What makes an orchid hybrid "good"?
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  #1  
Old 07-28-2018, 11:42 PM
MojoShoujo MojoShoujo is offline
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;?
Default What makes an orchid hybrid "good"?

I had a blast at the CIOS speaker's day today but in conversations with some people I stumbled across a can of worms. Given that orchids are so diverse and wonderful, what makes one hybrid "better" than another?
The one example coming to mind is from one of the speakers' presentations on the history of green Cattleya breeding. At many points he showed two progeny from a cross and said something to the effect of "Some from this cross turned out great but others? Really bad." Many of the "really bad" ones I found lovely, and often preferred more than the "good" ones. One that sticks out was one of the 'awful' ones, that I fell in love with because the cupped petals around the curved lip gave it an almost lady-slipper appearance. It oozed more personality than the rest of the presentation put together!
I get how some things, like number of blooms and how long they last, are pretty universally preferred. But who's to say that the cupped Cattleya is any worse than the flat one? Or the little one is worse than the big one?
I tried to ask the guy I was seated next to but he wouldn't really give me an answer and I could tell it was a contentious topic. What better place for that than the Internet?
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2018, 07:08 AM
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;? Male
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AOS judges are the ones who say flat is better than cupped. If you disagree with them, and aren't presenting plants for them to judge, why should you care what they think? However if you ever decide to present an orchid for judging, you should probably start caring first!
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:56 AM
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;?
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As was just stated, it's all a matter of opinion, in this case an institutional shared opinion. Unfortunately, that also means it is still variable. A plant might get awarded in one part of the country, yet not in another, due to the differences in experience levels between judges in different geographies, not to mention their own opinions.
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:44 AM
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;? Female
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Often I'm charmed by flowers that would bomb by judging standards. And sometimes flowers highly regarded by judging standards strike me the way that clipped and manicured French poodles do -- a human vision of perfection that (to me) is removed from the natural perfection of a bloom.
I just likes what I likes. I don't worry about anything else.
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Old 07-29-2018, 03:31 PM
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;? Male
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Ditto to all of the above.

I recall a mini catt I bought a number of years ago from a friend who sold orchids. He was surprised by the one I picked out as he, personally, didn't care for the flower on that particular plant. I liked it as it had a pleasing form and the coloration was significantly different than its siblings. (Unfortunately I lost it some years later.) As with orchids in general -- or just about anything -- tastes differ.

It is also worth noting that tastes change over time. I recall talking to an old gent 15 or 20 yrs ago wherein the subject of paphs came up. He told me that at one time, the complex paphs (often refered to as "bulldog" paphs or "toads") like Paph Winston Churchill were once all the rage. But then they fell out of favor -- so much so that it had gotten to be almost impossible to get one awarded. As a result, breeding of such paphs pretty much came to a standstill and a number of nice hybrids were lost. In recent years, I've noticed that the "bulldogs" seem to be making a bit of a comeback.

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Old 07-29-2018, 03:55 PM
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Hypothetically speaking, if you bred orchids, you will find that the progeny you get that is deemed "good" or "bad" is just a matter of personal taste, as was mentioned prior by other members. This is because sexual reproduction will produce genetic variation. This occurs in species orchids/plants as well.

Genetic variation gives that species or hybrid a variety of traits that can withstand the pressures of natural selection. Without this variation, the species could end up being in deep trouble. So in essence in an evolutionary sense, no one trait is "good" or "bad", it just is.

When you see several individuals of one particular hybrid or species look nearly identical to one another, they are most likely cloned.

Seed grown plants will always have a wide range of variation, and it is much more apparent if you end up with tons of seedlings.

As was mentioned prior, if you don't agree with the judges, you don't agree. If you do agree with the judges, that's fine too.

In the end, you're the one who is growing the plant, what matters more is if you like what you're growing or not.

Again, as was said before, if you plan on getting plants judged, then unfortunately, you must comply to what the judges like.
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Old 07-30-2018, 03:54 PM
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What makes an orchid hybrid &quot;good&quot;?
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I much prefer collecting orchids that I find attractive. I do not care too much what others think. Incidentally, my orchids agree. They are never in bloom for the show season here.

I am not a fan of orchid show judging. Species orchids now often look nothing like the ones in the wild, orchids that should be fragrant are not, and, surprisingly, I, too, often prefer the orchid that did not win the ribbon or AOS award. It gets kind of boring when the orchids all start looking the same.

It really is not the fault of the judges. Judges have certain standards/criteria for the type of orchid that is being judged and that is what determines if an orchid is 'good' or not 'good'. They work very hard to get qualified as a judge and they really take the job seriously.
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