Monday, February 20, 2017

New York Orchid Show 2017: Thailand

New York Orchid Show 2017: Thailand
My favorite time of year has come around yet again.  The days are getting warmer and lighter, and the orchid show has opened at the New York Botanical Garden.  This year's theme is Thailand.  The show's typical lush displays of color feature many Vanda orchids, which are native to Southeast Asia.

I'll be putting up many more pictures from the show in the coming days, but here is a preview of what is to come:

I got to the garden right as it was opening, avoiding much of the crowds that would descend on the orchid show later in the day.
Phalaenopsis orchids arranged to resemble palm trees

Miniature orchids display
Deep purple variety of Dendrobium kingianum

Zygopetalum flowers
A rainbow of vandas so colorful, they don't even look quite real
Dendrobium hybrid

Many colors of dendrobium hybrids

Morning light shines through Oncostele Wildcat

More Oncostele Wildcat flowers

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Vanda Tristar Blue

Vanda Tristar Blue
I visited the New York Botanical Garden a couple weekends ago.  They had just finished their annual Trains Show, which takes over much of the conservatory during the holiday season.  The Orchid Show starts later this month, but until then, the gardens become a quiet and peaceful place to catch a break from the winter outside.  Midwinter is also a great time to see the garden's Vandas at their best.  But the time the Orchid show opens up in a few weeks, many of these flowers will be starting to fade.
Vanda Tristar Blue
Vanda Tristar Blue is a 2004 cross between Vanda Kimigayo and Vanda Manuvadee.  The hybrid has a nice mix of the the blue tones from Vanda Manuvadee, while maintaining the neater petal shape of Vanda Kimigayo.
Parentage of Vanda Tristar Blue (V. Kimigayo x V. Manuvadee)
Image Credits:
Vanda Manuvadee 'Sky',  photo by Cbaile19 (Wikimedia commons image)
Tracing out the genealogy of Vanda Tristar Blue turned out to be somewhat of a challenge.  It's not the biggest genalogy I've trace (Oncidopsis Yellow Parade currently holds that honor, with 70+ crossings in its background).  However, as you can see below, there is a fare share of crossing the same hybrids over and over again that creates a bit of a tangled mess in the background of Vanda Tristar Blue. (Link to full-resolution image)
Genealogy of Vanda Tristar Blue
I tried to emphasize in the image how much just two vanda species (Vanda coerulea and Vanda sanderiana) contributed genetically to Vanda Tristar Blue.  Vanda sanderiana participated directly in 16 of the 39 crosses depicted here (just over 40%), and Vanda coerulea was crossed 6 times into the lineage. Meanwhile, Vanda Roschildiana, a primary hybrid between V. sanderiana and V. coerulea, adds to 5 more crossings in this tree.

Species progenitors of Vanda Tristar Blue
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)
Vanda curvifolia (original image, by Association Auboise d'Orchidophilie Exotique)
The 5 species that contributed to Vanda Tristar Blue are the same as the progenitors of Vanda Roslyn Rogers, and are just one species short of the list for Vanda Pachara Delight.  These three hybrids have very similar genealogy traces as well, dominated by V. sanderiana and V coerulea. Looking at the species progenitors gives a hint why those two species are so important in vanda breeding.  If you want blue, breeding with V. coerulea is the only way to achieve it.  Meanwhile, V. sanderiana has the full-shaped waxy petals that often seem so desired in orchid hybrids.

I imagine I'll profile a few more blue vandas before I'm done, and I look forward to seeing what other commons threads I can find in their lineages.