Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pretty picture: Epidendrum Hokulea

Another Epidendrum of the type I don't like. Though at least the ID is fairly solid this time, unlike the last one.

Epidendrum Hokulea = Epidendrum Joseph Lii x Epidendrum cinnabarinum (Ref.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 178

I think seedling 178 was the first seedling of the NOID magenta to bloom, though the second to get a blog post. Not that you could tell it's from the NOID magenta by looking at it: it looks like all the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach offspring that we're all pretty tired of by now. That said, it isn't bad, just treading some pretty well-trod ground. So let's just get to the naming.

The four candidates I cam up with this time were: Dusty Springfield, Lulu's Night Off, Saltwater Taffy, and What About The Love.

Dusty Springfield is, of course, the singer/producer. Her name was previously considered for seedlings 106A and 033A, but was rejected in favor of Jaws of Elmo and Clueless, respectively.1 Perhaps the third time will be the charm.

Lulu's Night Off is one of the suggestions I've taken from my big list of random word combinations.2 I don't know who Lulu is, I don't know where she works or what happened on her night off that would be worth commemorating in a seedling, but I sort of like it that way. Make up your own story of Lulu's night off and leave it in the comments.

I don't see much Saltwater Taffy around, though the Menards in Iowa City always seems to have some somewhere. I like it, and the colors often overlap Schlumbergera blooms, which are good enough reasons to consider it for a seedling name. I could see these colors showing up in orange or strawberry taffy.

And finally, What About The Love, after Amy Grant's song of the same name,3 which was one of the songs I linked to a while back, and which I like mostly as a reminder that, whatever it's become recently, it wasn't that long ago that Christianity was about things besides abortion, gays, confederate flags, and killing the infidels.4

Kind of a depressing reminder, granted, since it also reminds me that that's not really the public face of Christianity anymore. And even in the past, loving one's neighbors was sort of . . . unevenly applied, let's say. But what it was once, in small pockets, it could be again, more universally. In theory. It's enough to hang a hope on.

So. I guess What About The Love is a bit too depressing, in that context. Also it's the longest option of the four, which counts slightly against it. So I'll let it go. And although I like Dusty Springfield (more so now that I've just watched a video for "Son of a Preacher Man"), both times this season that I've included a real-life person in the name candidates, I've gone with the person.5 Nothing wrong with that, but it feels a little predictable, and I'm also leaning pretty hard toward people for some of the yet-to-be-decided seedling names. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but I don't want them all to be named after people. So I'm going to drop Dusty for a third time. Sorry, Dusty.

So we're left with Lulu's Night Off and Saltwater Taffy. Of the two, I think I like Lulu's Night Off better, specifically because it's both more specific (refers to one particular event) and more open-ended (free to imagine any particular event). Plus having a night off is generally seen as a good, happy thing. Therefore: 178A Lulu's Night Off.


1 Jaws of Elmo was definitely the right decision. I'm less confident about Clueless.
2 Which is where a lot of the names have been coming from this year, though it's not always obvious because it turns out that randomly throwing words together generates the sorts of things people already say and ideas people already have, a surprising amount of the time. Like 020A Feet Of Clay was a random-word idea, and I'm pretty sure 077B Bad Reputation was as well.
Sometimes the random word combinations generate appealingly strange mental images too, which I've been collecting in a separate list. Some of them:
Jabberwocky Musical (which has, of course, happened already) • Uterus Gun • Expanded Milk (presumably the opposite of condensed milk) • Kitten Chapel • Bottle-Blonde Baby (I bet it's happened) • Moondial (as compared to a sundial) • Clogged Bagpipes (bagpipes do get things in them from time to time, sometimes with fatal consequences, even) • Tiara Repairman • etc.
3 It was written by Janis "At Seventeen" Ian, not Amy Grant, but it was written specifically for Grant to perform, and Grant's version is the one I'm most familiar with, so.
4 Well. I suppose infidel-killing has been a running theme for quite a while. But the others are new.
And yes, one could certainly argue that that's not what it means even now, that it's still about feeding the hungry, sheltering the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison, that it's still something that you could call "good news" with a straight face.
Yessir, one could definitely argue that.
But I wouldn't.
5 (211A Bruce Lee and 203A Dolly Parton)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pretty picture: Lycamerlycaste Jean Tolliday Kendolie

This looks a lot like the year's other Lycaste and Lycamerlycaste specimens. It's possible that I shouldn't have taken so many photos of them.

I mean, not that they're not nice and everything. There's just not a lot of variety.

This is the plant I described back in August as having "two flowers of almost exactly the same size, facing almost exactly the same direction," with the result looking "like I took a picture of one and then photoshopped it using the clone tool." Which is an exaggeration, but not by a hell of a lot:

I would also like to mention that the shape of the flowers in the above photo reminds me of acetylacetone,

a chemical I have strong, pleasant personal feelings about (because I am the sort of person who has feelings about specific chemicals sometimes1).

I should note that the plant was tagged as Lycaste at the show, but the International Orchid Registry has one of the parents as a Lycamerlycaste.2 And as goes the IOR, so goes my nation.

Lycamerlycaste Jean Tolliday Kendolie = Lycaste Shonan Harmony x Lycamerlycaste Geyser Gold (Ref.)


1 Also in the "strong positive feelings" department: benzaldehyde, crown ethers, isopentyl acetate, eugenol, and, weirdly, thalidomide, which I like not for causing birth defects but because the shape of the molecule is strangely and inexplicably pleasing to me. So many molecules, especially pharmaceuticals, have their atoms arranged in an ugly way.
2 Lycamerlycaste is the nothogenus for crosses between Lycaste species and Sudamerlycaste species. The genus Sudamerlycaste was split off of Lycaste in 2002, says Wikipedia.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 119

Another white from the NOID white (previously: 283A Migaloo).

One thing I've enjoyed about the white seedlings is that there's a substantial set of new name possibilities for them. Three out of the four nominees this time wouldn't make sense for a non-white seedling. They are: I Made It All Up, Ice Castle, Magician's Dove, and There Would Be Peace.

I Made It All Up is a reference to the previously-linked piece from the Portal 2 soundtrack. To my mind, it sort of sounds like white Schlumbergera flowers look.

The white Schlumbergeras wind up looking semi-transparent against the black background sometimes. This particular seedling's pictures don't show that particularly well, but it's been a problem occasionally for some of the others. Hence Ice Castle, an elaborate white/transparent structure.

Magician's Dove should be more or less self-explanatory: Schlumbergera flowers usually look a little like birds, because of the way the petals are flung away from the stamens and pistil. And what's a really white bird? Exactly.

I'm not clear where There Would Be Peace came from exactly: possibly some association from white to doves to peace, and then backing off of a straightforward "peace" name because it seemed like tempting fate. And I have to say, I kind of like it because it's sort of an unfinished thought. It begs for an if, or but, or except for on the end.

So okay. Let's winnow.

It's a pretty strong group; I think I could be happy with any of these names. But I Made It All Up has the least direct connection to the appearance of the seedling -- in theory, anything could be named I Made It All Up -- and I have to drop something, so I'll let this one go.

And there's nothing wrong with Ice Castle at all, though when you look at search engine results, ice castles tend to photograph a little blue. Which the seedling is not. I mean, I'm never going to get a blue Schlumbergera, so I could overlook this, but I have to come up with reasons to throw some names out; this reason's as good as any.

Which leaves Magician's Dove or There Would Be Peace, and I'm going to go with the latter on the grounds that it feels more me. Which is to say, I could imagine any number of people tasked with naming a white Schlumbergera eventually landing on Magician's Dove, but it sure feels like I'm the only person who would come up with There Would Be Peace.

Perhaps I'm being delusional about my own specialness. Sometimes that happens. But in any case, it's the name I feel drawn to. So: 119A There Would Be Peace.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pretty picture: Zygolum Louisendorf [grex]

For reasons I do not understand, but would like to understand, some sites include "grex" as part of the name of this plant, i.e., "Zygolum Louisendorf grex" instead of the more typical "Zygolum Louisendorf." I don't believe I've ever seen this before. So if you know why people are bothering to write an extra word that would normally be assumed anyway, please leave a comment, 'cause I'm curious.

I appreciate the oddness of the brown/purple color combination, but I don't particularly find it pleasant.1 It's kind of what the Zygo- hybrids do, though, see Zygoneria Adelaide Meadows, Zygopetalum (Kiwi Klassic x Mishima Goddess), Zygopetalum Art[h]ur2 Elle, and Zygopetalum Jumping Jack. (The resemblance to Artur Elle is particularly strong, which makes sense, since Artur Elle is the pollen parent.)

Zygolum Louisendorf = Zygosepalum labiosum x Zygopetalum Artur Elle (Ref.)

Zygosepalum labiosum has a very broad, white labellum (lip), and doesn't look much like Louisendorf at all. In case you were wondering.


1 Most of the photos on-line show a much darker brown, sometimes verging on black. (e.g.) Which I kind of like better, I think, but it'd still be a stretch to say I liked it liked it.
2 Some sites have this as "Artur Elle," without the "h," though I included the "h" in the previous post because that was how it was tagged. I didn't feel like spending the time today trying to find out whether or not the "h" belongs there, but I'm guessing that the h-less version is correct, since it's what the International Orchid Registry has. So I'm going h-less for this post.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 182

Seedling 182 is an oddball; it's only bloomed twice so far, and the two flowers don't entirely make sense as the product of a single seedling. This is just sort of how the 2016-17 season has been, alas. Many of the seedlings this year have either been oddly inconsistent in bloom color, or they've been consistent, but diverged from previous years' blooms. 182's first bloom was a pretty typical red-orange / pink, except both colors were several shades lighter than any previous red-orange / pink,

and then the second bloom, three days later, was a much more common orange / light pink combo.

Probably the second bloom is the "real" color (with "real" here meaning "the color one would normally expect the flowers to be"), because that's less interesting than the other possible outcome, but until there's a tie-breaker I suppose we're free to imagine whatever we want, so let's go ahead and consider both possibilities.

Oh, it's also the first seedling from the NOID magenta to bloom. I'm a bit disappointed that this isn't more obvious from its appearance. (I've gotten flowers from ten of the NOID magenta seedlings, and only one looks it at all: the others were either white/white, or indistinguishable from some of the past 'Caribbean Dancer' seedlings. This is sort of abstractly interesting because it was unexpected, but obviously I'm disappointed.)

182A's blooms were also both a bit . . . I don't know how to describe it exactly. Frazzled-looking? "Ratty" would be overstating things, but it's somewhere in that neighborhood.

The name options this time around are mostly unfamiliar and goofy-sounding words: Kaylee (I said "mostly"), Divoon, Padparadscha, and Fazoozle. Kaylee is, of course, a reference to the character from Firefly:1 not only had I wanted to name a seedling for her anyway, but the first flower's colors were very close to the colors of the dress she wore in the episode "Shindig," though it's very difficult to get a screencap to prove that because the lighting in the relevant scenes tends to be tinted. The best image I could find, with a little modification:

Original image: cap-that.com. I cropped this one, and lightened it a little.

The flower again, for comparison. You see the similarity, right?

Anyway. Divoon is simultaneously a reference to Jayne Mansfield and to the Siouxie and the Banshees song "Kiss Them for Me," which is . . . about Jayne Mansfield. I guess Mansfield liked to use the word. Why this seedling specifically? Well, the "Kiss Them for Me" video has a lot of light pinks and orangey-pinks in it.

Okay, maybe it's a little more purple than orange. But there's overlap. (Screencaps from the "Kiss Them for Me" video on YouTube.)

Padparadscha is to orangey-pink as ruby is to deep red, more or less.2 There doesn't seem to be a very precise definition of padparadscha; judging by the image search results I got from DuckDuckGo (most of which images appear to have come from the Natural Sapphire Company), it covers natural sapphires which are lavender, pinkish-purple, pink, pinkish-orange, light orange, orange, or reddish-orange. Which means it'd work as a name for pretty much any non-red Schlumbergera seedling I want, ever, but maybe this seedling in particular, since it is apparently capable of producing a range of colors.

First page of DuckDuckGo image search results for padparadscha. Cropped, resized, and rearranged (with considerable effort!) by mr_subjunctive.

And finally, Fazoozle, which I first encountered at MetaFilter, as an onomatopoeia for the sound an inflated but not tied-off balloon makes when it is released and goes flying around the room. Searching the net finds it also as the title of a short story,3 a username on a number of forums (which may or may not all belong to the same person), and a website that I didn't investigate because it seemed a little sketchy. Not sure what this means. From the balloon-related meaning, I thought it might be appropriate for a flower that was slightly disheveled.

So okay. I think I can drop Fazoozle; I liked it when I thought it was just the sound, but finding out about the other uses has kind of scared me off. And Divoon might be better suited to a pink or lavender-pink seedling.

Which leaves Kaylee or Padparadscha.


And that decision comes down to a question of what I think the "real" color of the blooms is likely to be, after all. If the first, lighter bloom is typical, then I want it to be Kaylee, otherwise Padparadscha. Historically, seedlings with really pale blooms seem to either stay the same, get darker, or flop back and forth between the two, and it seems like the lighter the first bloom, the more likely they are to get darker (e.g. 061A Leather Fairy) or alternate (e.g. 099A Dessert Room). So my guess is that 182A is going to wind up being a boring orange/pink in the long run, and therefore should probably be 182A Padparadscha even if I would otherwise prefer Kaylee.


1 (Played by Jewel Staite)
2 The mineral corundum (aluminum oxide) is colorless when pure, but natural corundum often contains impurities which impart a color. Chromium yields pink to red shades (rubies), vanadium turns them purple (purple sapphire), iron turns them light yellow or green, and iron with titanium yields blue (sapphire). I couldn't find any definitive statements about which elements are responsible for padparadscha, though I'd guess some combination of chromium (pink) and iron (yellow)?
3 In the collection Elza of Prague, by Mel Klein, which if I'm reading the synopses correctly the gist is that a man decides (threatens?) to name a child "Fazoozle" in order to spite an overbearing mother-in-law. Not sure if this makes it more suitable, or less suitable, as a seedling name.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Imperial Jade 'Timberlane'

Yellow-brown is, as noted in a previous post, an allowed color for jade, so I suppose technically I have to be okay with a yellow-brown flower named "Imperial Jade."

But secretly, deep down, I am not okay with it.1

I'm pretty sure the spotting at the top of this flower is mechanical damage. I have in my notes from last year that I'm pretty sure it's not mechanical damage, but, you know, we were all a lot dumber and more naive back then.

Imperial Jade is a primary hybrid (hybrid of two species, as opposed to a hybrid of a species and a hybrid, or a hybrid and a hybrid):

Paphiopedilum Imperial Jade = Paphiopedilum stonei x Paphiopedilum primulinum (Ref.)

I haven't seen Imperial Jade before, but I've seen some of its relatives. Related on the Paph. stonei side is Paph. Lady Isabel (from the 2013 show), which is also a primary hybrid. On the Paph. primulinum side of the family, we've seen Paph. primulinum itself (2016), Paph. Pinocchio (2013), and Paph. Prim-N-Proper (2012). I don't feel like Imperial Jade particularly resembles any of its relatives, but I suppose you can decide about that for yourself.


1 (I realize I have no room to point fingers about color accuracy in plant names, considering how some of the Schlumbergeras have behaved.)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 203

The more seedlings there are to keep track of, the harder it is to distinguish between them, so I can't tell you a whole lot about 203A that isn't obvious from the photos.

Mostly: the colors are loud. Which is fine. I think I prefer the seedlings with strong, fully-saturated colors to the more pastel ones anyway.

For 203A, the four name candidates are: Dolly Parton, Flamboyant Tendency, Loud and Clear, and What About My Needs.

203A was early enough in the season that the tears in the petals here were probably mechanical, the result of them catching on other plants (or the flats, or the shelves) when getting moved around. The thrips normally don't eat all the way through a petal anyway, just scrape off a thick enough layer to make the flower ugly and then move on. That said, I suppose it's possible that the thrips are learning new things.

I think I can drop Loud and Clear right away. It's not inappropriate, but it's sort of a cliche. Pretty much the same goes for Flamboyant Tendency -- actually now that I look at it, "Tendency" adds nothing: it should have just been Flamboyant.

What About My Needs is a Culture ship name.1 At 19 characters long (including spaces), it wouldn't be the longest name I've used,2 but it's pretty long. It sort of works, in that the loud-and-screamy colors seem to go nicely with a phrase that is normally loudly screamed. I guess. The other option left is Dolly Parton, who, as previously noted, is delightful3 and totally seedling-worthy, and has also been on my mind a lot lately.

Poor What About My Needs never really stood a chance. I hereby christen 203A Dolly Parton.


1 Culture ship names, discussed here, are so named because they resemble names of spaceships in Iain M. Banks' series of novels about the galaxy-spanning civilization called the Culture (hence the name); they're not necessarily names that were actually used in the novels though. Culture ship names are distinguished mostly by their length, and are often but not always a full grammatically-correct sentence.
2 That would be 082A Strawberry Madeleine, which is 20 characters long. What About My Needs would tie 084A Downward-Facing Dog for second-longest.
The list of prospective names technically maxes out at 30 characters (Fictitious Canadian Girlfriend), but that's the only option I have with more than 25 characters.
I don't know if there's an official character limit for cultivar names or not, but I read some naming guide a while back that I think said to stick to 30 or fewer characters, and I figured 25 would be even safer. I had also been trying to keep names at one or two words long, but I've broken that rule a few times already (020A Feet Of Clay, 066B Sigrid the Haughty, 083B Guy Fawkes Night, 084A Downward-Facing Dog, 103B Must Be Love, 105A Berry Rhubarb Fool, 106A Jaws of Elmo, and 200A Breakin' The Law. And yes, I'm aware that I'm being inconsistent about capitalization of small words -- 020A Feet Of Clay but 106A Jaws of Elmo, for example -- and it bothers me too and I intend to do something about it sooner or later, don't you worry.), and the prospects list goes up to at least five- and six-word options (Will They Or Won't They, I Thought We'd Get Out, Let Me Count The Ways, A Banjo Like The Moon, I Want To Be Sedated, You Don't Want Me No More, I Want To Go To There), though I don't know how seriously I'm taking any of them as possible names.
I admit to finding A Banjo Like The Moon bizarrely appealing; it was in the running for seedling 127A until I decided I liked another banjo-related name better.
3 The late Roger Ebert described meeting Dolly in person (to do a one-on-one interview in promotion of her movie Nine To Five) thusly:
As we spoke, I found myself enveloped by her presence. This had nothing to do with sex appeal. Far from it. It was as if I were being mesmerized by a benevolent power. I left the room in a cloud of good feeling. Next day, Siskel and I were sitting next to each other on an airplane. "This will sound crazy," he said, "but when I was interviewing Dolly Parton, I almost felt like she had healing powers."