You just bought an orchid? Donít
lose the name tag!
It identifies the kind
of orchid it is in case you want to ask for help or just brag.
It can tell you a lot
about what culture is required.
If someone saw your
nice flower, they would like to know what it is called.
growers/collectors need to know the pedigree to know how it relates to other
The name is needed for
Years ago plants and animals
were classified and organized into a structure that showed the relationships of
one organism to another. A set of rules defines how everything is to be named.
Latin was the universal language of science at the time and is still used today
in the naming conventions.
As a simple example, we have:
The first part of the name tells
us that we have a member of the cattleya genus. The second part
tells us that it is the species schilleriana. There are many other
species of cattleya but this is a specific one. Also note that the word "cattleya"
is capitalized - the genus is always capitalized. The species schilleriana
is in lower case - a species name is always in lower case. And another point -
we have a species - the singular form is "species" not
"specie". A little looking would tell us that the genus was named
after a William Cattleya in 1842 and this species was named after a Mr Schiller.
Because it is a species, the names have been Latinised.
Now for another example:
Jewel Box 'Sheharazade'
The "Slc" stands for "Sophrolaeliocattleya".
Well it seems that some orchids of one genus will actually cross with orchids of
a different genus. The result is an intergeneric hybrid. In this case we
have a Sophronitis species crossed with a Laelia crossed with a Cattleya.
No, not all at the same time! Anyway, we now have a hybrid that was called
"Jewel Box". Notice the capital letters - it is not a species. The
word in quotes, "Sheharazade", is the name given to one special plant
of this cross, a specific clone. There were many babies from this cross
but one really stood out and it had to have a name of its own. If your plants
donít already have a clonal name, you can give them one of your own.
A more complicated one:
Armeni White (armeniacum 'Spectacular II' FCC/AOS x delanatii
The capitals on "Armeni
White" tell us that this is a hybrid within the genus Paphiopedilum.
The brackets signal that what follow tells us about the parents. "Armeni
White" is a cross between Paphiopedilum armeniacum and Paphiopedilum
delanatii. The clonal names tell us which specific parents were used in the
cross. By convention, the seed-producing (female) parent is listed first,
followed by the "x", followed by the pollen (male) parent. It is
sometimes very important to know which was which. The group of plants resulting
from the cross is called a grex.
The other thing present, the
"FCC/AOS" is an award designation. The American Orchid Society (AOS)
has many types of awards, this one being a First Class Certificate. The common
awards are HCC, AM, and FCC, the FCC being the highest.
Let us say that my plant of this
cross just won an AM/AOS and I called the plant "Snow Queen", what
would my label look like?
Armeni White 'Snow Queen' AM/AOS
(armeniacum 'Spectacular II' FCC/AOS x delanatii 'Pink Mist')
What if I divide the plant to
sell a piece - what goes on the tag? ANS: Just what is on it now. They are both
the same clone. What if I divide the plant, sell the piece and that piece wins
an award? ANS: The clonal name and award can now be put on my plant's nametag.
It is the same actual plant or clone. A different plant of the same cross
Little Toshie 'Golden Fantasy' (Blc Toshie Aoki x Sc Beaufort)
The thing to note here is that
one parent is a "Blc" which stands for "Brassolaeliocattleya"
and "Sc" which is "Sophrocattleya". The genera
combined in this cross are Brassavola, Laelia, Cattleya with Sophronitis
and Cattleya. This combination of four genera is called a Potinara.
The link below gives a table of all the intergeneric genus names with their
You might also find a couple
other terms on a plant label from time to time. One is self, which
indicates that the parent was self-pollinated. The label usually shows x
self. The other possibility is sib or sib-cross, usually
abbreviated x sib or x sibling. Technically this refers to a
brother-sister cross, but it is generally used to refer to two different clones
Orchid hybrid names are registered by the Royal Horticultural Society. They have a web site (listed below) that provides access to the name registry. It is always a good idea to look up your hybrid name to see if the name has actually been registered, if it is spelled correctly, and to determine the parents. If you have the parents only, check to see if the cross has been named.
more information here are a few links:
The American Orchid Society
Intergeneric Orchid Genus
Names - http://retirees.uwaterloo.ca/~jerry/orchids/intergen.html
RHS Orchid Register Search,
to find the parents of your hybrid - http://www.rhs.org.uk/research/registerpages/orchidsearch.asp
RHS Orchid Register Search,
to see if your cross has been named http://www.rhs.org.uk/research/registerpages/orchid_parentage.asp
individual plant raised from a single seed, with all its subsequent vegetative
subdivision of a family, consisting of one or more species which show similar
characteristics and appear to have a common ancestry.
flock or group, applied collectively to the offspring of a given cross.
offspring resulting from the union of a species or hybrid with another species
or among two or more genera.
Selfing or self-pollination:
The pollination of a flower with
pollen from the same plant.
Species: a kind of plant distinct from other kinds.
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