Monday, October 24, 2016

A classic blue orchid: Vanda Pachara Delight

Vanda Pachara Delight
Blue is a rare shade among cultivated orchids.  A few wild orchid species achieve that rare hue, but the only true blue cultivated orchid was created by genetic engineering in a Japanese lab in 2013. The gorgeous Phal has since been shown at a number of orchid shows, but don't expect to find one for sale at your favorite nursery any time soon.

In the meantime, Vandas dominate the field of the almost-blue orchid.  Vanda Pachara Delight is one such popular hybrid.  The orchid's flowers are a deep due of purple-blue, although the shade is difficult to photograph accurately.  Registered almost 2 decades ago in 1999, this hybrid is still often found blooming in stores and greenhouses.  Pachara Delight has since been used to make two more hybrids: Vanda Jan Marie Ryan, and Vandachostylis Mak Ho Seng.

Vanda Pachara Delight
Vanda Pachara Delight is a cross between Vanda Gordon Dillon, and Vanda Karulea. The whole genealogy is depicted below. (Full size image)


Genealogy of Vanda Pachara Delight
What stands out the most in this breeding scheme is how prominently Vanda sanderiana features in the genealogy.  There are 22 crossings in this image, and Vanda sanderiana is involved in 50% of them. Vanda coerulea, the second most important contributor to the breeding, accounts for 20% of the crosses. In fact, the primary hybrid of V. sanderiana and V. coerulea (Vanda Rothschildiana) already looks very similar to Vanda Pachara Delight.  
Vanda Rothschildiana (1931)
Photo Credit: Guillaume Paumier (link to original image on Wikimedia commons)

Three other species (V. dearei, V. luzonica, and V. tricolor) contributes to the mix. 
Species progenitors of Vanda Pachara Delight
Photo credits:
Vanda sanderiana (original image, by Dalton Holland Baptista, Wikimedia commons)
Vanda coerulea (original image, by  Association Auboise d'Orchidophilie Exotique)
Vanda dearei (original image, by Rachmat Setlawan Saleh (Flickr gallery))
Vanda luzonica (original image,  by Akatsuka Orchid Gardens (orchid vendor site)
Vanda tricolor (original image, by Association Auboise d'Orchidophilie Exotique)

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