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  #1  
Old 01-20-2019, 12:19 AM
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Hakumin Hakumin is offline
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While an article about Neos on a non-orchid website would have been welcome... Male
Default While an article about Neos on a non-orchid website would have been welcome...

While an article about Neos on a non-orchid website would have been welcome, unfortunately, this recent article is quite possibly one of the worst researched pieces I have ever seen regarding any orchid.

The Art of Protecting Japan's 'Perfect Orchid' - Atlas Obscura

The article is absolutely loaded with factual inaccuracies unfortunately, and I think it's necessary to bust many of the myths and falsehoods about Neos that this article chooses to perpetuate:

Firstly, the accepted taxonomic identification for the species is now Vanda falcata. Yes, while many dedicated Neo growers, like myself insist on referring to the species as Neofinetia, we have long accepted that the official taxonomic classification now is Vanda falcata. An article like this should at least acknowledge this even if they chose to use an older classification.

"Once a favorite of the ruling class, this flower is now endangered." - While historically cultivated by wealthy citizens, there is no documented evidence that they were favored specifically by the ruling class.

"[Orchids] exist as limited-edition masterpieces, whose beauty is largely inaccessible due to their cost." - While admittedly "expensive" is a relative term, the vast majority of orchids are not inaccessibly expensive to the general population.

"One orchid species, the Neofinetia falcata, has a particularly distinguished history as the first orchid to be grown as a houseplant in Japan, marking the birth of a new art form." - Firstly, the species was not kept as houseplants indoors, but rather kept potted outdoors in the garden. Also this species was by no means the first orchid to be grown in pots in Japan. Chinese cymbidiums far predate this species in that respect, as well as a number of other wild orchids native to Japan.

"In the 17th century, Japan’s Edo period, Shogun Tokugawa Ienari became smitten with the Neofinetia falcata." - Basic fact checking would have been useful here. Ienari lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Beyond that, while there is evidence that the cultivation of this species reached a high point during the reign of Ienari, there is no recorded evidence that Ienari himself favored this species.

"This delicate orchid, endemic to the high mountains of Japan, was celebrated for its strong fragrance, activated at dusk." - This species is not endemic or even native to high mountains. Wild ones typically grow at lower elevations.

"Ienari was the eleventh and longest-serving shogun (or military dictator) of Japan, so his obsession quickly became a marker of cultural cachet." - Again, there is no recorded evidence that Ienari himself favored this species.

"As a result, the wild furan became the upscale 'fuukiran' meaning 'orchid of wealth and nobility.'" - Only named cultivated varieties were given this monkier, not wild ones.

"For a time, samurai were the only people permitted to grow the Neofinetia falcata (which spurred the nickname “samurai orchid”)." - While it’s a commonly reiterated statement, there is no documented evidence of this. The selected varieties were valuable and too expensive for most commoners to own, but there was no record of prohibition against commoners growing the species.

"Feudal lords seeking to impress the shogun would gift him the powerful plant and usually get their own estate in return." - There is no recorded evidence of this.

"In the homes of the ruling class, these orchids were displayed behind protective nets of gold thread and visitors had to cover their mouths with calligraphy paper to shield the flowers from their germs." - Again, the wealthy owners of this species were not necessarily the ruling class. They also had no concept of germs in that period of Japan.

"The scalloped, variegated edges of orchids post-bloom illustrate their differences, yet the process of growing them is meticulously standardized." - Neofinetia leaves are not scalloped. There is no strict standardization in the cultivation of the species.

"In Japan, the warm, wet monsoon season during June and July encourages the bulbs to bloom, and is promptly followed by a cool and icy winter when the orchids lie dormant." - This species does not have bulbs or pseudobulbs. Areas where Neos are native generally do not have particularly icy winters. In the coldest areas that this species is native to, temperatures bottom out at about -5C, and that only for short periods of time.

"Registering and ranking fuukiran is handled by the official Japanese Fuukiran Society and permission to grow this exclusive orchid is by invitation only." - There is absolutely no invitation required by anyone to grow these plants.

"Considered the 'perfect orchid' thanks to its history as a Japanese shogun’s prized plant, these flowers occupy homes as living botanical paintings." - Again, no shogun is recorded to have specifically favored this species. Flowers are not the primary reason Neos are grown.
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Last edited by Hakumin; 01-20-2019 at 12:38 AM..
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2019, 11:34 AM
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I came across this article shortly after it was published, and while I know far less than you, I still knew enough to detect copious amounts of BS. Thank you for the long explanation of everything wrong in that article!

Have you tried contacting the website in question and sending them what you wrote? Even if they never reply, at least you'll have tried to get their attention.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camille1585 View Post
Have you tried contacting the website in question and sending them what you wrote? Even if they never reply, at least you'll have tried to get their attention.
I did, but seeing some of the other poor quality articles here and there on the website, I doubt they'll do anything about it. Clickbait articles probably make them more money than good quality ones.
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Last edited by Hakumin; 01-20-2019 at 07:10 PM..
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:09 PM
plantzzzzz plantzzzzz is offline
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While an article about Neos on a non-orchid website would have been welcome...
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Not only is it wrong.. it also strikes me as kind of racist. They are trying really hard to push the eastern exoticism angle.
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