Re: Hybrids

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Abgeschickt von Michael Weinert am 24 August, 2003 um 07:54:18

Antwort auf: Hybrids von Victor Tanneur am 20 August, 2003 um 23:19:51:

Dear Victor,

You have asked an interesting question and I can only tell you my sight of this topic which might be wrong or not the opinion of other breeders.

At the moment we (the breeders and Cyp enthusiasts) are at the very beginning of hybridising. The main problem is that hardly anyone of us is able to grow most Cyp species regularly over a long period of time. We make two steps forward and one step back. Some plants grow well for a long time and then disappear suddenly in one year or suffer a severe setback for what reason ever. But the precondition for well-directed hybridising would be to grow strong, good and numerous specimens of many species over a long period of time, because only then one would be able to select the parents with great care, make back-crosses, reproduce a cross several times with different specimens of the same species and so on.

So we are forced to cross what is available (currently alive and flowering sized) in our collections or what other people have currently available to pollinate for us. It can happen that the mother plant dies after having produced a capsule which makes it even impossible to reproduce the crossing. So the philosophy behind hybridising at the moment is to cross whatever is available in order to get something (which is better than nothing). C.californicum for example is rarely existent as a flowering sized plant in our collections. Therefore it can hardly be used as a partner for crossings, despite the fact that it would indeed make sense to test its genetic influence on hybrids.

So you can be sure that not every registered hybrid really is a good one regarding vigour, easyness of cultivation and so on. And there are no common criteria which would define a good hybrid. One fellow grower might see the beauty of the flower as an important criterion, another the easyness of culture, another the size or number of flowers. The only criterion for the registration of a new hybrid is that this combination of two species has not yet been registered and that a photo exists of the flower. It says nothing about the number of plants which have sucessfully been raised to maturity, about the number of years which it took to achieve this aim, how many seedlings had died during this phase and so on. But these would be the real facts which made a good hybrid and a good grower.

And there has come up another problem regarding the registration of Cyp hybrids: The RHS has recently started to acknowledge colour forms and varieties of species as parents for a new hybrid (e.g. 'Mike' is ventricosum alba x kentuckiense and 'Lois' is taiwanianum (a special form of macranthos and not a true species in the eyes of some growers) x kentuckiense). This makes the confusion perfect because the field now is open to register new hybrids with plants which are slightly different to the standard. Who is able to tell exactly the difference between natural variations within one species and distinct varieties or species, especially with the Chinese plants of the macranthos or tibeticum complex? You only have to look through the numerous discussions about this topic on this forum and the many pictures of such plants in the "Species" section of the forum to see how difficult this is.

You see, it is a hot topic and we are miles away from a well planned hybridisation of Cyps. However this is how it started with tropical orchids 60 or so years earlier, and I am sure that in the end we will have good and strong Cyp hybrids for every garden lover.

I would be interested to read the opinion of other breeders to this topic, too.

Kind regards



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