Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015


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.


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


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

The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


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

The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


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 

The characteristics used are of the plants that I own

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


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

The characteristics used are of the plants that I own


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

The characteristics used are of the plants that I own