem, but you've seen depression already, and "today" (27-30 April) I'm in denial.1 It has to be said, denial is a lot more pleasant. I can see why some people would decide to live here.

So, seedling 015. Dark orange / white, similar to 025A Clownfish or 023A Stoked. It's nice, I guess. I'm judging based on a single bloom, so we can't be certain about what it will do in the future, but the one bloom was nice.

And of course it needs a name. So.

Shape-related: I may have to retire this category soon. I don't have very many shape-related names to choose from. For today, let's go with Anzu, a figure from several Mesopotamian religions who is varying percentages of man, lion, and eagle, who can sometimes breathe fire and/or water, and is a monster, demon, deity, or some combination of the three.2 For our purposes, the important part is that there are usually wings involved.3 I feel like Anzu is doing a pretty good Schlumbergera impression in this image from Wikipedia.

Color-related: Campfire? Not sure how many more fire-related names I can come up with before I have to start making up words. I assume that some of the seedlings that are yet to bloom will be pink, white, magenta, or yellow, and as far as I'm concerned, they can't get here fast enough.

Previously-considered: Arcturus, an orange giant star in the constellation Boötes with a cool name, previously considered for 056A Demons Begone.

Pop cultural: I think this counts as a sufficiently vibrant orange to consider Paul's suggestion of Lucille Ball.

Whatever: Nielub, which will require explanation. The explanation was edited out of the Wikipedia article after I added the name to the emergency list, but I found it again in the edit history:
In pre-Christian traditions, a child less than 7–10 years old would bear a "substitutional name" (e.g. Niemój "Not mine", Nielub "Unloved"), the purpose of which was to deflect attention from the child and thereby to protect it from the curiosity of evil powers. The practice was largely the effect of the high mortality rate for young children at the time.[1] A child who survived to 7–10 years was considered worthy of care and was granted adult status and a new adult name during a ritual first haircut.[2]
I don't know whether thrips count as "evil powers" exactly, and of course it wouldn't have protected the Slavic children of yore from disease and death because that is not how diseases work, but the basic concept appeals to me anyway, and it fits nicely into that denial thing I'm trying. So we'll consider it.

Well. Campfire is right out. Color-accurate, sure, but there's already a Crassula campitella 'Campfire,' an Epiphyllum 'Campfire,' several Hemerocallis with "campfire" somewhere in the name, and so forth: even if there's no Schlumbergera by that name yet, the name's been done.

Arcturus is fine; I rejected it before on the grounds of being hard to pronounce, but it's not really that bad. I like other names from this group better, though, so it'll have to wait for another seedling. Ditto for Anzu.

And I do like Lucille Ball.4 If the thrips thing weren't happening right now, I'd probably go with that for the name, but Nielub is sort of too perfect, timing-wise. No doubt Arcturus and Lucille Ball will both end up as seedling names sooner or later, but this one is clearly a Nielub. In 7 to 10 years maybe I'll rename it.


1 Not denying that there are thips, just denying that it means anything. Perhaps they'll all go away before next fall. That's a thing that happens with bugs sometimes, right? That pests all just disappear magically and never ever come back?
2 Should the reader feel moved to snicker at the inconsistency in ancient Mesopotamians' portrayals of Anzu, consider that, going by his various portrayals, one could reasonably describe Satan as a winged or formerly-winged intermittently handsome entity who is varying percentages of man, goat, and angel, and either is or will be eternally tortured in either a lake of fire or a block of ice, in Hell, of which he is somehow also the absolute ruler.
I mean, hell, Superman is only eighty-three years old, and his powers, backstory, motivations, etc. have varied quite a bit in that time (especially lately). You tell enough stories about someone, you're going to wind up with inconsistent characterization; that's just how storytelling works.
3 I wouldn't even know about Anzu except that someone has named a genus of dinosaur after him.
4 (though it would be a stretch to say I love Lucy)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pretty picture: Miltassia Massai 'Sameri' (?)

I couldn't confirm that this is a registered hybrid name. The International Orchid Register site where I look this sort of thing up only returned Cattleya and Paphiopedilum varieties, and none of those were "Massai" by itself.1 Presumably this is another misspelling, though often when I enter a misspelled orchid name into an internet search, I get an auto-corrected suggestion which turns out to be correct; nothing like that happened here. *shrug*

You can see for yourself what the tag said:

I found sites selling Colmanara Massai Red and Colmanara Massai White; neither looks similar enough to this to plausibly be the same plant, so there may be a mistaken ID on top of a misspelling.

In any case, the plant itself is pleasant.

I like pointy tepals, especially when they're wide enough to show patterning like this. My favorite orchid from the whole 2016 show is along these same lines, though with a different color scheme. You won't get to see it until 8 November, but, hey, now you've got a reason to make it to 8 November.


1 (Instead they're "x massaianum," "Massaianum," "Massaiana," and "Massainum.")