"you had to be there" leaves

greentoe357May 28, 2014

Some species' leaves don't photograph well - maybe they feel funky to the touch, or maybe they come in tones even expensive cameras can't reproduce, or they have the sharpest edge, or an unusual succulence, or a crinkly edge, or raised veins, or a recurved edge not typically visible in 2D, or... or...

Sometimes googling images just isn't enough to get a feel is what I'm saying. Let's talk about what surprised you in some hoya species' leaves when you got them or saw them in person.

I'll start.

H. litoralis: the leaves look like nothing special at all, but the undersides feel like the gentlest nail file ever. There's a rough velvet sort of feel to them. I am very glad I got it.

H. DS-70: the tops of leaves is what you normally see in foliage pictures, and yes, they are alright - but the edges are recurved and the undersides covered with very short very dense hairs - they feel like velvet. I think this one is due the props it deserves but surprisingly rarely gets, despite its seeming ubiquity.

H. curtisii: another one that is relatively wide in circulation. The splotches and the adorable leaf shape and the copper coloration in high light and the cute growing habit - all of that is google'able - but have you noticed that mature leaves feel like buttons on an expensive men's dress shirt? The proportions feel right for it (leaves are thick and rounded, except for the apex of course), and the nice tactile feel is present as well. I've actually noticed this just now as I was going around my trays feeling all the leaves for this thread - despite growing it since last fall. :-) By the way, do not feel that leaf too enthusiastically - petioles are very crunchy and feel like they will snap right off.

H. macgillivrayii / onychoides / archboldiana: this was mentioned by GG and Denise previously. Goth-looking leaves, apparently, that do not photograph well. My cutting of macgillivrayi is new and recovering, so I personally cannot be the judge of that till new leaves grow.

Some species are on my list partially because I suspect they belong to this list and I want to look at them up close and personally. Does this make sense? Here:

* caudata (hairy top surface, jagged-knife-looking edge),
* sp. DML 5655B IML 1398 EPC 653 (surface looks like it would feel sandpapery),
* erythrina (wavy edge with raised veins - that must feel even better than it looks),
* clemensiorum (it looks like a veiny bodybuilder, but you know, infinitely nicer),
* sp. UT-001 EPC 201 ("I am here to sand your floors" kind of leaves),
* villosa/globulosa (they are somewhat similar, I understand - very dinosaur-looking),
* endauensis (looks similar to but better than kanyakumariana, not as raggedy - those crinkled leaf edges seem touchable and adorable),
* thomsonii (very hairy leaves),
* miralbilis (I don't even know with this one - it looks hairy, or gritty, or pox-faced, or something like that),
* campanulata (what's up with those wavy bubbly leaves?)

And I think I'll stop. What do you have along these lines that you can share with us? Let's keep flowers out of this conversation - they deserve a thread of their own.

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You have a pretty nice collection of leaves and I will add a few of my own that don't often get talked about. First if it were up to me, I would ask to take one off your list, as I have grown campanulata for three years now and while it is a great plant, it has only mediocre leaves in my eyes.

Hoya cv. Noelle when mature has leaves as big as my hand with outstanding color and veination with lots of cool red splotches when grown in good light.

Hoya vitellinoides has very large leaves with fantastic dark veination on a light background.

Hoya latifolia just for the dinner plate sized leaves, which get tinged with red on the edges in good light.

Hoya callistophylla does get mentioned a lot, and for good reason. It has some of the hardest leaves with best veination of any Hoya I've seen.

There are many more, but those come quickly to mind

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 3:59PM
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GT, you'll like clemensiorum - the very defined veins are gorgeous and the leaves feel tough as nails. I just got a cutting this spring from Carol and it came with a budding peduncle. Of course, I had to remove the buds (dang!) to improve the rootability, but I'm hopeful that it might rebud before the end of the summer...

Another one that surprised me was patella. Looks a little ordinary in photos, but the leaves are very interesting, kind of fuzzy in a course way (kind of like the difference between shag carpet and berber carpet on your feet!)... And it seems to get a "kiss" of color in the sun...

And I have to mention fungii, whose leaves are always attractive, but every year, mine will put on a few leaves that are extra large and absolutely outstanding...

I really loved it when my variegated verticillata got a whole group of all white leaves...

I've since lost that vine, which isn't unusual, but I sure enjoyed it while I had it!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:29AM
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like them all but especially like patella

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:51AM
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I've been meaning to respond to this thread since you posted it, GT. I looove the topic, and am just having a hard time finding time to organize my many many MANY thoughts on it.

So I figured I'd just take my collection section by section and pull the plants that I feel fit in this category. Here is today's installment.

Hoya australis ssp. australis

This won't be my only australis entry, in fact it's not even my favorite australis, but let's face it, australis is one beautiful Hoya. You know how psychologists proved that we are attracted to faces that are symmetrical and prefer composite images (that average out features) to real faces? To me, australis is like that composite face. Round and full like the moon, perfectly proportioned, with a pure matte spring green color. Then australis ssp. australis has that peachy down all over it, like it's been gift-wrapped for a baby.

Hoya sp. Lata Iskandar (Aleya)

A lot of Hoyas fall into the "you had to be there" category because they have leaves that seem to be made out of special materials. These leaves are firm, thin, round and cupped, but unremarkable except that they have that same faint silky iridescent sheen as cagayanensis. And it's easier to see on this plant because the leaves are broader and catch more light.

Hoya sp. Kunming Kina

Hello, Kunming Kina. A lot of Hoya people like this plant and it's because it's very tolerant and the leaves are atypical for the genus. Classic "rare-plant-that-you-can-trust-a-beginner-with." You can't really tell from photos, but the leaves are thick and plump, like someone inflated them a little bit too much, and their veins dig into their flesh like the scoring on an unbaked loaf of bread. They don't drip or spring from the vine - they just hang stiffly, the way little girls hold their arms away from their bodies when you put a fancy dress on them. It's hard to describe but this is one of those plants where the vine and pedicels are very appealing - smooth and thick like plastic cables - the same is true of meliflua, but, of course, Kunming Kina is a discreet mannerly size.

Hoya fungii seedling

This is a bit of a departure because you can't see the leaves very well in this photograph and it's not a plant you could just pick up at your local Hoya vendor. This is one of the seedlings from Sue's fungii, maybe crossed with something else. I got it on a trade from a lovely GW member, who grew it, and as you can see the leaves are so heavily splashed they are 75% silver, and of course they have that amazing fuzzy fungii backing to them. I just really like this plant.

Hoya dasyantha

Ah, perfect. Now we have a perfect example of GT's criteria. The unphotographable leaf. Dasyantha has such interesting leaves, because they are this inky dark green, but they aren't that thick, so the light shines through them beautifully, creating this subterranean effect like light sluicing through the dark waters of a pond in deepest shade. It has very beautiful ornamental veins that make it look like a gothic window if you catch it right.

Hoya oreogena (IML 1214)

NOTE: I purchased this plant as graveolens - please note the IML#, and see the explanation of the naming issue here.

Ah-HA! Another good criteria-meeter. You can barely see the leaves, and I took this photo at the same time and location as the others. It's because these leaves have this silky matte look, like washed silk, and dark green color like something you'd see at the bottom of a well. As black as they are green. I don't even know how to describe what makes them appealing. They're hard and uneven with crisp curling edges, and they're just interesting somehow, like that girl on the subway with the not-pretty-face you couldn't stop staring at. I've always liked this plant from the day I got it.

Hoya balansae

Actually, this is the plant that oreogena most reminds me of. They have leaves of the same shape and size, except balansae's are kelly green with thick lichen-y camouflage. I just really like the way the surface of the leaves have this rough granular look to them, from the heavy speckling, but when you touch them they are smooth and hard, like stones rolled paper thin, then shaped into leaves.

Hoya parviflora

I don't know whether other people see this plant the same way I do, but I just love to look at it. It's like lacunosa's edgy big sister, with spiky plum-colored hair and long sharp nails. I just love all these plants with small long dark dagger leaves. They look so ornamental and so mean. It's awesome.

Hoya aff. thomsonii (EPC 215)

"And now for something completely different…"
This is probably the single most eye-catching plant in my collection. I'm not saying it should be, but it is. Even if you bury it in the middle of a flat, it catches your eye every time you walk past, almost like it moved. Which is fitting, because it looks like something that would move on its own.

Hoya pandurata

I bought this plant 100% because I'm a string musician and this is the Hoya named after string instruments. But I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought. Its leaves mayyyybe look like some kind of a lute, but their appeal is in that flat grey-green color, like dry lizard skin or a piece of sea glass. It grows kind of inconveniently, like lobbii, on long arcing stems, but since it's so little that just makes it adorable, as it's always sticking it's arms out and away from the group, showing off its pretties.

Hoya sp. Queson

If you asked me what one plant out of this group you should buy, I would hem and haw and never give you a clear answer. But if you quick held me out in front of an oncoming subway and wouldn't let go until I gave you an answer, I'd immediately shout "Queson queson queson" because in my gut, I feel this is the most deeply enjoyable Hoya there is. It grows FAST, like a weed. But it's pretty, like a model. Really pretty. It's like velvet wrapped around elegance. You expect even the leaves to smell like perfume.

Hoya teletifolia (EPC 232)

Look how pretty this is! It's like retusa's big sister! (And then acicularis is teletifolia's big sister!) The reason these plants are so likeable is that they are way out of proportion, like a daddy-long-legs or a praying mantis. They just end up looking like a jumble of bones or a sea creature. A photo can't capture the way every time you pass them, your hands twitch, wanting to gather all those long leaves up in a neat pile, rap them against the table to even it out, and put them back in place, organized.

Hoya surigaoensis

Cheater! Cheater! A photo can capture how awesome those leaves are!
Yeah, I know. So sue me.

Hoya aff. scortechinii (SRQ 3019)

Ah, now here's a good candidate for sure. I will collect anything with the name scortechinii on it, ever since getting my hands on this little baby. But this is the best one. This is the real deal. The others are not the same, even the real scortechinii that I bought from CB, which is also cool, and will be on this list later. So what is so great about this plant? You can't see it at all from the picture, can you! No, you can't. Well, the leaves are nice. They are thin and crisp, like those expensive mints you get at symphony fundraisers that snap in half with a little snick. They are a cool mint green color, too, with hard sharp edges and a jagged claw tip and a hollow curving belly. But really what makes this plant beautiful is how they grow tightly together, like the huge scales of ornamental plate mail. This, I think, is what LOTR elves must model their armor off of.

Hoya sp. Bogor, Hoya acuta (IML 0079), Hoya pallida

Maybe acuta doesn't look too fancy, but everyone should have one. The leaves are so simple and perfect and elegant, like a raindrop. Even when they are massed together, they look fantastic. This is the no-bad-hair-day plant. The J. Crew model of Hoyas. The one that is so classic you forget to put it on lists, but really, it's what every plant wants to look like. The golden mean. I actually think the leaves on sp. Bogor are a little prettier - longer and darker, so the flecking stands out more, but the internodes are spaced further apart, so it's a toss up.

Hoya aff. acuta (EPC 759)

Speaking of acuta, here is my new love, aff. acuta. Jack calls these leaves "" and even in my conditions you can see an inky spray shimmering over the backs of the leaves. But what really makes these leaves beautiful is the fact they are long smooth spear tips that put all the neighboring leaves to shame with their tame round shapes. This plant is not the warm fuzzy part of the jungle, waiting to be churned up into medicine to cure cancer. Nope, it wants to be on the tip of a poison dart. It's hawkish.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 12:16PM
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GG, I have to tell you that your leaf photos are awesome! Taking good photos of blooms is easy, but I think getting good photos of leaves is far more difficult. Thank you for setting the bar so high!


    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:39PM
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Anyone can photograph a flower, but not everyone can grow them….

Thanks! I'm working on the leaf-photography-skill with mixed success. It's not until you're behind a camera that you realize how our eyes bounce around from spot to spot, taking something in. When you are forced to lock into a single perspective, you have to choose what is the most important detail to show others. You can never have it all with a camera. But that, too, is a blessing, because sometimes our brains don't appreciate what they are seeing until a camera slows it down for them.

Anyway, I'm just a beginner photographer, so it gives me something to sharpen my teeth on.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:02AM
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> I looove the topic, and am just having a hard time finding time to organize my many many MANY thoughts on it.

Haha, I know GG, me too, I just stopped procrastinating with my reply today finally.

> First if it were up to me, I would ask to take one off your list, as I have grown campanulata for three years now and while it is a great plant, it has only mediocre leaves in my eyes.

I just checked googled images once again - and yep, they still look interesting to me with those wavy edges and bubbly inter-veinal spaces. Your own photo, Doug, seems to show it well: http://vermonthoyascom.fatcow.com/2012/03/16/one-more-hoya-campanulata-photograph/. Perhaps it's the antithesis of this thread - one that photographs way better than it really is. :-)

> Hoya vitellinoides has very large leaves with fantastic dark veination on a light background.

Oh yeah - it was in my last shipment. Looks great! Although it does advertise itself very well in pictures, I think. In addition to it being pretty, it apparently also grows slowly (an advantage for a big-leaf species in limited space) AND it doesn't need lots of light to achieve that veiny look (again a big plus indoors).

> GT, you'll like clemensiorum [...] I just got a cutting this spring from Carol

Unfortunately, Carol was down to woody growth on this one, so she could not cut for me. That's fine, something to look forward to in the next order.

> I just got a cutting this spring from Carol and it came with a budding peduncle. Of course, I had to remove the buds (dang!) to improve the rootability.

I had a similar dilemma (to cut buds or not) when a bunch of cuttings had them. I decided not to. Most of the buds quickly faded and dropped off, which tells me probably not too much energy reserve was spent on those buds - but one single bud on one peduncle on one of the cuttings did hang on, grow and flower for me just 9 days after potting the cutting. It was pretty cool, so I personally would not cut buds again - generally. I guess exceptions would be particularly weak-looking cuttings, combined with uninteresting flowers or a difficult to get species. There is a thread about that experience of mine on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=865947530085266.

> Another one that surprised me was patella.

Yeah, combined with those campanulate flowers, it's definitely an interesting plant.

> Hoya sp. Kunming Kina

GG, Carol offered to give me this one in my shipment. I googled the images and politely refused. She gently but enthusiastically insisted. I googled some more but refused again. She never mentioned it since, so I guess I won that argument, hehe - except now I think I might have lost. :-/

> Hoya dasyantha - Ah, perfect. Now we have a perfect example of GT's criteria. The unphotographable leaf.

OMG, tell me about it! A gorgeous new leaf was growing a few weeks ago, so of course I grabbed the camera (aka the phone). Two camera applications, many settings, zooming and unzooming, lots of turning / lifting / holding / tilting / leaning (both the pot and my own body) later - and the best I could come up with was this:

It just seems like the leaf is out of focus - except it isn't because the water bubbles on it look sharp. The camera just does not want to capture all the depth of the color green here, as well as literally the depth of the leaf, which seems clearly visible live. It's as if you can see half-way, quarter-way, three quarters way into the thickness of the leaf in different spots on it. The camera shows none of it! Frustrating!

Here are some old leaves, by the way. Those do photograph a little better, I think.

A local orchid society recently offered a talk on how to photograph orchids. I could not come, unfortunately, but it might have been interesting, I think. A better camera will also help, of course, although I've decided I am sticking with a smart phone for now - those built-in cameras have gotten very good and they are getting better still.

Anyway, moving on down the list...

Looking at Hoya oreogena here and in googled images (and not seeing anything exciting, except for GG's description) gave me the idea of having a separate section of my wish list, so that perhaps I could try getting a few of the species in this thread when they pop up somewhere, just to see WTH the big deal is.

Thanks, everyone, great pics! (well, as great as they can be in this thread!) Denise, I love how sunshine seems to play hide-and-seek behind the leaves being photographed in some of your pics. GG, looking forward to your going down the list of the other trays! You are amazing!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:29AM
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So, I must have taken advice in this thread seriously because I got about a dozen of the species mentioned here.

Hoya caudata IML 0372:

Got it almost 2 months ago, but so far it has not started growing above ground. I am not complaining - I find this is often the case with these sun-bathed weathered woody cuttings - they take a while to adjust to my indoor environment. I also got a Hoya flagellata, its relative with smaller leaves, and it's also doing nothing.

Hoya erythrina ‘Bajo’ SRQ 3036:

I was surprised how hefty those leaves felt in my hands. It's amazing that this thing can even grow, as in "leave the ground level", with leaves as heavy as those on a vine as flexible as that.

Hoya villosa IML 1663:

and Hoya globulosa:

Some people swear this is the same plant, and others see a lot of differences. Where I got it from, these are two different ones. Globulosa's attractiveness can stand just fine on its own, with very cool venation and touchable fuzziness to the leaves, but not when compared to villosa, which has those things and more - like those crinkly leaf edges, bubbly interveinal spaces and larger leaves. I got both - because I wanted to see them both but also to avoid later getting the same plant I already grow, mis-ID'ed.

Hoya kanyakumariana:

In my wish list, I had both this one and H. endauensis, with the latter one preferred. It just seemed tidier, neater, more orderly than kanyakumariana, which appears raggedy, rambly and sunburnt to me in majority of googled pictures. Well, it was H. kanyakumariana that found me first, and I have to say, it was one of the biggest positive surprises: it's just absolutely, irrefutably, "9-to-0" most adorable flirty little thing you'll ever know! A good example of one that does not photograph nearly as well as it looks and feels in real life.

Hoya thomsonii IML 1177:

This one does photograph well generally, I think (not here though - macro pics with a better camera look way better), and so it was no surprise how lovable it is. A very slow grower, people say, so I am bracing for watering a "silk plant" for a couple of years till it decides to grow. :-/

Hoya vitellinoides / Hoya meredithii (depends who you ask):

Here, words are barely necessary and a picture is worth way more, I think. Even if it just sits there for 2 months (which it has, by the way), that single leaf is the antithesis of an eye sore.

Then there's the verticillata group. I got three of those.

Hoya amoena IML 1038:

I got 2 very generous cuttings of this one. Love the trinerved leaves and the very sparse non-intrusive speckling. It's a variegated plant for people who do not like variegation. The leaves look like they may feel very rigid (here again those pesky misleading photographs), but they are actually rather bendy.

Hoya sp. Bogor:

Fresh off the presses: this may actually be the species just published as "Hoya amoena subsp. bogorensis" (see p. 14 of http://rare-hoyas.com/hoya_2-4.pdf). Whatever it is, I love the raised "Treasure Map" venation, the rigidity of the leaf and that sheen - there's something about the sheen... The photo exaggerates it, but it's definitely there. Or maybe it's the temporary effect of my soap bath - I'll have to wait and see...

The last of the three verticillata types is Hoya acuta pink:

This variety was collected by Carol in Sabah, Malaysia. The white/lime/yellow backs of leaves are interesting on this one. Forgive the slight leaf dehydration here - it was taken on the day the cuttings were received.

Hoya sp. Kunming Kina:

When Carol and GG both tell you to get it, you go ahead and get it - no matter how few WOWs google image search results generate! The plumpness of leaves, the habits of leaf margins to reflex onto themselves and of leaves to form these bunches on the stems are interesting. People say this one should get many extra points for how easily it grows and flowers - we'll see.

And the last one I am going to mention here is Hoya aff. scortechinii SRQ 3019:

GG, my leaves seem much thicker and flatter than yours, with no "hollow curving belly". But I like that they are arranged so orderly, like shelves of a multi-level "Lazy Susan", perfectly parallel to one another, even as they point in random different directions.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 4:42AM
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I LOVE this thread---a definite keeper.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:59AM
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I just received a cutting of rotundiflora, and pictures don't do those cute little fuzzy square leaves justice at all!

cv. 'Noelle' has beautiful, thick leaves. It does photgraph quite well, but the leaves don't appear as thick as they really are!

I really do like the leaves of my multiflora (or javanica, hasn't bloomed yet, so I cannot say for sure which one it is). Generic looking, yet exquisite!

Without flash:

And finally, there is my hoya sp. IR-26 EPC 495, some of the leaves are tinged a beautiful red, others have a bronze hue, and still, others are speckled! And photos fail to capture the differences!
With flash:

Without flash:

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 11:15PM
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Jan Sword

Nice photos of the beautiful leaves!
Hoya sp Black leaves...This one gets pink splotches with sun exposure.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Jan Sword

This is another cloan of Hoya sp Black leaves, This one gets dark margins. I love them both of course!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2014 at 12:13PM
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