The Two Hybrid Cattleyas

Orchid in bloomCould you have seen two of my Cattleyas which were in bloom recently, I should not have to tell you how much you are missing if you are not growing a few orchids. If you possess even a small greenhouse, you too might be enjoying orchid flowers in the cold winter days when they are especially appreciated.

Now permit me to enthuse just a bit about these two Cattleya hybrids. The first was Cattleya Prince Shimadzu which blossomed in November with twenty-two large perfect flowers, the sepals and petals of which were a medium orchid shade and the labellum or lip a deep orchid or maroon and its inner portion the most brilliant orange yellow imaginable. Added to the beauty of the flowers was a delicate, delicious perfume.

It is a robust plant and has done well each year, having developed sixteen perfect flowers last year and in addition carried a seed pod to maturity of a cross which I made with a Brasso-cattleya Mrs. Leeman. Little plants from this parentage are now developing in culture flasks and in six to eight years I hope to find that the new variety thus produced will at least prove as good as either or both of its parents. You will think that a long time to wait and it is, but every step in the production and rearing of a new cross is interesting and I hope to attend the “Coining out party” when the seedlings come into bloom.

The other hybrid Cattleya, came into bloom about the first of December and carried seven large flowers with pure white sepals and petals and a light orchid colored labellum with lines of gold running from the outer edge of the lip clear into the depth of the throat. It too was fragrant, and what perfect flowers they would have been for a bride’s corsage, or bouquet!

When a labellum is marked with lines such as these leading into the throat of the flower, its is thought that these converging lines are nature’s way of guiding the visiting bee or other insect toward the nectary located down deep in the throat of the flower. Whether that be true or not, the gold lines add a beautiful touch to the flower. These gold lines were derived from one of the parents of this hybrid, Cattleya dowiana which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the wild species of Cattleya.

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