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How do orchid species get introduced into cultivation?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by ezluckyfreee, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. ezluckyfreee

    ezluckyfreee New Member

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    Some species, such as Slippers with showy flowers, are put into cultivation within 5 years.

    However, there are whole genuses of angraecoid orchids that were discovered many decades ago, but remain out of the trade. Despite their beautiful flowers, they are grown in cultivation only from wild collected plants, usually by collectors living in Africa.

    Coelogynes.com claims that out of 200 species of coelogyne, only 80 are in cultivation.

    Is there a good reason for this? Are Paph and phrag enthusiasts just more aggressive?
     
  2. carl

    carl Active Member

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    Showy flowers sell. Others don't.

    Also, some species are just a lot more tractable than others, so tend to spread in cultivation more rapidly.
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Also, Paph growers pay way more money than regular orchid growers so there is more money in it.
     
  4. ezluckyfreee

    ezluckyfreee New Member

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    Ah, so what we need are rich angraecoid collectors!
     
  5. Piranhacon

    Piranhacon Member

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    This is my opinion on the matter. It may not be the entire story, but I think these ideas may be plausible in explaining the disparity between Angraecoid collection versus Paph and Phrag collection.

    Paphs and Phrags are not only unusual in floral morphology, but some are very colorful or have striking patterns. Many Paphs and Phrags also have big flowers.

    Some Paphs have beautiful leaf mottling on them. This makes them appealing when the plants are out of bloom.

    Yes, Paphs and Phrags fetch high prices due to perceived value. This perceived value can translate to people taking them on as part of a money making scheme, (much like Tulip Mania was to the Dutch).

    The real value lies in their relative difficulty to be reproduced in cultivation. This is in due part because some of these orchids may have seeds that have dormancies. They may take a long time to germinate. I have personally not commissioned nor have myself sown seeds of Paphs and Phrags, but I am aware that some terrestrial orchids have this issue. In some cases, these dormancies can take up to 1 - 2 years to break. In other cases, it may require special techniques in order to break those dormancies. These factors tend to raise the prices of the plants.

    Also, in some cases, they may also be rare in the wild. This also raises the prices of the plants.

    Paphs and Phrags tend to generally not be fairly large plants. They are moderately large at their largest, and miniature Paphs are easy for people to place in their collections. Size is a big factor for many people due to limitations in space.

    Together, a Paph or Phrag's perceived value, rarity in the wild, reasonable size, and difficulty to raise from seed can make for the right ingredients for a collecting frenzy.



    Now, let's compare this to Angraecoids...

    Angraecoids may have unusual flower morphologies, but they are mainly due to the length of the spurs of each species.

    Most Angraecoids are either mostly white, mostly green, a combination of white and green, peach colored, or a buff color. Those are not eye catching color options for many orchid growers.

    While it is true that many Angraecoids are large flowered, there are also miniature Angraecoids with flowers that are smaller than 1" in diameter. Flowers that small are not always eye catchers either unless the flowers are produced en masse or if they are very colorful.

    Some Angraecoids have strong fragrances that are produced at night. Some people might be sensitive to these strong smells, it may be too overpowering for these people. Some people may not even know that many of them are fragrant at night. People usually go to nurseries to purchase their plants during the day. If they didn't do their research, the casual grower would not ever have guessed these flowers smell amazing at night.

    Some Angraecoids also get fairly large in size. Some of the larger species can have a total wingspan of over 1' across. And in other cases, some of the larger species can get quite tall. Large sized Angraecoids are prohibitive to grow for some people, hence why some of the miniature Angraecoids might sell better than their larger counterparts.

    These are some of things I can think of that would account for more people wanting to collect Paphs and Phrags over Angraecoids.

    I myself do not collect Angraecoids all that much. Size and color tend to be the deal breakers in many cases for me. I will make exceptions for size if the flowers are colorful or very unusual in shape. I will also make exceptions for size if the leaf morphology is unusual as well. I'm pretty picky about choosing the species of Angraecoids I want to place in my collection. I generally tend to like the smaller ones with unusual floral morphologies.

    In my opinion, Angraecoids are a tougher sale than a Paph or a Phrag. Unless I myself am enthusiastic about bringing in a ton of rare and obscure Angraecoids, I wouldn't be stocking them as my bread and butter stock.

    It is far easier for me to want to stock a good amount of Paphs or Phrags I may not usually have an interest in collecting because I know they will sell.

    However, this opens up the doors to some people who are very passionate about obtaining rare and obscure Angraecoids and selling them in order to fill the needs of others who share the same passion.

    Coelogyne are pretty popular, in my opinion. In some cases, the species of Coelogyne that are not in cultivation may be due to people not being able to obtain plant material where production on them can begin.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  6. ezluckyfreee

    ezluckyfreee New Member

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    Interesting! Why do you think that is?
     
  7. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Into cultivation in 5 years? I remember when hangianum and kovachii paperwork was requisite. The whole process was much more than 5 years.

    Do a search on here for rungsuriyanum, sort for the earliest result and I’m fairly certain it’s longer than 5 years. Those still aren’t legal here. In cultivation I suppose as I’ve noticed they’re being illegally sold on eBay.

    Also, what Angraecoid genera are you referencing that hasn’t been introduced into the hobby? Or even species for that matter? I have a lot of Angraecoids and can’t think of many I’m missing due to CITES or disinterest in propagation by horticulture.

    If anyone wants to make a population of Cyrtorchis crassifolia, I’ll pay for the lab work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  8. ezluckyfreee

    ezluckyfreee New Member

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    I was barely out of preschool when that happened of course so I may be misunderstanding the whole process, but I guess there's a difference between in cultivation, and legal in the USA, and I'm mostly talking about the former.

    Paph. rungsuriyanum was discovered around 2014, and while it isn't legal, it was being propagated for cultivation basically immediately it seems.


    I made another post about Coelogyne triuncialis. It seems like it's the smallest species of Coelogyne, not to mention it's interesting translucent flowers, and I can't find anything about anyone growing it.

    The angraecoid genus and it's sole species Ossiculum aurantiacum seems like it's only being grown by botanists in Cameroon (where it is endemic). The genus Sphyrarhynchus and it's sole species are very rare, although I did find one wanted post attempting to propagate it and a post on a website that no longer exists. The genus Bolusiella doesn't seem to be in cultivation, although the Atlanta Botanical Gardens have a few plants. Margelliantha has six species, none of which are grown, Ancistrorhynchus refractus is a neat species that isn't in cultivation (and none of the 17 species in this genus are either).

    Mind you, this is all based on googling. I saw Ossiculum aurantiacum and wondered why it wasn't being grown, and then went down the rabbit hole, so hopefully I'm not totally mistaken here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  9. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The operative word in that sentence is "it seems." Rumor has it that the first ones exported where not grown in vitro, rather shipped in vitro. By now they should be grown in vitro. The turnaround time in flask for most paphs is not longer than for most other genera.

    There are a lot of things that are in cultivation that are not in the trade. Since CITES to import legally the exporting country has to have someone who is cultivating them for export and be able to get the proper documentation.

    In answer to why I think Paph growers are different:
    I've dealt with orchid growers for decades and know the attitudes and questions I am likely to get. It is only in the last 2 years that I have dealt with Paph growers since John Chant of the Orchid Zone abandoned all of his flask in my lab without paying. Since I have been selling those flasks, I've had a lot more contact with Paph growers and there is a difference. However, I have no idea why that is.
     
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  10. carl

    carl Active Member

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    Perhaps one difference is that the paphs (species and hybrids) have always been recalcitrant to tissue culture/mericloning, and so have a perceived higher value, based on relative scarcity. Plus, paphs (and phrags, etc) have always been Appendix I plants, which tends to single them out as particularly collectable plants; the law of unintended consequences. Then, that "mystique" tends to be self-reinforcing. Never underestimate human nature wanting something "special" that other folks don't have.
     
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