Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 240

Seedling 240 was actually the last of the three second-generation1 Schlumbergeras to bloom, but it somehow wound up first in the queue for blog posts. It's also the worst of the three, based on its one bloom to date:

239A is a well-shaped, soft orange flower, and bloomed several times. 244A is unexpectedly red/pink, and also well-shaped. Neither are reaching new pinnacles of Schlumbergera achievement, but they're at least nice, normal flowers. 240A? I suppose it has the darker marginal pigmentation going on, which is nice, but the shape is weird, it only produced one bloom, and the color is the most common combination of colors in all the seedlings. So.

Name finalists: A Crack In Everything, Quick Regression, Schwa, and Unsupervised.

A Crack In Everything is a phrase from Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem," the full chorus of which goes "Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in." I'm not one of them, but some people find those last two lines heartening or encouraging or something.2 And it seems kind of appropriate, as a name for a seedling which is maybe slightly wonky.

Quick Regression is just a reference to the seedling not improving on its seed parent.3 Plus also just feeling timely.

Schwa is the vowel. That "uh" sound, like the A in "about" or the I in "pencil." Usually not stressed, and it's very common in English. I suppose it serves a function, but it's not melodious, not the sort of vowel Mariah Carey's going to hold a high note on or anything. In elementary school, when I learned about the schwa, I became weirdly fond of it, both for its symbol (ə) and for its name.4 I figure a placeholdery vowel is a natural fit for a placeholdery seedling.

And then Unsupervised. I'm not sure where Unsupervised came from.5 Maybe a reference to the fact that I wasn't paying attention to the cross I made, so I don't know what pollen parent helped create the seedling? And then the flower itself looking kind of half-assed? I don't know.

So. Not crazy about Unsupervised and don't even know why it's on the list, so I'll drop that. And A Crack In Everything is pretty long: even if I didn't feel weird about the song I took it from, it'd have that going against it.6

So Quick Regression or Schwa? Since I only have the one flower to go on, and sometimes the later blooms are different from the earlier ones, Quick Regression seems risky. I expect the later blooms will all be orange and pink, but not necessarily bad. Plus Schwa is a lot shorter to type, and will fit the seedling regardless of what it does in the future.

So for better or worse, this one's officially 240A Schwa.


1 (The seed parent was 025A Clownfish.)
2 Wait, Mr. S. -- what's wrong with "that's how the light gets in?"
I don't know, exactly? I mean, I've spent a while thinking about it, and I can't pin it down. I don't have a problem with the idea of everything being flawed in some way or another; that doesn't seem particularly depressing. And I understand how light entering something is, or at least can be, a positive symbol. It's possible that I'm just so literal-minded that I can't help but mentally add well, yes, and that's also how the mice get in, and the water, and the dust, and the mold spores. . . .
Though that doesn't feel quite right either. I don't know. I'm just not reassured.
3 Presumably also its pollen parent, but I don't know what its pollen parent was, so technically I can't be sure.
4 Possibly just the novelty of the consonant cluster "schw," which is apparently very common in German, but isn't something I ran into a lot as a kid, outside of maybe the occasional "Schwartzenegger." (Later, there would also be "schwing," and various German surnames, but schwa and schwing are the only English schw- words I can think of that aren't proper nouns. I really wish English would borrow some good Aztec words so we could get a few tl- blends in the mix; I'm unsure whether Aztlán is in common enough use to count, but it and quetzalcoatl are the only candidates I can think of.)
I wouldn't have been able to tell you in elementary school that I enjoyed unusual consonant clusters, of course. But obviously I can tell you now. Hell, this isn't even the first time the subject's come up this month: remember Svarog and svelte?.
5 The naming process is very complicated, with a lot of moving parts you never see because they are tedious and boring. Basically, I
A) generate a bunch of possible names from stuff like the random-words list, rejecting a lot of the word combos as obviously terrible, boring, or nonsensical, then
B) pick several names from the list of possible names that I think might actually suit the seedling under consideration, rejecting most of the possible names as a bad match, then
C) whittle those several names down to the four that seem best-suited to the seedling, and finally
D) actually choose one of the names, which is the only part you actually see.
All four stages are going on all the time, for different seedlings, which means that sometimes by the time I get to step D, I no longer remember what I was thinking when I let a name pass from step B to C.
6 And really it ought to be There Is A Crack In Everything, that being the full line. But the full line is 30 characters long and therefore unusable.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pretty picture: Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss (?)

Yet another roller-coaster in trying to track down an orchid name.

So. The tag said "C Mary Weiss." The International Orchid Registry doesn't have a Cattleya Mary Weiss, but it does have a Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss. So I was like, cool, problem solved.

And then I looked for photos of this orchid in previous years, as I do, and found one from the 2013 show that looks nothing like this. Where this one is mostly white, with a lavender / orange / magenta labellum, the other Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss is mostly pink, shading into coral or orange here and there, and then with a pink / coral / orange / magenta lip.

So, great. While it's possible, I guess, that they could be very different seedlings from the same grex (and it's worth noting that the shape of the flowers is almost exactly the same in both cases, whatever the colors might be), I wanted to find confirmation that the grex had that much range in color. So I went searching.

Which is how I discovered that Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss is completely ogooglebar. Why? Well, both "Mary" and "Weiss" are common enough names that there are lots of people by the name "Mary Weiss," which would be a problem in any case, but more particularly, one of the singers in The Shangri-Las is named Mary Weiss. So a first search for Mary Weiss will get you more than you ever wanted to know about "Leader of the Pack,"

but nothing about orchids.

Okay, you're thinking, so just search for "Mary Weiss orchid," or maybe "Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss," then.

If only it were so easy, because there's a Mary Weiss who was famously big into orchids, presumably the Mary Weiss that this grex is named for. So any search of "Mary Weiss orchid" gets you stories about Mary Weiss' love of orchids, and "Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss" yields every web page where Mary Weiss and Rhyncattleanthe are both mentioned. Of which there are many. Because Mary Weiss was super into orchids. Plus of course some percentage of the information about the grex would have the plant listed under the obsolete name Cattleya Mary Weiss instead.

Presumably, it would be possible to get to images of Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss if you're already in an orchid photo database, but I don't actually have one of those bookmarked (partly because I've been unimpressed with the quality of the ones I've seen -- they generally have lots of names but are not so good with photos).

Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss = Rhyncattleanthe Memoria Christine Sineni x Rhyncholaeliocattleya George King (Ref.)

I did manage to locate a large group of photos of pollen parent Rhyncholaeliocattleya George King last March when I was preparing these posts, at, but even that was a pain in the ass, because changed into at some point over the last year so my initial link was broken and I had to search for to find In any case, the range of colors of George King (variously white, pink, yellow, coral, lavender, or orange, if the photos are to be believed) makes it plausible that Mary Weiss might be similarly variable, so there's a good chance that this plant and the 2013 plant are in fact from the same grex and are both properly called Mary Weiss. I would check the Mary Weiss photos on for myself, except that there are no photos on the Mary Weiss page. Because of course there aren't. And there doesn't seem to be anything about the seed parent, Rhyncattleanthe Memoria Christine Sineni, anywhere on the internet either.

So I'm basically left to throw my hands in the air and just say I don't know if this is correctly identified. It may be correct to call this plant and the 2013 plant Rhyncattleanthe Mary Weiss, and if forced to guess, I'd guess that these are both Mary Weiss, but that's me gambling on orchid show tags being reliable. And if we've learned nothing in the last seven years, it's that orchid show tags are not reliable.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 127

Another white one with a hint of pink. As I write this (9 March), there are six white seedlings total,1 as well as a likely seventh and eighth in bud.2 It's nice to have a new color to think about, for the name possibilities, but it'd be even nicer if they didn't all look more or less the same.

Name finalists for seedling 127A: 14th Anniversary, Cooperating Banjos, Pegasus, There Goes The Bride.

Does anyone still pay attention to the traditional anniversary gifts? I guess someone must, because it was easy to find a year-by-year list. Traditionally, in the U.S., the 14th anniversary is for ivory. I'd considered 14th Anniversary for the orange/white3 seedling 200A Breakin' The Law, but obviously it makes more sense for a white seedling. A really pale yellow would make even more sense than white, but I doubt that's ever going to happen.

Cooperating Banjos is by analogy with Dueling Banjos, an instrumental song. I was surprised to learn that "Dueling Banjos" was a relatively new piece when it was used in Deliverance in 1972.4 Even more surprised to learn that it was on the Billboard Top 100 for four weeks in 1973:5 clearly the 70s were an even stranger time than I'd imagined. In any case, it's time for the banjos to start working together, damn it. Enough of this senseless banjo-on-banjo violence.

Pegasus is the white winged stallion from Greek mythology. Not only is the color right, but the shape kind of works too. Pegasus is also a constellation and a bunch of other stuff, maybe too much other stuff, but it's worth considering, surely.

And of course There Goes The Bride, referring to "Here Comes the Bride." I don't think I had a deeper meaning than that in mind. It's not clever or interesting, and I think I'll drop it without any further consideration.

So. Of the three remaining names, I'm not that into 14th Anniversary. It's fine, but it made more sense as a name when there was a recent 14th anniversary for me to connect it to. And given the choice between Cooperating Banjos or Pegasus, it's got to be, officially, 127A Cooperating Banjos, for basically the same reason that I went with There Would Be Peace a few weeks ago for 119A: it's just more me.

(Perhaps if there were another word or two along with "Pegasus." Off the top of my head, I can't come up with any Pegasus-related names that don't strike me as dumb, obvious, or unusable, but I bet if I work at it I can come up with something. If I throw enough random words at it, surely one of them will stick in an interesting way.)

Also, here is one of the suggestions YouTube gave me after I watched the clip from Deliverance, a banjo / accordion / anvil cover of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck," which I found unexpectedly entertaining. (Music starts at 15 seconds in; for some reason I couldn't get YouTube to cue it up for me.)


1 (119A There Would Be Peace, 127A, 128A, 190A, 193A, and 283A Migaloo)
2 (135A and 290A)
3 and, later, orange/pink. First bloom for 200A Breakin' the Law:
and the second bloom:
I mean, that's not even close. If anything, the difference is much more obvious in person, and this happened after I started giving seedlings their own individual pots, so I know the same plant produced both blooms. Breaking the law, indeed.
4 (written as "Feudin' Banjos" by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, in 1955; I had assumed it was a much older folk composition)
5 Just behind Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song," of all things.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 104

Seedling 104 has only produced one fairly short-lived flower, which was sort of orange-red / pink and a bit distorted in shape. It's usually a bad idea to extrapolate too much from a single bloom, but the one is all we've got to work with. Consequently, all the name options refer to this situation in one way or another. They are: How Will I Know, Maybe Never, Needs Practice, and Sleeping Dog.

I don't think any of the names need much explanation, so let's jump to the decision-making.

The attitude that goes with each name varies: Needs Practice is optimistic, Maybe Never is pessimistic, How Will I Know agnostic, and Sleeping Dog is slightly menacing. Probably don't really need more menace in my life, so I can (regretfully) drop Sleeping Dog.1

From there, I guess it's just a matter of determining whether I feel like 104A is ever going to bloom again, and how confident I am that it will look nice if and when it does. Never feels too pessimistic. I mean, it's technically true, but it seems unlikely. So I'll drop Maybe Never. And although I'm not super-optimistic either, How Will I Know is a problem for other reasons, namely the Whitney Houston associations.2

And that leaves Needs Practice. Which I can live with.


1 Why regretful? Because I had a thing going with the "dog" names -- 060A Wet Dog, 084A Downward-Facing Dog, 113A Helper Dog -- and then I kind of abandoned it. Partly this is because 113A turned out not to be such a bad seedling after all, but also, there haven't been a lot of seedlings since Helper Dog that looked bad enough to warrant a dog name.
2 Not that I necessarily object to Whitney Houston. I've learned, though, that if I name seedlings after songs, it needs to be a song I really, really like, because my brain will take any chance it can get to put a song on an endless loop in my head, whether I like the song or not. This has been a problem to some degree or another already with 022A Sad Tomato (song), 075A Pushover (song), 077B Bad Reputation (song), 090A Lola (song), 099B Karma Cobra (song), 111A Morning Sun (song), 211A Bruce Lee (song), and 281A No Bad Vibez (song). Sad Tomato and Karma Cobra are particularly terrible about doing this.
If I'm going to get Whitney Houston in my head, I'd rather it be "It's Not Right But It's Okay." Which would be a fabulous seedling name, except that it's three characters too long.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Jiuhbao Queen Diamond

This was a lot nicer in person; the lighting kind of screwed with it, alas.

Phalaenopsis Jiuhbao Queen Diamond = Phalaenopsis Chian Xen Queen x Phalaenopsis Haur Jin Diamond (Ref.)

This particular grex hasn't been on the blog before, but its seed parent (Phal. Chian Xen Queen) has, under the incorrect name of "Phal. ChAIn Xen Queen." That one is also a bad picture, on top of being misnamed. I feel like I should send the plant an apology card or something? (In fairness to myself, I was using the name from the tag -- it was only my second year with the orchid show and I hadn't yet learned to distrust the tags.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 180

Nothing particularly notable about seedling 180; so far, it looks like a fairly ordinary orange-red / light pink, along the lines of 008B Candor or 054B Alberta. 180 is also the offspring of the NOID magenta, presumably crossed with 'Caribbean Dancer,' since it looks so much like many of the 'Caribbean Dancer' seedlings, but who knows. Anyway.

Name options: Her Butch Future, Miss Emma, Recurring Dream, Svarog.

Her Butch Future is presumably from a random word combination, and while it doesn't really make much sense (and in fact makes less and less sense the more I think about it), it appeals to me in some way. Maybe the appeal is the implication of a story: we know there's a girl or woman, we know she's going to be butch at some point in the future but she's not at the moment. What happens to her to make her change, or to let her know that she could change? How does she feel about it? Etc.

Miss Emma was a last-minute substitution, when I decided that the name I'd originally selected was a bad idea.1 Miss Emma is one of those names with personal meaning to me that I don't want to get too specific about, previously considered for 200A Breakin' The Law and 211A Bruce Lee.

Recurring Dream was, I think, a random word combination, though those probably weren't the exact words. It also works for any seedlings that look like previous seedlings.2

And then Svarog, previously considered for 056A Demons Begone and 072A Chell, is possibly the name of a Slavic fire and blacksmithing deity, though apparently we only know about Svarog from a single text so it's not clear how important or authentic he was.

This is kind of a rough group of names, to be honest. I mean, none of them seem quite right to me, but let's see how things work out.

Evocative though it is, Her Butch Future would be weird to explain to people, particularly since I don't have an explanation for it.

The remaining three names are all at about the same level of appeal, though. Svarog is short, and although "sv" is an unusual consonant blend, English-speakers don't seem to find "svelte" objectionable or difficult. I don't know that I especially care about Slavic blacksmith deities, but maybe I don't need to. Miss Emma isn't a fantastic name on its own, but I've been thinking about the real-life person connected to it a lot lately. Also I feel kind of bad that I passed it up in favor of Bruce Lee for seedling 211. And Recurring Dream is sort of a sly reference to the overwhelming orangeness of the seedlings, which amuses me a bit, and maybe amusing me is a good enough reason on its own.

After contemplating the choices for a while, I decided timeliness should win out over weirdness or humor value, so I'm going with Miss Emma.

This brings the number of seedlings with odd associations to people I know/knew up to ___: 023A Stoked, 075A Pushover, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, 095A Perturbed, 180A Miss Emma, and 217A Blood Frenzy. (You don't have to care. I'm mostly just recording it so I can remember better.)


1 The original choice was Obstreperal Lobe, intended as an homage to a certain internet spinster aunt and radical feminist. As I worked on the post, I decided that even if I intended homage, it sort of felt like theft, and while I could have asked permission, it wouldn't have felt like my name anyway, even if permission was granted. Made more sense to just swap in another name.
2 A category of name that I've been cultivating this year. You'll eventually see Quick Regression, Stalemate by Repetition, Plow the Seashore, and Rediscovery come up as name finalists, plus I'm considering Old Memory and Chop Wood Carry Water, though they haven't yet made it to finalist status. There are a lot of different ways to say oh, this again, if you work at it a little.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 058 (again again)

I think this is my first "C" seedling; 058A Much Confusion and 058B Buff Orpington were both from the 2015-16 season, and although I'm not positive that they were different seedlings, the blooms were different enough that I thought they could be: Much Confusion was more of a reddish-orange / pink, and Buff Orpington was orange / white, and although I didn't wind up seeing a ton of blooms from either of them, the colors were consistent enough that I felt there was justification for separate names.

And then this year, I get this bloom:

Which is more red than orange, different enough that it also seems like it could be a separate seedling. The problem is that this is also the year when many of the seedlings started producing blooms that were significantly different from what they'd done previously, so it seems possible to me that the three seedlings I supposedly have in this one pot are only two. Maybe only one.

So whatever name I use here, I may have to abandon it later; this has happened before, when I decided that 008A Frightened Dog and 008B Candor were probably the same seedling. In this case, obviously, all names would collapse down to (the now prophetic-seeming) 058A Much Confusion.1 But I don't know yet. It's possible that this seedling is distinct, while 058A and 058B are the same seedling, which means I should give it a name anyway. Just maybe not too good of a name, lest I have to drop it.

The candidates I came up with before having this realization were:

Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas and one of the few people associated with Baylor University2 I'm not ashamed of;
Consternation, defined by various online dictionaries as "a state of paralyzing dismay," "a strong feeling of surprise or disappointment that causes confusion," "a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay," and "a state of great alarm agitation, or dismay." Which doesn't feel terribly apropos at the moment I'm writing this, but it did a couple weeks prior when I was looking for name candidates, and it may a couple weeks later when this post is published. Very difficult to predict my emotional state in advance, these days.
Maharaurava, a level of both the Hindu and Buddhist hells, reserved for people who indulge at the expense of other beings, in which their flesh is eaten, painfully, by serpent-like beasts called rurus,3 for a very long but finite period of time.4
And Tizzyhark is a random word combination from my list, stuck together to make a new word. I don't know what a tizzyhark is, but I guess I thought the word sounded like it meant something interesting.

Knowing that I may eventually lose the name I choose makes the selection process weird. I think I like Ann Richards too well for that, and would rather give her an "A" seedling. And Tizzyhark is both appealing and discardable, should it come to that, but I sort of feel like I should have some idea, even a vague idea, what a tizzyhark is, before I use it.

Which leaves Maharaurava and Consternation. I feel like Consternation is both more disposable and more appropriate to the situation of not knowing how many names I need for this particular pot, plus the historical moment, so I'm going to name this one Consternation.

Maharaurava will be back, though. I have that feeling.


1 Not that there's a rule that the A name wins; it didn't win in the case of the 008 pot. It's just that Much Confusion would obviously be the right name for the 058 pot.
2 (Baylor is my alma mater, which gets a little more shameful every year; if you like, you can do a search for "baylor university scandal" and see what comes up. If you don't, here's CBS news talking about something from a couple scandals ago, i.e., last October. Trigger warning for rape.)
3 (more correctly, a subtype of ruru called a kravyada; I don't know what makes them different from your run of the mill ruru)
4 It's unclear to me whether the punishment is the same in both Hindu and Buddhist conceptions of Maharaurava, or whether the criteria to be assigned to Maharaurava are necessarily the same in both religions. My description is taken from Wikipedia, which describes the Hindu version, if there's a difference, though another site ("Hindupedia") describes Maharaurava as being for "sinners who had usurped the properties of others or their rightful owners." Which also works.
I do appreciate the effort involved in coming up with twenty-eight different hells; it somehow seems more fair than in the Christian version, where everybody goes to the same place and gets the same punishment regardless of what you did to deserve it. (Yes, there's Dante's Inferno, but the Inferno is fanfiction, not canon.) Are you an ever-suspicious man who is endlessly wary that others are coming to take your wealth? Do you sin to get and keep your money? You get to go to Sucimukha, the hell where Yamadutas, which I take to be approximately equal to Christianity's demons (I apologize for not taking the time to learn Hindu and Buddhist theology prior to writing this post) stitch thread through your whole body. Do you lie in oaths or business? You're going to Avici, a hell where you are thrown headfirst off a mountain repeatedly without dying. Are you a king or government official who takes the money of merchants, commits mass murder, or ruins your nation? You go to Sarameydana, where you are eaten by 720 dogs with razor-sharp teeth.
Not sure what happens in cases where someone qualifies for multiple hells at once.
So that's fun. Christianity should totally steal the multiple-hells thing. Not necessarily those specific hells, but the general idea.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pretty picture: Dendrobium parthenium

This one is at least kind of novel.

The camera had trouble with it (mostly-white flowers on a mostly-white background), but you can maybe kind of get the general idea anyway. It was tagged as Dendrobium sanderianum, but D. parthenium is, or at least was for a brief period last March, the correct name. Most of the photos that come up on-line for the species show a prominent purple throat on the flower (e.g.), as opposed to the greenish-yellow with a few thin reddish-purple lines here; a substantial minority are pretty uniformly white (e.g.).

The streaky leaves were interesting in person; I don't think they're actually supposed to look like that, based on the photos I found in image searches, but I don't know what would cause the streaks.

As far as I'm aware, Den. parthenium isn't related to any of the previous orchids I've posted about on PATSP, but it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if it were. I haven't always bothered to go into orchid genealogies at all, and I've only rarely followed the trail all the way back to the original species, so I wouldn't be surprised to find some Den. parthenium connection in the previous orchids if I were to look hard enough. All I know for sure is that there doesn't seem to be a connection to any of the Dendrobiums I did bother to investigate.