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Age of Orchids...

This is a discussion on Age of Orchids... within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I know you can tell the average age of trees etc. by counting the rings ...

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  1. #1
    bleak_vibrations's Avatar
    bleak_vibrations is offline Junior Member
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    Default Age of Orchids...

    I know you can tell the average age of trees etc. by counting the rings in the trunk for example.

    Is there any way to find the age of an Orchid? I understand they are kind of timeless though and I would almost rather not know if you get what I mean

  2. #2
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    I don't believe there is a way of telling the age of an orchid on the actual plant. Some orchids are century old. These dates are recorded on paper and the orchid given a clonal name. These were probably divided a few times too, and with excellent horticultural practice they can last centuries.

    A large plant with many growths would be old and the number of growths could be a estimate of age, assuming it hasn't been divided before The width of the plant can also be used in estimates. For monopodial plants, the hieght of the plant can also be a estimate. Of course growth rate differs from plant to plant, and with different people and growing conditions. You would have to know how fast the plant species or hybrid grows to give a good estimate. I don't think its a precise estimate of age though. Anything recorded on paper or tag would be more accurate. Some of my tags have the dates the plant was first deflasked.

    I say anything big is old I think size is more important than age for most people.

    Are there any scientists here doing work on wild plants, estimating age?

  3. #3
    Piper's Avatar
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    I think organisms, such as orchids, that can reproduce asexually - particularly at the plant level (as opposed to cellular asexual reproduction) - test the very definition of 'age.'

    Consider the case of dividing a plant. Does the old plant cease to exist when divided; and the age of the new plant reset to zero? I think not. Otherwise, technically, whenever you removed an old growth, your plant would be reborn. Which is silly. So with good culture, as Smartie said, an orchid could live indefinitely.

    Likewise, when keikis are produced, they're merely new leafs and roots on a stem of the mother plant. If left in place, they'll suck so many resources out of the mother plant that she may die. But if the kieki lives on, when did its life start? When the mother plant's started or when the keiki was formed? You could argue that one either way.

    Sexual reproduction, or cellular asexual reproduction, are much clearer cases in determining plant age. But because orchids are capable of reproducing through the chopping off of parts, the 'age' of a plant divided this way can't really be compared.

    Good thing age doesn't really matter with 'chids. Plant health, size and bloom capacity are much more important measures.

    McJulie

  4. #4
    bleak_vibrations's Avatar
    bleak_vibrations is offline Junior Member
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    Haha yeah, it's tricky enough coming to grips with our lifespan let alone infinite beings like our colourful little friends...

    I've been reading a lot about time philosophy and it's interesting to be studying such a plant where the rules of time are clearly unimportant

    *hugs my orchids*

  5. #5
    sake of silence is offline Senior Member
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    I know a grower who has a division of the first cattleya hybrids from Germany. It was passed down through his family. The cross was made almost 200 years ago.

    My arguement goes towards the age of each growth, not the entire plant.

  6. #6
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    Well, I finally sent off Julie's division of my C. Bob Betts today. It is a division of my plant, which was started with a division of my Mother's plant, which was a division of the plant owned by Rod McClellan that my mom bought in 1965-ish, and McClellan got his plant (which he used quite successfully in breeding) as a division of the original award winner from the original grower sometime in the 50s. So I guess I just passed off a 50 year old plant on Julie.....

    PS Julie, open the box VERY CAREFULLY, Bob is right up against the top of the box.

  7. #7
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    Wow! I didn't know the history, nor that yours was from the originally awarded plant! 'The Virgin' was awarded the FCC/AOS on New Years day in 1960.

    For any that missed Diane's spectacular blooms you can revisit them here:
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ead.php?t=5353

    I'll go easy on the ole guy - I promise!

    Gege Hughes is still blooming away. I was a bit distracted this week, but I'll try and photograph it in and around the football games today!

    McLuckyDuck

  8. #8
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    Wow, what a great thread. I suppose with many plants, especially orchids, age really doesn't matter, or more specifically can't be determined unless there is a clear and cut separation between offspring plants and mother plants. I would suggest counting age from the time the first plant was created from seed or meristem.

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