Monday, March 27, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 176

Schlumbergera seedling 176 is really nice, but it's another case of one of the NOID magenta's seedlings not resembling the NOID magenta. Which is frustrating.1

Name options: Barbara Jordan, The Darb, The Quality Of Mercy, and Vain Hippie.

Barbara Jordan was the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction (in 1966) and the first African-American woman ever in the Texas Senate. She was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, becoming the first woman Representative from Texas. And in 1974, she made this speech, advocating impeachment of Richard M. Nixon:

(Transcript available here, though I recommend you watch at least a little of the video just to get a feel for the way she speaks, because the delivery is a big part of the effectiveness.)

The Darb is 1920s-era slang for something (or especially someone) very attractive, handsome, or otherwise excellent and praiseworthy. Though there have been seedlings with similar coloration,2 some of which are probably better than this seedling in some way, it's still really nice, and deserving of the name.

The Quality Of Mercy is a Shakespeare reference, taken from a speech Portia gives in The Merchant of Venice.3 Not quite sure how it wound up on the list, but I like the speech.

And then Vain Hippie is, I'm pretty sure, a random word combination that caught my fancy. I don't think hippies were any more vain than any other group of people -- I wasn't there; I wouldn't know, but the null hypothesis is right a lot more often than you'd think -- but there's something about all the colors and the way they shade into one another that brings tie-dye to mind. And the null hypothesis says that there had to have been some vain hippies, after all. It's not like I'm inventing the idea here.

So. As much as I like the idea of bringing back some hundred-year-old slang, I feel like The Darb is the most discardable of the finalists, so I'll drop it. Maybe there will be some even better and more amazing seedling down the line sometime, that is even more darby. And though Vain Hippie does seem oddly appropriate for this one, it's not a particularly serious idea, and it sort of feels like 176A wants a serious name, since it's seriously pretty.

And it doesn't get much more serious than Barbara Jordan and The Quality Of Mercy. So: justice? Or mercy? Both are important; both are always relevant; sometimes they're even the same thing. On the one hand,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
and on the other,
Today I am an inquisitor. An hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that I feel right now. My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.

In the end, on the grounds that it seems a lot easier and likely for me to bring Barbara Jordan around for a different seedling than it does for The Quality Of Mercy to show up again (since I don't even understand how it wound up on the list in the first place), I'm going to go with The Quality Of Mercy.

We'll see Barbara Jordan again, though.


1 In fact, so far, only one of the NOID magenta's seedlings, 181A [name TBD], resembles their mother at all. Mostly they look like one of the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach seedlings (e.g. 178A Lulu's Night Off, 180A Miss Emma, 182A Padparadscha, 192A Oney Judge), or they look like the NOID white (190A [name TBD], 193A [name TBD]). Presumably they look like their pollen parents, but I've been really surprised by how little having the NOID magenta involved seems to matter.
I've been trying for ages to find some reference source that would explain Schlumbergera pigment genetics, to make sense of this kind of thing, but so far all I've been able to do is find the class of pigments involved (the betalains). I can't tell if I just suck at internet searches or if science still hasn't figured out how it betalain production in Schlumbergera works. So far, though, I understand the broad outlines of Anthurium pigment genetics, but Schlumbergeras are a mystery.
2 (074A Vroom, 079A Yayoi Kusama, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, 106A Jaws of Elmo, 107A Nova Prospekt, 192A Oney Judge, 217A Blood Frenzy)
3 The play which gives English the figure of speech "with bated breath," since Tumblrized and Twitterpated into "with baited breath." (The original Anglo-French meaning of "abate" -- diminishing in intensity, amount, or power; ending -- persists in words like abatement and rebate, not that this is any consolation.)
And yes, I want to scream every time I encounter the "baited" version, but what're you gonna do, language marches on. Screaming at people feels good but doesn't accomplish anything.
Like masturbaiting.


Pattock said...

Chapter 13 from "Flower Breeding and Genetics: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century" Ed. Neil O Anderson (Springer Science & Business Media, 2006)

Pages 125-126 for your specific question but you will probably want to read the whole article. Interesting nuggets like avoiding ethylene and aiming for a night-time temperature of 20°C.

Unfortunately, Professor Boyle died just before Christmas 2006, a colleague "likened his passing to the burning down of a library".

This paper suggests the Easter cacti should be placed in Schlumbergera. There is a nice colour plate of related species that can be embiggened.

This paper seems to suggest that urea is the best nitrogen source for fertilising these epiphytic cacti.

Pattock said...

Also, when I see the phrase "with baited breath" I think of angler fish.