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  • The Breeding of Red Cattleyas Using Slc. Precious Beauty as an Example

    The Breeding of Red/Orange Art-Shade Cattleyas
    Using Slc. Precious Beauty as an Example
    By Clint M. Dawley

    Slc. Precious Beauty
    (photo by Clint M. Dawley)
    Slc. Precious Beauty is a beautiful example of a miniature orchid in the cattleya alliance composed of Sophronitis, Laelia and Cattleya. This hybrid is made using the brilliant red Slc. Fire Lighter as the maternal parent and the gorgeous, elegantly star-shaped Lc. Trick or Treat as the pollen donor. Together, we will explore the hybridization of each generation of maternal and paternal parents and the traits and qualities that each contribute to the eye-popping attractiveness of Slc. Precious Beauty.

    The Parents

    Slc. Fire Lighter (photo by Sharon Dahl) Lc. Trick or Treat (photo by Kenth Esbensen)

    Slc. Fire Lighter is a compact hybrid made from Slc. Bright Angel (Slc. Precious Stones x S. coccinea) and Sl. Orpetii (L. pumila x S. coccinea) registered by H&R Orchids in 1998. The intriguing orange and yellow striations of Slc. Precious Stones were intensified by using the bright red S. coccinea as a pollen parent on both sides of the grex. Plant size was further reduced using the very small hybrid, Sl. Orpetii. Flowers are presented well in this hybrid and the red shades are completely saturated. The petals and sepals have a pleasing round shape, not at all like the star-shaped blossoms of Lc. Trick or Treat. The size and shape of the yellow and red labellum are passed on to Slc. Precious Beauty; however, the striations located on the progeny’s lip are filled with red “veins” and are visually very interesting. In summation, Slc. Precious Beauty inherits sparkling, saturated red-tones, round petals and sepals, and a broad labellum from this gorgeous red parent. The crossing and back-crossing of several generations of S. coccinea are quite apparent in these small jems.

    Lc. Trick or Treat (L. Icarus x Lc. Chit Chat) is a larger, very interesting multi-floral with star-shaped bright orange flowers that was registered by Stewart Orchids in 1973. The rich, water-color orange tones of Slc. Precious Beauty come from this parent, as well as a slightly longer, striated red and yellow labellum. L. Icarus (L. cinnabarina x L. flava) is a small charming bright orange hybrid constructed of two very small-growing Brazilian Laelia species that are shades of yellow, orange, and red. Lc. Chit Chat is another orange multi-floral that closely resembles Lc. Trick or Treat but is constructed from the small-flowered multifloral C. aurantiaca (another orange beauty) and L. coronet (L. cinnabarina x L. harpophylla). The goal in crossing several of the smaller-growing lithophytic Laelias of Brazil was to reduce the size of the plant while encouraging a multi-floral presentation in red and orange hues. S. coccinea produces a single, bright red flower while the smaller growing rupicolous Laelias are just as brightly colored and produce multiple flowers on a single inflorescence. These Laelias also have a greater heat tolerance than S. coccinea.

    In conclusion, Slc. Precious Beauty seems to have inherited the best genes from both of its parents–richly colored broad sepals and petals and a shorter inflorescence from Slc. Fire Lighter and a multi-flowered inflorescence, greater temperature tolerance, a striated labellum and bright orange tones from Lc. Trick or Treat.

    Learn more about Hybridizing Orchids at the OrchidTalk Orchid Forum
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