Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Aglaonemas!

Since my last post I have acquired several new plants, specifically three Aglaonemas. So, this post is going to be about Aglaonemas. As I mentioned in the last post, I have lots of favorite plants, but genus-wide, Aglaonemas are my favorite. They are a very common foliage plant in office buildings, malls, etc. – commonly called “Chinese Evergreen,” “Silver King,” or “Silver Queen.” It is a very low maintenance plant that grows well in a range of lighting conditions and watering. For this reason, many different varieties have been cultivated that have varying silvery variegations. The goal of these cultivars is to create a more showy, unique look, with the same hardiness as the natural occurring species. Here’s what I know about them:Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
SubClass: base monocots
Order: Alismatales
SubOrder:
Family: Araceae
SubFamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Aglaonemateae


I have compiled a list (nomenclature) with as many different species and cultivars as I could find.

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
SubClass: base monocots
Order: Alismatales
SubOrder:
Family: Araceae
SubFamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Aglaonemateae


Two of the species I found recently were of average size plants (about 8 inches tall) – of species that I had not seen before.

My third find was another A. species I had not seen before(below), but this one was monstrous - and blooming! Aglaonemas are not known for their inflorescence (bloomage), so I was surprised to see fairly elegant, simple white blooms on this plant that closely resemble a peace lily (spathiphyllum). I have not been able to get a proper species identification on this one yet.

ag1 ag2

A couple of my Anubias plants have also produced nice blooms in my 29 gallon planted aquarium, that resemble the bloom of a peace lily.
Back to my new species of Aglaonemas...
I have another new species (below) without an id. It looks a bit like a variety of A. pictum. The leaves have three shades of green and the plant appears much darker than most Aglaonema species, due to its lack of silver coloring.


ag3 ag4




My other new Aglaonema (below) is also unidentified. It has fairly large leaves that are predominantly silver, with two shades of green.

ag5
And here are some pictures of my other Aglaonemas:


ag6


A. commutatum (above): This was my first Aglaonema, given to me by my mom. It grows on a long, spindly stalk, much less like a rosette, compared with my others. It was in a jar of water for a long period of time (at least a year) rooting, before it was planted and given to me.



ag7 ag8

A. 'B.J. Freeman'(above): This one is a very large cultivar and has survived an attack by Pippa, my dog. She ate several of the large leaves, leaving behind the spines. It had a rough time for a couple weeks after that, but has recovered pretty nicely.
ag9 ag10
A. minima:
This plant (above) is claimed to be an Aglaonema. I'm not sure that it is; I'm not sure that it isn't. I am sure that it doesn't look much like the pictures of the plant before I ordered it (above-top)! I have 5 of these living in my 29 gallon aquarium, where their leaves turn yellow and mushy quite often, but are replaced by new growth.
ag11


A. 'Maria'
(above): Last is my favorite - Maria. It seems to be the most striking of all Aglaonema I have seen. And it does help that this is my fullest Aglaonema.


As far as I know, there are about 20 naturally-occurring legitimate species and probably around 150 cultivars. Some of them are so similar that I don’t know how they can be correctly identified. Just in case anyone is interested, I like to post pictures of my unidentifiables plants to the “Name that plant” forum (http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/namegal/). There are lots of knowledgeable people who regularly check the forum and identify plants for people. Most Aglaonemas have cool silvery splotches of some sorts. But there are a couple that are not very showy, and to me, not very interesting (A. modestum). Some cool Aglaonemas that I don’t have include A. costatum, A. ‘Black Lance’, A. ‘White Lance’, and A. pictum ‘tricolor’.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Introduction

This post commences my plant blog. In the last year or two I have become a very avid hobbyist of all things plants. Maybe not all things plants, but many things plants, including some tangent hobbies. In fact, one of these tangent hobbies is how I made my way towards “plant-geek.”
I have kind of liked plants for a long time. When I was younger I used to help my mom water all of her plants. I was pretty good at remembering all of the names and identifying them when I saw them away from our home. My grandmothers were both fond of flowers and plants, too.

So, when I had my own house I naturally had a couple of houseplants to make the place feel “like home.”

Oddly enough, I think my current obsession with plants (yes, it is an obsession: ask Christie!) grew out of my aquarium hobby, which I just started at the beginning of 2005. After setting up my 29 gallon aquarium I was excited and spent quite a bit of time watching my newly-acquired fish swim around my fully-stocked tank. But soon, I became a little less interested in my aquarium, which would change little with time. All of my time of planning the perfect fish and decorations had allowed me to constantly change my mind and redesign. However, after the aquarium was set up there were few changes I could make (usually just when I lost a fish). Anyway, I soon found that there were some aquatic plants that could be added to my aquarium – and some of the fish I had in my tank actually prefer a planted tank! So I slowly started collecting plants for my aquarium and making my aquarium more suitable for their growth. I even went through a tedious process of emptying my tank and starting the whole setup again, using a richer plant substrate, rather than large gravel pebbles. I quickly became a huge fan of the aquatic genus Anubias. I now own the following Anubias species:


· A. afzelli var. lanceolata
· A. barteri
· A. barteri var. nana
· A. barteri var. nana ‘petite’
· A. barteri var. nana ‘marble leaf’
· A. coffeefolia
· A. gracilis


So, you might notice that one of those tangent hobbies that I have taken on is plant taxonomy. Not that I am a taxonomist, or anything. But I really like to know what varieties of each plant that I have. And I like to try to collect as many different types that I can. It’s especially a challenge for aquatic plants, since there are relatively few locations to buy them.

The analogous houseplant genus that I collect like anubias is called aglaonema. It is a very common and popular foliage plant used in office buildings and malls, etc. It’s common name is ‘Chinese Evergreen.’ There are a ton of varieties of this plant, both natural and cultivars. I just have 5 of them as of right now, but I am planning on collecting quite a few more. I currently have:

· A. ‘Silver King’ (nitidum x. pictum ‘Tricolor’)
· A. ‘B.J. Freeman’
· A. Minima
· A. ‘Maria’
· A. unknown


But hey! I'm getting a little too specific for my introductory post. Maybe you're wondering why I named my blog site what I did (or maybe not). Being a connoisseur of fine foliage plants, I like variegation, so rather than naming my site after the common phrase “The Green Thumb,” I chose this fun variation - or maybe I should say variegation! :)   For now, I will leave you with a picture of a beautiful scindapsus pictus: