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Fall blooming cattleya and laelia species

This is a discussion on Fall blooming cattleya and laelia species within the Cattleyas, Vandas, Dendrobiums IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; My C. jenmanii plants bloom last week. Finally the blooms have reached their maximum potentials ...

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    Default Fall blooming cattleya and laelia species

    My C. jenmanii plants bloom last week. Finally the blooms have reached their maximum potentials so I post the pictures here for everyone to enjoy. I will also include in this thread in the next several postings other fall blooming catt and laelia species currently in bloom. C. jenmanii is one of my favorite catt species. I believe it was discovered quite recently. What I love most about this species is its heavenly fragrance, probably the best among the cattleya species. One of the experts in the orchid society also thinks the species also has a unique feature: the flower grows bigger after it fully opens!
    The clone currently in bloom is quite exceptional; for a 4 bulb plant (2 full size and 2 small bulbs), it puts out a spike with 5 flowers, quite a show by itself and the fragrance after one week has reached its maturity and currently is drowning the green house in its sweet scent.

    I am also attaching an article about this delightful species for everyone to enjoy!
    Cheers. Hoa.

    Cattleya jenmanii
    A gift from Merlin

    Orchids, The American Orchid Society Magazine
    September, 2001


    Rumors about a new species of a large-flowered Cattleya that lurked in the dense jungles around the Gran Sabana in the southeastern corner of Venezuela were beginning to find their way into orchid circles in Venezuela in the mid-1960s. How a new species could appear at this late date was beyond understanding. After all, Venezuela had been the hunting ground for Cattleya collectors for more than 120 years, beginning with the discovery of Cattleya mossiae in 1836. Virtually no area of Venezuela had been left untouched. Most orchidists dismissed the idea as “ridiculous”.

    Then, in 1968 and 1969, a few plants were brought from the jungle that were not quite like the Cattleya species that were familiar to everyone. They looked like a poor variety of Cattleya labiata , but the flowers had a sweet scent reminiscent of Cattleya gaskelliana. A couple of plants found their way to the famous Venezuelan orchidist G.C.K. Dunsterville, who wrote an article about them in the British publication The Orchid Review (October 1969). The article was titled “Orchid Puzzlements” and it created an aura of intrigue and excitement around a shadowy purple image from the Venezuela interior. Dunsterville had no name for the new Cattleya and referred to it only as “Cattleya guayana” (Guayana being the broad area of Venezuela where the plants were believed to exist).

    In December, 1971, after two years’ investigation, Dunsterville wrote a more comprehensive article for the United States publication The Orchid Digest, which featured a color photograph and botanical drawings of the new Cattleya. Dunsterville had also asked Leslie Garay at The Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames at Harvard if the species had ever been described before. Garay made the remarkable discovery that the species had indeed been found back in 1906 and described at that time by John Rolfe, editor of The Orchid Review. It was named Cattleya jenmanii and it even sported a proper botanical description in Latin, a rare thing for a large-flowered Cattleya species.

    Rolfe had desribed the species in Kew Bulletin 20 and The Orchid Review of July 1906. He named the species in honor of “the late Mr. G.S. Jenman, the Government Botanist in Georgetown, British Guiana,” who had sent plants to a Miss Sinnock of Downford, Hailsham, Sussex, England. It was Sinnock’s plants and flowers Rolfe used for his description. Unfortunately, Rolfe must not have thought too much of the new species because he did not bother to mention it in 1907 as one of the important plant events in 1906, and nothing much was heard of C. jenmanii after that.
    The first published pictures of C. jenmanii would not inspire many Cattleya lovers to try to acquire a plant. Like the earliest C. labiata, they were inferior clones that were poorly grown. They had virtually nothing to recommend them to the horticulturist over any of the established large-flowered Cattleya species. Eventually, however, good clones were found that were quite beautiful and distinctive and these have helped define the character of the species as we know it today.

    Cattleya jenmanii is basically a dwarf-pseudobulb member of the large-flowered group of cattleyas, and this compact habit, along with its strong, wonderful fragrance and free-flowering nature, are the most distinguishing features of the species. Cattleya jenmanii has the same general color patterns in its lavender flowers as C. labiata, and some clones can easily be mistaken for C. labiata. There are also clones that look similar to C. gaskelliana. Cattleya jenmanii, however, is easily distinguishable from C.labiata by its single sheath, because C. labiata normally has a double sheath. Cattleya jenmanii also usually has smaller flowers than C. labiata and it flowers at the end of the C. labiata season. While C. jenmanii has a wonderful fragrance, similar to C. gaskelliana, it can be separated from C. Gaskelliana by its flowering habit. Under conditions in the United States, C. gaskelliana flowers as the pseudobulb is still maturing, while C. jenmanii completes its new growth and, like C. labiata, rests for a few months before sending up flowers. Cattleya gaskelliana also flowers in June in the United States, while C. jenmanii normally blooms in the autumn.

    Some authors have dismissed the single-sheath versus double-sheath difference between C. jenmanii and C. labiata because C. labiata will occasionally produce a single sheath (or no sheath at all), and C. jenmanii, on rare occasion, has been known to produce a double sheath. The idea that a double sheath is not a basic characteristic of C. labiata, however, is absurd, and has tended to confuse a clear difference between C. jenmanii and C. labiata. More than 99 percent of all C. labiata have double sheaths and the few that have a single sheath or no sheath are natural anomalies. A single-sheathed C. labiata is no different from a C. labiata with two lips; these phenomena do occur due to culture or mutation, but they are certainly not basic characteristics of the species. There is no doubt today that C. jenmanii is a separate and distinct species of Venezuelan Cattleya, giving Venezuela six proud unifoliate Cattleya species- C.mossiae, C. gaskelliana, C. leuddemanniana, C. lawrenceana, C. percivaliana, and C. jenmanii.

    In its native Venezuela, C. jenmanii grows between 1,300 and 3,600 feet above sea level in relatively dense forests. The temperature in these areas varies from about 60 to 85 F. Cattleya jenmanii grows both as an epiphyte on tree branches and as a lithophyte on rock outcroppings. There are considered to be two biotypes that come from somewhat separated areas. One type has light- to medium-lavender flowers with relatively good shape and large size. The other type produces smaller, more poorly shaped flowers, but with much richer color. In nature, C. jenmanii is reported to flower twice a year, once from February to April and again from September through October. In cultivation in the United States, however, it is normally only an autumn bloomer.

    Cattleya jenmanii has all the normal color forms of the large-flowered Cattleya species. A beautiful alba clone, ‘Fuchs Snow’, received a rare First Class Certificate from the American Orchid Society. There are also some very attractive semialba clones like the one pictured in this article. There are good lavender clones and even attractive coeruleas. Two years ago, one of my Venezuelan readers sent me a plant of a coerulea clone he thought I would enjoy- and I certainly have. It is very floriferous, has a magnificent fragrance that fills the whole house, and is one of the best coeruleas I have seen in a Cattleya species. This plant alone made C. jenmanii one of my favorite orchids.

    One of C. jenmanii’s endearing qualities is its free-flowering nature. It normally produces three to five flowers on a flower stem, and even on a weak or poorly established plant, it will often struggle and produce three flowers regardless of the damaging effect on the plant. Cattleya jenmanii is known to produce as many as seven flowers on a flower spike.

    Because it was not discovered until 1908, C. jenmanii is not mentioned or pictured in any of the famous old orchid books like Reichenbachia, Lindenia or Williams’ The Orchid-Grower’s Manual. It was mentioned in the 1927 edition of Sander’s Orchid Guide as a “rare and handsome species of the labiata section…”. Sander’s is the only company that made an effort to use C. jenmanii in hybridizing. In 1954, Sander’s flowered a hybrid between C. jenmanii and C. percivaliana, which is the first cross ever registered for this species. Sander’s thought so much of the cross that it was named Cattleya David Sander. Since then, there have been no other C. jenmanii crosses registered despite the 30-plus years that have passed since its rediscovery in 1969. Before the discovery of C. jenmanii, the Gran Sabana of Venezuela was known as the home of C. lawrenceana. So it was no surprise that a natural hybrid between C. jenmanii and C. lawreneana. Cattleya xgransabanensis, was found.

    It seems strange that it took more than six decades to rediscover C. jenmanii after it was described in 1906. It is as though King Arthur’s famous magician, Merlin, had waved his magic wand over the species and cast a spell upon it that put it to sleep for the next 60 years. In its magic sleep, C. jenmanii missed the “golden age of the Cattleya species” with its plundering Victorian plant collectors, and it escaped the attention of the cut-flower merchants who ravaged the jungles during the 1930s and 1940s to fill huge commercial greenhouses, only to see the plants discarded by the tens of thousands in the 1960s. When the spell was broken, C. jenmanii awakened to an age of environmental and species conservation- lucky orchid. But, even C. jenmanii is not immune to the native poachers, who sell the plants to tourists who cannot take them out of the country legally, so Venezuelan growers have had to rescue plants and produce sib crosses to guarantee the species’ survival.

    Let us hope that, like Merlin, C. jenmanii will grow younger instead of aging as the years go by, and it will blossom everywhere orchids are grown into one of the jewels of the large-flowered Cattleya species. It is certainly a worthy member of the new age of the Cattleya species. Cattleya jenmanii has almost no history as a parent in hybridizing, yet many attractive qualities, from its small plant size and relatively large flowers to its wonderful fragrance. It is indeed a delightful addition to our modern gallery of favorite Cattleya species- late in arriving, but worth the wait.
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    It is beautiful , Thanks for the info. good reading . Gin

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    Beautiful picture, with a somewhat surreal quality to it! Interesting reading, too. Thanks for taking the time to put that together.

    ME

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    Default Cattleya labiata var. amoena 'Fowliana'

    This C. labiata variety blooms in early fall for me, i.e. late September/early October. This is a very nice variety of the important and beautiful Cattleya labiata species. The flower is creamy white with delicate pink in the lip, very attractive yet unassuming. It is native to northeastern Brazil. The cattleya labiata as we all know helped launching the orchid mania in europe lasting for 150 years after William Cattley first flowered it in his greenhouse and the English botanist, John Lindley, wrote a description of the orchid in his book, Collectanea Botanica (1821).

    Cheers. Hoa.
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    Default Cattleya bowringiana var. coerulea

    This absolutely gorgeous cattleya variety blooms late September/October here in Southern Cal. I believe most of the better "blue" color cattleya hybrids have some of C. bowringiana parentage in them. The particular clone pictured here seems to have a deeper coerulea color than many others. I was on a rush before going to work when I took this picture. I also did it before all the flowers fully open, should have waited another week. When finally I got the chance to examine the picture, it was already too late. The attached picture (the only one I have for this year) does not fully convey the magnificence of its flower spike: 25+ flowers symmetrically arranged, beautiful vivid pastel violet (coerulea) color along with a lovely scent. I felt very soothing everytime I looked at these "blue" flowers. Maybe next year when it blooms again, I will try to do a better job in capturing its beauty. Hope everyone enjoy it.
    Again, I also include another excellent article about C. bowringiana, my Thanksgiving treat!

    Cheers. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!
    Hoa.


    Cattleya bowringiana
    The autumn pixie

    Orchids, The American Orchid Society Magazine
    September, 2002


    The first cool breeze of autumn tickles our cheeks and the smell of hot apple cider and spiced cookies fills the air, it is time for the autumn-flowering Cattleya species to make their debut. High on the list of favorites is the small-flowered species Cattleya bowringiana. With many more bright lavender blooms than its spring-flowering sister, Cattleya skinneri, C. bowringiana gives us a bouquet of flowers on a single plant. Its strong constitution and ease of culture make it the ideal plant for beginning orchid growers, for it always rewards its caretakers with at least a few flowers each autumn no matter how poorly you satisfy its needs.

    Cattleya bowringiana is native to Central America in the countries of Belize and Guatemala and, along with C. skinneri, is the most northern growing of the Cattleya species. It is unique among the Cattleya species for having a bulbous swelling at the base of its pseudobulbs, from which the roots and growing “eyes” emerge.

    Cattleya bowringiana is a remarkably adaptable plant. It can be found thriving as a lithophyte in rocky ravines, with the plants matted to the bare rocks in full sun. It is found growing as a terrestrial on quartz sand along rapidly flowing streams, and, as a typical epiphyte, on large tropical trees. Plants grow at altitudes from a few hundred feet above sea level to as high as 3,500 feet. Able to grow in such a wide variety of environments, it is no wonder C. bowringiana has always been one of the most popular Cattleya species in cultivation. As one reviewer put it, “There is no special treatment for these plants; they just grow.”

    Cattleya bowringiana is also known for its tenacious ability to survive in the face of attacks from animals in the jungle. During the rainy season, when C. bowringiana plants are actively growing, their succulent young shoots are a favorite food of some of these wild animals. Collectors have frequently complained that their damage often leaves the plants not only badly eaten, but so trodden down that they are not worth collecting, yet they continue to survive, to grow and to flourish.

    This plant was not always called C. bowringiana. When it was first exhibited in London by its discoverer, James Veitch & Sons, on October 31, 1885, Veitch called the plant “Cattleya autumnalis.” After it was awarded a First Class Certificate by the Royal Horticultural Society, however, Veitch renamed it C. bowringiana to honor one of his good customers, John C. Bowring of Windsor Forest. Bowring was an avid orchid hobbyist and the eldest son of Queen Victoria’s plenipotentiary in China, Sir John Bowring. Sadly, when the leading British orchid publication, The Orchid Review, wrote their obituary on Bowring in 1893, they commented only on his limited hybridizing accomplishments, and never mentioned that the magnificent C. bowringiana had enshrined him forever in orchid history.

    The earliest published description of C. bowringiana appeared in The Gardeners’ Chronicle on November 28, 1885 (page 683) written, not by Veitch, but by the Chronicle’s reviewer James O’Brien. Veitch, however, took full credit for naming and describing C. bowringiana in their famous Manual of Orchidaceous Plants, and the species has been Veitch’s orchid to this day.

    Although C. bowringiana is the perfect plant for beginners, with its vigor and indestructibility, it is also an excellent choice for those who like to display their skills at growing. With just ordinary care, the pseudobulbs will reach 10 to 15 inches in height. In the hands of a skilled grower, however, the pseudobulbs can reach 20 to 30 inches. Instead of producing five to 10 flowers per spike, these well-grown plants will reward the grower with a head of 15 to 25 flowers. With two or three strong leads in a 7-inch pot, C. bowringiana can easily produce 50 to 60 flowers, and there is a record of a plant with nine spikes bearing 195 flowers (almost 22 flowers per spike). Like an actor’s actor, C. bowringiana is very much an orchid expert’s orchid.

    Cattleya bowringiana sometimes gets less appreciation than it deserves because it has a more limited range of color forms than other Cattleya species. There is no true alba or semialba, and flowers lack the fascinating lip patterns that characterize the large-flowered Cattleya species and make them so attractive as collectibles. I have heard it said about C. bowringiana, that, “When you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” which is a terrible injustice to a fine plant. Although the typical C. bowringiana is a medium-rose lavender with a somewhat darker lip, there are also clones with dark, vibrant purple flowers that almost glow with richness. A variety of albescens forms range from light lavender to almost white, and C. bowringiana has some of the best coerulea or “blue” clones of all the Cattleya species. Sir Jeremiah Coleman, who pioneered the development of coerulea hybrids in cattleyas, had some of his best results using the blue clones of C. bowringiana — the clones ‘Lilacina’, ‘Coerulea’ and ‘Violacea’.

    Cattleya bowringiana’s contributions to hybridization, however, go well beyond the coerulea. Its two most famous contributions are Cattleya Portia, its hybrid with the autumn-flowering, large-flowered species Cattleya labiata, and Cattleya Porcia, its cross with Cattleya Armstrongiae (Hardyana x loddigesii). Both C. Portia and C. Porcia are intermediate in size between their parents. They are beautifully colored, vigorous growers with tall heads of flowers and they make an impressive display. They are considered by many Cattleya experts to be among the finest and most spectacular Cattleya hybrids ever bred. Cattleya Portia was registered by James Veitch & Son in 1897 and C. Porcia by H.G. Alexander in 1927. Both have received many awards from the RHS and AOS. Cattleya Porcia ‘Cannizaro,’ which received AMs from the RHS in 1936 and the AOS in 1951, actually received an FCC/AOS as late as 1988 in recognition of its excellence. Cattleya bowringiana’s many contributions to hybridizing cover a whole range of types including Cattleytonia Rosy Jewel (x Broughtonia sanguinea), Brassocattleya Maikai (x Brassavola nodosa), amd Cattleya Barbara Kirch (x Cattleya aurantiaca).

    Not all C. bowringiana have small flowers. The typical C. bowringiana has flowers that are 2 inches across with somewhat starry conformation. The ‘Splendens’ forms, however, can be more than 3 inches across and very round with petals even overlapping. The ‘Splendens’ forms were large enough that they were actually used as cut flowers during the heyday of cattleya corsages during the 1930s and 40s. Because of the large number of flowers produced on a spike, they were good moneymakers for commercial cut-flower growers, and were in great demand.

    From its first day of introduction, C. bowringiana was one of the most popular of the Cattleya species. Its flowering season, ease of culture and prolific production of flowers with sparkling crystalline texture, recommended it to even the most faint of heart in the orchid community. Before long, it was a basic ingredient in virtually every orchid collection and it remained that way for a hundred years, even appearing on the cover of the AOS Bulletin in 1941. Its extreme popularity, however, eventually led to its slow disappearance, and it is not seen in orchid collections as much today as it once was. Because everyone had a plant or two 50 years ago, commercial growers stopped growing it for plant sales. If you wanted a plant, your neighbor would be happy to chop off a piece from his badly overgrown specimen plant, so it was not necessary to buy one. Now that C. bowringiana has become scarce in collections, there is a renewed demand for plants and growers have begun making sib crosses of fine clones. The species is beginning to return to its rightful place in Cattleya collections.

    As autumn approaches, C. bowringiana is like a little pixie that paints the autumn greenhouse with its fluffy clouds of lavender flowers that glisten brightly in the sunshine of a fading Indian summer.
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    Ohhhhh My Vary nice blue you have there. And 25 plus flowers thats nice. Very nice.

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    Dear JB,
    The particular C. bowringiana clone in the picture is called "Bluest" so no surprise there. Glad you enjoy the picture!

    Today I post the picture of a little cutie, Laelia albida. It is a small laelia species and quite a dependable bloomer here in Southern Cal (they bloom in November here). The flowers are small and whitish with rose-tinted edge and lip, have a faint sweet scent and they seem to last longer than the average laelia anceps varieties. They seem to grow better when mounted.
    A small article taken from the Orchids Species Bulletin published by Autralian Orchids Species Society is also included.



    Laelia albida Lindl. was first described by John Lindley in 1839 in the Botanical Register. The name had been suggested by James Bateman since the basic colour of the flower was white, and was at that time a novelty in the genus because all the other species known had flowers that were rose or lilac in colour. The derivation of the specific epithet is from the Latin albidus meaning whitish.

    The species is almost always epiphytic. It is recognised by the clustered, ovoid elongated pseudobulbs that are wrinkled when old and are 3-4 cm long. The two or sometimes three, linear-lanceolate, leathery dark green leaves of L. albida are 10-20 cm long and 1.2-1.8 cm across. The inflorescence, 20-60 cm long carries 5-12 flowers at the end. Its flowering season is autumn. Each flower is 2.4-5 cm across with a fragrance of honey. The sepals and petals are white or whitish cream sometimes with the tips tinged with pink. The lip is white, pale rose to deep rose and the centre of the lip has 3 parallel yellow keels. The base of the lip may be lined with radiating spots of red-purple.

    L. albida is distributed in Mexico where it is relatively common over an extensive area in the states of Sinaloa, Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla. It grows mainly upon evergreen oak trees but sometimes on yuccas or on rocks, at elevations from 1,300-2,600 m altitude in mixed, open, dry deciduous forests of pine, oak and juniper. Plants from the north-western part of the habitat produce very short inflorescences that scarcely exceed the length of the leaves and the flowers are small.

    The plants from Oaxaca have a big variation in the colour of the flowers with the lip varying from white, rose or dark rose. There are known localities where the entire flower is completely rose (fma. rosea) with the lip a darker rose colour. In some flowers the colour of the segments fades towards the edges giving a splash-petal look to the flower. In the past there has been a salmonea colour form described with salmon-pink sepals and petals as well as a sulphurea form with yellow flowers.
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    Last edited by Hoa Tony Nguyen; November 29th, 2005 at 02:25 PM.

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    Default Laelia gouldiana


    Tim has posted a picture of the beautiful bloom of this species in this forum before. Since I like it very much so I am reposting another picture from one of the plants in my collection. This species is probably the best of all Mexican Laelias. Large and charming flowers, what more can we ask? I read from somewhere that this species is extinct in the wild. How sad!
    A short description is included for our reading entertainment.

    Laelia gouldiana
    This plant is a native of the cool, dry mountains in Mexico and was named after the New York financier Jay Gould.

    The leaf stems are long, oval and bear 2 thick, leathery, lanceolate leaves up to 24cm (9in) long and 3cm (1.25in) wide. The flower stalk can be up to 45cm (18in) in length and bear 2-6 long-lasting, pinkish-purple blossoms up to 8cm (3.5in) across. The lip is 3-lobed, deep-purple, paler in the throat with 3-ridged golden keels. Flowers are produced in November, December and sometimes as late as January.

    Laelia gouldiana was once thought to be a natural hybrid of L .autumnalis and L. anceps but is now treated as a distinct species. L. autumnalis is similar to L. gouldiana but flowers in October and November and has less spectacular flowers.
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    Hi Hoa,

    How many flowers on that inflorescence? Yours is beautiful!

    Mine is actually in flower again (only four flowers though), so it seems that it is flowering at spring and autumn for me, basically, everytime a new growth is matured. I'm looking forward to my autumn show as there are five new growths starting to come through...

    So I guess, with all these flowers, it must be like being the Catt King

    cheers
    tim

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    Smile

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your comments. There are 8 flowers on the spike so it's not too shabby! Very attractive and magnificent! Actually, this species, it is more like the Laelia King. The cattleya king title, I am afraid to say, probably belongs to the Cattleya warscewiczii (i.e. C. gigas). The best of this species could give you 12 in. flowers with up to 10 blooms on an upright spike!

    Your L. gouldiana with 5 leads, umm, I am salivating...Take it to a show or your orchid society meeting if you get a chance. People will love it.
    Cheers. Hoa.

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