Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Anthurium no. 1181 "Tajma Stetson"

Tajma's1 most notable trait is that she blooms a lot. The blooms aren't particularly large, but they're pretty long-lived, and I'm fond of the seedlings with spathes that start out light orange and age to pink (among them 0097 Colin Ambulance, 0596 Alisa Summers, and 0813 Arya Reddy), so she has potential.

(newer bloom)

(older bloom). The color difference isn't huge, but it's there.

The weak spot is the foliage. It's not always bad,

but the thrips seem to find the leaves more delicious than I would like.

A minor point of interest is that, like 0097 Colin Ambulance, Tajma has the NOID purple for a seed parent. I'm not sure why Colin and Tajma turned out so not-at-all-purple,2 or whether they could produce purple-blooming seedlings, but it might be worth trying to find out.

Unfortunately, it's going to be a long wait: so far only 0097 Colin Ambulance has reproduced,3 and his seedlings are both still very young (1756 Adelaide Evening and 1757 Alex Blaine Layder, sow date 10 June 2016) and I only potted them up in late April 2017. So if they survive, those two might be purple, but we won't know until February 2018 at the earliest, and that's too much of a long shot to pin any hopes on.

Verdict: probable keeper, though not necessarily worthy of promotion to a larger pot.


1 No idea about the name; Tajma Stetson is a real performer, not a name I invented, but I don't know anything about her.
2 Too lazy to look it up, but if I remember correctly, the pigment responsible for making some Anthurium blooms purple is either pink or purple depending on cell pH. So it's possible that the pigment is being produced, just not in a way that makes it show up as purple.
3 I'm actually surprised at how few of the F1 seedlings have surviving offspring right now. I mean, there are still a lot of F2 seedlings, but of the 853 I started, only 368 (43%) are still around. And a lot of the survivors are only survivors because they're too young to have fallen apart yet. This was more or less the case with the F1 generation as well, of course: most Anthurium seedlings don't survive long enough to bloom.
At the moment, the big genetic winners from the F1 generation are 0223 Patty Cake (24 surviving offspring), 0234 Ross Koz (40), 0259 Tasha Salad (20), and 0330 Faye Quinette (54), but many of those survivors were recently potted up and probably won't live long enough to bloom.
If you look at how many F2 seedlings have actually bloomed, producing nice flowers that might be worth taking to an F3 generation, the winners are:

0005 Chad Michaels (top left), seed parent of 0694 Brad Romance (top right), 0698 Landon Cider (center left), 0721 Chandelier Divine Brown (center right), 0723 Tara Dactyl (bottom left), and 0842 Pretty Punasti (bottom right);

0200 Mario Speedwagon (top), seed parent of 0802 Dana International (bottom);

0234 Ross Koz (top), seed parent of 0805 Triana Hill (center) and 0811 Alma Children (bottom);

0273 Wes Coast, seed parent of 0728 Sister Dimension (center) and 0788 Owen McCord (bottom)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 239

Seedling 239A is primarily notable for being the third and final of the second-generation seedlings to bloom this year: all three were the offspring of 025A Clownfish.1 240A Schwa wasn't impressive, but 244A That's My Purse was nice. This one's in between the two: an uninteresting color combination, performed pretty well.

For name finalists we have: Plow The Seashore, Rediscovery, and Soft Light.

Plow The Seashore and Rediscovery have both come up previously as vaguely poetic names that say oh, this again.2

Soft Light was previously considered and rejected for seedling 034A Wahine.3

So, of the three names, Rediscovery is the most abstract, and consequently the least interesting to me. And Soft Light may not be a good seedling name, considering that later blooms are not always the same color as earlier ones. Which leaves only 239A Plow The Seashore.

I think I can be happy with this. (Fingers crossed that seedling 237 will bloom at some point and I can use Neptunium then.)


1 As I write, there is a small possibility that one more second-generation plant is going to bloom in the basement: seedling 352A has a very tiny bud on it. 352A would also be the first descendant of 082A Strawberry Madeleine to bloom.
I don't expect this to happen this year, though: a lot of buds drop off, especially in the basement, and although plants have produced flowers in the basement under artificial light before, it's rare. (Maybe only twice? 025A Clownfish and 200A Breakin' The Law are the only ones I can recall.) I mean, if the bud opens, I'll tell you about it, but it's enough of a long shot that I'm not getting excited just yet.
2 The original Latin version is arare litus, and (wikiposedly) was coined in Erasmus' Adagia as a figure of speech for "wasted labor."
3 A fourth name, Neptunium, was included on the original list because I was under the impression that the most stable isotope of neptunium was Np-239, and the seedling's ID number is 239A. This turns out to be incorrect: the most stable isotope of neptunium is actually Np-237, and there is no element for which isotope 239 is the most stable isotope.
Which sucks, because before I tried to verify this I was really leaning toward naming this seedling Neptunium. Somehow it just seems neptunium-like.
I've also long felt like neptunium gets unfairly overlooked, because it's between the much more useful/common/destructive uranium and plutonium. I feel bad for neptunium. (Historical periodic table trivia: uranium, neptunium, and plutonium were named after the planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.)
More trivia: there's a really good chance that there's some neptunium within fifty feet of you right now: many smoke detectors contain tiny amounts of americium-241, which decays to neptunium-237. The amount of neptunium in a smoke detector increases with the age of the detector.
And yes, just in case you were wondering: americium and neptunium are very toxic if ingested (so don't eat your smoke detectors, no matter how old they are, and don't take them apart either), but the danger of cancer from having radioactive smoke detectors in your house is much smaller than the danger of fire from having no smoke detectors in your house. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to scare you and/or take your money.
Apologies for the digression, but like I said, I was pretty sure I was going to name this one Neptunium, so I've been having all these neptunium-related thoughts, and I didn't want them going to waste.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Anthurium no. 0771 "Nina Flowers"

The first inflorescence Nina produced was disappointing; the spathe didn't open fully, and the spathe color was in the same general red-pink area as so many other seedlings. But the second time, it was actually kind of nice:

I mean, yes, the color hasn't changed and is kind of ordinary. But it's well-executed. If this is more typical of what the seedling's going to do in the future, then it might deserve the name Nina Flowers.1

The leaves are mostly free of thrips damage, and the plant as a whole is fairly full, with a moderate amount of suckering.

So, Nina's probably a keeper. My only regret is that the bloom isn't anywhere near as dramatic and stunning as the queen. Certainly there's a place in my world for solidly executed blooms that aren't particularly flashy, but it seems odd to name one of those "Nina Flowers."

In fairness, though, I'm not sure there are any Anthurium seedlings which are complicated and dramatic enough to deserve the name. "Nina Flowers" might be more appropriate for a Schlumbergera: they're at least more angular and complexly shaded than Anthuriums.


1 (A prominent Colorado-based drag queen with heavily stylized but impressive and precise makeup skills; also the namesake of my now-deceased anole.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 094

Naming this one is easy and hard at the same time. Easy because I really like all four name finalists (Deer Devil,1 Harriet Tubman,2 Pele's Lipstick,3 and Some Clowns4), hard because I'm not sure the seedling is worthy of a good name.

Why unworthy? Well, there was some thrips scarring. I've chosen photos for the post that show less damage, but it was there. Also, some of the seedlings have produced petals which shade from white on the "tube," through orange and red, ending with magenta at the very tips,5 and 094A seems to be somewhat inclined that way --

-- but isn't committing to it as much as the others have. Since this was only its first year blooming, I don't know whether it's going to do this with more conviction in the future, or whether it's just experimenting this year. If it's going to get fully on board the magenta-tip train next year, it should get a really good name, and if it's not, I shouldn't worry about it getting a good name.

So, with that in mind, which name do I use?

I think Harriet Tubman is best reserved for a seedling that is unambiguously awesome.

I also feel that way about Pele's Lipstick, but at the same time, I feel pretty strongly that that name should go to a seedling with the white-orange-red-magenta coloration. 094A is the last seedling of that type for the year, so if I don't want to wait until next year to use it, this would be the seedling to use it on.

Deer Devil works just as well, or better, for a red seedling, though it's also a good name for a seedling I'm not sure will be a good one. So I suppose I have to hold on to it too.

Some Clowns is color-appropriate with or without the magenta, and it honors a person I'm fond of, so I don't want to drop it, either.

So I thought about those three options for a few days. Sometimes when I have multiple options available and I'm having trouble settling on one, thinking about how I'd feel if I flipped coins and X result came up can help eliminate a few choices. After running a few of those mental experiments, I decided that Deer Devil would be disappointing, and Pele's Lipstick would make me wonder whether I was wasting a good name on a seedling with the wrong coloration, so it winds up being 094A Some Clowns.


1 Previously considered for 106A Jaws of Elmo and 192A Oney Judge, and apparently destined to be one of those names that keeps coming back until I break down and use it.
2 Surely I don't have to explain how and why Harriet Tubman is awesome?
3 (suggested last year by reader Paul for seedling 217A Blood Frenzy)
4 Previously considered for seedling 165A Assertive, and one of the names that would honor a non-famous person who's been personally important to me, for good or ill.
5 Most notably 083A Psychedelic Bunny, but also 067A Cyndi Lauper, 074A Vroom, 079A Yayoi Kusama, 082A Strawberry Madeline, 106A Jaws of Elmo, 107 Nova Prospekt, 176A The Quality Of Mercy, 192A Oney Judge, and 217A Blood Frenzy, to varying degrees.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 120

Seedling 120 was one of the last few seedlings to bloom this year, so I only have one or two flowers1 to evaluate, but it's a nice enough flower, I think. Seed parent was the NOID white, pollen parent presumed to be the NOID magenta because . . . well, because look at it.

Since it arrived late, I didn't have a chance to come up with name finalists for it, but it seems like I've been throwing out a lot of the pre-selected names lately anyway, so maybe that's not so terrible.

I tried plugging these colors into TinEye, just for old times' sake, getting the colors from two different photos on the off chance that they might be different enough that TinEye would deliver different results. Which I did (first set of colors; second set), but neither group was terribly useful: the first was all flowers, breast cancer, and gay pride parades (plus one image of Pepto-Bismol residue in a cup, which pleased me for some reason); the second was almost entirely flowers. I'm surprised there wasn't anything related to Barbie dolls, or to girls' toy aisles in general, 'cause this is exactly that color. Maybe people on Flickr don't take photos of toy aisles.


Initially, I was inclined to go through the normal process of coming up with four options and then eliminating three of them, but the news has been very . . . distracting, lately. (I'm writing this at 9 AM on Thursday; by the time you read it, I expect at least three more bombshells will have dropped.) So not only do I not really have time to go through that whole process, but there's a pretty obvious choice staring me in the face anyway. I already felt kinda bad about rejecting the name Barbara Jordan for seedling 176A, and it sure feels like an appropriate time to invoke her name.

Therefore, 120A Barbara Jordan.


1 (can't remember)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anthurium no. 0378 "Annie Thingeaux"

Annie's mainly notable for her foliage. I mean, the flower is okay, I guess --

-- but it's not doing anything particularly new or interesting. But the leaves, the leaves are remarkable. They don't photograph all that well, because they're a darker green than normal; the camera has a lot of trouble with dark leaves or spathes on a black background. But it's not the color that I'm excited about, it's the almost total lack of thrips damage. Check it out:

Not flawless, but holy crap, that's so much better than most of the other seedlings. The shape is also a little different than usual, though I'm sort of at a loss for how to describe them. More rectangular than triangular, I guess?

All of which is subtle stuff; I don't imagine you care all that much. But it's kind of exciting to me, especially the thrips resistance part.

Of course there's a catch. Annie barely blooms. The first bud was in August 2016, forty-one months after her sow date,1 and she didn't manage an actual open bloom until December 2016, so good luck getting her interesting traits into another generation of seedlings. She's a keeper regardless -- she might even have a shot at a promotion to a 6-inch pot, which sometimes also convinces reluctant bloomers to start producing flowers -- but that may or may not ever actually pay off for me. We'll see.


1 The current average, for all 282 seedlings to ever set buds, is slightly over two years. (median 25.5 months; mean 28.5 months) Annie doesn't hold the record for the slowest sow-to-bud time (that record is held by 0105 Deanne T. Christ, who took 54 months), but she's in the slowest 10% of the seedlings.
A surprisingly large proportion of the seedlings in the slowest 10% got thrown out before they managed to produce a bloom.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Question for the Hive Mind: Hippeastrum NOID

A reader sent me this photo of a bloom stalk on their unidentified Hippeastrum.

That sure looks like the plant is building full-sized leaves under the flower buds. I did an image search that turned up a few sort of similar things, but I didn't find any photos that showed anything quite as large and leaf-like as this. Most of the Hippeastrum photos out there don't show anything remotely leaf-like at all.

So I guess the question for readers is just, what exactly is going on here? I know what it looks like -- it looks like this plant is trying to build a plantlet on its bloom stalk, like it's a Phalaenopsis or Agave or something -- but that's not something Hippeastrum actually does, is it?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 009

Seedling 009 finally got around to blooming, but it wasn't really worth the wait. Not many blooms, a color we've seen many times before, lots of thrips damage, and the blooms either opened so hard that the petals practically laid flat against the "tube" or barely opened at all.

Name finalists: In The Moment, Overcorrection, Personal Reasons, Sleeping Dog.

In The Moment is one of the names that honor someone from my life (previously considered for 165A Assertive). Since it's not obvious, I'll note that the reason "in the moment" seems appropriate for this person is because they appear to be completely incapable of anticipating or planning anything ever; it kind of feels to me like this seedling was caught unprepared for blooming, hence the crappy flower.

Overcorrection seemed appropriate for a seedling that would either barely open its petals or would open them way too hard.

I imagine that, if asked why the blooms were so crappy and infrequent, the seedling would claim Personal Reasons and refuse to comment further.

And then Sleeping Dog, because this is an even better "dog" candidate than 104A Needs Practice was, and I don't mind the undertone of menace in the name nearly as much now as I did when I considered it then.

I could probably live with any of these names, and they're all mildly derogatory, so I don't have compelling reasons to choose or reject any of them, but I suppose In The Moment sounds a little more positive than it is, and maybe it would be better to hold that name in reserve for a prettier seedling.

Also Sleeping Dog maybe makes the plant a tougher sell than it would otherwise be, considering what everybody says you're supposed to do with sleeping dogs. Not that it's likely to get sold in the first place, but you know. I should still be prepared for the possibility.

And, of the two remaining options, I find I kind of like Personal Reasons better than Overcorrection, so I guess this will be 009A Personal Reasons. Not entirely satisfying, but whatever, I'm probably not keeping the seedling that much longer anyway.