Bonaventure W Magrys magrysbo at SHU.EDU
Thu May 4 01:22:19 CEST 2000

If labels get lost, being a problem with producing hybrids, why have labels at
all on any plant? Surely species in cultivation can lose their labels just as
easily and become misidentified or "mystery plants".
Now as for the problem of grex names and cultivars, orchid growers know that
Cymbidium Alexanderi, a near-primary hybrid (cross of a primary with a species)
is a pretty good grex all around, probably quite a few inferior clones too. But
the cultivar Cym. Alexanderi 'Westonbirt' is superior, and the most grown today.
If you like Paphiopedilum callosum you may find its offspring Paph. Maudiae
easier to grow and a more showy version. Cultivars (clones) 'Magnificum' and
'The Queen' are to superior ice-green and white flowered ones. The very dark red
(vini-colored) clones, the best ones, are also named, and you would naturally
want to look for them. Buying an unnamed cultivar-clone - whatever - of Maudiae
does not insure such top percentile superiority, and indeed you may get
something very average (although Paphs are always spectacular [interesting how
in many of them the top sepal and often the flower bract and petals resemble the
striped spathe of many Arisaema species]). Noone ever calls these Paphiopedilum
'The Queen' or P. 'Magnificum'.
The Slc. (Sophrolaeliocattleya) Hazel Boyds (plural indicating all of this grex)
are pretty spectacular. The bright red color of certain Laelia species and
likewise of Sophronitis coccinea along with the sophro's miniature status, has
been line-bred back to the well shaped Cattleya gene pool. You must know this
because even so they do best in the Sophronitis's origin in higher altitude
cooler conditions.
Yet no one wanting a nice orange mini-catt refers to it as Slc. 'Elizabeth' or
the best red cultivar (in my opinion) as Cattleya 'Torchy'. Indeed Potinara
Flameout 'Torchy' is a larger plant and flower with an infusion of unique shape
due to the genus Brassavola (actually now reclassified as Rhyncholaelia) added
to the Slc. mix. Most, if not all of the above named (by named I mean to the
precision of the cultivar/clone level) have awards from the RHS and/or the AOS
which then become permanently appended to their name, eg. Brassocattleya Cynthia
'Starbeck' AM/AOS.
These cultivar designations alone for aroids are not precise enough and divorce
the cultivar from its genetic background.
In judging these plants it helps to know their parentage and if a particular
cultivar is then an improvement to its parents or superior to its siblings in
that grex.
The proliferation of registrations would be in cultivar names and unless a
record of their ancestry is kept the species contributing to their genetic
makeup would be a guess.

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