Sunday, August 14, 2016

Miltoniopsis Herralexandre

Miltoniopsis Herralexandre
This was one of my favorite photos from the 2016 New York Orchid Show.  The elegant flowers of Miltoniopsis Herralexandre are just beginning to open. This orchid is a 1992 cross between Miltoniopsis Alexandre Dumas and Miltoniopsis Herrenhausen.  Following a tradition seen in many older hybrids, the name of the resulting orchid is a combination of the names of its two parents.


Genealogy of Miltoniopsis Herralexandre
You can see a full resolution view of the image here: https://imgur.com/gallery/ZMlZ6

The breeding scheme of this hybrid shows how just 3 different miltoniopsis species (M. vexillaria, M. roezli, and M. phalaenopsis) were interbred over and over again to create Miltoniopsis Herralexandre.  Here are the three species shown below.


Progenitors of Miltoniopsis Herralexandre
Photo credits:
Miltoniopsis roezlii, Wikimedia commons image
Miltoniopsis phalaenopsis, Wikimedia commons image




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Oncidopsis Yellow Parade 'Alpine'

Oncidopsis Yellow Parade 'Alpine'
This cheery yellow orchid is an old but still popular hybrid.  The intergenic cross between Oncidium and Miltoniopsis results in compact plants that bloom with spikes of two to five 2.5-inch flowers.  Oncidopsis Yellow Parade is a 1988 hybrid between Oncidopsis Yellow Bird and Oncidium Parade. It seems that the parents of this hybrid are no longer commonly cultivated, as I could not find images of their flowers. 

I was, however, just barely able to complete the genealogy of this orchid.  This orchid has 68 progenitors, resulting in a sprawling genealogy tree. However, in the mess that is typical of early 20th century orchid breeding, there are actually only 8 orchid species that have contributed to this cross.  On the Miltoniopsis side of the family tree, only 2 Miltoniopsis species (M. vexillaria and M. roezli) have generated 16 progenitors. 

All in all, it resulted in an intricate family tree that I encourage you guys to check it out. (the chart is much too large for the image embedded below to be legible, but it gives a scale to the breeding scheme.)
The very complicated genealogy of Oncidopsis Yellow Parade

One interesting observation revealed by Oncidium Yellow Parade's genealogy is how it is closely related to several of the other Oncidium hybrids I've profiled recently.

For example, Oncidium Brimstone Butterfly and Oncidium Golden Guinea are common progenitors for both Oncidopsis Yellow Parade and Oncostele Wildcat (which is itself a progenitor to several orchids I've written about.  The progenitors of Brimstone Butterfly and Golden Guinea account for 34 out of the total 68 orchids that went into the breeding of Oncidopsis Yellow Parade.  Essentially, Oncidopsis Yellow Parade shares about 50% of its genetics with Wildcat, Catatante and Sunkissed.

Oncidopsis Yellow Parade also contains ALL 16 of the progenitors that went into breeding Oncidium Midas.


These oncidium intergenics are closely related
There is definitely a similarity in the flower shape and general looks of Oncidopsis Yellow Parade and Oncostele Wildcat. The resemblence to Oncidium Midas is less pronounced by not completely absent.

Additionally, I have located my new record for oldest oncidium hybrid: Oncidium Wilckeanum.  This hybrid was registered in 1880!  O. Wilckeanum is a naturally occuring cross between Oncidium alexandre and Oncidium luteopurpureum.  During the late 1800's orchid enthusiasts would attempt to replicate natural hybrids by crossing the species they suspected to be parents of a given hybrid orchid.  Oncidium Wilckeanum was one of the very first hybrids to have its parentage registered and recognized (though not without continuing controversy and debate).  No one seems to grow this cross anymore, however, as I could not find any images of what this hybrid may have looked like.

Finally these are all of the 8 species that were bred together to create Oncidopsis Yellow Parade: 6 species of Oncidium and 2 Miltoniopsis.


Progenitor species for Oncidopsis Yellow Parade
Photo credits: 
Oncidium hallii by Andreas Kay (Flickr gallery)
Oncidium harryanum by Diego Rodriguez (Flickr gallery)
Miltoniopsis roezlii, by Strohero (wikimedia commons)


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Brascidostele Gilded Tower 'Mystic Maze'

Brascidostele Gilded Tower 'Mystic Maze'
This may be my favorite oncidium intergenic ever.  It is almost certainly the most photogenic I've come across.  Brascidostele Gilded Tower 'Mystic Maze' stole my attention at both the 2015 and the 2016 New York Orchid Show.
Brascidostele Gilded Tower 'Mystic Maze'
I absolutely adore these large vibrant flowers.  The blooms are 3.5 inches wide, on tall arching inflorescences. There are two other named clones of this hybrid, displaying variants on the color scheme. 'Tessa' is an overall lighter flower, with a cream lip. 'Thai Gold' has the brown spotting of the main petals extend all the way out to the tips.

Brascidostele Gilded Tower is a 2005 cross between Brassostele Summit and Brassidium Gilded Urchin.  The full genealogy, a fairly simple one, is shown below.
Genealogy of Brascidostele Gilded Tower
Four orchid species, from three different genera have gone into the creation of this hybrid: Rhynchostele bictoniensis, Brassia keiliana, Brassia arcuigera, and Oncidium wentworthianum.  Here is what they look like:
Progenitors for Brascidostele Gilded Tower
Photo Credits:
I wonder who came up with the naming for a Rhynchostele/Brassia/Oncidium intergenic-- 'Brascidostele' is such an awkward mouthful of a name.  The crossing makes such strikingly gorgeous orchids that I wish it had a prettier name to grace them with.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Oncostelopsis Sunkissed 'Buttercup'

Oncostelopsis Sunkissed 'Buttercup'
The grex name of this yellow orchid is a bit of a mouthful.  However, its genealogy is not too different from the last two orchids I wrote about on this blog.  Oncostelopsis are a cross of oncidium, rhynchostele, and miltoniopsis orchids.  This particular hybrid is the product of a 2009 cross between Oncostele Catatante and Oncidopsis Living Fire. 

Parentage of Oncostelopsis Sunkissed
Photo Credit:
Oncostele Catatante: Maria's Orchids, Oncostele Catatante
To be frankly honest, I am thoroughly underwhelmed by this hybrid.  The orchid seems to have inherited neither the prolific bounty of flowers typical of Oncostele Catatante, nor the brilliantly vivid crimson of Oncidopsis Living Fire.

Genealogy of Oncostelopsis Sunkissed
Progenitor species of Oncostelopsis Sunkissed
Photo credits:
Note: Oncostelopsis Sunkissed was referred to as Burrageara Sunkissed until the most recent reclassification of Oncidium alliance species resulted in a change of the genus name.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Oncostele Romance 'Oro Rojo'

Oncostel Romance 'Oro Rojo'
Oncostele Wildcat was parent to Oncostele Catatante, and Oncostele Catatante is the parent to this brightly colored orchid. Oncostele Romance is a 2010 cross between Oncostele Catatante and Oncidium Petite Shine.

There's a couple different cultivars of this hybrid out in the internet.  The 'Oro Rojo' I photographed has scarlet petals and a golden lip.  Meanwhile, Oncostele Romance 'Peachy' has the same orange tones as its parent Oncostele Catatante.


Oncostele Romance 'Oro Rojo'

I could not complete a genealogy for the orchid.  This hybrid's parentage has something like 200 parent plants, and the software I use to draw my genealogy trees cannot handle files of this size.  The complexity of the orchid's lineage comes from the utter mess of orchid breeding that went on in the first half of the 20th century. During this time, a relatively small number of primary hybrids were being bred among each other in every combination possible to produce a plethora of very closely related orchid crosses.  But if you follow the genealogy trees, all of these hybrids reach back to the same handful of parent species.

The result is: Oncidium Petite Shine has over a hundred progenitors.  However, it only adds 1 new oncidium species to the parentage of Oncostele Romance, that were not already represented in its other parent, Oncostele Catatante: Oncidium noezlianum.


Oncostele Romance progenitors
Photo credits:


These are the 12 species that went into making Oncostele Romance:
Oncidium noezlianum, Oncidium nobile, Oncidium alexandre, Oncidium spectatissimum, Oncidium luteopurpureum, Oncidium halii, Oncidium harryanum, Oncidium leucochilum, Oncidium fuscatum, Oncidium cariniferum, Oncidium sphacelatum, Rhynchostele uroskinneri

Monday, May 16, 2016

Oncostele Catatante

Oncostele Catatante 'Pacific Sunspots'
This fiery oncidium intergenic is named Oncostele Catatante 'Pacific Sunspots.'  The hybrid is an old favorite at the New York Orchid Show--I photographed two different clones of this cross, Catatante 'Kilauea Karma' and Catatante 'Alice' in 2013. The flowers from this orchid are bountiful and bright, demanding attention.

Oncostele Catatante 'Kilauea Karma' (Photographed in 2013)

Oncostele Catatante 'Alice' (Photographed in 2013
Oncostele Catatante is a 2002 cross between Oncostele Wildcat and Oncidium Sphacetante. Both of the parent orchids were familiar to me. I wrote a post on the complicated lineage of Oncostele Wildcat earlier this year.  Meanwhile, Oncidium Sphacetante is an older hybrid that made up a significant contribution in the lineage of Oncidium Volcano Midnight.  I would say that all of these oncidium hybrids share many similarities.

Parentage of Oncostele Catatante (Oncidium Sphacetante X Oncostele Wildcat)
Photo credit: 
Oncostele Wildcat, Maria's Orchids: The Many Faces of Oncostele Wildcat


As I wrote in the post about it, Oncostele Wildcat comes in many different colors, depending on the clone.  This makes it hard to guess which one was used in making Oncostele Catatante.  Further, the differences between Catatante 'Alice' and the other two Catatante clones suggest that different Wildcat strains were used in the makings of each.

Here is the full lineage of Oncostele Catatante:
Lineage of Oncostele Catatante
I re-drew my lineage of Oncostele Wildcat to try and get the relationships between the parent plants to be more legible.  However, there is probably no amount of rearranging that can fully untangle this mess.  It seems that when people first figured out how to cross Oncidium orchids in the end of the 19th century, hobbyists were just breeding the crosses every which way, resulting in these incestuous loops.  A great deal of hybrids from the 1940s and earlier actually descend from a relatively small pool of parent species.

The lineage contains a total of 10 Oncidium species, and 1 Rhynchostele species. Here they are in full:

Species progenitors of Oncostele Catatante
Photo credits:
Oncidium fuscatum by Eduardo A. Pacheco (Flickr gallery)
Oncidium leucochilum by Arne and Bent Larsen Orchid collection
Oncidium hallii by Andreas Kay (Flickr gallery)
Oncidium harryanum by Diego Rodriguez (Flickr gallery)
Oncidium sphacelatum, by AntanO (Wikimedia commons)
Oncidium Cariniferum photo (C) Eric Hunt (see his orchid photo website, also, Flickr gallery)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Orchid Science Update: Studying biodiversity of two Floridian orchid species

Encyclia tampensis
Photo Credit: (Wikimedia commons image) Andrea Westmoreland (Flickr gallery)

This reports comes out of the Million Orchid Project, an orchid reintroduction program in south Florida. The authors of the study completed a genetic characterization of two Floridian orchid species in order to help inform conservation efforts.


Encyclia tampensis, pictured above, is an epiphytic orchid native to south Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, where it grows in cypress swamps and tropical hammocks.  Florida law regulates collection of wild-grown E. tampensis due to threat of commercial exploitation.



Cyrtopodium punctatum
Photo Credit: (Wikimedia commons image) Everglades National Park (Flickr gallery)
Cyrtopodium punctatum, or Cowhorn orchid, is another epiphytic orchid species from Florida. This orchid used to be widespread, but due to intense harvesting is now categorized as "Near Threatened".

Low genetic diversity can result when the numbers of a given species dwindle. This can hamper preservation efforts, as the species becomes more susceptible to diseases and the problems of inbreeding.  In order to asses the genetic diversity of E. tampensis and C. punctatum, this study collected genetic samples from orchids in the wild and from cultivation, and identified 10 microsattelite markers in each species that showed variation between individual orchids. 

Future conservation efforts and breeding programs will be able to use these microsattelite markers to make sure that they are maintaining a healthy genetic diversity in the species.