Friday, February 20, 2009

Cym. Mimi 'Mary Bea', AM/AOS, B/CSA

Mimi (pumilum x Doris Aurea) is in full bloom now. It is a robust plant yielding multiple flower spikes; whereas, I'm still struggling to get the proper culture conditions so that Cym. pumilum (syn. floribundum) will flower for me.

According to RHS, 65 registered grexes have Mimi as the pod parent, and 5 as the pollen parent. I don't know the ploidy of this clone, and it appears that some Mimi clones can breed as if tetraploid. When visiting a colleague's greenhouse earlier this week, I was shown another Mimi clone which was half the size of 'Mary Bea', flowers and all, which made me think that his clone may be the diploid form. Regardless, given the intense raspberry jam colors, I can see why many have used this grex for additional breeding.

However, a curious thing happened during flower development. While most inflorescences yielded normal-looking flowers, one spike gave rise to flowers in which the posterior (lower) half of the lateral sepals partially transformed into the lip! Not all flowers on this spike show the transformation, and the degree of transformation varies between flowers.

Note the transformation to callus ridge.

From my previous profession as a research scientist, such homeotic transformations (the transformation of one body part into another body part) immediately indicate to me that the interactions between at least two transcription factors that specify the different flower parts are impaired. However, I studied animals, not plants, so I need to browse the plant literature. I expect the plant developmental biologists already have a working model to explain this phenomenon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February NCOS Member's Show Table

Our speaker for today's club meeting was Terry Root of The Orchid Zone, who presented examples of some of his latest breeding trends.

The member show table was robust, with 66 entries, examples of which are shown below.

Bllra. Smile Eri, exhibited by Eric Butler
Apparently, when the flowers open, the petals and sepals are white. As the flowers age, the petals and sepals green up with the purple picotee, and ultimately become entirely purple. We're hoping to see the same flowers next month.

(Cyc. pentadactylon x Morm. sirrata), exhibited by Eric Butler

Cymbidium Via Lady Carisona 'Chateau Burgundy', exhibited by Michael Tran

Gongora truncata var. white, exhibited by Gene Schurg

Holocoglossum subulifolium, exhibited by Gene Schurg

Lc. Gold Digger 'Orchidglade', exhibited by Gene Schurg

Opsistylus Suree 'See's Ace', AM/AOS, one clone exhibited by Bonnie Cobos, another clone exhibited by Gene Schurg
The the camera flash prohibited capturing the wonderful color intensity. Bad Kevin.

Phal. Stuartiana 'Sogo', AM/AOS, exhibited by Gene Schurg

(Pot. Afternoon Delight x C. aurantiaca), exhibited by Eric Butler

Slc. Anzac, four flowers on one inflorescence, vibrant color, exhibited by Marc Levenson

The 2009 Paphiopedilum Forum

The 29th Annual Paph. Forum took place yesterday at the National Arboretum, and was very well attended. Participants outside of the Virginia and Maryland region included those who travelled from New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California. Guest speakers included Terry Root, Alfredo Manrique, Bryan Ramsay and John Salventi. Exhibitor ribbon judging and AOS judging kept several teams busy. Marriott Orchids won a multitude of Exhibitor and AOS awards.

I have yet to try growing these genera, but may try a few in the future someday. In the meantime, the Paph. Forum is the best environment in this region to learn more about Paph. and Phrag. hybridizing trends and plant culture. It was a fun day.

Sales area

Pics from around the exhibit hall

Paph. Lippewunder 'Golden Flowers'

Category: Best Ugly Slipper

Phrag. bessiae hybrids

Paph. Kolosand

Paph. Mt. Toro

Paph. malipoense 'Double Mint'

Paph. venustum 'Emerald Sun' S/19WOC

Paph. villosum, exhibited by Kirk King

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Langleyense 'Cascades', HCC/AOS

This weekend, we're having a nice warm spell between cold systems, and Sebastian is enjoying the chance to sunbathe and sample all the smells brought along with today's wind gusts. The week's freezing rain and snow melt has filled my rainbarrels--which I use to water my orchids--so I was able to transport 30+ gallons down to the basement for storage and prevent rupture of the outdoor barrels when we get the next freeze.

I too, used the weather to photograph some orchids presently in bloom under natural sunlight rather than the camera flash indoors, one of which is Cym. Langleyense 'Cascades'.

Although I've had this plant for more than three years, this is the first time it has bloomed for me. When re-potting my Cyms last Spring, I noticed some aborted spikes because I had the pseudobulbs buried too far below the media. Bad Kevin.

I still have plenty of room to improve though. It has sent out three spikes at differing stages of maturation, each essentially 90 degrees from the other, with 20 to 27 flower/buds per spike. I'm thinking that this may be an indication that it needs more lux from the basement grow-lights. Also, if the light was more directional, then perhaps the spikes would have arranged themselves closer together as they elongate.

See also Chuckie's posts October 18 and November 1, 2008 re: lowianum and/or devonianum hybrids for comparison of these flowers with a tetraploid Langleyense and a more educated discussion of the parents.