Hybridisation at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation

by Chis Purver

Chris is on a whistle stop tour of lectures (hence the change of meeting dates). Chris is the curator of the collection, and is responsible for continuing the work of Eric Young which is for the creation of new hybrids, mounting displays and winning awards – notably at WOCs etc..

The Foundation don’t grow every popular genera (which is a relief to some), but concentrate on a select few, many of which are cooler growing, and don’t require high levels of light (no vandas etc.). A talk on all the aspects of hybridisation would take hours, so this is just a small scratch on the surface of mainly 3 genera.

First is Miltoniopsis. These were originally Miltonias, but are now in a separate group. These are the more showy cooler growing ‘pansy’ type rather than the warmer smaller flowered types. There are 5 species within this genus. Of these 2 are hardly ever used in hybridisation – these are bismarkii and warszewiczii, and are excluded from further comment. The

remaining 3 are;

phalaenopsis – the smallest of the group with flowers around 4cm. The flower is mainly white with purple waterfall markings on the lip. It is sometimes scented.

roezlii – medium sized at 6cm flowers. This is mainly white with some red markings on the inner part of the petals with a yellow centre to the lip. There is an alba form which lacks the red colouration but retains the yellow mask.

vexillaria – is the largest at 8cm. It is the most variable with pink being the most common. It can also be white or red, half pink or alba. The size and variable colours of this species give the hybridisers a range of targets to aim at.

Bleuana was the first hybrid in 1899 between vexillaria and roezlii. It varies from white to red. Venus (1917) is the cross between vexillaria and phalaenopsis producing larger waterfall forms in different colours. The 3rd primary (Carl Withner) between roezlii and phalaenopsis wasn’t registered until 1991. All of these were just what was expected, and the first 2 then went on to create more hybrids. Bleuana was crossed back onto vexillaria a couple of times creating Jules Hye de Crom. This hybrid had smaller flowers, but an increased count, and is still used as a parent today. Lyceana (1925) is a true complex flower with no waterfall pattern, but was the first almost full red flower. Solfatari (1930) developed into a larger form of roezlii (70% roezlii & 30% vexillaria).

Moving to the more modern hybrids – based from the above, the first ‘solid’ red was Lingwood AM/RHS in 1938. This was a larger flower of 9cm, but still with some reflexing. Petit Anquette (EYOF 2005) became a non reflexing solid red. Rouge Bouillon ‘Mont Millais’ AM/RHS is another deep red. Another clone ‘Jersey’ will leak colour. Bel Croute (1998) has moved to a full deep red with a white mask on a pinkish lip. Gorey (1992) is a nice salmon pink colour, and another similar one is Cotil Point ‘Jersey’ FCC/RHS. At 12cm Chris describes it as perfect.

The waterfall hybrids have moved strongly to create large flowers. Many Waters (1960) was quite large. Beaumont possibly has a little too much going on with red dorsal, reflexed petals, and a red/white fall. Portelet (1994) is a better standard with a solid red dorsal with a white mask and red spots. Rocqueberg (2007) is a white with a red fall that looks almost unnatural. Point de Pas ‘Jersey’ AM is now the largest pink at 12cm with a white/purple waterfall. Avranches is a pink with a white mask and a series of deep purple blotches.

Yellows are more problematic than other colours as they tend to be smaller, reflexed, and often have a disproportionately large lip. That said there are still some decent crosses, mainly of cream. Le Couperon is cream with a red waterfall. There are quite a few future options with crosses to be remade using a recently discovered xanthina form of roezlii. Firstly it needs to be line bred to select stronger clones as well as produce some tetraploids, and then remake older crosses as well as some new ones.

In the white hybrids Pontac is mainly white with a bit of red in the centre, and is a large size. Les Landes ‘Jersey’ AM is 13cm wide and has a flat dorsal. Although it is just about perfect for breeding, commercially it is just too big. Large flowers like these new hybrids tend to have are great for mounting exhibitions such as seen at the Glasgow WOC.

The second genera looked at is the slippers, and Paph. rothschildianum in particular. It is the king of the Paphs and comes from Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo. It grows on steep slopes between 600-1200m. It has a large flower up to 12” across, and has a notable staminode like a bee’s knee and is covered with warty hairs to look like aphids to attract pollinators.. The foundation is in possession of a famous (wild collected) clone ‘Mont Millais’ which Eric Young purchased as a single growth c. 1958. It took 20 years to flower in 1978, and was awarded an AM in 1983, an FCC in 1985 and became GC at the Glasgow WOC in 1993. Not surprisingly it is highly valuable both in monetary terms and as a parent where the red pouch is a useful asset.

A lot of breeding using roths took place at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th and these hybrids are still amongst the best ever produced, although many have been remade using superior clones. Prince Edward of York (1898, x sanderianum) produces better petals than sanderianum and can now be exhibited with just a degree of care – whereas sanderianum can be a nightmare as it is easily damaged. Lady Isabel (1897, x stonei) has solid and balanced petals unlike stonei itself. The spike can reach 3’ high and exhibits well, with ‘Mont Millais’ being exceptional. St. Swithin (1901 x philippinense) has produced a classic easy flowering plant.

In the second generations crossing Lady Isabel back to roths produces Lady Rothschildianum. This has created stronger striping and darker pouches. Booth’s Sand Lady going in the other direction has reintroduced variable petals. Vera Pellechia (St. Swithin x stonei) has also produced some variability, but has a paler flower. Angel Hair (st. Swithin x sanderianum) keeps shorter petals as well as a tall dorsal and strong pouch. Bouilly Port combines Angel Hair with roths which dominates the cross and has good stripes and colour.

Moving away from the true multiflorals roths has had great impact on shape and colour. L’etacq (x Masupi vini) produced a small deep purple multi. Crossing this to Gowerianum producesthe smaller and well shaped Les Mielles. Crossing L’etacq to Black Maud produces Noir Roque, which is extremely dark with a couple of flowers. Crossing onto the Parvisepalums has produced some tremendous results. Dollgoldi (x armaniacum) is a well marked yellow, but is sterile. Delrosi (x delenatii) is a fairly compact striped pink, that can breed on if roths is the pod parent. Gloria Naugle (x micranthum) is a deep red with a consistently good shape. This has gone on to produce Du Motier (x vietnamense) with better shape and colour, and the clone ‘Jersey’ won reserve GC at the recent Singapore WOC.

The recent introduction into the Phrags of kovachii has caused a great stir of excitement. The Foundation’s home bred clone ‘Trinity’ has been awarded an FCC/RHS with a spread of 16.5cm. It is a deep red colour, and doesn’t reflex like most of the others do. It is the largest of the Phrags, and andreettae – the smallest will fit comfortably inside the pouch. Chris is sceptical over the value of many of the hybrids as to whether they will add real value or not. Eumelia Arias (x schlimii) has produces a nice colour – almost with a hint of blue, but is an awful shape (large flower x small flower). Memoria Mariza Rolando (x Hanne Popow) has done the same. Peruflora’s Cirila Alca (x dalessandroi) is better using a larger flower, but is still pink having suppressed the yellow parent. Les Varines (x sargentianum) is producing larger flowers on long spikes, but the flowers are still disappointing. La Vingtaine (x Memoria Dick Clements) has so far been the best of the hybrids, with ‘Victoria Village’ winning an AM. It has 13cm width, and is a strong pink rather than purple. The foundation hopes to soon have a tetraploid form to work with, and this may help to produce purple hybrids – which is the object of the exercise.

Phrag. Besseae is still the best parent for breeding with, especially with the yellow form. This is helping to produce peach colours such as in Havre le Pas which is branched and very good. The best of the besseae offspring is Jason Fischer. The clone ‘Corbiere’ won an AM/RHS in 2003, and an FCC/AOS in 2005. It is possibly the best in the world! Another clone ‘Victoria Village’ won an FCC/RHS in 2000, and has very deep petals on a 13cm spread, and is well proportioned.

The final group in the lecture is the Oncidiopsis. This name may appear unfamiliar, but it is the reincarnation of Vuylstekeara. This grex was made famous by the clone Cambria ‘Plush’ which has been mericloned by the million. It is made up these days of Oncidium x Miltoniopsis (formerly Cochlioda x Miltonia x Odontoglossum). They are relatively cool growing, and suit the Jersey climate. St. Aubin ‘Elizabeth Castle’ is the foundation’s flagship plant. Registered in 2002 it is Mps. Avranches x Onc. Moulin de Fliquet, and is a great combination of parents with a strong lip coming from the Miltoniopsis parent which is far better than a standard ‘odont’. The flower is a lilac colour with purple markings (see back cover). It has proved to be a good parent. Mont de la rocque (x Faldouet) has been awarded as has La Robeline (x Mont a L’Abbe) and La Marquanderie (x Moulin de Louis) with different shades, and larger flower counts. A slightly different line has produced Val de la Mare (Mps. Avranches x Onc. Val du Bec) with a flamboyant lip, but is smaller and well marked with black spots.

Some other ‘minor’ genera that the Foundation are working on are Calanthes, with Beresford (2007) being an exciting hybrid. The clone ‘le Don le Broguille’ winning an AM. It has a pink tint on opening that fades to white. One of the parents is Brandywine (1934) which is award winning in itself as well as being a great parent. Five Oaks is another noted offspring and is bi coloured.

Anguloas, Lycastes & Sudamerlycaste are also a new area for the Foundation, and we can expect to see some great results in the next few years once improved clones (incl. tetraploids) are used in the breeding programme. They have great hopes for Sud. ariasii – a small floriferous white as yet unbred, but should breed well. Lyc. Anneville (Lyc. Mont Mado x Lyc. locusta) has been registered in 2009 and has an open green flower. The plan is to cross these 2 to produce lots of open lime green flowers. Ang. Blanche Pierre (Ang. cliftonii x Ang. Victoire) is another EYOF cross, and has closed pale flowers. Angcst. Cotil Point ‘Fort Henry’ is a pale red spotted part open flower that is very good. Lyc. Shoalhaven is an older plant, but can be solid red, pink or white with large flowers 6” in size. The Foundation bought a single flask some time ago from a noted Japanese grower, and have won 3 AM/RHS’s from it. The final plant shown was Angcst. Noirmont ‘Isle of Jersey’ AM which is a large open white. After just a few questions a good round of applause was given