Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pretty picture: Dendrobium bracteosum f. alba

I hadn't meant to stick two Dendrobiums so close together (last one was only 12 days ago), but they look so different from one another that I feel like it shouldn't count.

The usual form of Den. bracteosum is apparently lavender to pink; some of the more photos that emerge from an image search (e.g.) remind me a bit of crocus, especially the images that lean more to the lavender side of things. I'm less impressed with the white form, but it's possible that that's due to my terrible photo, rather than the plant's inherent inferiority.

Dendrobium bracteosum has a ridiculously long list of synonyms, according to Wikipedia, and I'm not sure what the hell was happening: after being described once in 1886 and christened D. bracteosum, it appears to have been re-named every few years (1894, 1899, 1901, 1910, 1912, 1922, 1923), then in 1983 somebody got all excited and named it four times. Since the same surname is appended to all four of the 1983 botanical names, and that person placed all four in the same genus (Pedilonum), I'm guessing that somebody just really, really wanted to create a new genus from within Dendrobium, but it doesn't appear to have worked; all Pedilonums are still officially Dendrobium as far as I can tell. Curious about why it got so many names, so far apart from one another, but for all I know, that could just be how plant taxonomy worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 066

Most notable characteristics of 066A are the slightly unusual color, and the weird rumpled look to the petals. Doesn't make it beautiful, but it maybe qualifies as quirky.

I wound up with 32 possible names from TinEye, and liked seven enough to give them serious consideration. Also threw in two names from the reserve names list, because they kind of fit and why not. So nine options in all. Here we go.

Pterosaur initially seemed kind of workable, but nothing about this flower is smooth enough to evoke the kind of majestic alien soaring that I associate with pterosaurs. Too many petals to serve as wings, and they're pointing in all different directions, sometimes kinked -- I just can't see it, alas.

Daiquiri is also close, but not quite there. For one thing, daiquiris come in a lot of different colors, depending on the fruit involved, and judging from image searches, the closest color match would be the strawberry daiquiri. However, I already have a strawberry name (082 Strawberry Madeleine), as well as a berry name (105A Berry Rhubarb Fool). So plain "Daiquiri" doesn't specify color well enough, and the names that specify color are too close to other names. If I were desperate to keep it in the daiquiri family and still match the color, I could maybe go with Watermelon Daiquiri, but I always imagine daiquiris as light yellow-green anyway. So I can keep the name in mind for later seedlings, but I don't think I'm desperate enough to use it here.

Hydrogen works in that way that certain words and colors go together in my brain (actual hydrogen gas is colorless), but there are other names on the list that work without me having to appeal to my pseudosynesthesia.

The orientation of the flowers in my photos makes the flowers look a little defeated (facing down, petals a little droopy at the ends), which make Rampage and Resistance both seem a little inappropriate, even if the color works.

And now we're at the point where the options stop being easy to eliminate.

Drunk Dancing kind of fits the shape, but I suppose I don't know, from the one flower the seedling has produced so far, whether the blooms are always going to be this shape. Should that matter? Not sure.

The reader-suggested Spicy Coquette works better for me without the "spicy" part, but Coquette is a good name.1 Plus I sort of have a crush on The Coquette, based on her advice blog.

When TinEye gave me Joker, I was pleased, because the bloom shape is a little like that of the jester hats that the jokers in decks of cards usually wear.2

And then Antisocial sort of works with the spiky, slightly off-kilter shape too.

Antisocial is appealing to me, but probably not so much to other people, so I suppose I don't have to keep it. And Drunk Dancing sounds kind of fun and friendly to me, but I don't know how drunk the people you're picturing are; maybe it's not quite as positive in your brain. Plus actual drunkenness is maybe not to be encouraged.

So Joker or Coquette, I suppose. And as much as I think the bloom resembles Joker, I'm feeling more drawn to Coquette, so I'm going with Coquette.


1 Somehow, I got the impression that "coquette" was approximately synonymous with "tramp" or "slut," but the dictionary meaning is "a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men," according to Merriam-Webster, which is kind of nice. I suppose the contemporary male counterpart would be "player."
There is probably a contemporary English word corresponding to "coquette," but I'm not going to look for it because I imagine it's probably mean-spirited, if not fully misogynistic. "Coquette" at least sounds classy 'cause it's French.
2 (I looked, but couldn't find a specific name for the hats; everybody seems to just call them "jester hats," which is boring. There should be some special, Old-English-sounding name for them, like "vingabbit" or "roopscock" or something. Maybe I just didn't look long enough.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Anthurium no. 0537 "Bridgette of Madison County"

One hundred twenty-eight seedlings have bloomed so far, as I write this, and there is a strong argument to be made that Bridgette is the very worst one. This is the prettiest photo I could get, of the prettiest bloom she's produced so far:

But this is a lot more representative of what Bridgette actually does:

The spathe never opens fully, probably because half of it is brown and dead by the time it's mature enough to try. I've seen thrips on it, though I'm not sure that they're what causes the dead patches on the spathes -- the thrips population has declined since I started blasting the plants with water, but Bridgette's spathes are still coming out partly dead.

Even if the spathe burn could be worked out somehow, the blooms are tiny,1 and not a great color.2 The plant is a relatively fast bloomer, but whatever it might gain in enthusiasm, it loses in follow-through.

The leaves have been variable in quality. Overall, they're better than you'd expect from the blooms, but they don't have any notable positive qualities: not shiny, pleasingly-colored, blemish-free, or large. They do tend to be longer and narrower than average. This one's pretty typical:

And the plant as a whole:

So, yeah. Pretty obviously not a keeper, and in fact probably in a landfill by the time you read this. My hope is that when I recycle the name, Bridgette of Madison County II will be prettier. 'Cause I do really like the name.


1 The scale is hard to determine from my closely-cropped photos, I realize. The bloom in the first photo of this post measures 1 1/8 inches tall by 5/8 inches wide (2.9 cm x 1.6 cm). Average size for one of the Anthurium blooms is roughly 2 inches tall by 1 1/2 inches wide (5.1 x 3.8 cm).
2 In theory there's nothing wrong with a white to light pink spathe coupled with a lavender-pink spadix, I guess; it's not a combination that's appeared in the seedlings before. But combining one really common thing with another really common thing is hard to get excited about, even if the combination's never been seen before.
I mean, I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Michelle Obama eating a pie, but I've seen plenty of pictures of pies, and plenty of pictures of Michelle Obama. I think it's safe to predict that I would not be blown away by an Obama/pie combination, however unprecedented in my experience it might be. More so if the photo were half-burnt and tiny.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pretty picture: Phragmipedium Sorcerer's Apprentice

We've seen a flower by this name before (2012), but the colors were different then (orange-red in 2012, brown-yellow in 2015), and I don't think the difference can be explained by the lighting or the camera or whatever. I mean, the shapes are different too.

The available online photos suggest that this year's pictures are closer to what the actual registered hybrid looks like than 2012's were. It would then follow that the 2012 pictures were misidentified by me, the exhibitor, or the seller. So what was I taking pictures of in 2012? I suppose we'll never know. (UPDATE: Read the comments. Nycguy knows.)

Anyway. Had some trouble photographing this; the petals are narrow, which makes it difficult to convince the camera's autofocus to pay attention to them. But I got some passable shots anyway, obviously, and it seems like a nice enough flower.

Phragmipedium Sorcerer's Apprentice = Phragmipedium longifolium x Phragmipedium sargentianum (Ref.)