Have I been sleepwalking through recent orchid shows or have I just overlooked what is happening to Phalaenopsis orchids these days? At the Fall Orchid Festival now underway, I reignited my appreciation for these orchids. The show is in the Lakeside Marquee Tent, and tabletop displays are fashioned into islands of glorious flowers.
|A Phalaenopsis hybrid that shows off the
latest breeding trends.
Phalaenopsis orchids have become America's favorite pot plant. Maybe because they are sold everywhere, including the grocery store, I have walked right by them. However, the new hybrids are writing a whole new chapter in orchid breeding.
In the 1990s, harlequin-type Phalaenopsis hybrids appeared and set into motion the outrageous patterns, colors and shapes of today's phals. Harlequin phals were the white flowers with splotches of maroon that appeared here and there on the petals and sepals. These early hybrids seemed as if someone had splattered maroon ink on the flowers. I took note, even bought some, but then my attention drifted.
Today's phals bear spots, stripes, picotee edges, splash patterns; raspberry, pink, orange, green and maroon colors, and yes some still have a lot of white in the petals. They are audacious, indeed.
The little phals are playing catch-up as well. Krull Smith Landscapes' Phal. bellina' Krull's Green Prince' earned an
|Phal. schilleriana x Phal. lindenii|
AOS highly commended certificate wtih 78 points. Krull Smith also displayed a lovely purple Phal. violacea. Their Phal. schilleriana x Phal. lindenii earned 77 points and another American Orchid Society HCC as best pink Phalaenopsis of the show. And their Phal. gigantea garnered an AOS Award of Merit with 87 points.
There are plenty of other handsome genera on display. Vanda Erick Cizek Dann is a fabulous dark blue-purple and white flower that won best Vanda. Encyclia boothiana not only was best native orchid, but also best Encyclia.
Eight orchids received American Orchid Society awards, but there are many knock-you-socks-off flowers on display. Plus 22 vendors selling plants and 7 vendors selling pots, candles, even honey.
The show runs through Sunday. Fairchild's orchid seedlings can be seen in one of the tropical labs, there is a pretty display of cattleyas in the plant conservatory, and orchids in the rainforest. Join us!
Vanda orchids have been put under the DNA microscope and new names continue to appear while old names disappear. Here are some changes that may be adopted when volume 6 of Genera Orchidacearum is published next year. The changes were approved by the Royal Horticulture Society’s Orchid Hybrid Registration Group. If you Google “Orchid Review Supplement,” you will find the RHS listing of new hybrids as well as the latest list of recent taxonomic changes. Another Web source for taxonomic information is “Phytotaxa.”
|Neofinitia falcata is now Vanda falcata.|
The genus Vanda now includes Ascocentropsis, Ascocentrum, Christensonia (named for the late taxonomist Eric Christenson, who resided in Sarasota) Parmatostigma, Euanthe, Neofinitia and Trudelia.
Since many South Florida orchid growers love their ascocendas, or the hybrids made between Ascocentrum and Vanda that look very Vanda-like, they can call them all vandas and still love them. Nonetheless, Neofinitia falcata, the classic miniature orchid long loved in Japan, is a surprising kissing cousin to such species as Vanda coerulea and Vanda sanderana.
Aerides flabellata now is Vanda flabellata.
The vandas with round, pencil-like leaves that once were called terete vandas will officially be Papilionanthe and considered distinct from Vanda.
Phalaenopsis is proposed to include Doritis, Hygrochilus, Kingidium, Lesliea, Nothodoritis, Ornithochilus and Sedirea.
Gastrochilus is to include Haraella.
Phalaenopsis is to include Doritis, Hygrochilus, Kingidium, Lesliea, Nothodoritis, Ornithochilus and Sedirea (which was Aerides spelled backward).
Renanthera is to include Ascoglossum, Porphyrodensme and Renantherella.
Trichoglottis is to include Ceratochilus, Staurochilus and Ventricularia.
To get a grip on all of this, the South Florida Orchid Society will feature Bob Fuchs at its next meeting on Nov. 20 at Christ the King Lutheran church, 11295 SW 57th Ave., beginning at 7 p.m. Bob's talk is called "Kiss Your Ascocendas Goodbye."