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Miltonia vs. Miltoniopsis

This is a discussion on Miltonia vs. Miltoniopsis within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi all, especially Kev, There is considerable confusion over these two genera. The genus Miltonia ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Miltonia vs. Miltoniopsis

    Hi all, especially Kev,

    There is considerable confusion over these two genera. The genus Miltonia was described first, Miltoniopsis (meaning like a little Miltonia) later. Both honored the same guy--surname Milton. Unfortunately, I don't recall much about him. I *believe* he was someone who financed orchid collection expeditions in the early days of orchid collecting, but I may be wrong.

    Anyway, Miltonia are primarily Brazilian in origin, Miltoniopsis are primarily Columbian. The latter tend to grow at higher elevations and are, therefore, cooler growing. I'm sure you know this already, but I just wanted to do a recap in case.

    The problems began when subsequent taxonomists started applying Miltoniopsis to Miltonia species (and possibly vice versa). I actually don't understand how this happened--to my eyes, the flowers are *not* that much alike. Miltoniopsis, of course, are the classic pansy-orchids. Most Miltonia flowers look far more like Oncidiums in shape, than they do like Miltoniopsis. (Miltonia spectabilis, the best known Miltonia species, is the most Miltoniopsis-like of them.) Indeed, many taxonomists today argue that there aren't sufficient differences between Miltonia & Oncidium to maintain them in separate genera. (<insert groan> Just what we need, MORE species in Oncidium! LOL) I will say the colors of Miltonia are closer to Miltoniopsis than to Oncidium.

    Once the initial confusion had set in, it was exacerbated by the hybridizing craze. With so much confusion, Miltoniopsis got used for all the hybrids, even if the hybrids had no true Miltoniopsis origin.

    The AOS is starting to dealk with this and have proposed some new genera names for the intergenerics. I don't believe they have implemented them yet, but one of the proposed ones will affect many of the plants I know as Burrageara (Stefan Isler, Nelly Isler & Living Fire). Currently, it is considered to be the result of four genera: Cochlioda, Miltoniopsis, Odontoglossum & Oncidium. To differentiate between those of true Miltoniopsis origin vs. those with Miltonia origin, the new genus Kunthara is proposed. If accepted, the 3 grexes I mention in this paragraph will be known as Kunthara (ugh), rather than Burrageara. BTW, off the top of my head, I can't recall if Kunthara will be for those of Miltonia origin, or Miltoniopsis origin. (I *believe* the former.)

    If the AOS goes ahead & recognizes the differences, I believe the new bigeneric of Miltonia & Miltoniopsis will be Milmiltonia, rather than Miltoniopsis. Yikers!

    As an aside, the term "warm-growing Miltonia" is redundant whereas "cool-growing Miltonia" is incorrect from the strict botanical point of view.

    Hope this is at least somewhat helpful.

    Cheers,

    Rob

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for the clarification....I kind of knew the difference but was not positive. Does this mean that those in more Southern climates like Louis and I can grow Miltonias?

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    Rob, awesome info, and *very* well and clearly explained. Thank you for that. You cleared up some confusion on my part, too.

    Debbie, that's exactly it. I've always referred to Miltoniopsis as "Miltonias", which is incorrect.

    Unfortunately, it's the Miltoniopsis I still can't grow unless I put them right up against the cool cell, so, as Yoda would say, "Up the creek am I still..."

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    Louis, do you grow any Miltonias?

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    Hi Cinderella,

    In theory, yes, it should be easier for you Southerners to grow Miltonia, than it would be to grow Miltoniopsis. I have a friend in Louisiana who steers clear of anything with Miltoniopsis in its ancestry because she can't grow them cool enough in her long summers. Having to contend with long, cold winters, I don't have all that much sympathy for her! LOL

    BTW, if you like some of the Vuylestekearas, but haven't had success (or hesitated to even try them) because of their cool-growing preferences, I understand Vuylestekeara Melissa Brianne is a good one for warm growers to attempt. It probably (I haven't taken the time to verify this--my bad) has Miltonia, rather than Miltoniopsis in its ancestry. (And if these proposed changes take place, it may no longer be in Vuylestekeara.)

    Louis, thanks for the kind words. I confess I use Miltonia & Miltoniopsis interchangeably, even though I *know* it's wrong!

    Cheers,

    Rob

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    just as an aside.. you would think the taxonomist would have a little more consideration about the choice of names.. I mean really... "Kunthara"?? Another one being proposed for one of my faves is from Dend kingianum to Thelychiton "kingianus", I mean hellooo!!!!

    anyways, my 2c...

    again, fantastic info Rob, u should do circuit talks... the way u explain things makes so much sense..

    Cheers
    Tim

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    In addition, Miltonia or what people refer to as Brazilian Miltonia are the warmer bright light Miltonia.

    Miltoniopsis is referred to as Colombian Miltonia or pansy orchid by many.

    Here is where the AOS and the RHS differ. The RHS does all the hybrid registration as well as species registration so no matter what the AOS says the RHS will always recognize a Miltoniopsis as Miltonia.

    So, if you want to call them both Miltonia then you are correct. According to the RHS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bench72
    just as an aside.. you would think the taxonomist would have a little more consideration about the choice of names.. I mean really... "Kunthara"?? Another one being proposed for one of my faves is from Dend kingianum to Thelychiton "kingianus", I mean hellooo!!!!

    anyways, my 2c...

    again, fantastic info Rob, u should do circuit talks... the way u explain things makes so much sense..

    Cheers
    Tim
    Tim, Sounds like you & I are on the same page! I actually know who Kunth was. He was the one who first described Odontoglossum--my favourite genus of the Oncidium Alliance. I understand wanting to honor the guy, but...yikers!

    At any rate, as you probably know already, the reason for changing kingianum to kingianus is to keep the Latin in agreement (some genera are masculine, others feminine; some are singular, others plural) between Genus and species. I have a Dend. kingianum. It likes to keiki, but not bloom. It is a bit of a pain in the butt, so perhaps the name change is appropriate! <grin>

    Cheers,

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orchidzrule



    Once the initial confusion had set in, it was exacerbated by the hybridizing craze. With so much confusion, Miltoniopsis got used for all the hybrids, even if the hybrids had no true Miltoniopsis origin.



    If the AOS goes ahead & recognizes the differences, I believe the new bigeneric of Miltonia & Miltoniopsis will be Milmiltonia, rather than Miltoniopsis. Yikers!
    Rob, it is rare to find someone who can explain these things so clearly. I cannot tell you how happy I am right now to have that question finally answered about why almost all hybrids are called Miltoniopsis. That has bugged me for a couple of years and others I have asked just kind of avoided my question. I can sleep now. Actually, I kind of like the idea of a new name for these beasts. I would kind of simplify things - at least in my mind.

    Kevin

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    Mike, the RHS registration issue solves the source of the confusion for me--there must be a ton of other similar naming issues that arise because of what organization does or doesn't recognize what nomenclature.

    Debbie, I've only got one, a Miltoniopsis butted right up against the cool cell--my token nod to all y'all nawtheners who can grow these things willy-nilly....

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