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Hybrid Wish List

Discussion in 'Orchid Hybrids' started by epiphyte, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    There are lots of hybrids that I'd love to have but many of them haven't been created yet or they aren't readily available. Anybody else in the same boat? If so, you might be interested in this...


    That's a group I created on reddit so that people could submit and vote on hybrid requests. Hopefully, if a request receives enough votes then perhaps hybridizers might take notice.

    What hybrids would you like to see more of? Personally I'd love to see more viviparous hybrids, cold tolerant hybrids, drought tolerant hybrids and hercuthermal hybrids.

    You probably don't know what a hercuthermal hybrid is because I just made up the word "hercuthermal". It refers to plants that grow in a wide range of temperatures. My theory is that crossing a warm growing orchid with a cool growing orchid might produce an orchid that grows in a wider range of temperatures. Admittedly, my theory is based on a single example that isn't even an orchid...Aloe Hercules...who, as you might have guessed, inspired the word "hercuthermal".

    For lots of backstory, diagrams and extrapolation...here's my latest blog entry...Hercules, Hercutherm, Hybridize This and Hercules.
  2. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

    The issue is, some of those have been done and they look terrible. While they might meet your culture criteria, otherwise they are no improvement in the species aesthetically. I have some Neo x Phal and are not anything I would buy. Sedirea is a Phal now, but it might be worth it. However, breeding it with something in the deciduous section might've interesting. I doubt it would thrive in outdoor LA though. Phal x Sarc some are interesting but I think the inflorescence length if the Sarcochilus might be dominate in some that I've seen. Again, I would prefer whites in breeding that. Maybe spots. Either way, it's not something I would suspect would winter well on a patio even.
  3. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    DPfarr, thanks for your thoughts. Why do they look terrible? Right now I have a nice unknown Neo hybrid with 4 plump seed pods on it from Phal pollen...

    1 pod is from a large white hybrid Phal
    1 pod is from a large purple striped hybrid Phal
    2 pods are from Phal fasciata

    The Neo hybrid is an excellent outdoor grower...and I'm guessing the Phals can't grow outside year around. It would be nice if the seedlings had the best of both worlds...the showiness/keikis from the Phals and the tolerance of the Neo. But I think it would still be progress if the seedlings just inherited tolerance rather than showiness.

    The idea is that, while it would be nice to accomplish the desired outcome in one round of breeding, most likely it will take several rounds. Kind of like laying the foundation for a house. Or some better analogy.

    Of course it depends on which parents are used and how much showiness is desired. I've had Phal taenialis growing outdoors for several years. It definitely hasn't thrived but it did flower pretty consistently. Until its mount started falling apart...now it's not as happy with its new mount. The flowers are cute but definitely nothing to write home about. But I like it...it's different, its an epiphyte and I can grow it outside. If I used it as a parent...perhaps greater tolerance could be achieved more quickly...but it might take longer in terms of crowd appeal.

    A few months back I purchased a couple Sartylis...

    Blue Knob = Sarcochilus hartmannii x Rhynchostylis retusa
    Toowoomba Sparkle = Sarcochilus Fitzhart x Rhynchostylis retusa

    I can't vouch for their tolerance yet but for me personally they are certainly showy enough. Perhaps crossing them with the seedlings from my Neo x Phal might produce something to write home about.

    There are just so many tolerant species and showy species out there that there's really no reason for the most common orchid not to be both showy and tolerant.

    I'd certainly be interested in trading for or buying your Neo x Phal hybrids. Of course I'd much prefer it if you joined me on my noble quest! heh. If we combined forces/pollen then Sacramento would look just like this in no time!
  4. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

    There was a speaker at the Ontario IPA talking about intergeneric Phalaenopsis. I don't think there are second generation intergeneric as they are sterile.

    The reason I don't think its nice is the flower segments are reduced in size, the diameter is reduced. Spacing might improve because of the Phal. The spur is present as a nub.

    I would rather grow Neofinetias.

    I will look around in the greenhouse tomorrow and find the name of the guy doing that sort of breeding for you.
  5. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

    I remember seeing you post about creating this on the r/orchids sub. Very interesting concept! I had a chance to scan through your blog. I definitely think it's interesting to see how different hybrids turn out, and for economic reasons there are unquestionable benefits. Just looking at the success of Sharry Baby will tell you that easier to grow hybrids with desirable traits are popular.

    The issue I have however is the idea you pose of using hybridization in conservation. Maybe it depends on your philosophy surrounding conservation, and what that means to you. I am not a conservational biologist, but I feel that there is some gravity to the idea of species that have been honed down through years and years of evolution. The philosophy of conservation, to me at least, is to document and protect the delicate interactions that have arisen as a result of this. As an example, the co-evolution of the long spurs in the angraecoids and the hawk moths just blows my mind. Orchids are so incredible in that way - they have been so finely tuned by nature, developing peculiar and fascinating traits that make them suitable for only very narrow niches. To me, that is precisely what makes them the most interesting, important, and also difficult to protect.

    The dogma of evolution, as far as I understand in the most rudimentary sense, revolves around survival of the fittest. Generating super fit hybrids as a way to hedge against the forces that shape evolution might seem like a good idea, but what happens if the moths preferentially pollinate these earlier blooming, faster growing hybrids? Or if they grow so fast they crowd out the sun for 5 other species that could have occupied that spot? What if second generation hybrids between these man made plants and species generate sterile offspring? You will have effectively replaced what you're trying to conserve with what you've created. It's like conserving a forest by chopping it down and building metal trees, because they don't fall down as easily....or replacing a native meadow with dandelions because they grow better.

    Obviously I don't really think a hybrid orchid is going to turn into the next dandelion scourge, nor do I think there's a truly serious threat of any hybrid. Nonetheless, I do think that hybridization should be kept within the realms of either the aesthetic, or the economical.

    /source - rudimentary university level biology, random non-peer reviewed articles and my own thoughts only.

    PS - super jealous of your SoCal location, climate, etc... I've been trying to get down there for years, but have only managed to move west and got stuck half way in the middle of the prairies aka the arctic tundra right now.
    Catt Mandu likes this.
  6. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    DPfarr, if Neo x Phal hybrids are sterile...then that's a dead end bummer. I get the feeling that might be the situation with my Ascofinetia Twinkle. I'd appreciate the name of the person who's done some breeding in this area. Perhaps they can help prevent me from going down the same dead ends.

    xmpraedicta, sterility isn't an issue. If an organism can't procreate as effectively as the competition, then it will be removed from the gene pool. So you're not going to have a huge population of sterile hybrids crowding out fertile species. Only fertile hybrids could possibly crowd out fertile species. And if this happens then it's because nature decided that the hybrid was more fit than the species.

    Is it possible for a hybrid to be more fit than a species? Sure, otherwise we'd be saying that species are perfect and there's absolutely no room for improvement. It's entirely possible that a hybrid is a better match for the habitat/microhabitat, climate, pollinators, phorophytes and fungal partners. But could it ever be too good of a match?

    Could we ever create a monster hybrid orchid that somehow crowded out all the other epiphytes from the tree tops? Well...no. An organism can't be perfect for multiple niches and trees have a multitude of very different niches. An orchid can't be perfect for both the moist, shady, humid base of the trunk and the dry, sunny, uppermost branches. The better a match a species is for a particular niche...the less it should have to worry about competition from a hybrid.

    Looking over your great flickr photos...it would be nice to think that there's plenty of orchids growing on trees in nature. But orchids are generally few and far between. Unlike ferns or bromeliads...they rarely occur in very dense populations. When I was stationed down in the dry side of Panama for three years...it was very rare to find an orchid growing on a tree. So I get the feeling that, as a rule, introduced epiphytic orchids, whether species or hybrids, would increase biodiversity.

    I could be wrong though. But it's kind of hard to see how. If a hybrid is truly less fit than a species then there would be absolutely no harm in introducing it to nature. If, on the other hand, a hybrid is more fit than a species... then it would be beneficial to introduce it. Except, what are the chances that a species and a hybrid are going to prefer the same exact niche? The more different they are the less likely it is. The less different they are the more irrelevant it is. If they are different enough then it wouldn't be a zero sum game. In other words, the successful introduction of a different enough hybrid or species would result in a biodiversity net gain.

    Basically, there's nothing to lose and plenty to gain from the multilateral introductions of epiphytic orchids.
  7. Catt Mandu

    Catt Mandu New Member

    Many of the hybrids I would include on a wish list are old classic hybrids, but which are very hard to find now. Two examples:

    Lc. Ecstacy 'Orchidglade' (I have been trying to find one of these for about 4 years or so; Grezaffi used to have them, sold his last division 2 hours before I called him!)
    Lc. Summerland Girl 'Orchidglade' (Excellent waxy red Catt with a white & magenta lip)

    @ Epiphyte, something you may want to consider, introducing a hybrid, or even an exotic species, into a place it is not native to does not increase biodiversity. It usually decreases biodiversity if the introduced plant/animal can out-compete native species for space and resources. Such introduction is also illegal in many places. I have seen a similar discussion on another orchid-related forum before, a couple years ago.

    Some examples where introduced species have caused great ecological harm and loss of biodiversity: Dendrobium crumenatum introduced in Puerto Rico (out-completes many native orchid species for habitat); exotic orchids introduced in Hawaii (same problem as Puerto Rico); Mongoose introduced into Puerto Rico (snakes and lizards are a primary food, the Puerto Rican Boa, Epicrates inornatus, is endangered largely due to mongoose predation); Rabbits introduced in Australia (out-competed many native marsupials for food; combined with the introduction of dogs, house cats, etc., pushed many native animal species to extinction); Japanese knotweed introduced into North America (especially in wetland areas, has out-competed native wetland plants, including some orchids and carnivorous plants, resulting in a near monoculture of this weed in some wetlands); Kudzu and Chinese privet introduced into the southern United States (smother and out-compete native plants for space, sunlight, resulting in near monocultures in heavily infested areas). These are just a few well-known examples; there are many others.
  8. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member


    Sterility is an issue. Say a wild vanda ends up getting pollinated with pollonia from a hybrid instead of it's respective species partner. The seed of this second generation cross may end up being sterile (e.g the hybrid-species hybrid is sterile). That wild vanda has now wasted energy and an entire season producing progeny that are dead ends. Furthermore, it has now been removed from being able to accept pollen from it's natural partner. You see this problem happening a lot with the GM crops, actually. The crops have been engineered to produce sterile offspring, but the problem is that pollen from these sterile crops blows into neighboring fields, contaminating wild type wheat. Farmers who harvest their wild wheat expecting to save seed for the next year end up getting screwed because their seed is now hybridized, and sterile.

    Yes, it's entirely possible that a hybrid is more fit than a species. In fact, it could be more fit for multiple species, and that's the problem. You're destroying diversity by replacing 5 or 6 species (not necessarily just orchids - mosses, fungi, insects) that occupied a niche in balance, with one strong hybrid that takes up the resources.

    Hybridization is actually a well-studied culprit of inducing species extinction.

    I can sort of grasp what you're saying - basically you're looking at a desert and saying "hey, this place doesn't have enough plant life. Let's create super drought tolerant species and throw them in here, and viola! Biodiversity!" But that is not the way nature works. The relationships between the plants, animals, and weather have evolved over millions of years to create microniches, from the little hollow in the cacti, to the dew that condenses on the sand in the early morning. There are interactions there that you can't possibly understand, or even understand. (For example of the importance of one single native species to a niche, check out this amazing video).

    As Catt Mandu mentioned, almost all human attempts at introducing alien species into an environment have failed spectacularly. Introducing hybrids into nature does not conserve anything. It just messes things up. There are people who devote their lives to studying a single niche environment so

    Hopefully this makes sense, and I don't come across as being patronizing, but keep the hybrids in the gardens and greenhouses, and leave conservation to the pHDs. There's a reason people go to years of school for this - it's complicated!!
    Catt Mandu likes this.
  9. Catt Mandu

    Catt Mandu New Member

    BTW, the term "hercuthermal" would not communicate much to a person that knows about communities of plants/animals and their environments (such as an ecologist, for example). A well-established term for organisms that can tolerate a wide temperature range is "eurythermal". It's opposite, "stenothermal", refers to organisms that can only tolerate a narrow temperature range.
    Marni likes this.
  10. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    xmpraedicta, I'm having trouble visualizing your wild Vanda sterility scenario. The crop example makes perfect sense but it's only relevant to situations where humans have grown a large field of sterile orchids. You can have a large cultivated population of sterile individuals but it's impossible for there to be a large natural population of sterile individuals. Wild populations can only get large as the result of fertility. And one or two sterile individuals in the middle of a large wild population of fertile individuals are hardly going to make a dent in the population size.

    Just recently I learned that hummingbirds pollinate Cattleya aurantiaca. Let's say that somehow a sterile hybrid Cattleya aurantiaca was introduced smack dab in the middle of a wild population of Cattleya aurantiaca. Perhaps the hybrid is so attractive to hummingbirds that they stop visiting the species C. aurantiacas? That doesn't sound likely. Earlier in the year I observed a hummingbird awkwardly poking and prodding nearly every flower on my Dendrobium teretifolium. The flowers aren't even vaguely close in color or form to flowers usually associated with hummingbirds. Yet, that didn't seem to deter the hummingbird. Will the local population of hummingbirds dwindle because they waste all their energy on flowers that don't offer rewards? That sounds as probable as a few hybrid C. aurantiacas managing to monopolize hummingbirds.

    Humans can proliferate dead ends...but nature not so much. It's survival of the fittest and sterility is pretty much the opposite of fitness. Individuals that produce more offspring will outpace individuals that produce less offspring.

    Regarding your argument of a hybrid being too fit...I just don't see how a super fit hybrid epiphytic orchid is going to replace 5 or 6 wild species. It would really help if you used a specific example that refuted my argument regarding niche specialization. Which are the 5 or 6 species that would be replaced and which hybrid would replace them?

    I tried to read the article but it was gated. I liked the video though. I agree with Monbiot on the basic ecology concepts in the video but the guy is fundamentally wrong about conservation.

    Darwin highlighted pretty much the same concept of linkages/cascades in the Origin of Species...


    plants and animals, most remote in the scale of nature, are bound together by a web of complex relations. [...] I have [...] reason to believe that humble-bees are indispensable to the fertilisation of the heartsease (Viola tricolor), for other bees do not visit this flower. From experiments which I have tried, I have found that the visits of bees, if not indispensable, are at least highly beneficial to the fertilisation of our clovers; but humble-bees alone visit the common red clover (Trifolium pratense), as other bees cannot reach the nectar. Hence I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr. H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees, believes that 'more than two thirds of them are thus destroyed all over England.' Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats; and Mr. Newman says, 'Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice.' Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district!


    And in a recent blog entry on natural orchid hosts I also briefly touched on the topic of cascades.

    To be clear, I'm not advocating or recommending that anybody introduce hybrids into nature. I'm simply soliciting arguments against the idea. As of yet, I haven't encountered any solid arguments. But it's entirely possible that solid arguments exist.

    The fact remains that it can't be the rule that introduced plants reduce biodiversity. Otherwise Hawaii, which consists entirely of introduced plants, wouldn't have any biodiversity. So why do some plants increase biodiversity while others reduce it?
  11. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    Catt Mandu, is this the thread you were referring to?

    Regarding your examples of introduced epiphytic orchids that have caused "great ecological harm and loss of biodiversity"...can you please cite your sources? The topic fascinates me, which means that I've read every single article and paper that I could find on introduced epiphytic orchids, and unless my memory is failing me, which is entirely possible, not a single one has listed even one single native epiphytic orchid species that has been harmed. Hawaii only has three native orchids...all of which are nearly entirely terrestrial. But maybe I missed the paper to which you are referring.

    Regarding the word "hercuthermal"...so...you didn't bother to read my blog entry. No worries. I'll just save you the hassle and copy and paste the relevant section...

    Maybe it's because there doesn't seem to be a word for a plant that grows in a wide range of temperatures. I think the closest word is "eurythermal". It refers to an organism that tolerates a wide range of temperatures. But as Hercules has conclusively demonstrated... there's a huge difference between tolerating and growing. ​

    My wordsmith skills aren't that great so you're certainly welcome to come up with a better term.
  12. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

    This is a good discussion. However, you request evidence, and yet most of your arguments are based upon things "sounding likely" or "sounding probable." Given the multiple well studied instances of introduced species disrupting native environments, perhaps you could provide some insight as to why introducing a hybrid would somehow be less impactful?

    I understand the concept of survival of the fittest. I have a biology degree, although admittedly not in this area. In one paragraph, you say "It's survival of the fittest and sterility is pretty much the opposite of fitness. Individuals that produce more offspring will outpace individuals that produce less offspring." and then in the next paragraph you say: "Regarding your argument of a hybrid being too fit...I just don't see how a super fit hybrid epiphytic orchid is going to replace 5 or 6 wild species." Doesn't the first part answer the second? Quite simply, a more fit hybrid will out-compete existing species. That's it.

    In regards to specific studies, I am not an evolutionary biologist, so my extent of evidence and understanding doesn't go beyond reviews and meta analysis. However, this review might give some insight.

    Some excerpts:
    "There are many examples of the large populations of invading species swamping small populations of native species by hybridization, but in certain cases small populations of an invader can threaten native species that have much larger populations. This is the case with the invading Spartina alterniflora into the San Francisco Bay. It hybridizes with the native Spartina foliosa. The invader has a higher pollen output, and greater male fitness, than the native species and the hybrids and it occupy lower intertidal habitats. In time introgression will threaten the native species (36). Conversely, small populations of rare species can be threatened by hybridization in a number of ways (37), including infertility of the hybrids."

    Feel free to consult the sources. I took the liberty to read source 37 and in case you can't access it, some excerpts:

    "The growth rate of a population may be retarded by the production of hybrid seed, which is produced at the expense of conspecific seed."

    "The numerical disadvantage of a rare species is compounded by the proliferation of fertile hybrids. The addition of these plants to a population containing two species
    decreases the proportional representation of the rare species. This in turn results in a decline in the proportion of their progeny that are conspecific (pure). A rare outbreeding species may be predisposed to crossing with a congener if its population has a paucity of self-incompatibility (S) alleles. Such a condition severely limits the number and availability of potential conspecific mates, especially if incompatibility is under
    sporophytic control (Byers & Meagher 1992). This in turn reduces conspecific seed-set."

    "Hybridization would reduce the growth rate of parental
    populations if hybrids competed with them for establishment
    microsites and resources. The paucity of microsites

    may be as important as the paucity of seeds in
    limiting recruitment for a population (Eriksson & Ehrlen
    1992). Experimental studies of competitive interference
    between species and F 1 hybrids in Anigozanthos (Hot
    per, 1978), Festuca (O'Brien et al. 1967), and Hordeum
    (Norrington-Davies 1972) demonstrate that the growth
    of "pure" individuals may be suppressed more by hybrids t
    han by conspecifics. In the field this would translate
    into lower survivorship and fecundity in the parental
    populations. The exploitation of parental microsites
    and competitive superiority of hybrids could lead to the
    exclusion of a parental species, as in the case of Spartina
    × townsendii (Huskins 1931). Other examples of
    sterile hybrids spreading by vegetative reproduction to
    the detriment of the parental species are discussed by
    Grootjans et al. (1987)."

    Hopefully that's sufficient evidence? Here is another powerpoint by Dr. Zach Peery (PHD in environmental science) that goes over some of the concepts of genetic extinction as a result of hybridization, with many many examples, including some that discuss the concept of natural hybridization, and whether it's a good or bad thing in the realm of conservation. Note that despite this, the consensus in conservational biology is removal of man made hybrids.

    I think the bottom line is that you're confusing biodiversity with conservation.

    Conservation, as I mentioned before, is about documenting, preserving, and protecting existing species and their interactions with each other and the environment. This is not something I am making up nor is it an opinion - that is what conservation is. I have never ever come across a scientific study showing the benefit of a hybrid in preserving an existing ecological system.

    Speaking strictly on biodiversity, yes, filling a space with 100 different hybrids will result in a net increase in biodiversity. This is mathematics, and undeniable. But I fail to understand why this is a desirable thing, and also what it has to do with conservation.

    If you're arguing for the involvement of hybrids in conservation because some hypothetical natural disaster might wipe out all the species, and hybrids will somehow 'save' the orchids, I think that's a long shot. I suppose it's theoretically plausible, but at that point there won't be anything to conserve anyway.

    Finally, in regards to your examples of Hawaii, remember that Hawaii was a sterile pile of ash and rock that was colonized, and speciation happened afterwards. It's a completely different scenario from throwing something into a pre-established ecosystem. Darwin's finches, a famous example of speciation again, came to the Galapagos (another chain of sterile volcanic islands with relatively undeveloped ecosystems). There's a reason why these places are so unique and fragile - they were allowed to develop in isolation with limited introduction of new genetic material. Speciation occurred due to a high number of unoccupied niches, with limited resources, and few predators. Finches better at cracking nuts evolved thicker beaks, finches better at pecking out ants from logs evolved longer beaks, etc. Throw in a hybrid finch capable of surviving at -20 or +50, flies faster, reproduces earlier, and is capable of eating wood, leaves, ants, seeds...I guarantee you, it will outcompete all the other finch species within a decade.
    Catt Mandu likes this.
  13. Catt Mandu

    Catt Mandu New Member

    Epiphyte, an example of a eurythermal plant would be the dandelion, It grows from Alaska and Canada, south to at least Florida. There is really not a need for a new word here; eurythermal will suffice.

    Oh - BTW, the thread you provided the link to, on another orchid site, is the one I was thinking of.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  14. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    xmpraedicta, what is this...?


    It's an organism. But what is it? It's an epiphyte. But what is it? It's an orchid that grew from a seed that germinated on my tree in Southern California. But what is it? It's a sympodial orchid. But what is it? It's a CAM orchid. But what is it? Maybe it's a species. But what is it? Maybe it's Laelia anceps. But what is it? It's a unique individual. But what is it? It's a unique combination of traits. But what is it? It's a unique assemblage of tools. But what is it? It's a unique strategy.

    How many unique strategies are represented in this photo? Which strategy is better...succulent leaves or succulent bulbs? How many epiphytic orchids have both?

    Let's rewind a couple of years...


    Heh. So who's got the best strategy for that microsite? Well...the Tillandsias as a group win...at least in terms of pollination. The hummingbird has them covered.

    The thing is...I'm not talking about introducing any hybrid...I'm talking about introducing epiphytic hybrids. And I'm not just talking about introducing any epiphytic hybrids...I'm talking about introducing epiphytic orchid hybrids. Would it help if I narrowed the discussion even further? Maybe I should only talk about introducing epiphytic CAM orchid hybrids?

    What's the difference? Here's an analogy. With terrestrials...you board a bus and all the seats are taken. Ah shucks. In order for you to sit down somebody's going to have to stand up. It's a zero sum game. Unless you don't mind sitting on somebody's lap. So far your evidence deals with this scenario. There's a "paucity of microsites".

    How's it different with epiphytes? With epiphytes...you board a bus and all the seats are taken. Ah shucks? Nope. It's a double decker. You go upstairs and all the seats are taken. Ah shucks.

    How's it different with CAM epiphytic orchids? With CAM orchids you board a bus and all the seats on the first and second decks are taken. Ah shucks? Nope. It's a triple decker.

    You've supplied studies regarding the harm caused by introduced terrestrial species and hybrids. Why haven't you supplied any studies regarding the harm caused by introduced epiphytes? Is the difference insignificant?
    Basically you're saying "terrestrial seats are all taken" and I'm saying "epiphyte seats are not all taken". You're saying that there's a "paucity of microsites" and I'm saying that there isn't. If you want to argue against the introduction of hybrid or species terrestrial orchids into Hawaii then be my guest. It's not difficult for me to imagine that it's a zero sum game and some native terrestrial might be displaced. But if you want to argue against the introduction of hybrid or species epiphytic orchids into Hawaii...then...well...I'd be interested to know who you think will be displaced. Who's going to lose their seats? Ferns? A hybrid of Oncidium cebolleta is going to displace a fern? Which fern exactly?

    Regarding "conservation"...maybe it's not the best word for what I'm referring to. Perhaps your expectations would be met if you could visit Tampa Florida 500 years from now and still find a few Encyclia tampensis growing on a few trees. For me, my expectations would be met if I could visit Canada 500 years from now and find an abundance of Encyclia tampensis and a bunch of other orchids growing on plenty of trees. Except, I wouldn't necessarily care if it was Encyclia tampensis or Encyclia fowliei or a hybrid between them. And I don't think the orchid family would necessarily care either.

    What does the orchid family care about?

    Crassulacean acid metabolism is an important adaptation of several species of plants to their environment. Since the stomata in CAM plants are open only during the night, very little water loss through transpiration takes place. This water-conserving property allows CAM plants to radiate into areas which are frequently too hot and dry for most other plants to survive. - Daniel J. Sanders, Crassulacean Acid Metabolism and Its Possible Occurrence in the Plant Family Orchidaceae ​

    The orchid family cares about discovering new strategies which allow it to radiate into new areas. The orchid family is a pragmatic consequentialist. Just like Deng Xiaoping. He didn't care if the cat was black or white...what mattered was whether it caught mice. The orchid family doesn't care if the orchid that grew on my tree from seed is a species or a hybrid...it just cares whether it can survive in a new environment. And that's exactly what I care about as well.

    My preferences are perfectly aligned with the preferences of the orchid family. If what I'm describing isn't conservation...then conservation is at odds with the preferences of the orchid family. Which means that being for conservation means being against the orchid family. That can't be right though...can it?

    You love orchids but you'd be content simply undoing the impact of harmful human activities. Of course, you wouldn't want to raze Los Angeles to create habitat for our native terrestrial orchids...right? You don't want to go that far...right? You don't want to move all us humans to Mars and leave the Earth for everyone else...right? So how far do you want to go? Where do you think the optimal balance is?

    From my perspective, we have cities and there's no reason we can't have epiphytic orchids thriving on city trees. Have you heard of the coywolf? It's a hybrid between a wolf and a coyote and it's thriving in some cities. The netflix documentary is pretty great. Why not have the epiphytic orchid hybrid equivalent of the coywolf thriving in cities? Because it wouldn't be "conservation"?

    Hybrids are new strategies and successful radiation depends on new strategies. I don't want people 1000 years from now to say "thanks, we have the same amount of orchid species as 1000 years ago". I want them to say "thanks for the second cambrian explosion!!!"

    Look around you...do you see plenty of epiphytes in the trees? Are all the seats on the second deck taken? Is there a "paucity of microsites"? How many people on this forum see plenty of epiphytes on trees where they live? If you want to argue that one epiphytic orchid hybrid outpaces 5 or 6 epiphytic orchid species...then where do you think it's trying to get to in such a hurry? Nowhere fast? Or is it trying to get to all the empty branches that you see when you walk around your neighborhood? When it actually reaches those branches...is it going to be the same exact epiphytic orchid hybrid that outpaced the other species?

    If conservation isn't breeding and selecting epiphytic orchids for pollinator preference or cold tolerance or drought tolerance or global warming...then conservation isn't good enough for the orchid family. Perhaps conservation is the equivalent of concern when what the orchid family would actually prefer is active concern.

    Anyways, I hope you don't take anything I wrote to be a deliberate strawman of your argument. That's certainly not my intention. All the above...it's merely an ungainly brainstorm attempt to figure out how to articulate the inadequacy of conservation and the value of a better strategy. I think I see a better paradigm...but clearly and coherently conveying it is a challenge.
  15. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

    I had a chance to read this, as well as the discussion on orchidboard.com. I think I have a better grasp of your position now - don't worry, you have conveyed it perfectly. You certainly have your mind set on this, even though you haven't based your arguments upon anything beyond your own deductions and fantasies. That's actually what this sounds like - a fantasy, shrouded in some pseudoscience.

    I have supplied evidence that the general act of introducing alien species, whether it's animals, insects,or plants into the wild is harmful. You persistently request some exact specific study; an exact example of a specific species that will be replaced by an epiphytic orchid. That's like saying: "Pouring water on me makes me wet, and juice is also a liquid, but it's a different kind of liquid, so I won't believe that I'll get wet with juice until you PROVE it!" If you can't fathom by deduction how an introduced epiphyte could be similar to any introduced alien species, I'm sorry, I can't really help you. Feel free to go into the Florida everglades and start planting hybrid phalaenopsis on the trees next to the dendrophyllax. Enjoy.

    Your motivations are incredibly skewed, and your lack of scientific understand of adaptation unfortunately shows through your statements. You paint yourself as some great ally of the orchid family, as if it's some sort of poor child that needs help. The orchid family is not a being. It doesn't care about anything. It doesn't have feelings or desires or motivations. You've made one of the most basic misunderstandings regarding evolution, thinking it has some purpose. It does not. It is a series of events that happen, like gravity, that just happens, and is happening now as we speak. Conservation is about preserving the environments where it happens, not inducing some artificial cambrian explosion. I sense a god complex.

    Your view of what conservation is incredibly poorly aligned with what it actually means. Come to Canada in 500 years and see epiphytes hanging in the trees? Hell no. I have supplied the definition to you multiple times in every post, and yet you have persisted with your own mysterious invention of what the word means. Please inform yourself on the concepts of evolution, biodiversity, and conservation using some introductory texts rather than take soundbites of information without context to support your ideas.

    Just because you like the idea of seeing hundreds of hybrids growing on every available surface does not mean that anyone else wants that, nor does it give anyone the right to disrupt pre-existing environments and ecosystems.

    Would it be cool to have an encyclia that can survive a Canadian winter, that I can plant on the tree on my garden? Yes, I'd love that. Please, go breed a super hardy encyclia so I can plant it on my tree in my garden outside. Or an angraecoid. They're so pesky and annoying, with such specific cultural conditions. Please breed one that can survive -40 to +40, survive a fire, full sun to complete shade, and 0 humidity. I will be the first to buy one and plant it on my tree.

    Does that mean I want to walk through our wild Canadian boreal forest and see hybrid phalaenopsis hanging off the branches? HELL NO. The thought of it is disgusting. I went to the Sierras and fell in love with the magestic trunks of the sequoias stretching up into the sky. Shoot me dead before I see some nasty hybrid dendrobium draped across it. I love nature as it has developed over thousands of years - whether it's the joshua trees in the desert, or the flat plains of the prairies. Keep your cambrian explosion to yourself and your garden please.
    Catt Mandu likes this.
  16. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

    If I knew you put an orchid or Tillandsia purposefully outside of human habitation, I would willfully and maliciously tear it out.

    Go ahead and do all the guerilla-epiphyte-scaping you want in your city confines. See if you can get some walkerianas to grow on some trees or find a spot you can introduce some kingianums or specioousums on some rocks near a fountain or something.

    Keep it out of areas not inhabited though. I don't want to go backpacking and see a pile of shit that is an Encyclia struggling to survive and hosting a plague of rats in it though.
    xmpraedicta and Catt Mandu like this.
  17. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    xmpraedicta, you supplied a study about Spartina and I supplied a study about the coywolf.

    You want an Encyclia or an Angraecoid that you can attach to your garden tree in Canada...but you also want to keep the pristine branches of wild Canadian trees free from orchids. So when the orchid on your garden tree blooms...you're going to stand there day and night shooing pollinators away?

    Do you think this is what people in Florida do? What about people in Mexico, Brazil, Thailand and Australia? When the hybrid orchids on their trees bloom do they stand there the entire time scaring potential pollinators away?

    Here you are being so righteous about the purity of nature...yet, have you ever started a single thread warning people in relevant areas not to allow pollinators to transfer their hybrid pollen to wild orchids? Yes? If so, then please link me to the thread. If not, then why not?

    Guess what, I don't live in Florida or Mexico or Brazil or Thailand or Australia...I live in California. Do you have any idea how many wild native epiphytic orchids can be infested with my nasty hybrid pollen? ZERO. Not a single one. California does not have a single native epiphytic orchid. So I can't disregard your scientifically sound warning even if I wanted to.

    Yet, here you are wasting your warning on me. If you were genuinely concerned with keeping wild orchids untainted, which I'm sure you are, then you're going to post on every relevant plant forum a thread that provides the preponderance of scientific evidence that proves that wild populations of orchids can be irrevocably harmed by allowing pollinators to have access to hybrid orchids. I'm sure that the Selby Botanical Garden and every other tropical botanical garden that has hybrids blooming outdoors will hire interns to shoo pollinators away.

    I think that copying and pasting your warning into every relevant forum will be a small sacrifice for somebody who truly loves natures.

    You sense a god complex? What gave it away? The fact that I think that nature has room for improvement? With around 100,000 orchid hybrids created...I guess I'm not the only one.

    DPfarr, what if I accidentally put a fern spore outside of human habitation? Would you willfully and maliciously tear it out?

    I really like this...

    A pile of shit
    that is an Encyclia
    struggling to survive
    and hosting a plague of rats

    That's pretty much the best poem that I've read in a while.
  18. xmpraedicta

    xmpraedicta Prairie angraecoid nut Supporting Member

    You're right - I'd better change my request, because I definitely don't have time to shoo away pollinators. Please make me a sterile hybrid capable of surviving the Canadian winter. Better? Let me know when it's ready.

    I'm just being
    facetious (but then again, so were you) :)

    Look, I'm done with this discussion. You're right - I am wasting my time, partly because clearly nothing is going to fix the strange twisted way you understand conservation and biodiversity, but mainly because I don't think you're really that big of a threat anyway. Remarkable how the outcome and reactions of this thread mirror exactly the one from orchidboard several years ago.

    Fill LA with epiphytes - leave no tree untouched. Half the plants in LA are introduced species from Asia and Africa anyway. No one cares. I planted a Laelia anceps on my partner's magnolia in Culver City 3 years ago, it's in spike right now, quite pretty, and I love it. See? I'm helping you!

    But if I ever find some rogue hybrid dendrobium in the wild forests, I will think of you, and then I will rip it out, just as many before me have done so with plants such as loosestrife, water hyacinth, periwinkle, etc.

    Oh, and here's some evidence for you to chow down on while planning the next cambrian explosion.

  19. epiphyte

    epiphyte Member

    xmpraedicta, for some reason I'm not at all surprised that you weren't going to bother making the effort to warn others not to allow their hybrids to fraternize with wild species. Your "concern" is not genuine...it is nothing but puffery and bluster.

    You'd rip out a rogue Dendrobium...and throw it away? Or add it to your collection? Or sell it?

    I love reading the old AOS and OD articles where Dr. Fowlie, George Kennedy and others went on exciting, risky and fascinating orchid collecting adventures around the world. It's because of daring people like them that we can grow so many awesome orchids. Of course now it's the ultimate sin to remove orchids from the wild. Well...unless they are nasty hybrids.

    Are there many stories where people risk their lives to collect loosestrife, water hyacinth and periwinkle?

    Given the allure and demand for orchids...I doubt you'd be the only one ripping hybrid epiphytic orchids out of the wild in order to "keep nature pure". I think in many cases it will be impossible to distinguish where a hybrid ends and a species begins...which ties into my actual argument...which you've completely failed to deal with in any sort of substantive way.

    Why did you refer to that article as "evidence"? This leads me to believe that you have absolutely no idea what evidence is. Or you have absolutely no interest in having an honest discussion.
  20. Catt Mandu

    Catt Mandu New Member

    epiphyte, after a couple relatively brief posts on Wednesday and Thursday, I realized that you were the same person that I (as well as many others) tried to educate on on this topic a year + ago over on orchidboard.com (my user ID is Orchid Whisperer over there). As soon as I realized that you were the same person as epiphyte78 on that board, I realized that it was pointless to have a discussion with you. I see you have started another thread on orchidboard, same title as this one, also under the username epiphyte78,

    The old thread that you linked to on orchidboard started with a discussion of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, including the suggestion that for some reason the leafless character of Dendrophylax lindenii should be bred out of the wild population in order to keep D. lindenii from being crushed into extinction by snakes. (OK, the rest of you, stop laughing . . . THIS IS SERIOUS!!!) I suspected, but was never sure, that you and the original poster on that thread were the same person. This was based on the fact that the original poster and you shared the same level of understanding of ecology, biodiversity, conservation, evolutionary biology, etc., which is to say, slightly less than my dog.

    I am an environmental scientist by training and profession. I have seen the adverse effects of invasive species run amok first hand, with ill effects on woods, wetlands, crop land, etc. I have worked on crews that literally were ripping invasive plants out by the roots from park land. I have seen first-hand the effects of houseplants and landscaping plants such as Epipremnum aureum, Impatiens, Coleus, etc. colonizing what should have been pristine rain forest in the Caribbean National Forest. Believe me, I am 100% on board with DPfarr's sentiment; invasive plants, epiphytes or otherwise, ought to be ripped out from natural places where they do not belong.

    As for your own back yard, garden or greenhouse, grow whatever you want. You want to hybridize a Neofinetia with a Phalaenopsis? Vanda? Dendrophylax? Goat? Be my guest. Make all the crosses you like, send the seeds and pay the flasking fee, raise the seedlings, see how they work out. MAKE WHATEVER HYBRID YOU LIKE - just keep it under controlled cultivation and out of the wild.

    DPfarr and xmpraedicta have attempted to steer you on the right path. I have tried to do my little part too, to no avail. A sensible person would listen and say "gosh, I didn't know that, thanks for the information" and move on. Instead, you have persisted in posting inane pseudo-scientific babble. This has led me to the conclusion that you and I have one, and only one, thing in common: I have no earthly idea what you are talking about.

    Right after I post, my next action will be to immediately place you on my ignore list. I see no point in feeding the troll on this thread or future threads. Toodles, and I hope you have a nice life.