What's in a Name?? DNA has the answer

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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."