Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bratonia Kauai's Choice

Bratonia Kauai's Choice
It has been a long hiatus for this blog.  I never forgot it, but at the same time life was happening at such a pace, that there never seemed quite enough time to start it up again properly.  However, if there is one thing that could draw me back into photographing, writing and thinking about orchids, it would be the yearly spectacle that is the New York Orchid show.  For a month at the very beginning of spring, the Bronx Botanical Garden is filled with thousands of blooming orchids.  I have never missed an opportunity to go. 

In a change from my previous Orchid Show postings, I'd like to really focus in detail on the flowers I've photographed, and take a chance to learn more about where these beautiful orchids came from.  I'll still put up the full gallery of photos from the Orchid Show on my Facebook page.  Meanwhile, I will use the blog to learn about the orchids I've photographed.

So with no more ado, I present Bratonia Kauai's Choice.




These large spider-like blooms are among the very first orchids you meet upon entering the conservatory at the Bronx Botanical Garden.  They are a perennial fixture each year at the orchid show.  Bratonia Kauai's Choice (formerly known as Miltassia Kauai's Choice) is a cross between Brassia arcuigera (a species) and Bratonia Aztec (a hybrid). This hybrid was registered in 1998 by Yamada Nursery in Hawaii.


Parentage of Bratonia Kauai's Choice
Photo credits

Bratonia Aztec by Arne and Bent Larsen orchid collection (Link to Wikimedia gallery)
What jumps out immediately, is how the elongated shape of the petals comes from the Brassia side of the lineage.  Meanwhile, the lip of the Kauai's Choice bears a resemblance to Bratonia Aztec.  However, neither parent carries the purple coloration seen in Kauai's Choice, implying that the purple color is hidden further back in this orchid's ancestry.
Progenitors of Bratonia Kauai's Choice

I looked up the geneaology of this orchid, and it was like diving into a rabbit hole. In total, 10 different orchids, including 5 unique species  (labeled in green) were used in the making of this hybrid. 
Interesting side note: Miltonia bluntii (lower case 'b') is a naturally occurring hybrid between M. clowesii and M. spectabilis.  Meanwhile Miltonia Bluntii (upper case 'B') refers to the man-made cross between the two species registered in 1879

Here are the original species that went into creating Bratonia Kauai's Choice. 

Species that went into making Bratonia Kauai's Choice


Photo Credits:

Side note: I was interested to learn that Miltonia spectabilis has a purple variant called morelliana.  I am curious whether the variant might have been used at any point in the making of Bratonia Kauai's choice, although I could not find evidence indicating either way.

Looking at the species which went into making Bratonia Kauai's Choice, it appears that the orchid gained purple coloration from its Miltonia ancestors, and the general flower shape of its two Brassia progenitors.  

I really did not anticipate that Bratonia Kauai's Choice would end up being such a complex hybrid.  Hopefully my next project will be a shorter undertaking.

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