Saturday, October 1, 2016

Anthurium no. 0690 "Sister Kitty Catalyst"

Sister Kitty is disappointing. The first bloom sucked,


and, while the second bloom looked significantly better on the day it opened,


it tore a huge crack in its own side, the next day, consequently managing to suck even worse than the first one.


By comparison, the foliage is in pretty good shape,



but even if the flowers were staying intact, this wouldn't be a pretty or interesting bloom, and I don't feel like there's much to be gained by letting her hang around.

Sister Kitty belongs to seedling group BR (0239 Russ Teanale, sown 25 to 28 August 2014). Russ has a lot of good qualities -- large spathes, thrips-resistant, somewhat interesting color -- but Sister Kitty inherited none of them. (By contrast, 0716 Herbie Hind, also a BR seedling, got the first two, though not the last.)

There is a third BR seedling coming up in a few days, who manages to be even worse than Sister Kitty. So you have that to look forward to.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Anthurium no. 0842 "Pretty Punasti"

The name is not quite right, in that this one isn't especially pretty, but it is sort of new, at least. When the first bloom began to open, it was your basic dark red / yellow combination,

7 August 2016.

but the spadix quickly changed to brown, and stayed brown thereafter.

9 August 2016.

11 August 2016.

13 August 2016.

A second bloom did the same, so I guess that's Pretty's thing: dark red and brown. Not all that appealing, but I appreciate the novelty. Even more unusually, the spadix keeps changing color as it ages. The full sequence is yellow --> brown --> purple --> pink.

8 September 2016.

I mentioned in the post for 0723 Tara Dactyl that Tara was one of two plants from the same flat to bloom in the same size at the same time; Pretty is the other one. Here they are together:

L-R: 0842 Pretty Punasti, 0723 Tara Dactyl.

Which is more or less the color difference one sees in person.

Pretty Punasti is another of 0005 Chad Michaels' children, along with 0694 Brad Romance, 0698 Landon Cider, 0723 Tara Dactyl, and one seedling yet to be revealed; of the five, she's the only one with the same spathe color as Chad. All five appear to be keepers in one way or another: Brad's really pretty and also huge, Landon's very thrips-resistant, Tara has the red veining, Pretty's a new color combination, and the unrevealed seedling (coming on October 4 if I can manage to stay on schedule) is both thrips-resistant and pretty, though photos don't show it off well, so you'll probably be underwhelmed when you see it.

Pretty doesn't have a lot in the way of foliage,


though the leaves it does have are fine.


So she's another keeper. All the outside plants came in for the winter last weekend, so the collection is in upheaval at the moment, but Pretty's another seedling I hope to promote to a 6-inch pot eventually.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Anthurium no. 0599 "Butta"

Butta1 is notable for being the only confirmed 'Krypton' seedling2 to have produced a bloom. Even more notable: it's the only confirmed 'Krypton' seedling that is even still alive. There were never very many of them in the first place, only seven, but:

• 0598 Fala Roma just kind of withered and died over nothing in particular, a few days shy of its first birthday.
• 0600 Enzo: same thing, though Enzo made it to twelve and a half months.
• 0633 Karin Webb got too dry at the age of eight months.
• 0678 April CarriĆ³n had pretty nice foliage but grew really slowly, and after waiting more than two years for her to do something and having her still be tiny and stunted, I reluctantly gave up on her.
• 0679 Victoria de los Gays reached fifteen months of age but then self-destructed.
• 1193 Neil Burgess also spontaneously fell apart after about eight months.
So they were an unusually weak group of seedlings. I didn't even get the chance to discard any of them for scale infestation, is how weak they were.

Butta did better than the others, by virtue of not dying, but he didn't wind up being good:


And the foliage has been consistently terrible.


There's a second bloom developing as I write this; we'll see if it's better, but I can't imagine what inflorescence would be good enough to make up for the leaves. So Butta's all but certain to be gone in the next purge. I'm not even positive that I'll wait for the second bloom to develop.

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1 I was surprised to lean, when I did the post for 0317 Dred, that "Butta" is the name of a drag king, not a drag queen. I suppose it works in either case -- we may gender vehicles, clothing shapes and styles,, leisure activities, employment, and wavelengths of light, but not (yet) our dietary fatsa -- but it seemed so obviously a queen's name that I didn't even bother to check. I just happened to see it on a list when I was looking up Dred.
      a Look for my upcoming book, Butter is From Mars, Margarine is From Venus, Olestra is From Uranus, in bookstores in February 2018.
2 I have to say "confirmed" because I suspect that a number of seedlings from the BF and BH seedling groups, as well as the occasional seedling from other groups, have 'Krypton' as the pollen parent. The only way that I could confirm that, though, would be to have a paternity test run, and I don't care enough to try to figure out how to do plant paternity testing and probably couldn't afford it anyway.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Anthurium no. 0438 "Joelle Whatever-Nevermind"

Joelle has potential,


but the first bloom (the only one to date) didn't show it off well, and has aged badly.


The leaves seem to be fairly thrips-resistant, or at least more thrips-resistant than one would expect from the spathe,



so I'm willing to wait and see how things progress. The bloom colors are . . . okay, and if later inflorescences can manage to avoid ripping their own spathes, I might be able to find room for her. But I'm not optimistic, and I have other seedlings that do similar color combinations (0085 Carson Trucks, 0206 Marcia Dimes, and 0231 Rhea Listick, just to name three), so if Joelle doesn't pull herself together for the next bloom I'm not going to feel bad about throwing her out.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Pretty picture: Vanda Princess Mikasa

I prefer the "blue"1 version of Princess Mikasa, but they're both nice. Previously:

2013 (blue), 2014 (blue), 2015 (pink)


The tag had this identified as Ascocenda, not Vanda, but when I last checked on it, last March, the seed parent of Princess Mikasa (Royal Sapphire) had been changed from Ascocenda to Vanda, making Princess Mikasa officially also a Vanda. It's been six months, so who knows if that's still correct, but when it comes to orchid taxonomy, I feel like as long as you've been accurate once, you can call them whatever you want to. It's like the orchid-taxonomic version of once saved, always saved.


Vanda Princess Mikasa = Vanda Royal Sapphire x Vanda coerulea (Ref.)

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1 The "blue" Princess Mikasa is in fact actually purple, but because certain plants like roses and petunias don't naturally produce flowers that are at all blue, and because the very unusualness of a blue rose or blue petunia would make it enormously valuable, the horticultural world has embraced the collective delusion that the closest reachable shade of purple to blue may be called "blue" for marketing purposes even if it is obviously and unambiguously purple in every other conceivable context.
This naturally leads to absurdity. Like, on patriotic holidays in the United States (e.g. Memorial Day or the 4th of July), one will frequently see for sale hanging baskets of petunias which are obviously red, white, and purple, adorned with ribbons and flags and whatnot which are obviously red, white, and blue. No one comments on it; we all just pretend that they match. In some cases, people will even go out of their way to argue with you that purple is actually blue, so strong is the desire to have a genuinely blue-flowering plant. It's all very The Emperor's New Clothes.
If genetic engineering accomplishes nothing else, my hope is that it can create actual blue flowers on plants not naturally inclined to grow them, so we can stop the travesty of horticultural blue. Hasn't happened yet (even when you can get a plant to produce the pigment naturally responsible for the true-blue color of certain flowers, it won't necessarily appear blue, because the pigment changes color depending on the pH of its environment. Which is how the genetically engineered "blue" rose linked above can produce a blue pigment and yet still appear purple: at the pH in rose petals, the pigment is purple.), but perhaps someday.
Also genetic engineering might kill off the practice of injecting blue dye into white orchids once and for all. Which I am still angry about, for the record.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Anthurium no. 0723 "Tara Dactyl"

Tara is one of two plants from the same flat, which bloomed at basically the same time, and had blooms of almost exactly the same shape and size. The colors were slightly different, but otherwise the blooms were basically identical, and that was weird. Tara's blooms, on their own, aren't anything we haven't seen before, really:


Red / red,1 decent shape, not a lot of scarring, but ordinary.

Where Tara manages to distinguish herself is in her leaves, specifically one side of the leaves. The tops are fine; nothing to get too excited about, though they at least appear to be fairly thrips-resistant.


But if you (literally!) turn over a new leaf, you get this:


The oldest leaves are plain green on both sides, but I don't know whether that means that the red veining disappears over time, or that they never had red veining to begin with (like maybe the red veining only appears on plants once they hit a certain age, the way that plants only begin blooming once they're old enough to bloom). I don't remember seeing red veining before the newest leaf, and its veins are still red six weeks after the above photo was taken, so if the color fades, it must fade slowly. I'll definitely be watching this seedling closely for a while.2

For a plant that's blooming already, there are surprisingly few leaves:


And I'm a little disappointed by the lack of suckering. But the red veining is more than enough to make up for any number of flaws, so Tara is pretty clearly a keeper. It would make me very happy to be able to breed an Anthurium that has permanent strong red veining on the leaves. (Ideally the veining would be on the top, not the underside, but I shouldn't ask for the moon.)

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1 Though it ages to red / purple. Here's the same bloom a month later:


I'm pretty confident that the two (three?) dark pits in the lower left corner are not bug damage, though I'm not sure what kind of damage I think they are. I'm most concerned about the bacterial infection I've mentioned previously, Xanthomonas campestris, but I can't find a photo of X. campestris damage that looks like this exactly, so it might be something else. Maybe a fungus? I don't have the "fungus" square marked on my Anthurium Problems Bingo card yet.
2 It should be noted, too, that the color contrast is more pronounced in person. My camera sucks at picking up this sort of thing -- I had a hard time getting a good shot of the brown/green veining on the spathes of 0330 Faye Quinette and the red/green veining on spathes of 0371 Deb Autry as well.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Anthurium no. 0698 "Landon Cider"

Landon surprised me a bit.


In particular, I was surprised by how similar he was to some of the first-generation plants, which also had red spathes and purple spadices:

Clockwise from top left: 0698 Landon Cider, 0110 Delta Badhand, 0108 Deena Sequins, 0112 Dottie A. Rebel, 0046 Aurora Boreanaz

And this coloration has showed up on some of the seedlings to bloom after Landon as well. So when I was wondering, a long time ago, whether I'd ever managed to get any 'Red Hot' genes in the mix, I guess I must have. Either that, or many genetic roads lead to red / purple.


I've also been pleasantly surprised at how Landon's bloom has aged. The spathe hasn't flipped backwards, it hasn't been ravaged by thrips, it hasn't cracked along the margins, it just keeps on looking unspectacular but decent. It even makes pollen!1 The leaves, too, seem to be thrips-resistant, which is always nice:


And the plant as a whole is okay. The internodes are maybe a little long, but that seems to be an issue for a lot of the second-generation seedlings.2


Landon is in seed group BQ (from 0005 Chad Michaels, sow date 25 August 2014), along with 0694 Brad Romance and at least three other blooming seedlings you'll meet later on.

So far, the BQ story is: there were a lot of them (58), they had a high mortality rate (only 9 survive), and the 5 survivors who have bloomed so far have all produced blooms of average or above average quality. The best is probably 0694 Brad Romance.3 Which makes me wonder what could have been, had the dead ones been luckier, but there's nothing I can do about that now so I try not to dwell on it.

0005 Chad Michaels (center) with its offspring 0694 Brad Romance (left) and 0698 Landon Cider (right). Neither child strikes me as looking much like its parent, aside from being generally Anthurium-shaped. But maybe I'm being too picky.

Verdict: Landon's a keeper; hopefully he'll produce some offspring who share his better qualities.
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1 Irritatingly, it seems like somewhere between a half and two-thirds of the seedlings I've come up with never produce any pollen. Some of this is probably because I get impatient and try to pollinate the female flowers as soon as they appear, with the result that the male flowers never form, and if I would just leave the inflorescences alone long enough I would get pollen from them too. But when I have made a point of leaving the spadices alone so they can make pollen, many of them still don't.
The point being that when a seedling does obviously produce pollen, it immediately becomes a little more valuable to me even if it's otherwise crappy. Not that I should be using pollen from crappy seedlings, but there are still moments when I need a good seedling pollinated, and literally only one Anthurium in the house is making pollen. Since it can sometimes be a very long time between blooms, I figure it's better to use pollen from a bad seedling than run the risk of never being able to get seeds from a good seedling.
Landon, of course, was already a pretty good seedling, so the fact that he also makes pollen means he's even better than he looks.
2 It's especially a problem for the seedlings from 0108 Deena Sequins, a lot of which is probably my own fault: I remember noticing that a lot of Deena's seedlings looked weird and leggy in the germination containers, and I think I remember potting them up anyway, just to see what they'd end up doing. So the news here is probably just "when you pot up leggy baby plants, you get leggy mature plants."
0108 Deena Sequins isn't the seed parent in this particular case, though she could be the pollen parent.
3 Though as he ages, Brad has made it clear that he's going to be huge. I personally like the really big plants (big-leaved Anthuriums are my Alocasia/Colocasia methadone), but they do take up a lot of space that I don't have, so when a new gigantic seedling reveals itself, I have a tough time settling on an emotional reaction. It winds up being like, hooray-and-also-oh-no.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Anthurium no. 0414 "Trudy Vocean"

Oh, Trudy. Trudy, Trudy, Trudy.

The first bloom attempt got this far and then stalled:


The second attempt opened up all the way, but left me sort of wishing that it hadn't:


I mean, it's not literally the worst Anthurium bloom I've ever seen, but . . . c'mon, Trudy. You aren't even trying.

The leaves aren't uniformly awful,


but when they're bad, they're bad.


Even if the thrips weren't an issue, she's not doing anything that 'Gemini' doesn't do already.

Verdict: not a keeper. Though she's still alive as I write this (15 September), and I don't necessarily have any immediate plans to toss her. Definitely gone in the next purge, though.