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Cleisocentron merrillianum (was gokusingii)

Discussion in 'Orchid Species' started by Reyna, May 15, 2012.

  1. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    This plant has the bluest flowers I have ever seen on an orchid. (Sadly, I am not a good enough photographer to truly capture it.) This species is similar to merrillianum, but gokusingii has more terete leaves. I grow the two plants side by side, both in 6" baskets filled with a medium bark mix that has a little chopped sphagnum mixed in. The baskets are hanging up with my vandas, so they stay moist, but I have them situated such that the big vandas provide a lot of shade.
    Cleistocentron guk w copyright.jpg
     
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  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sarah, you may have the true Cleisocentron merillianum. I have been told that what most of us have as merillianum is actually gokusingii. If you look at this plant, you can see the foliage is very different. http://www.orchidsinteractive.com/threads/cleisocentron-merillianum.7372/. I may be turned around on this, but either way it is lovely (and hard to photograph).
     
  3. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    I have two plants one labeled merillianum and the other labeled gokusingii. The two plants--particularly the leaves--are distinctly different. You may be correct Marni. It is entirely possible that the names are reversed. So far I haven't found a good source to officially determine which is which. When I get home tonight, I will take a photo of the two plants side by side.
     
  4. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Oh my, my, my! Reyna, short of examining the lip, it sure looks like the real merillianum. Congratulations, it's very rare in the US.

    I went to hear Dr. Tony (Anthony) Lamb's talk at the Malihini Orchid Society in Cupertino last year. He showed and explained to me the key for Cleisocentron gokusingii and merillianum. He said that although there are more specific differences, the fastest way to tell them apart is by the leaves. C. gokusingii leaves aren't terete, having a flat-ish top surface, while C. merillianum leaves are nearly entirely terete and round in cross section.

    Here are the keys he showed me from the Malesian Orchid Journal:

    Leaves distinctly constricted c. 2cm below the apex, ligulate, very shortly unequally bilobed, sheaths not striate; stems 0.7-0.8cm in diameter; front wall callus inside spur not discernible = C. gokusingii
    Leaves not constricted c. 2cm below the apex, terete to ligulate, acute or shortly unequally bilobed, sheaths striate; stems c. 0.5cm in diameter; spur with a small front wall callus below the base of the midlobe = C. merillianum
     
  5. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    Alright, here are the two Cleiesocentron side by side. (The plant labeled merillianum is on the left and the plant labeled gokusingii is on the right, but with how poorly these are known, it is entirely possible that both are mislabeled.)

    They have obviously different growth habits. Neither is currently in bloom, unfortunately. Both have new flower spikes starting though. It looks like from the description of the leaves that the one on the left is actually gokusingii because the leaves are not terete, while the plant on the right is merillianum. I have also attached close up views of the two leaves -- the first is a close up of the plant on the left, the second is the plant on the right.
    Cleis.jpg non terete leaves.jpg terete leaves.jpg
     
  6. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Soooo exciting!! From the pictures, the one on the right is the real deal, C. merillianum and the one on the left, C. gokusingii.
     
  7. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    Well that is ironic -- if that is the case both of them were mislabeled. Sheesh. I believe you Jacob. Looks like I need to be swapping the tags. :) Do you happen to have the article or a cite to it? I'd like to hang onto it so that when and if I enter one or the other in a show and some know-it-all says I have the name wrong, I have some back up? :)

    The really funny thing is that when I purchased the one on the right (aka the real deal merillianum), it was sitting with several of the other type. When I picked up the obvious oddball, they assured me that it produced "the same flowers" just had a "funky growth habit." Like many of you, I am always intrigued by plants that are just a bit atypical, particularly when I already have one of the typical form. And once again, I am glad I bought the "funky" one. :)
     
  8. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Well, you don't need to take my word for it. Just used the Malesian Orchid Journal key I posted earlier in this thread, it is the authority. Plant taxonomy isn't always user-friendly, but a well-written key empowers anyone who knows how to read and use it to identify their own plants. Unfortunately lots of know-it-alls don't know how to use or don't care to use keys, but this doesn't stop them from asserting themselves.

    I wonder if you will set a selfing pod ;) on your funky plant...
     
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  9. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    Sounds good Jacob.
    Your word is generally good enough for me. :) When are you publishing YOUR book? :D

    I will certainly try -- it should bloom again in about a month judging from the size of the flower spike. Gunna need a really sharp toothpick. :)
     
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  10. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just another by-product of orchid growing. We become connoisseurs of toothpicks.
     
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  11. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    LOL

    I am partial to forceps :p
     
  12. Reyna

    Reyna Orchid Obsessed Supporting Member

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    Connoisseurs of toothpicks and newspapers from far flung states or even countries. :)
     
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  13. Konoid

    Konoid New Member

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    Oh wow! Fantastic to see the real Cleisocentron merrillianum (Ames) Christenson in cultivation! Do you still have the plant, and did you succeed in propagating it? It would certainly be worthwile propagating such a rare species.