A GOOD PHALAENOPSIS?

January Training

Dr. Martin referred to the hand-book's description of quality phalaenopsis, emphasizing the expression of individual dominant characteristics of the species involved.

The species most prevalently in use at this time are: aphrodite, amabilis, violacea (Borneo and murtoniana), schilleriana, stuartiana, sanderiana, amboinensis, and equestris.

WHITES: aphrodite and amabilis, in their original, collected forms, were floppy and open. Selective breeding evolved some well-formed, closed, hard forms, well displayed on long, arching stems. The AQ average of 16 awarded aphrodite species is 8.9 cm ns, 10 flwrs on 1.25 stems, subst and texture much improved; and, for 11 awarded amabilis species, 8.1 cm ns, 22 flwrs on 1.8 spikes, subst and texture much improved.

Older forms of species aphrodite (e.g., 'East Bay', and 'East Bay Sunshine') exhibit the negative trait of pointed petals.

The modern amabilis 'Pamela's Perfection,' AM/AOS, is of rounded, well-proportioned, symmetrical form. (NOTE: amabilis 'Soroa', AM/AOS, is a suspected hybrid.)

Old white hybrids; e.g., Alice Gloria 'White Cliff', HCC/AOS and Mattie May Chambers 'Malibu Cove', AM/AOS, were floriferous and of good form, larger size (13 cm), but floppy due to poor substance. Modern large white hybrids like Dorothy's Pearls 'Dorothy Martin,' AM/AOS, using Cast Iron Monarch produced heavy, large whites, but ns was sacrificed for substance.

Visualize a selected modern aphrodite-amabilis crossed with the gracefully arching, 8 flowered and hard Dorothy's Pearls "Dorothy Martin', AM/AOS...adding 3-4 flowers and improving form, while retaining the substance, stem and presentation. This will happen in our judging careers!

PINK/LAVENDERS: schilleriana and sanderiana. The AQ average of: 19 awarded schilleriana species is 7.9 cm ns, 30 flwrs on 2 infl; and, 4 awarded sanderiana species (but only one abbreviated description of the four), 7.5 cm ns.

Good phalaenopsis schilleriana include clones 'Brazos', AM/AOS, and 'Riverbend's Plum Jam', AM/AOS.

One of the best sanderiana is clone 'Varina', FCC/CCM/AOS.

Hybridizing these two species with large whites gave us the large, lavender beauties we now enjoy.

A good pink has even color distri- bution as well as good form, good stem, good flower count, good presentation and good substance. A fine lavender is Abendrot 'Tammany Rose', HCC/AOS, with even color and good contrasting lip; Phal. Zada and its hybrids fade at the edges.

Phal. sanderiana brings us the desert tones, and tends to spread color better than schilleriana, causing wonder as to why a program of sibling and selfing hasn't been undertaken.

We apply the same criteria to large pinks as for whites -- they have the same large whites in their back ground.

YELLOW: amboinensis

The advent of the "yellow" forms in the 50's with their dominant carotinoid pigment gave us hybrids of stronger more variable color than that offered by the early "standard" form.

We should expect strong yellow color now in that type of breeding; e.g., when hybridized with large white the result should be yellow, not cream or ivory.

Thirty-seven AQ awards average 5.2 cm ns; 9 flowers on 3 stems

Modern amboinensis vary with natural spread 5.2 to 5.5 cm, with a rare form 5.7 to 6 cm, with nearly flat to flat, closed form, and all with strong, yellow color marked with varying amounts of vivid magenta barring; e.g., clones 'Spring Creek', AM/AOS and 'No. 11'.

Good hybrids include Phal. Universal Princess 'Evergreen Hill', AM/AOS, and Templed Hills 'Helge's No. 6', AM/AOS.

Critically, Universal Princess could be deeper yellow; Templed Hills is marvelously colored, but it does cup, yet they are still "good" phalaenopsis.

NOVELTY COLORS: violacea

BORNEO violacea

AQ awards to 27 violacea of this form average 6.4 cm ns; 7 flowers on 3 stems

Two of the best violacea (Borneo) clones are: 'Country Acres', AM/AOS; and 'Ponkan', AM/AOS. Some selfings and siblings are, in some ways, better. Clone 'Country Acres' is the granddaddy of all the good violacea in existence today.

Clone 'Ponkan' is a selfing of 'Country Acres', and has a 6.4 cm ns with 7 flwrs on 3 stems.

With amboinensis and violacea you must consider you are not going to get as many flowers as with sanderiana or equestris.

violacea v. murtoniana

Phal. violacea v. murtoniana 'Leprechaun', AM/AOS, represents a good specimen of the variety, although there is some controversy it may be a natural hybrid, possibly with sumatrana.

A test of natural coherence in a natural species can be made as follows:

In making a sibling cross, the offspring should strongly resemble the parents.

When the parents are dissimilar (natural hybrids) , a selfed F1 should aggregate out a portion which would resemble both parents. Selfing and sibling of violacea has given very fine plants in our time.

We are seeing good form and fantastic colors in modern violacea hybrids which challenge us to go even further with this breeding; e.g., Phal. Princess Kaiulani 'Michael', HCC/AOS, (yellow amboinensis with alba violacea), and Phal. George Vasquez 'Eureka', FCC/AOS, (violacea with luedde-violacea)

SPOTS: stuartiana

AQ average of 12 stuartiana species awards is: 6.3 cm ns; 30 flwrs on 1-2 stems (e.g., clones 'Larkin Valley', AM/AOS and 'Peter,' HCC/AOS)

Shaeffers, Lista and the French have led the way in this line of breeding. Many award and near-award quality clones have evolved, usually well-presented, well-formed, spotted flowers, beautifully marked, lots of spots and beautiful contrasting lips, but with poor to fair substance.

The spots are not absolutely necessary, but are very desirable for consideration as "good" and/or awarded plants. An example having only a few spots is Phal. stuartiana 'Dorothy Martin', AM/AOS.

In the beginning, stuartiana spot transmission was recessive, but repetitive breeding finally produced flowers literally covered with spots. Cross breeding of its hybrids with others of its hybrids has been disappointing, but the return to using stuartiana itself with its hybrids has produced better results.

MULTIFLORA: equestris

Semi-albas, stripes and blushes all have equestris used frequently in their development.

There are 20 awarded equestris. Of note are clones 'Riverbend', AM/AOS and v. rosea 'Dorothy Martin' AM/AOS.

"Riverbend' was the clone that revolutionized phalaenopsis equestris breeding. It is a proven tetraploid, larger, heavier, than the diploids, and it has superior coloration. It has proven itself in breeding with many awarded progeny.

Phal. equestris v. rosea 'Dorothy Martin' is thought to be tetraploid, but not proven.

Four equestris hybrids are:

Berries 'n Cream 'Riverbend', AM/AOS

Dorothy Martin 'Riverbend', AM/AOS

Little Mary 'Maria Teresa', AM/AOS

Zuma Chorus 'Dorothy', HCC/AOS

Phal. Berries 'n Cream shows typical equestris 'Riverbend' patterning with large whites and pinks without marked variation. One negative trait passed on by equestris 'Riverbend' is spots of white, devoid of color, at the tips of the midriffs of the petals.

Phal. Dorothy Martin is a very complex hybrid with equestris, Barbara Moler, stuartiana, amboinensis, fasciata, and large whites in its makeup.

Phal. Little Mary (Mary Tauzan X equestris), This is a pink by equestris and is quite typical of crosses by Mr Takase.

Phal. Zuma Chorus ( Peppermint X equestris), is outstanding with quite definite markings and a beautiful lip.

The lesson is that the criteria in "The Handbook on Judging and Exhibition" should be used for basic judging of our lovely phalaenopsis just like other orchids, but also we must use knowledge of the special qualities of each of the species which we have acquired through judging experience, remembering we are actually seeing three separate breeding lines: (1) large, round, (2) star-shaped, (3) winged-petal multiflora.


Foregoing is quoted from a presentation given by Dr. John Martin, Evergreen Hill Orchids, before the Dallas Supplemental Judging Center, Richland Jr. College, on January 13, 1996. Dr. Martin has been an accredited judge in the Southwest Judging Region more than 30 years.