DVOS Presents: Norman Fang on New Color Forms of Species Phals
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Old 05-20-2022, 03:17 AM
estación seca's Avatar
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DVOS Presents: Norman Fang on New Color Forms of Species Phals Male
Default DVOS Presents: Norman Fang on New Color Forms of Species Phals

New Color Forms of Phalaenopsis Species
Norman Fang
Desert Valley Orchid Society
19 May 2022

Norman Fang, proprietor of Norman's Orchids / orchids.com, spoke to the Desert Valley Orchid Society on Thursday, May 19, 2022. Norman has long had an interest in Phalaenopsis species and hybrids, and has created many hybrids himself.

He received his degree in Ornamental Horticulture from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona in 1988. While a student, he managed the Raymond Burr Orchid Collection on campus. Two scholarships to study plant tissue culture allowed him to study under Dr. Murashige at the University of California and Dr. Tanabe at the University of Hawaii.

In 1986 he started his business Norman’s Orchids, based in both California and Taiwan. His parents, brother and sister soon joined him in the company as it grew, and he secured the domain orchids.com.

He has received more than 400 American Orchid Society flower quality awards and 20 AOS Show Trophies. In addition, he was honored in 2005 with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Agriculture at Cal Poly in Pomona.

He is past Vice President of the American Orchid Society, has chaired the AOS Development Committee, and currently serves on their Public Relations Committee. He is a Founding Member and Regional Director of the International Phalaenopsis Alliance and PhalFanatic Phalaenopsis Group. He supports Judging Centers, societies and the AOS with financial, scholarship and plant donations. He is an AOS Judge.

I could not take notes during the talk, since I was running the projector. But I believe what I have written accurately reflects what Norman said. I used IOSPE to confirm flowering seasons, since I couldn't remember all of them. As always, any errors are mine. If I remember any more tidbits I will edit to insert them.

Many new forms of Phalaenopsis species have been found in the last 50 years. Since the CITES convention took effect these have not been able to enter the US legally. Norman has been working to bring them, or their hybrids, to the US. He most often imports flasks to the US from Taiwan.

He went alphabetically through the species that have been most used in hybridization. He is very excited that many good crosses can now be remade with different color forms of ancestor species. Many wild-collected plants are very hard to grow, but plants from cultivation overcome this.

Phalaenopsis amabilis occurs over a very wide geographic range, from Australia to New Guinea and the Philippines. It flowers in Spring and Summer. As is common with widespread species, there are substantial differences in flowers, fragrance and cool tolerance. He showed a slide with flowers from 6 different localities. A lot of the plants in the US lack fragrance completely, but more fragrant plants are now coming to the US. All populations generally experience hot and humid summer days. Some populations experience quite low winter night temperatures in habitat, and others don't. This is one of the species that can lend cool tolerance to its progeny, depending on the origin of the plants.

Phalaenopsis bellina is a relatively small plant from Borneo. It flowers in summer on sequentially flowering spikes, meaning they produce flowers one after another for a long time. These spikes may remain alive for many years. They should not be removed. Large old plants may be in continuous flower for years if kept warm enough. It is a lowland plant that grows hot, wet and humid all year. It prefers 85 degree F / 29C nights all year round, with warmer days. He said this would be a great plant to grow in metro Phoenix because it likes hot nights. It is accustomed to high relative humidity and should always be kept above 50%. The typical form has yellowish green petals and sepals with a large magenta area at the center. The Borneo form has relatively equal petal and sepal spacing, and is the typical form seen in the US. Other wild forms have been brought into cultivation from other islands. They tend to have the dorsal sepal and two upper petals close together, with a substantial gap between upper petals and lower sepals. This is not preferred for judging but many people prefer this wild type. In addition some wild type plants have bright red-pink coloring at the center. Alba, coerulea, green and yellow forms have been found and are being used in hybridization. At one time it was considered a variety of Phal. violacea, so there has been extensive hybridization of the two species under the name of Phal. violacea.

Phalaenopsis celebensis is unusual in having an inflorescence with a ball of relatively small flowers, like a fireworks explosion. It can help judges to know the ancestry of hybrids including Phal. celebensis, so the way flowers are borne is not counted as a flaw. This is a summer flowering species. Leaves are attractively mottled. It is a hot growing species from the lowlands of Sulawesi/Celebes Island.

Phalaenopsis cornucervi is also very widespread, from India to the Philippines and Indonesia. The typical color is yellow with a lot of red spots. There are forms completely red, as well as alba forms. It has sequential flower spikes, so don't cut them off. It usually flowers in summer, but can flower at any time of the year if warm enough. Although it is a hot growing species, easily tolerating temperatures into the low 100s F / 37-40C if humidity is good, it also tolerates winter nights around 40 F / 4C. It lends this temperature tolerance to its progeny.

Phalaenopsis equestris is a small plant, an ancestor of almost all mini Phals. It occurs from southern Taiwan to the Philippines. There are a great many color forms, including several shades of pink lip, coeruleas, albas, orange and pelorics. It is a warm to hot growing species usually blooming in Fall, though it can flower at any time if temperatures are correct. It makes many keikiis on flower stalks, and keikiis soon flower, so don't cut them off.

Norman obviously loves Phalaenopsis gigantea, because he spent a lot of time on it. It is the largest plant in the genus, though it can take many years for plants to attain full size. Fortunately they usually flower long before the leaves are that huge. Its plants size is not passed to progeny; most gigantea hybrids are no larger than those with other ancestry. Many plants now in cultivation flower in 3" / 7.5cm pots. The two main forms known are the Sabah and the Borneo forms. The Sabah form has long, narrow leaves, while the Borneo form has rounder leaves, like what most people think are Phals. Most hobbyists would prefer the rounder leaves, but the Sabah form has much better color. It experiences hot and humid conditions all year in habitat. It retains spikes for many years, but only flowers after a typhoon comes through and lowers temperatures from the usual. This might be at any time of the year, and old plants with numerous inflorescences make a great show. Temperature manipulation is helpful to flower it in cultivation. Gigantea is an important ancestor of spotted and barred flowers, and it also passes on its nice fragrance. Norman showed photos of 50+ year old wild-collected plants growing mounted in Taiwan. A Taiwanese lumber dealer is interested in orchids. He directed his crews to salvage all the giganteas from a logged area in Indonesia. He later went to look at the survivors. One had very different leaves, a silvery green. He knew it would be special but it was winter in Taiwan and he didn't want to risk taking the plant home. The Indonesian crew grew the plant in for several years, and then it flowered - the only alba gigantea ever seen. It was selfed and the progeny are now being widely distributed. They flower when quite small, with leaf spans of only 6" / 15cm. It is being used to remake a lot of gigantea hybrids.

Phalaenopsis javanica has very colorful and very small flowers, with lots of red bars on a yellow background. It flowers in summer and expects warm temperatures all year. It is the ancestor of all micro-mini Phals. New color forms have been found, including coeruleas with blue lips and yellow petals and sepals, and alba forms. These will lead to new colors in a lot of micro-mini remakes.

Phalaenopsis kapuasensis is a winter through summer flowerer from very hot and humid lowland Kalimantan in Borneo. It expects to be hot and humid all year. It flowers profusely on pendant spikes that can flower for many years, so don't cut them. They best known form has red bars on a yellow background, but forms with almost all red have been found and are being used in hybridization.

Phalaenopsis lindenii is a small plant from the Philippines. It has mottled leaves and short inflorescences bearing a lot of of small flowers in Fall. Lips have vertical pink stripes, and all pink-striped Phals have Phal. lindenii in their ancestry. It differs from Phal. equestris in lip details and leaf mottling, as well as temperature preferences. Coming from higher elevations than most other Phals, Phal. lindenii tolerates much cooler winter temperatures than any other species.

Phalaenopsis lobbii is another important ancestor of mini Phals, blooming in Spring. It has small flowers with a very wide, spade-shaped lip. The dorsal sepal and lateral petals tend to be carried well separated from the other flower parts, leaving a gap, and it has been called the rabbit-ears Phal. Forms in the US are mostly white with a tan lip, but many other forms have been found, with flower parts ranging from light to dark pink, yellow, orange, coerulea, and alba. Many have lips that are pink rather than tan. Some have flowers opening white and becoming pink with time. It has a wide elevation range from India to Vietnam, and tolerates fairly cool winter temperatures. It is an ancestor of the very popular hybrid Mini Mark.

Phalaenopsis lowii is unique in having a pink proboscis projecting from the column. It is a cool growing plant that prefers climates like San Francisco. It is deciduous in habitat for a long, dry winter, though in cultivation it retains its leaves if qwatered.

Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana from lowlands in the Philippines is a hot-growing plant with sequential inflorescences that may flower for many years. It often makes keikiis. Flowers are fairly large for species Phals. Most forms in the US have a white or yellowish base, brightly barred with reddish pink. Forms have been found with coerulea, alba and green coloring, as well as forms with so much barring the base almost can't be seen. They have been line-bred for wider flower parts.

Phalaenopsis mannii is a Spring flowering species from northeastern India to Vietnam and medium to higher elevations. It grows warm to cool in winter. They like high humidity all year but get a long, dry winter rest with little rain. It is a very succulent species. You can leave it for 2 weeks without watering and not worry about it. Typical forms have a base of yellow with broad maroon horizontal stripes. Forms have been found that are all red, all yellow and alba. Almost all yellow Phals trace ancestry to this species, and red as well, because yellow genes are necessary for producing red Phals.

Phalaenopsis modesta is the Phal. with the strongest fragrance, like grape soda. It is a warm to hot growing species with long, pendant spikes in spring. Flowers are smallish with a white base and pink-purple bars. Forms have been found that are almost all pink. If you want a fragrant Phal. this is it. Norman told of a customer who phoned him soon after leaving the nursery, saying the fragrance was almost too strong in the car.

Phalaenopsis philippinensis has large white flowers, and is found only in the Philippines. Like the other large-flowered white species it expects warm summers but tolerates cooler winter temperatures than the brightly colored species. Many wild forms are fragrant but breeders seeking wider and rounder flowers have lost the fragrance. Norman is attempting to breed more fragrant examples. It has very attractively mottled leaves.

Phalaenopsis pulcherrima (formerly Doritis) is found throughout southeast Asia. It gets more light in habitat than any other species. The inflorescence is very upright. There are a great many color forms, from dark pink to white, and pelorics.

Phalaenopsis schilleriana, from the Philippines, is a spectacular pink-flowering, large plant that may have dozens of very long, cascading spikes of large fragrant flowers. Leaves are very attractively mottled with silver-green. It is a hot grower. As with other species hybridizers have ignored fragrance, but Norman is breeding lines that are quite fragrant, as well as lines having even more mottled leaves. He found a collection of almost silver-leafed plants at a grower in Taiwan. The owner for years had been selecting out the most silver-leafed plants from shipments and keeping them for himself. They are smaller and slower-growing than typical plants because they have much less chlorophyll.

Phalaenopsis stuartiana is another hot-growing, fragrant species from the Philippines. It is a medium sized plant with mottled leaves, though not as mottled as schilleriana. It has very long, branching inflorescences with a great many white flowers that are fragrant. Flowers have a lot of red spots near the center, giving it the name Tiger Orchid. Variety nobilis is a much smaller plant; flowers open white and age deep yellow. The original wild-collected var. nobilis were very hard to grow, and most people killed them. Their captive-bred progeny are much easier to grow. This variety does not do well constantly moist; it should dry out well between waterings. Norman has selected more fragrant examples of nobilis and line bred them, as well as using them in hybrids.

Phalaenopsis tetraspis is a hot grower from Indonesia and many neighboring islands. Its flowers, borne in Summer, have a base color of white with pink bars and are very fragrant. The type called "C1" or var. Christiana has chromosome segments that may move around the genome, yielding flowers with petals varying between all pink or all white, and any mix of spots and bars in between. It is temperature dependent, with more white with cooler temperatures. Flowers have a fuzzy tip to the lip, resembling a cotton swab. Many color forms exist in nature but have not been introduced to the US due to the CITES convention. It is likely each of the many islands on which it occurs has a different color form. There are known forms of all white, all pink, a coffee-colored brown and coerulea. When various color forms are crossed all sorts of very unusual colors can be obtained, some approaching orange.

Phalaenopsis venosa is an Indonesian warm growing species with brownish yellow flowers having wide segments. It flowers Spring through Fall. It has been used to breed orange Phals. Forms are known with coloring almost all yellow to almost all brown. It has an unusual fragrance many people dislike, but when bred with other fragrant species progeny usually have pleasant fragrances.

Phalaenopsis violacea from Malaysia and Indonesia is a hot-growing species from which Phal. bellina was separated only recently. It too prefers very hot conditions and high humidity all year; see recommendations for Phal. bellina, above. Indigo, pink, blue, white and alba forms have been line bred. Some have flowers with sharp points on segments, and others duller. This may be because ancestry of many bellina and violacea hybrids, and line-bred species, is uncertain, since they were considered one species for so long. These two species are favorites of light table growers. They have short inflorescences so they easily fit under lights. Many growers in areas with suitable climates for outdoor growth nevertheless grow them indoors under lights to prevent insect or animal damage. Norman recommended that when children leave the house their old bedroom can be converted to an orchid growing room. An audience member pointed out this also serves the purpose of preventing them from moving back in.

Phalaenopsis zebrina is a small plant with small fragrant flowers of white base, with red bars across flower parts. Forms have been found with almost no bars to almost no white showing.
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Last edited by estación seca; 05-20-2022 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 05-20-2022, 07:13 AM
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Dusty Ol' Man Dusty Ol' Man is offline
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Excellent information. Maybe this should be a sticky.
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Old 05-20-2022, 09:56 AM
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I agree, and I copied/stuck it under Phal Species thread.
Caveat: Everything suggested is based on my environment and culture. Please adjust accordingly.
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Old 05-20-2022, 11:14 AM
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DVOS Presents: Norman Fang on New Color Forms of Species Phals Female
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TY es for this synopsis. I'll refer to it frequently.
Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools because they have to say something. Plato
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Old 05-20-2022, 04:12 PM
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Wow, that's one hell of a memory! Great synopsis!
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