HIGH FUUKIRAN MON

HIGH FUUKIRAN MON
Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

ALL ABOUT TSUKE

A connection between the leaf and the leaf sheath (basal part of the leaf) or, as it is known in scientific terms, abscission zone, provides an amazing mechanism responsible for the leaf to fall off the plant. Every FUUKIRAN has this connection, colloquially known as the leaf joint or articulation, or in Japanese - tsuke

The abscission or "breakaway" zone between the actual leaf blade and the leaf sheath is made out of specialized cells with thinner cell walls, less cellulose and shorter in size. These cells are structurally weaker then the rest of the leaf cells and prone to "give up" or break in certain situations, causing the leaf blade to disconnect from the leaf sheath. The act of disconnecting is triggered either by the leaf being at the end of its lifecycle or stress, ex. drought, heat, disease or physical trauma.

Several types of tsuke in FUUKIRAN are observed and are a subject of appreciation. Each tsuke type is given a name in association with its shape.




A - CRESCENT MOON,  B - STRAIGHT LINE,  C - ARROW,  D - MOUNTAIN ,  E - WAVE


Of all tsuke shapes, Crescent Moon and Straight Line are the most common. In some FUUKIRAN the distinction of tsuke could be vague, thus the Wave tsuke might look more like a Straight Line, than a Wave.

Comment: I recently learned that there is a "tsuke-less" FUUKIRAN. It is extremely rare, but it exists. A member of  Facebook's Neofinetia Group had posted some pictures of the plant. This is another reminder about tremendous genetic plasticity within this species.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'KINGINRASHA' 金銀羅紗

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 3.5-4 in (9-10 cm); jiku - dark purple; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - red-brown*

I adore this small sized FUUKIRAN with the name 'Kinginrasha' 金銀羅紗, which means "Gold and Silver Felt". When flowers are freshly opened they are white (hence silver), with age they turn yellow (hence gold). Towards the end of its bloom it is amusing to see the 'Kinginrasha' with white and yellow flowers mixed together. It is not uncommon for white flowers to turn yellow at the end of blooming, the difference is, 'Kinginrasha' keeps its yellow flowers for longer. Flower spikes are short and upward facing. The flowers have recurved sepals and petals and a curled spur.

Another interesting feature of 'Kinginrasha' is the unusual texture of its leaves. They are rough to the touch, hence - felt-like. Because of this ruff texture, the leaf epidermis is much thicker then in most FUUKIRAN, which gives this cultivar yet another characteristic. The entire plant has glowing outlines, when it is backlit. I have been giving this little plant a lot of sunlight and starting to notice more and more purple streaks and dots on its leaves.


Neofinetia falcata 'Kinginrasha' 金銀羅紗 displayed in a pot by Heian Kosen from Kyoto, Japan


Closeup of Neofinetia falcata 'Kinginrasha' 金銀羅紗 leaf texture


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'KINPOUZAN' 金峰山

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 4.5 in (11.5 cm); jiku - dark purple; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - redish-brown*

FUUKIRAN 'Kinpouzan' 金峰山 or "Golden Mountain Peak" is named after Mount Kinpou, located between Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures in Japan. This very striking, compact FUUKIRAN has wide gracefully arching leaves and contrasting genpei variegation. The green stripe outlines only one side of each leaf, leaving the other half yellow. The plant appears different depending at which side you look. It is a great example of FUUKIRAN that is admired for its foliage. However, this type of variegation is unstable and could transition to shima type striping. Let's hope not!

Can't wait for the spring, for the emerged second growth to start growing actively, in this, otherwise, very slow growing cultivar.


Neofinetia falcata 'Kinpouzan' 金峰山 displayed in a pot by Mizuno Shikao of Tosui kiln from Seto, Japan


The other side of Neofinetia falcata 'Kinpouzan' 金峰山 displayed in a pot by Mizuno Shikao of Tosui kiln from Seto, Japan


Striking variegation of Neofinetia falcata 'Kinpouzan' 金峰山


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'YOROIDOUSHI' 鎧通し

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 4-4.5 in (10-12 cm); jiku - green; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*

This very elegant FUUKIRAN was named 'Yoroidoushi' 鎧通し after the sword. An appropriate name for the orchid that is often called "samurai" orchid. The yoroidoushi sword was forged to pierce through armor and was worn by samurai in feudal Japan. This FUUKIRAN has very narrow and pointy leaves, and belongs to the hariba or needle-leaf group.


Neofinetia falcata 'Yoroidoushi' 鎧通し displayed in a typical Neofinetia pot


Samurai worrier 


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'BYAKKO' 白虎

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 4 in (10 cm); jiku - dark purple; tsuke - straight line; ne - redish-brown*

The FUUKIRAN 'Byakko' 白虎 name translates as "White Tiger", a mythological creature and one of the four symbols in the Chinese constellations. Also known as White Tiger of the West, this symbol is positioned in the western direction of the compass, representing autumn and a metal element.

This cultivar is fairly new and is a great example of the torafu or tiger type variegation. I am very pleased to have it. The plant is rather compact and the foliage looks spectacular with a sharp contrast between the creamy-white and green sections of their leaves. Each leaf has a different proportion of white and green. Although, I have yet to see it blooming, I have read that it produces spur-less white flowers.


Neofinetia falcata 'Byakko' 白虎 displayed in a typical neofinetia pot, I have yet to match it to a perfect pot 


Closeup of Neofinetia falcata 'Byakko' 白虎 variegation


Side view of Neofinetia falcata 'Byakko' 白虎 variegation


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'GOJO FUKURIN' 御城覆輪

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 8.5 in (21.5 cm); jiku - dark purple; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - green*

The first two characters in the name 'Gojo Fukurin' 御城覆輪 can be interpreted as "Imperial City", the last two characters mean "Fukurin" or ornamental border, describing the marginal leaf variegation of this elegant FUUKIRAN. It is the largest Neofinetia in my collection. Although, I am starting with just one fan, it should produce new fans this coming spring. The white flowers are typical of Neofinetia and are displayed in harmony against the creamy-white and green striped foliage. This cultivar is known to change variegation and mutate into other FUUKIRAN.


Neofinetia falcata 'Gojo Fukurin'  御城覆輪 displayed in a pot by Mizuno Shikao of Tosui kiln from Seto, Japan



Close up of Neofinetia falcata 'Gojo Fukurin'  御城覆輪 showing fukurin type variegation


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Saturday, October 31, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'KUTSUWAMUSHI' 轡虫

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 5 in (13 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - green*

'Kutsuwamushi' 轡虫 is the namesake of the Japanese katydid (Mecopoda niponensis). I could see at least two reasons why this FUUKIRAN is named this. One reason is that it has a unique leaf tip, that is elongated and pointy, reminding of the abdomen of a katydid. The second reason might be in its flowers which have an upturned spur, reminiscent of a katydid's antenna.

'Kutsuwamushi' is a very attractive blooming FUUKIRAN with rather compact growth. I look forward to watching my little plant grow and bloom.


Neofinetia falcata 'Kutsuwamushi' 轡虫 displayed in a Japanese pot by Bigei (Hirata Atsumi) of Tokoname**


Leaf tip of Neofinetia falcata 'Kutsuwamushi' 轡虫


Giant Katydid (Kutsuwamushi) from the "Picture Book of Insects" (Ehon Mushi Erami) by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1788; woodblock print, ink and color on paper


** This Bigei pot is made with shudei bokashi or vermilion clay and carved with four famous proverbs. Here they are in very loose translation:

Ishin-denshin 以心伝心
"Understand each other without talking"

Ishibashi-o-tataite-wataru 石橋を叩いて渡る
"Tap on a stone bridge before crossing it"

Ishi-no-ue-nimo-sannen 石の上にも三年
"Be patient even if you have to sit on a rock for three years"

Isogaba-maware 急がば回れ
"Haste makes waste"

I could apply every one of them to learning the art of growing FUUKIRAN or any other discipline for that matter!


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


Friday, October 30, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'HOUMEIDEN' 豊明殿

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 5-5.5 in (13-14 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - ruby*

'Houmeiden' 豊明殿 is a very impressive FUUKIRAN in many ways. Its name could be translated as "Bright Temple" or "Bright Palace" pointing to a vary interesting torafu or tiger type variegation called amanogawa. It is characterized by having a middle portion of the leaf white. 'Houmeiden' variegation is ephemeral, as the leaf matures it turns completely green. Such a beautiful feature reminds me of nagajuban 長襦袢, one of the layers of kimono 着物. Only the white collar edge of the traditional nagajuban shows from beneath the outer kimono.

The other prized quality of 'Houmeiden' is in its roots. Bright amethyst-pink to ruby-red colored growing root tips contrast with white velamen of the rest of the root. It is quite a showcase to see this orchid during its active growth.


Neofinetia falcata 'Houmeiden' 豊明殿 displayed in Chinese pot with dragon carving and perforated rhombus pattern 


Close up view of Neofinetia falcata 'Houmeiden' 豊明殿 with young variegated leaves


Close up view of Neofinetia falcata 'Houmeiden' 豊明殿 growing root tip


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'SUIKADEN' 翠華殿

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 2.5-3 in (6-8 cm); jiku - green; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*

This FUUKIRAN's name 'Suikaden' 翠華殿 is very hard to interpret in English. The kanji characters, in the order as they are written, mean "green", "flower" and "noble palace". Occasionally it is called "Imperial Flag", but I can't find the reason for such name. Unless "Green Flower Palace" makes sense, it is best to use 'Suikaden' without English translation as its own name.

'Suikaden' plants are compact with beautiful arching leaves, that belong to mameba or bean-leaf group. Flowers are white, but after opening could retain green colored tips on their petals and especially sepals and spur, hence its name.


Neofinetia falcata 'Suikaden' 翠華殿 displayed in a vintage Japanese pot painted with CHUNRAN motif (maker unknown)


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'BENIMUSOU' 紅無双

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 1.5 in (4 cm); jiku - green; tsuke - wave; ne - brown*

Since it is hard to translate 'Benimusou' 紅無双 name from Japanese, I will be using 'Benimusou' as its name.

There were several cultivars selected out of seedlings of a cross between Neofinetia falcata 'Benikujaku' 紅孔雀 with Neofinetia falcata 'Yodonomatsu' 淀の松 in the late 1980s. Among them was 'Benimusou'. Interesting that even among 'Benimusou' plants there is a variation. So, my 'Benimusou' might look slightly different from yours.

This very amusing miniature FUUKIRAN belongs to a mameba group. The plant I own has boat shaped leaves closely nestled on top of each other, and not too ruff leaf texture. I look forward to seeing this plant grow and reaching its potential.


Neofinetia falcata 'Benimousou' 紅無双 displayed in a Japanese pot by Kataoka Susumu from Tokoname


Neofinetia falcata 'Benimousou' 紅無双 view from above


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'SHOUJOU' 猩々

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 6 in (15 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*

This FUUKIRAN is named 'Shoujou' 猩々after the Japanese mythological spirit. Shoujou is a human-like sea spirit with long hair and red skin, who dresses in seaweed and lives in the ocean floor. Shoujou is known for making a drink form shiro sake that is poisonous only to those who are bad. To a good person it is a delicious drink. I like the use of Shoujou spirit name for this orchid! Although, it is often translated as "Red Face", a "faceless" name to me.

The plant has a beautiful presentation, with fairly narrow leaves positioned more or less straight. Flowers are light purple on a dark purple stem, hence the connection to the sea spirit. This FUUKIRAN originates from the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan.


Neofinetia falcata 'Shoujou' 猩々 displayed in a Japanese pot by Youzan (Shimizu Masakazu) of Tokoname


Depiction of Shoujou as a character in a Noh theater play


Noh theater mask worn by Shoujou character


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


Sunday, October 25, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'SEIKAI' 青海

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 2.5-3 in (6-8 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - wave; ne - green*

This beloved FUUKIRAN's name is 'Seikai' 青海 or "Blue Ocean", inspired by the famous pattern known in Japanese as seikaiha 青海波, which literally means "blue wave of the sea". The plant belongs to mameba or bean-leaf group with its deeply curved leaves and compact growth habit. Tsuke is in the shape of the wave and is more rare than other forms of tsuke. This FUUKIRAN is admired not only for its leaves but also for its flowers, as the flowers it produces are most unique and bizarre. In light pink, they remind me a flock of flamingoes, occupied with their feathers cleaning. I have yet to enjoy my 'Seikai' in bloom, hopefully, in a few months, as the flowering spike have already started to emerge.


Neofinetia falcata 'Seikai' 青海 displayed in a vintage Japanese pot with cloud feet (maker unknown)


Seikaiha 青海波 ornamental design popular in Japan. It was first used in China to depict the sea on ancient maps.

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* The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Saturday, October 24, 2015

NOMENCLATURE NOTES ON FUUKIRAN. CULTIVAR VERSUS VARIETY OR FORM

In my earlier article TAXONOMY NOTES ON FUURAN. WHAT IS THE REAL NAME?, I focused on explaining the evolution of the botanical scientific name (specific binomial name) for Neofinetia falcata, currently classified as Vanda falcata, also known as FUURAN in Japanese. The purpose of this article is to understand the nomenclature of selected "varieties" or "forms" of Neofinetia falcata like, for example, 'Tamakongo'. To avoid confusion, I will be referring the orchid of our interest in the "old fashioned" way: Neofinetia falcata.

First off, based on "Checklist of Selected Plant Families" published and edited by the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, there is no botanical variety or form currently identified for Neofinetia falcata. Variety (not as a legal term) and form are both the lowest taxonomic ranks, used after genus and species names. Two different varieties of the same species are usually geographically separated and have different enough characteristics, but will hybridize with one aother when crossed.

Second, let's understand the basic nomenclature of plants' scientific names. Please accept this very simplified explanation, as there is much more to it and will not be covered here.

A simple scientific name of a plant is compiled of GENUS NAME + SPECIES NAME + ORIGINAL AUTHOR + PUBLICATION. If the species name has been changed, the original author's name is placed in parentheses, followed by the new author's name, who made the taxonomic revision (shown in orange), followed by the source of publication of that taxonomic revision (shown in pink). In the examples below, notice how C.P. Thunberg's name moved to parentheses - (Thunb.):

Orchis falcata Thunb. in J.A.Murray, Syst. Veg. ed. 14: 811 (1784). was changed to
Neofinetia falcata (Thunb.) Hu, Rhodora 27: 107 (1925). , which was recently revised into
Vanda falcata (Thunb.) Beer, Prakt. Stud. Orchid.: 317 (1854).

If the species has a recognized variety, then the full scientific name is compiled as GENUS NAME + SPECIES NAME + VAR.VARIETY NAME, followed by the author's name (shown in blue) and the publication source (shown in pink). Example: Vanda lamellata var. remediosae Ames & Quisumb., Philipp. J. Sci. 52: 461 (1933).

If there is a recognized form, then it follows the variety name and abbreviated with "f." So, where does the name 'Tamakongo' have a place in all of this? To understand, we have to turn to the cultivated plant taxonomy.

"Cultivated plant taxonomy is the study of the theory and practice of the science that identifies, describes, classifies, and names cultigens—those plants whose origin or selection is primarily due to intentional human activity."  - Wikipedia

To deal with the name dilemma for man-made or man-selected plants, the terms group and cultivar were introduced. As I mentioned earlier, since there are no botanically recognized varieties or forms of Neofinetia falcata, the term cultivar is more appropriate for identifying 'Tamakongo' place in the name of Neofinetia falcata.

"A cultivar is an assemblage of plants that (a) has been selected for a particular character or combination of characters, (b) is distinct, uniform and stable in those characters, and (c) when propagated by appropriate means, retains those characters." - Cultivated Plant Code. Art. 2.2 Brickell 2009, p. 6

According to Hortax (Cultivated Plant Taxonomy Group), the cultivar name should be enclosed in single quotation marks with the first letter of each word capitalized. Unlike the scientific botanical name, the cultivar name is never written in italics. Thus, the correct horticultural name is Neofinetia falcata 'Tamakongo'. If a group of cultivars exists, the words in the group name have the first letter capitalized and the group name is placed in parentheses if used together with the cultivar's name. Neofinetia falcata 'Tamakongo' belongs to Mameba or Bean-leaf group, therefore its full horticultural name would be:

Neofinetia falcata (Mameba Group) 'Tamakongo'
or
Neofinetia falcata (Bean-leaf Group) 'Tamakongo'

Although, a simplified name like Neofinetia falcata 'Tamakongo' is acceptable and it could be optional to include the group's name.

There is one more necessary requirement in naming Neofinetia falcata cultivars. As for all Neofinetia of Japanese origin, their cultivar names are written in romaji for non-Japanese speakers, for example 'Tamakongo'. Romaji is a method of writing Japanese words from the Roman alphabet. There are several romaji systems in use, resulting in different romanization styles. Therefore, if the cultivar name is written in romaji, it is important that it is followed by the same name written in kanji characters. The same should apply to Korean and Chinese names. Thus, the final example and the most accepted way of writing the FUUKIRAN name in English based on Western botanical and horticultural point of view is:
Neofinetia falcata 'Tamakongo' 玉金剛 
or
Vanda falcata 'Tamakongo' 玉金剛 (for those who accept the change)

I encourage the use of the term cultivar instead of variety or form, to identify the many "faces" of Neofinetia falcata.

Any comments are welcome!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'HISUI' 翡翠

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 5-6 in (13-15 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*

'Hisui' 翡翠 literally means "Jade" in reference to the color of its flowers. Green is a rare color among FUUKIRAN, which made this form extremely popular since its discovery in 1980's on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. 'Hisui' is primarily regarded as a flower form, although its elegant, lightly arching leaves make a nice display in off blooming time.


Neofinetia falcata 'Hisui' 翡翠 displayed in a Japanese pot by famous Heian Kouzan


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The characteristics are of the plants that I own

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'KUROSHINJU' 黒真珠

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 1-1.5 in (2.5-4 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*

'Kuroshinju' 黒真珠 or "Black Pearl" is the name of this one of the smallest of FUUKIRAN discovered in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. With its short succulent leaves it belongs to a mameba or bean-leaf group. Although, it might be among one of the most amusing FUUKIRAN for its size and shape, 'Kuroshinju' produces showy flowers, that are smaller than normal, fleshy and upright oriented, a miniature all around!


Neofinetia falcata 'Kuroshinju' 黒真珠 displayed in a vintage Japanese pot by Katoaka Akiji, founder of Yamaaki kiln


Neofinetia falcata 'Kuroshinju' 黒真珠 size demonstration

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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Monday, October 19, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'YAMATO NISHIKI' 大和錦

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 4-5 in (10-13 cm); jiku - green; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - multi color*

'Yamato Nishiki' 大和錦 could be literary translated as "Japanese Brocade". Although, the word nishiki is used in Japanese names given to variegated plant cultivars and forms and points to their multicolored variegated leaves. It is also used in koi and goldfish names to reflect their calico coloration. 'Yamato Nishiki' form was selected fairly recently out of the seedlings of Neofinetia falcata 'Fugaku' 富嶽. It differs by being more stout and compact, producing a beautiful display of arching wide leaves. It is variegated with random streaks, known as chirufu. The streaks are yellow and lime green and the variegation is uneven and subtle with many shades of green and yellow.

It is as much flower form as it is leaf. Fragrant flowers are white with curved upward spurs and arranged in compact inflorescence. Together with the tightly arranged foliage this FUUKIRAN looks remarkably attractive in bloom. As a bonus, the flowers are more succulent and stay in bloom 1-2 weeks longer than other FUUKIRAN.


Neofinetia falcata 'Yamato Nishiki' 大和錦 displayed in an antique Uematsu Tosui pot **

Young leaf variegation of Neofinetia falcata 'Yamato Nishiki' 大和錦

Matured leaves variegation of Neofinetia falcata 'Yamato Nishiki' 大和錦


** This pot was designed by the founder of the famous Tosui kiln - Uematsy Chotaro (1899-1959) and made 60-70 years ago by Mizuno Masao (1904-1975). Tosui kiln of the Seto region in Aichi Prefecture, Japan is still producing pottery today. 


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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Saturday, October 17, 2015

INTRODUCTIONS ● NEOFINETIA FALCATA 'KINKOUSEI' 金光星

CHARACTERISTICS: leaf span - 4-5 in (10-13 cm); jiku - brown; tsuke - crescent moon; ne - brown*


Neofinetia falcata 'Kinkousei' 金光星 displayed in a vintage pot from Syungado kiln 春雅堂
 with dragon carving.


'Kinkousei' 金光星 or "Golden Constellation Light" is the name of this unique FUUKIRAN. When the plant is held against the light over dark background, the star-like pattern appears on its leaves, otherwise not clearly notable, as if the orchid has watermarks. It has torafu or tiger type variegation.

'Kinkousei' stays compact and produces a beautiful display of evenly fanned and spread narrow pointy leaves. This form is quite amusing and admired for its uncommon variegated foliage and a nice display. It produces white flowers, although, I have yet to see my 'Kinkousei' blooming.


Neofinetia falcata 'Kinkousei' 金光星 with the light through the leaves.

Neofinetia falcata 'Kinkousei' 金光星 with no light through the leaves.

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The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Friday, October 16, 2015

WHY FUUKIRAN?

I travel around the world to see orchids in their natural habitats and take others on orchid tours. I tremendously enjoy photographing orchids and write on occasion for the Orchids magazine, published by the American Orchid Society, but I haven't had an urge to keep any of them at home until now.

What changed? What made me single out FUUKIRAN of all other orchids that I know and like? The answer is not in the orchid itself, but in its packaging as a whole.

Throughout the past four centuries, the Japanese have kept FUUKIRAN for amusement and elevated it to a state of art. FUUKIRAN are beloved not only for their miniature demeanor and wide variety of forms, but also for the exquisite pottery that is designed to feature them and the distinctive way of growing them on top of a hollow mound of sphagnum moss. Following my interests about everything Japanese, ranging from apprenticing in the craft of SUSHI and "getting my feet wet" in SHODOU (calligraphy) to growing BONSAI trees and raising RANCHU goldfish, I now have entered the realm of FUUKIRAN. In fact, all of my avocations do have a similarity. They are all bound by the same need for precision, control, technicality and patience, sense of harmony and aesthetics - all resulting in creations worthy of admiration. The path and time I have taken towards mastering my skills, has ultimately affected the way I look at life and choose my priorities. I am looking forward to my experiences with FUUKIRAN and opening up to yet another traditional Japanese art form.


Part of my small FUUKIRAN collection

In the articles to follow, I will introduce members of my FUUKIRAN collection one by one. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FUUKIRAN MON

As excited as I am, I wanted to recognize the beginning of my new hobby with my own emblem, or a MON (紋). I created this MON by using only circles and half circles. This allowed me to stylize FUUKIRAN with minimal lines, yet displaying most of the attributes of a prized orchid.

FUUKIRAN mon created by Alexander Vasiljev

Monday, October 12, 2015

TAXONOMY NOTES ON FUURAN. WHAT IS THE REAL NAME?

This orchid was first scientifically described as Orchis falcata by the Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg, who was the first European to study flora of Japan in 1775. Since than the species undergone many name changes. Below is a full chronological list of its botanical names:

Orchis falcata Thunb. in J.A.Murray, Syst. Veg. ed. 14: 811 (1784).
Limodorum falcatum (Thunb.) Thunb., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 2: 326 (1794)
Angraecum falcatum (Thunb.) Lindl., Coll. Bot.: t. 15 (1821)
Oeceoclades falcata (Thunb.) Lindl., Gen. Sp. Orchid. Pl.: 237 (1833)
Vanda falcata (Thunb.) Beer, Prakt. Stud. Orchid.: 317 (1854)
Aerides thunbergii Miq., Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugduno-Batavi 2: 205 (1866)
Oeceoclades lindleyi Regel, Gartenflora 15: 70 (1866)
Vanda pygmaea H.Laurentius, Nursery Cat. (H.Laurentius) 40: 20 (1868), nom. superfl
Angorchis falcata (Thunb.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 651 (1891)
Angraecopsis falcata (Thunb.) Schltr., Orchideen Beschreib. Kult. Zücht.: 601 (1914)
Finetia falcata (Thunb.) Schltr., Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 36(2): 140 (1918).
Neofinetia falcata (Thunb.) Hu, Rhodora 27: 107 (1925).
Nipponorchis falcata (Thunb.) Masam., Mem. Fac. Sci. Taihoku Imp. Univ. 11(4): 592 (1934).
Holcoglossum falcatum (Thunb.) Garay & H.R.Sweet, Bot. Mus. Leafl. 23: 182 (1972).

Important to note here, that in 1925 the orchid was classified as Neofinettia falcata by the Chinese botanist Hu Xiansu, with the name that became widely used and still is. In addition to Neofinetia falcata there were two more species included to form a small genus - Neof. richardsiana and Neof. xichangensis.

In 2012, after published in Phytotaxa new combinations for the genus Vanda by the British botanist L.M. Gardiner, this species officially became Vanda falcata, as it was proposed by the Austrian botanist J.G.Beer in 1854.

Despite the reasoning, non-botanists and non-taxonomists alike are reluctant to keep up with such often changing nomenclature. Thus Vanda falcata will still be more often than not called Neofinetia falcata among hobbyists and growers.

In my opinion, there is no right or wrong to call it either way considering that "nothing is written in stone" in taxonomy and nomenclature of orchids. For those of us botanically savvy Vanda will be the choice. For those of us more possessive of a good old name, Neofinetia will remain. And better yet, for those of us appreciators of this charming orchid, it will always be called FUURAN and FUUKIRAN, in respect to Japanese aficionados, who elevated this orchid to the state of art.

I will be using Japanese names - FUURAN, the name for the species and FUUKIRAN, the name for its selected cultivars. Also, despite being a botanist, I will keep using the name Neofinetia falcata for the time being.


Friday, October 9, 2015

NOT A BEGINNER, BUT A NOVICE

Orchids have been a passion of mine since the age of eight, yes eight! I became fascinated with nature early in my life and orchids amazed me with their unmatched diversity and adaptability. This interest deepened and prompted me to study biology at the Kiev State University, Ukraine, where I graduated with a degree in botanical science. I soon accepted a position at the botanical garden and ended up curating the orchid collection and cultivating hundreds of orchid species. My amazing career spanned for over twenty years. In the end, after eight years of curating the Display House and assisting with the Orchid Identification Center at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota, Florida, I decided to change my course and pursue photography.

Throughout and after my orchid career, I have been reluctant to grow orchids at home. Not expecting this to change, one day, I was reminded of Neofinetia falcata * with its mind boggling selection of cultivars. More so, for me being a Japonophile, Neofinetia falcata or FUURAN 風蘭 is not just an orchid to grow and bloom. FUURAN with its cultivars, known in Japan as FUUKIRAN 富貴蘭 has deep connection with Japanese esthetics. Much like with my other avocation of keeping and breeding RANCHU, a Japaneese veriety of goldfish (visit my High Ranchu Blog), FUUKIRAN requires patience and discipline, being a great subject of appreciation, both in and out of bloom.

Not new to orchids, but new to this 400-year-old FUUKIRAN tradition, I am looking forward to keeping this blog, sharing and promoting my fascination with this orchid. I also plan to cultivate and write about other traditional Japanese orchids like SHUNRAN - Cymbidium goeringii, CHOSEIRAN - Dendrobium moniliforme and NAGORAN - Sedirea japonica **.

Welcome to my High Fuukiran Blog!

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Neofinetia falcata has been recently placed into Vanda orchid genus, thus it's current proposed scientific name is Vanda falcata.
** Sedirea japonica has been recently placed into Phalaenopsis orchid genus, thus it's current proposed scientific name is Phalaenopsis japonica