Friday, April 22, 2011

Red Riley

Riley is posing next to a Brachy complex hybrid from the Orchid Inn. You can buy your own right here. These hybrids are part of Sam Tsui's effort to breed a solid red dorsal. I bought this in bloom over a year ago and was happy to see it bloom again this month.

Its name is Paph. godefroyae (syn. Paph. leucochilum) 'Florida Red' HCC/AOS x (Bella Lucia x Sabatino) 'Red Moon.' Some Cats and Catts readers, particularly those who studied Bean's series on Brachypetalums, will find the name immediately understandable. Others might appreciate a reminder that the pod parent is species Paph. godefroyae (also referred to as Paph. leucochilum and Paph godefroyae var. leucochilum), typically noted for its strong flower stem and dark burgundy blotching. 

The pollen parent is an unnamed hybrid that Orchid Inn has registered as 'Red Moon.' Paph. Bella Lucia is Paph. bellatulm x Paph. Wellesleyanum and Paph. Sabatino is Paph. Muriel Constance × Paph. Greyi. In other words, the pollen parent is a Brachy mutt with a lot of bellatulum in the background. Paph. bellatulum typically has weak flower stems, and that trait expressed itself in this cross. Maybe the stem is floppy because I raised the plant poorly, but I'd rather blame Nature.

 Is anyone still awake? I think the genealogical heritage of my plants is endlessly fascinating, but let's talk about its prettiness. This is another gem from the Orchid Inn. The heavy blotching on the dorsal contrasts nicely with the white pouch. The pattern is mesmerizing, especially with the light at its back.

I'm thrilled with the shape, too. The lateral sepals are slightly reflexed to give it a full and round face. I might be too quick to overlook its flaws, but it had a rough start. The bloom unfolded with one sepal pulled back and the other falling forward. I was concerned during the few days it took to regain symmetry. It had nothing to do with poverty or world peace, but I can become a tad high-strung after waiting months for a single flower to open.

I trusted Riley not to harass the flower and my trust proved well-placed. He often rises to the occasion for photo shoots. Riley can appreciate a nice flower, even if he is one of the weirdest cats in the house.

4 comments:

In The Orchid House With Amy said...

Beautiful Paph!

The Sage Butterfly said...

What a beautiful orchid...simply stunning! Is that an easy Orchid to care for?

CatsandCatts said...

Thanks! I love this type of slipper orchid. They have a reputation of being difficult, but I think they just need a little extra care. These orchids are a type of slipper orchid called Brachypetalums (or "Brachys") which means "short petaled" in Latin. Brachys are a subgenus of Paphiopedilum.

I think the two keys to Brachy health are:
* good air movement (having a fan run in the room almost always)
* watering them less often than other Paphs. Their leaves have a water-retaining succulent quality (this is why I think people find them difficult -- I water them a day or two *after* I water my other slipper orchids).

wildorchid said...

wow..very attractive Paphiopedilum...n thank for the info..