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  #1  
Old 05-20-2016, 06:01 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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Check out this thread... Some things currently in bloom. Yeah, they aren't orchids... but if you scroll down you'll see some nice propagation going on.

Succulents are relatively easy to grow from seed. In other words... you don't need to flask them. Which means... what? How different would the succulent hobby be if succulent seeds did require flasking? How different would the orchid hobby be if orchid seeds did not require flasking?

I've mentioned in a couple threads that I've successfully germinated some reed-stem Epidendrum seeds without flasking them. I basically used the same technique that I use for succulent seeds, Begonia seeds, Gesneriad seeds and so on.

I'm guessing that, unlike the seeds of most orchids, the seeds of some reed-stem Epi species contain enough nutrients to germinate on their own. It's just a guess though because the only way to be certain that absolutely no facilitative fungus was involved would be to flask the sterilized seeds without any nutrients. Which I'm probably not going to do...

Instead, I've been going around sticking Epi secundum pollen in different flowers...

- Barkeria cyclotella x Bardendrum Terusan: 1 pod nearly ripe (25 Jan)
- Brassavola digbyana x nodosa: 1 pod developing (5 Apr) and 1 pod around half mature (23 Feb)
- Cattleya nobilior: 1 pod developing (5 Apr)
- Cattleya Big White Floof: 2 pods developing (5 Apr)
- Epc. Cerina 'Nadia': 2 pods around half mature (3 Mar)
- Prosthechea cochleata: 3 pods nearly mature (27 Dec)

For some of these it's a bit surprising that pods have even started to develop. And, interestingly enough, this is pretty much the same list of orchids that I've attempted to pollinate with pollen from Epi secundum. Even though it's a pretty small sample group it seems like many, or even most, orchids in the Cattleya alliance are receptive to Epi secundum pollen.

Here are the registered intergeneric crosses with Epi secundum as the pollen parent....

- Epicatanthe Morningstar Sunshine = Cattlianthe Panache Domaine x Epidendrum secundum
- Epicatanthe Party Blossom = Cattlianthe Hawaiian Party x Epidendrum secundum
- Epicatanthe Saturn's Rings = Cattlianthe Golden Wax x Epidendrum secundum
- Epicattleya Purple Passion = Cattleya intermedia x Epidendrum secundum

That's the entire list! And they were all made by the same nursery... Rex Foster Orchids.

I'm guessing that crosses with Epi secundum as the pollen parent aren't very spectacular. But, some reed-stem intergeneric crosses aren't too shabby... Reed-stem Epidendrum Hybrids. Personally, I'd be pretty happy if I could easily grow Epicattleya Orange Blaze from seed!

Epc Orange Blaze is 75% reed-stem. What are the chances that it can easily grow from seed? Coincidentally, there's one currently on eBay... Epidendrum "Orange Blaze", Orchidée, Orchid... in France.

Here's a clue regarding whether 50% or higher reed-stem Epi crosses might be able to easily germinate from seed...

Quote:
One of the oldest artificial epidendrum hybrids is Epidendrum O'brienianum, a cross between E. radicans and a member of the E. secundum complex (Epidendrum evectum). The E. secundum influence predominates in that the column is straight and the lip is uppermost with a small fleshy callus. Epidendrum O'brienianum is a common garden plant in subtropical areas; spontaneous seedlings occur in varying colors. This hybrid sometimes "escapes" from the garden and may appear to be native in areas as far apart as Mexico and Africa. Unlabled plants in gardens and greenhouses are likely to be hybrids, and they may have almost any combination of reed-stem species in their background. These epidendrums are usually tetraploids, so that the Epidendrum parent predominates in crosses with Cattleya or Laelia. Epicattleyas of this type could easily pass for pure reed-stems in dim light, but they always have at least the tip of the column free from the lip. - Robert L. Dressler, Will the Real Epidendrum ibaguense Please Stand Up?
If the crosses themselves are strongly influenced by the reed-stem parent... then you'd figure that the same would be true of their seeds. This would mean that there's a decent chance that the seeds of 50% reed-stem crosses can be easily germinated. If it is relatively easy to germinate 50% reed-stem seeds... then, in theory, many people would be happy to hybridize accordingly... and, by the law of truly large numbers, we'd expect to see at least a few 50% reed-stem crosses that we'd be happy to purchase or trade for. Over time there would be an increase in the supply of seeds from desirable crosses. These seeds would be relatively easy to germinate... so as their supply increased... there would be a logical and corresponding increase in total happiness.

With more and more people happily growing orchids from seed we would also expect to see faster climatic convergence. Some seedlings are always going to be better suited to any given conditions. So more seedlings grown would mean faster adaptation. As a result, there would be more and more orchids growing outdoors year around in colder and/or drier areas. Basically...

more seedlings -> more difference -> more progress
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:21 AM
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stonedragonfarms stonedragonfarms is offline
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Interesting thread, a few observations:
a. Many of the "flashy" or notable crosses start out with very nice (ie line bred, awarded, tetraploid, etc.) parents; it would be interesting to look at R. Foster's notes and see if the Epi. secundum that he was using had a notable quality that made him want to use it in his breeding program.
b. Cross successfully made and seedlings successfully germinated and grown on, the task of bringing them all to flowering size so they can be evaluated can commence--reed stems grow quite quickly, but I'd wonder if you would be willing to dedicate a couple 20' benches to them? A lot of us (even those of us that grow in the greenhouse) simply don't have the space required to grow that many plants on,preparing for the next stage of their journey.
c. It would be helpful to see what sort of interest there is the reed stem crosses; I had a couple large pots of them in my first greenhouse--they were great flashes of color all year round, and happily grew in my cymbidium house in the midwest, pretty much shrugging off the dark days of winter and the cold temps at which I kept the greenhouse at night. Here on the west coast I most often encounter them either as landscape plants or cheap pot plants (a la Trader Joe's, Kroger and the like); many of the old hybrids grow into monsters that largely relegated them to subtropical landscaping or an out of the way pot in the greenhouse behind the water heater--they need so much light to flower well, that it's very hard to grow them under anything other than metal halides. Conversely, the new smaller lines of pompom reedstems are much easier to flower, most stay in the 10-12" range (though the flower spike tends to add about 6" in height to the plant), have more intense, saturated hued flowers and hold a higher flower count than their ancestors. They're cute "little" things, but at almost every show I have attended in the last 2 years, the vendors couldn't give them away.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:34 AM
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In the Cattleya family, intergeneric breeding is relatively easy, as almost all plants have the same number of cromosones. This is not the case in certain other Orchid families (notably Paphiopedilum).

Concerning the space to grow a large number of seedlings, you can usually see on the plants whether there are any tetraploids in the group, so you can select those early. To select for the best flower quality in the regular diploids, yoh will have to grow them ro BS though.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:29 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonedragonfarms View Post
it would be interesting to look at R. Foster's notes and see if the Epi. secundum that he was using had a notable quality that made him want to use it in his breeding program.
I talked to John Walters of Rex Foster Orchids and he said that he would try and track down the notes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonedragonfarms View Post
I'd wonder if you would be willing to dedicate a couple 20' benches to them? A lot of us (even those of us that grow in the greenhouse) simply don't have the space required to grow that many plants on,preparing for the next stage of their journey.
Space limitations are only going to be an issue if the reed-stem crosses can be easily grown from seed. I don't honestly know whether they can be easily grown from seed. Nobody that I know of has done so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonedragonfarms View Post
Here on the west coast I most often encounter them either as landscape plants or cheap pot plants (a la Trader Joe's, Kroger and the like);
From my perspective, if the reed-stem crosses can be easily grown from seed... then you'd want to try and cross them with Epidendrum conopseum. Maybe eventually you'd have some Epidendrums that could grow outside year around in Portland.

My main goal is for there to be more orchids on trees everywhere... including colder/drier places. One significant obstacle is that orchids can't be easily grown from seed. However, it really seems like some reed-stems are an exception to this rule. But even if lots of people grew reed-stems from seed... it would take quite a while to select for exceptionally drought or cold tolerant individuals. This is why I'm hoping that some reed-stem crosses will be easy to grow from seed. The larger the pool of potential traits to select from... the less time it will take to select for exceptionally tolerant individuals.
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