Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday morning Sheba picture

I had planned on taking a new Sheba picture to post today, but then it rained all morning yesterday, making that difficult. So instead you get a photo from August 2010, not terribly long after we first got her (in March 2010).

Sheba's been fine as far as I can tell, though her latest thing is dandruff. Terrible, terrible dandruff, from like her rib cage on back to her tail. (Though I doubt it would show up in photos -- it really was the rain that was the problem, I swear.) This has never happened before. She doesn't seem particularly bothered by it, and dandruff is (barely) preferable to bald spots, so we're not freaking out or anything, but still.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Random plant events: more Anthurium seedlings

It is really happening, y'all. The Anthurium seedlings are actually blooming! And a full 1-3 years ahead of schedule, even!

Previously, I reported that seedlings #59 ("Bijoux Tuit"1) and #282 ("Dave Trading") had produced their first blooms; now things are beginning to accelerate a bit. So here's the report.

#59 - Bijoux Tuit
Mother:2 'Gemini'
Date started: 1 February 2012

Bijoux is taking her3 time, but the flower is continuing to develop. I think there's maybe something wrong with it, either from drought stress or thrips4 or something, because the spathe is kind of twisted strangely and has dead patches and stuff. But it's still developing, and it seems only sporting to give them all a practice spathe or two before expecting high-quality blooms. As for the color, it's obvious enough that the spathe color is going to be the in the same pinkish-red neighborhood as her mother.

What she lacks in original coloration, she makes up for by being the earliest bloomer, which is a characteristic I probably want to encourage in future generations.

#282 - Dave Trading
Mother: White Gemini
Date started: 19 May 2012

Dave's first bloom, reported on in the previous post, aborted before it got very far. The cause might have been drought stress; I don't really know. He's since started to produce a replacement, pictured above. The color is unclear so far -- initially it looked like it was going to be the same pinkish-red as 'Gemini' and Bijoux. Then it turned slightly purplish, which was briefly very exciting, and then it dulled and eventually dried up. The replacement flower is sort of light pink, but it's not unusual for them to emerge a lighter color than they eventually become, so I'm waiting to see what color the plant settles on.

#76 - Bob Humbug
Mother: Gemini
Date started: 18 Nov 2011

Bob is one I'm particularly close to; he's always had really big, nice, dark green leaves. And, I mean, notably so. Like, I would see him while watering and be like, wow, that's some exceptionally sweet-ass foliage on #76. Because I say things like that sometimes.

Unfortunately, he spontaneously dropped his inflorescence too: it was looking like your basic pinkish-red, but then it turned slightly purplish and dull, like Dave's had.

A couple weeks later.

So oh well. Bob is still secretly my favorite. Don't tell the others.

#243 - Sal Monella
Mother: White Gemini
Date started: 5 May 2012

Sal is interesting because he's the first one to have a distinct flower color: it's a pretty straight-up, solid red red. Possibly even dark red: the spathe was still getting darker when I wrote this on Monday night.

This is a little bit surprising, coming from a plant whose mother had pure white spathes. Since 'White Gemini' was originally a sport of the pinkish-red 'Gemini,' though, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that there could be genes for red pigment somewhere in Sal's genome. And even if we're sure the red doesn't come from 'White Gemini,' I have no idea who the father is, and I do have a red Anthurium in the mix here, though it doesn't bloom very often. So the pollen could have been from a red-blooming father. We will probably never know.

#238 - Rudy Day
Mother: White Gemini
Date started: 5 May 2012

Note the weird cupped leaf at bottom right. That's the sort of thing I was talking about in footnote 4.

Sal's fraternal forty-tuplet5 brother Rudy was just barely starting a spathe when I got the above picture. So far, it looks like he's headed in the direction of a 'Gemini' sort of pinkish-red, but we'll see what happens.

#108 - Deena Sequins
Mother: noid purple
Date started: 21 December 2011

And finally, the first bloom on a plant that's not from 'Gemini' or 'White Gemini.' Disappointingly, Deena's showing no inclination to be purple like her mom; instead she's pink. I'm guessing eventually, this is going to mature to yet another pinkish-red. (I forgive the reader for being skeptical that the nine pictures in this post are of different seedlings.) But hey: at this point, it's fun to have anything happen. We'll worry about whether they're quality plants later. Meanwhile, pinkish-red is apparently the new black.


1 Explanation for new readers: I have been giving names to the seedlings, to make it a little easier for me to keep track of them in my head, and to amuse myself. The names being given out are names of actual and hypothetical drag queens, plus the names of actual and hypothetical roller derby players, and as such are not likely to become the official names of any actual patented cultivars, should any arise. But you never know.
2 As explained in the above-linked post, I'm not yet at the point where I'm making deliberate crosses; it's too difficult to tell when an attempted pollination has worked, and I never have very many inflorescences shedding pollen at any given moment. Consequently, I only know the female (seed) parent for any of these crosses, not the male (pollen) parent.
3 Anthuriums are both male and female, like most plants, but I'm using the pronouns that normally go with the first names, because anthropomorphization is kind of what I do, and that's what reads naturally to me.
4 Not that I've seen thrips. But they're starting to do that thing they did before, when they had scale and thrips. (Weird pale bumps on the leaves; leaves that curl up into brittle, easily-torn little bowls; random brown holes and tears. I don't know if all these are the work of thrips, or even if any of these things are thrips. But that's my suspicion at the moment.)
5 Well if you're so smart, how's about you tell me what the term for a multiple birth of forty children is called, huh?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pretty picture: Robiquetia cerina

Second post about this particular species of orchid (the first is here). It's not photographing any better or getting any more interesting, though in this year's picture you can see more of the plant, so I guess that's something.

Also, unless there's been some huge change since Sunday morning, it looks like Stromanthe sanguinea is the next profile subject. (I suspect someone voted repeatedly, because all six plants were very close for the first day and a half of the poll, and then all of a sudden Stromanthe has three times the number of votes the rest of them have? Either someone was cheating, or the post got linked from the International Stromanthe-Lovers' Facebook page. And there's probably not an International Stromanthe-Lovers' Facebook page.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part LI

The plants are coming in for the winter, and I've got a gigantic backlog of photos to deal with, so it's time for transmitted light pictures again.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Cissus rhombifolia.

Rotate it 90 degrees clockwise and there's a (subtle) peace sign!

Euonymous alatus, autumn.

Well. It's certainly very red, isn't it?

Ficus elastica 'Burgundy,' dying leaf.

This photo is very old (actually all of these photos are very old; I'm still working on a backlog of transmitted light photos from like 2009), but seems particularly appropriate right now. I had two Ficus elasticas. I just threw the small one out because it had scale, and I was like, whatever, I don't like trying to get rid of scale and it's a duplicate anyway, so I'll pitch it and grow the other one. But then the other one came in from outside, and it's been growing mostly horizontally the whole time it was outside because it's apparently one of those trailing rubber trees,1 so I don't have any spot large enough to put it. And it's not like I'm hugely fond of F. elastica even when they're grown well. So I'm seriously considering throwing it out, or restarting from cuttings, or trying to sell it on Craigslist, or something like that. It's actually looking like a lot of the plants are going to have to be thrown out, sold, or restarted, in order to make space for the ones I actually want to keep. October's gonna be rough.

Pilea peperomioides, newish leaf.

Pilea peperomioides is probably not the most difficult "easy" plant I've ever tried to grow, but it's definitely on the list somewhere. And I have no idea what I was doing wrong.

Episcia NOID.

Ananas comosus 'Ivory Coast.'

This is perhaps not as flashy as some of the photos that follow it, but I think it's my favorite picture from this set. It's possible that I'm just a sucker for parallel venation.

Caladium 'Cardinal.'

Look out green! The red is right behind you! Run! Run! Aiiiieee!

Canna 'Tropicanna.'

As much as I love the red-blooming, green-leaved Cannas (and I do, very much), it seems weird that I haven't yet made it a priority to get one of the other varieties. Not necessarily 'Tropicanna,' (does it even come true from seed? Probably not, right?) but something. It's not as if there aren't a lot of options to choose from. Maybe 2014 will be the year.

Fittonia albivenis NOID.

Graptophyllum pictum.

I've seen Graptophyllum for sale exactly one time since I've been blogging, and I didn't buy it, because it was kind of underwhelming in person. (The books make it look a lot cooler.) Also you have to figure that if it were a satisfying houseplant, people would already be growing it everywhere. So I'm thinking I didn't miss much, but the picture still wound up pretty cool.


1 A joke: there is no such thing as a trailing rubber tree. Though there is a rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora), which is neither related to Ficus nor to Hevea brasiliensis, the "real" rubber tree. Common names are dangerously misleading! Shun them!