Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tsubotaara Melinda Marie 'Blue Fairy'

Tsubotaara Melinda Marie 'Blue Fairy'
I came across this striking blue orchid at the 2018 New York Orchid Show.  The bloom was hidden behind a glass enclosure, labeled with a genus I had never seen before: Tsubotaara.  What kind of orchid could this be?  

According to the International Orchid Register, Tsubotaara Melinda Marie is a cross between Pabanisia Eva's Blue Amazon and Zygonisia Cynosure.  The hybrid was registered in 2010 by Kalapana Tropicals, a Hawaii-based orchid wholesaler.  A relatively miniature plant, this hybrid blooms with beautiful, oversized bluish flowers.
Tsubotaara Melinda Marie = Pabanisia Eva's Blue Amazon x Zygonisia Cynosure
Photo credits:
Pabanisia Eva's Blue Amazon: DementedPimento (Reddit) 
Zygonisia Cynosure: Maria's Orchids, 2016 New York Orchid show

The full genealogy of Tsubotaara Melinda Marie includes contribution from four different orchid genera.
Curiously, I could not find any photos of Zygopetalum graminifolium while researching this genealogy.  The image depicted below is gathered from a print from Jean Linden, a prominent orchid botanist from the 19th century. This is a species that does not appear to be frequently cultivated or photographed by orchid enthusiasts.  Nor was this ever a particularly popular species among orchid breeders: Zygopetalum Skippy Ku is the only hybrid registered with Z. graminifolium as a parent.

And here is a closeup of the contributing species.
Parent species of Tsubotaara Melinda Maria
Photo credits:
Pabstia jugosa: Orchi (Wikimedia commons)
Aganisia cyanea: Orchi (Wikimedia commons)
Zygopetalum graminifolium: Jean Linden orchid print
Zygopetalum intermedium: Manuel (Flickr)
Aganisia cyanea shares the greatest resemblance to Tsubotaara Melinda Marie, which makes sense because it was crossed twice into this hybrid.  However, I can see how features from both Zygopetalum and Pabstia genera are represented in the final hybrid. Tsubotaara Melinda Marie is a great example of how orchid breeding may be used to borrow traits from very different orchid genera to produce a truly distinct new flower.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

2018 New York Orchid Show

Hundreds of orchids hand from a translucent display at the 2018 New York Orchid Show
The New York Orchid Show is my favorite annual event in the city.  This joyous celebration of orchid beauty is a yearly signal that another cold, dark winter is nearly over.  The show opened today, at the New York Botanical garden.
It's possibly one of the most popular events at the New York botanical garden, and by midday the conservatory is packed with crowds.  This year, I woke up early to be one of the first people to enter the show on opening day.
Get to the conservatory before 10 AM to avoid the crowds
The Orchid Show features hundreds of orchid species and hybrids, presented in intricate displays.  This year's production is designed by Belgian floral artist Daniel Ost.
Phalaenopsis King's Caroline and Phalaenopsis Black Pearl
Phalaenopsis Taida Pearl Diamond
Phalaenopsis KV Charmer
Orchid terrarium
Cattleya and Dendrobium display
2018 New York Orchid Show
Each year, the displays follow a different theme.  This year, the recurrent element was these meshes of clear plastic tubing high up in the conservatory canopy.  These clear loops certainly catch and scatter the sunlight onto the orchid blossoms.  They also reminded me of a tangled garden hose....

Orchid display by Daniel Ost
A ribbon of orchids wraps around a bamboo structure
Cymbidium Golden Boy 'Nevada'

Dendrobium spectabile

Epidendrum Max Valley 'Shiranui'

This is just a small fraction of the orchids on display today.  The show runs until April 22, and is absolutely worth a visit.