Saturday, June 4, 2016

Anthurium no. 0367 "Petey Gibson"

I get Petey mixed up in my head with 0366 Maureen Biologist a lot. Similar bloom color (though Petey's darker red than Maureen), adjacent ID numbers, potentially nice foliage with "lizard" venation.

Petey distinguishes himself from the other red and dark red blooms in the mid to high 300s by having unusually long, narrow foliage, which has become more extreme as he's aged. The early leaves were only a little narrower than average,

I know. It's the best picture I've got, gimme a break.

but the trait has been getting more dramatic as the seedling ages. They're also folding themselves along the midrib more and more with each new leaf, which makes them look even narrower in photos:

A few other plants have done something along the same lines, which surprised me, since none of the parent varieties are so extreme. Presumably a few recessive genes are showing themselves. It appears to be most likely when genes from 'Gemini' meet up with the ones from the NOID red, though that's tough to prove, since I'm not 100% certain about any of the pollen parents, for any of the seedlings.

Other seedlings with long, narrow leaves. Clockwise from top left: 0040 Ivy Winters, 0464 DQ, 0779 Hollee Luja, 0768 Glenda Bender.

Petey has some ongoing scale problems. I'm not sure how much of a problem this is; at least some of the trouble appears to be the result of having scale-prone neighbors.

Verdict: keeper, at least until the scale situation becomes clearer.

Random site that might be of interest: THE POISON GARDEN website (all-caps in the original, don't blame me), which contains a lot of interesting stuff about various poisonous plants. I found it via MetaFilter, in a post about Balkan endemic nephropathy, a disease found in isolated villages near the Danube River which defied explanation for many years but now appears to be the result of ingestion of a "medicinal" plant, Aristolochia clematitis.

The Aristolochia post is interesting by itself, but there are plenty more like that at the site, so if you like reading about people suffering and dying because of plants, you'll love THE POISON GARDEN. If not, wait, and I'll try to find something else.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pretty picture: Lysudamuloa Red Jewel

There were two different specimens of Red Jewel in the show, one with a clone name attached ("Sweet Baby") and one without. I didn't notice this until after I got home. I can't tell any difference between the photos, and wouldn't be surprised if both plants were the same clone of Red Jewel, but I'm putting them in separate posts anyway. (This is the no-name one; "Sweet Baby" will show up in November.)

I like Lycaste-type orchids as much for their foliage as for their blooms: the leaves remind me a bit of Asplundia 'Jungle Drum.' Though I see I have failed to get any particularly good pictures of the foliage for this post.

Supposedly, Lysudamuloa Red Jewel is fragrant, but for all the usual reasons (too many fragrant plants and people around to tell which is which, some orchids are only fragrant at certain times of day, or during a certain part of the bloom cycle, wind currents, nasal congestion, etc.), I cannot verify that this is the case.

Lysudamuloa is a new nothogenus, but we've seen the occasional Lycaste here in the past.

Lysudamuloa is an unusually messy and awkward name. (At least it tripped me up for a while; maybe it sings like a bird for you.) But, thinking about it, I was suddenly hit with the realization that all the nothogenus names I've run into lately have been clunky in the same way. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that I was regularly running into nothogenera that were obviously [person's name + -ara], like Aliceara, Beallara, Collierara, Goodaleara, Jackfowleara, and so on, but it feels like it's been quite a while since that happened. Now the names are all constructed in pieces from the names of the parent genera, like Prosrhyncholeya, Rhynchomyremeleya, Laeliocatanthe, Guaricattonia, and Brassocatanthe.

I suppose this has the advantage of making the ancestry clearer: a Guaricattonia is probably a hybrid of Guarianthe, Cattleya, and something else to provide the -onia (My guess was Bratonia but it turns out to be Broughtonia.1), whereas a Jackfowleara could be anything: you'd only know that it's Cattleya x Caulaelia x Laelia x Guarianthe if you happened to have already memorized the formula [Jkf. = C x Cau x L x Gur]. So maybe this is an improvement on the old system? Certainly it seems like it would be a lot easier than suddenly scrambling to find a new set of people to name nothogenera for every time there's a taxonomic earthquake in the Orchidaceae. And it would also have the advantage that if it turns out that Collier was a real asshole or something,2 you're not stuck honoring him every time you refer to a particular group of plants.

The down side being, of course, that the new nothogenera are all like six syllables long and frequently unpronounceable. (And if you think orchid vendors and exhibitors get the names wrong now, what happens when they have to start contending with stuff like Rhyncatclia, with that sneaky "L" hiding toward the end, just itching to be dropped?) And it doesn't fit the name-based older names, because some (most? all?) of them are still in use, e.g. Jackfowleara.

I don't know that there's any sensible way to fix all this, but I'm tempted to think we'd all be better off if the taxonomists had just burned the whole system to the ground and started fresh, with all-new genus, species, and nothogenus names, with an eye toward giving them names that would make for pronounceable, spellable, and logical nothogenera. Like the way the pharmaceutical companies have settled on a system for constructing generic drug names based on what they do. (If generic drug names often sound like they come from some extraterrestrial language -- e.g. vernakalant, eltrombopag, pralnacasan, etc. -- it's because they kinda are.)


References: Respect to the St. Augustine Orchid Society, and specifically member Sue Bottom, for this .pdf, which I have been referring to an awful lot lately. It only covers the name changes within the Cattleya Alliance, but those turn out to be complicated enough to require six pages of explanation.

1 I assume that when orchid taxonomists get into fights (which I'm sure they must, all the time) and Taxonomist 1 says "bring it on," Taxonomist 2 is obliged to respond, "oh, it's already been Broughtonia." [How many other blogs are going to give you an orchid-taxonomy/Bring-It-On joke, hmm?]
2 I have no idea. Maybe Collier was, like, the best guy, universally beloved by all who met him. But odds are he was a jerk at least some of the time, and to certain people more than other people.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Anthurium no. 0515 "Diane Torr"

Diane has good points and bad points, definitely an improvement on 0417 Burt Fieder; however, I go back and forth about whether she has enough good points to keep her out of the trash. Her main advantage on Burt is that the bloom color is subtly unusual:

There have been pink-purple blooms before -- 0534 Celia Putty is particularly similar -- but Diane's is a bit lighter and purpler, and her spadix is a little more orange. It's not an amazing color combination, but it's pleasant, and different enough that I consider it unique. So I figure she's earned the right to stick around, at least for a while.

Like Celia (and so, so very many other seedlings), Diane's biggest problem is thrips. The leaves initially improved after I started blasting the leaves with water at every watering, progressing from this

to this,

but then they regressed a bit -- the latest leaf hasn't fully unfurled yet, but it's clearly going to be closer to the first leaf photo than to the second.

The blooms aren't improving either. Diane's second bloom looked like this:

So, interesting color or not, I'm trying to lower my expectations for Diane.

The plant as a whole isn't suckering, but is fairly compact. So that's also sort of mixed.

So in the end, I'm not sure about Diane's ultimate fate. I'm definitely keeping her until the berries on the first bloom either ripen or abort. After that? I like the color well enough that I'll probably keep her if I can come up with a way to justify doing so, but I may not be able to if the thrips problem continues to worsen. We'll have to see.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Anthurium seedling no. 0517 "Burt Fieder"

Burt has all the problems common to the BF seedling group, and his only redeeming features are a willingness to bloom and a fairly compact habit. First bloom was small, the same coloration as the seed parent ('Gemini'), and mildly distorted by thrips.

Second seedling was the same but with a straighter spadix. They both had a dead-looking patch at the tip of the spadix, which I suppose could be due to coincidental damage at the same point in development or something but could also just be what he thinks spadices are supposed to look like. Either way, it doesn't make much of a case for his commercial viability.

The leaves are badly distorted and scarred,

and the plant as a whole is nothing to get excited about either.

So Burt's gone in the next purge, unless something miraculous happens. It hasn't felt like it, but we've had a pretty good run lately with the Anthuriums; the last seedling with no redeeming qualities was maybe 0470 Heather Haldane, and that was almost two months ago. So I suppose we were due for something like this.