What is It? by, Craig Helpling
So, you bought that new orchid at our show (August 2006), but what is it? Does it have a simple name, or do you have to try to pronounce some lengthy hybrid combination? Here’s how to find out. Whether you can get access to the Internet with a home computer or at the public library, the Royal Horticultural Society can help. The recognized international authority for registering orchids, they maintain a web site that provides easy access to their official information called, “The International Orchid Register.”
Start at the address: www.rhs.org.uk/plants/registration_orchids.asp (Note the underlined space between registration and orchids.asp). Scroll down and click on Parentage Search. Near the bottom of the new page, you’ll find four boxes in a shaded background. Using the label on your new orchid, enter the information in the same order. You do not need to enter all of the details. For example, with the hybrid Blc. Ruth Davis x (“x” means "crossed with") Toshie Aoki, you can enter only those parent hybrid names in the boxes marked “Grex.” Then click on the word "search" at the bottom. The next page gives the results: Brassolaeliocattleya Hawaiian Features. That is now the grex, or registered hybrid name, of that popular cross. Click on the Hawaiian Features name and the next page will show you the details of the registration. You now know you actually own a Blc. Hawaiian Features! If no result comes up, it means the cross has not been registered yet and you’ll have to continue identifying it by the lengthier name on the tag.
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Have I Got It Already? by, Craig Helpling
In the last article, we looked at how to see if your new plant has a hybrid, or grex name registered in The International Orchid Register maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society. Besides trying to find out if you can refer to your orchid with a single name, there is another practical aspect to using this web-based resource.
Orchid hybridization is a BIG business. Thousands of new crosses are created each year. If a cross eventually becomes a successful one that people actually want to buy, they are usually registered. However, there can be a significant delay in how soon that registered grex is used in common practice. For the Blc. Ruth Davis x Toshie Aoki, the single grex name Hawaiian Features was created on November 30, 1998. At our show recently, I saw vendors selling orchids labeled Blc. Ruth Davis x Toshie Aoki. I also saw Blc. Hawaiian Features for sale. Both labels are correct, but if you bought both, you now have two of the same orchid! If you have an "orchid wish list" you are looking for, it would be a good idea to regularly check the web site: www.rhs.org.uk/plants/registrationorchids.asp to find out if a cross has been registered yet. If so, you will know to look for the name either way. That will keep you from buying multiple plants of the same kind, unless that is your goal!
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What About Cultivars? by, Craig Helpling
The web site of the Royal Horticultural Society provides a great deal of information about registered orchids in The International Orchid Register. At an orchid show, you will find established crosses that have been given a grex, or hybrid name. You will also find the latest and greatest crosses, some of which are destined to become popular, but have yet to be registered, even if their parent are. You may even find older hybrid crosses listed that have not been updated with the newer grex. (In a future article, we’ll also see that some names may never be registered, a decision of the hybridizer.) But what about awarded cultivar names?
When an orchid receives an award from the American Orchid Society, for example, the owner of the plant can add a cultivar name. Remember the Blc. Toshie Aoki used as an example on how to search the RHS web site? The actual Blc. Hawaiian Features I own was made with Blc. Ruth Davis crossed with Blc. Toshie Aoki ‘Pizzaz’. The ‘Pizzaz’ variety, cultivar, of Blc.Toshie Aoki is very popular, but it is not distinguished from any other cultivars in the RHS database. Omit the cultivar name when searching.
So, even though an awarded status of the parent plants is not reflected in the RHS web site, it is still interesting to see what is registered. I have learned that my Ascd. Jiraprapa crossed with V. Rasri Gold is registered as Ascda. Jakkit Gold. The Mokara Sayan x V. Rasri Gold is Mokara Yellow Star. And finally, my Ascda. Pudtan x V. Manuel Torres is known officially as Ascda. Newberry Blue Skies.
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Who's Your Daddy? by, Craig Helpling
Have you wondered how your favorite orchid hybrid was created? The International Orchid Register database can help. Visit the web site of the Royal Horticultural Society www.rhs.org.uk/plants/registration_orchids.asp to find out not only ‘Who’s your Daddy’, but ‘Who’s your Mommy’ as well. At the site, scroll down and click the link Grex Name Search. On the next page, enter the grex, or hybrid name on your plant’s label. For Blc. Ruth Davis, put Brassolaeliocattleya in the Genus box and Ruth Davis in the Grex box. Note that the common genus abbreviations will not work. You cannot enter Blc., but you can get by with entering only the first letter, B with no period. Then click search. The next page shows the "Daddy" and the "Mommy"! Blc. Ruth Davis was created by taking pollen from Blc. Oconee and crossing it with the seed from Lc. Bethune. The name Ruth Davis was registered for this cross by Carter & Holmes in 1992. Now you know.
This can be very helpful if you want to enter an orchid for AOS judging. The registration form requires that the parents be listed. Use the database to find out. Knowing the parents can also help uncover clues as to how to care for your hybrid. You can keep tracing the parents back to the species that are the Original Parents of every hybrid. Besides being able to trace your orchid’s "family tree" this way, the identity of the species may help you understand what kind of cultural conditions could benefit your orchid. Beyond all that practical stuff, it’s just fun!
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-Is It Real? by, Craig Helpling
All new hybrid crosses start with species plants, with hybrids that have been created, or with any combinations of the same. New grex names are not usually created for the hybrid cross until after the plant is successful, which means people want to buy it! The Royal Horticultural Society maintains The International Orchid Registry. Here, official hybrid, or grex, names are registered for new orchid crosses. There is a fee for registering the grex name, but it allows the orchid hybridizer, the vendors, and the potential customers to all know, at least in general, what the orchid is. But, not all orchids are registered.
I have an orchid labeled Dtps. Man Chung Hong. That may be a real name in somebody’s world, but it has not been registered to date. That also means I cannot find out its parents. It cannot be entered in AOS judging, either. The label does not give any hint that it is unregistered.
At our show, at least one vendor was selling an unregistered hybrid. The tag said Phal. Anthura Gold. However, the vendor was honest; the tag also said in parentheses, "Not Registered." I have seen, and even own, other orchids with the word ‘Anthura’ in them: Dawson, Dublin, Halifax. But, using the RHS web site, you will discover that no orchid of any type has yet been registered with the name ‘Anthura’ in any portion. Go to the web site www.anthura.com and you’ll find the source of these orchids explained in the native German or in other languages including English. All are very nice orchids, but simply not "real" as far as international recognition is concerned.
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Curing Black Spots On Cattleya Leaves
Charlie Bishop has discovered a new treatment to cure black spores on catt leaves. The tip of a new growth on a ‘Lc Mary Elizabeth Boyd Royal Flare’ started turning black, as though rotting. He cut the leaf back to healthy tissue with a sterile clipper, and treated the open wound with Ban-rot, a powerful fungicide. A week later, the area beneath the wound started turning black, and he used the same procedure. Another week and the same thing happened. So he figured it might not be a fungus, but a bacterial infection. Reasoning that a human might use triple antibiotic ointment for a bacterial infection, he mixed a small amount of the antibiotic ointment with Ban-rot to make a thick paste, and applied it to the fresh wound. Not only did the infection not recur, but the pseudobulb on the leaf produced a sheath and ultimately three flowers.
Charlie points out that this does not prove that the antibiotic ointment was the curative agent, since it is an oily substance. Perhaps Vaseline would do just as well. Further experiments are ongoing.
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