"2017 Plants of the Night"


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January – Open Winner
Aerides multiflora Owner: P&J D'Olier
The word Aerides means “air-plant” and is apt for these plants as generally they grow on trees (epiphytes) or rocks (lithophytes), gripping their hosts with strong roots and the remainder of the roots being exposed to the air. The genus Aerides contains about 20 species and grows in a very broad area, from India to Papua New Guinea and north to China and the Philippines. They grow at relatively low altitudes and can produce fragrant white, pink and purple flowers. They can be grown on wooden slabs, hanging baskets or pots, and generally enjoy bright light and high humidity. The Open Winner of the night in January 2017, A. multiflora, is widespread in low-lying areas in Nepal, Bhutan, north-east India and Indochina and flowers in the spring and summertime. It is more tolerant of the cold than some other members of the genus.
Synonyms for A. multiflora include A. affine and A. roseum.
SOURCES: Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 50, 54; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 62.
January – Novice Winner
Cattleya intermedia Owner: G&SW Cook
Cattleya intermedia is a variable species from Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, sometimes with four or more flowers on each plant. This species blooms in spring and summertime and the flowers vary in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours ranging from white to pink and purple. In their natural environment, they grow at sea level and at low altitudes, near the ocean, mainly as epiphytes. Cattleyas are tropical plants and generally enjoy intermediate to warm conditions, bright light and good drainage. J.N. Rentoul recommends a minimum overnight temperature of 13°C for Cattleyas with maximum day time temperatures reaching perhaps as high as 30°C during their growth stage.
The genus was named by the botanist Dr John Lindley in 1824. Sir William Hooker described how specimens of C. intermedia were shipped to the United Kingdom in 1826 from Rio de Janeiro and flowered in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in spring of that year, and again in 1828 when they “remained in perfection several days”.
SOURCES: J.N. Rentoul, Growing Orchids: Book Two (1982, Lothian, Port Melbourne) 130-132; Botanica's Pocket Orchids(2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 126; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 95-96.

February – Open Winner
Miltonia spectabilis var. moreliana Owner: P&J D'Olier
Milt. spectabilis is from eastern Brazil and perhaps also from parts of Venezuala. It produces single flowers or pairs of flowers in the late spring or summer, commonly with white petals and sepals and a broad, two-toned lip. The variety moreliana is from southern, central Brazil and can be predominantly purple in colour. The genus has aerial roots and enjoys a humid atmosphere and bright light, with regular and heavy watering during the growing season and a period of rest after flowering.
Dr Lindley named Miltonia after Viscount Milton (1786-1857), a patron of orchid growing and horticulture. The genus consists of about ten epiphytic species, mostly from Brazil, and is closely related to Miltoniopsis (common name of “pansy orchids”) and OncidiumSynonyms include Milt. fryanus and Onc. spectabile.
Milt. spectabilis is the largest species of the Miltonias, J.N. Rentoul noting that it is the species or “type” on which the whole genus is based. It was imported into the United Kingdom as early as 1835 and was flowered successfully by Loddiges in 1837. In Europe, it was first flowered by M. Morel in France. Arthur Yates, the Sydney seed merchant, imported many orchids from England but described Mitonias as the “most difficult subjects”, once losing his entire shipment.
SOURCES: J.N. Rentoul, Growing Orchids: Book Two (1982, Lothian, Port Melbourne) 196-202; Botanica's Pocket Orchids(2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 354-356; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 218-219.
February – Novice Winner
Cattleya Dal's Tradition Owner: G&SW Cook Again it was the botanist Dr Lindley who named this genus, after the plant collector, William Cattley of Barnet, England. Cattleyas originate from Central and South America and are some of the most hydridised orchids in the world. There are about 70 species and the genus generally enjoys warm conditions and good drainage.
Professor Cássio van den Berg writes that “Cattleya species grow in diverse habitats such as humid and dry forests, exposed rocks, and sand dunes. The species with the largest flowers are epiphytes in large trees in rainforests, while the smaller ones grow in direct sunlight in small crevices on rocks”.
SOURCES: J.N. Rentoul, Growing Orchids: Book Two (1982, Lothian, Port Melbourne) 130; Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 123; Bibliorchidea Online <orchid.unibas.ch>, at 23 December 2017 (search for “Cattleya”).

March – Open Winner

Catasetum Susan Fuchs Owner: P Yeung & J Keenan
This hybrid was registered in 1952 on the International Orchid Register maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Its parents are Ctsm. expansum (from Ecuador) and Ctsm. Orchidglade. The genus Catasetum consists of somewhere between 50 and 70 species and originates from a wide area across the West Indies, Central and South America. There is an interesting distinction between male and female flowers. ABC Gardening Australia's guide to orchids notes that “the male and female flowers are different in appearance and may occur on the same inflorescence or on separate ones” and that the female flowers are more likely to be produced if the plant is stressed, for example, if it is too bright and dry. The guide also notes that the name Catasetum derives from the Greek katameaning down, and the Latin seta meaning a bristle. The bristle describes the two appendages at the base of the column in the male flowers. The plants like bright, humid, well-ventilated conditions, but do not like direct sunlight.
SOURCES: Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 120; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 95; <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 24 December 2017
March – Novice Winner
Paphiopedilum Primcolor Owner: A Pau
The genus Paphiopedilum is named after the temple to Aphrodite (Venus) at Paphos and the Greek pedilon for slipper, referring to the genus' distinctive pouch-shaped lip. Paph. Primcolor is a hybrid between the two species parents,Paph. concolor and Paph. primulinum. The first parent is a native of Indochina and southern China, while the second parent is from a small area in the northern part of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Interestingly, both species grow on limestone hills.
SOURCES: <slipperorchids.info/paphprimaries/index.html> at 23 December 2017; Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 417, 425; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 239, 244.

April – Open Winner

Vandachostylis Five Friendships 'Pretty Alba' x Vanda Apichart Owner: P&J D'Olier
Vandas form an important component of the cut flower industry, especially in Thailand and Singapore, for use in floral displays and bouquets. Hybridising has focussed on a small number of species with almost all hybrids that have strap-like leaves tracing their heritage to V. sanderianaV. coerulea (a source of the distinctive 'blue' hue in many Vandas), V. tricolorV. luzonica and V. dearei.
The RHS International Orchid Register records that Van. Five Friendships was registered in 1990 by Suksamran fromVan. Seng x Van. Prapin. Van. Apichart was registered in 2006 by Chao Praya Orchids from a cross between the species Van. parviflora and Rhynchostylis coelestis.
SOURCES: Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 576; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 310; <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018
April – Novice Winner
Dendrochilum cobbianum Owner: G&SW Cook
Ddccobbianum orginates from the Philippines and grows at relatively high altitudes of between 1400 to 2500 metres. The species is popular in cultivation, with the curving or pendulous inflorescences carrying numerous small flowers that tend to be a mixture of white-yellow and green colours. The flowers are also noted for their fragrance which is reminiscent of freshly mown hay. The species was first described in 1880 by the best-known German orchidologist of the nineteenth centurey, Dr Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach. Thus the letters “Rchb. f.” follow the genus in orchid publications.
SOURCES: Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 222; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 162; <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochilum_cobbianum>

May – Open Winner
Phalaenopsis Big Pearl x self Owner: L Mayer
There are a huge number of Phalaenopsis hybrids, however, the RHS International Orchid Register does not record this hybrid. It is a very popular genus, consisting of at least 60 species, and grows in the wild throughout the tropical rainforests of Asia, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. They are commercially very important and an extremely popular orchid with florists, renowned for their ability to maintian their flowers for long periods of time, even in reduced lighting conditions such as human homes. ABC Gardening Australia's guide notes that many hybrids were developd initially from P. amabilis, which is a species from Indonsia, Borneo and the Philippines producing large, flat, white flowers.
SOURCES: ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 256-258; <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018
May – Novice Winner
Cattleya Bowbest Owner: S Le
The hybrid C. Bowbest was entered on the Royal Horticultural Society's Orchid Register in 1955. Its parents were C.Bow Bells and C. Estelle and its earlier ancestry is made up of the species C. mossiaeC. gaskeliannaC. triane and C. warneri. Cattleyas are amongst the most flambouyant or “showy” of orchids due to their frilly lips, sepals and petals. There are over fifty species in the genus and thousands of registered hybrids.
SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 24 December 2017; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 95.

June – Open Winner

Cymbidium Fairy Rouge 'Lavender Falls' Owner: N&D Tzelis The Royal Horticultral Society's International Orchid Register records that this hybrid was registered in 1967 from parents Cym. floribundum and Cym. Clyde Landers, the latter having been registered in 1963 from a cross betweenCym. Spartan Queen and Cym. Carisona. The species Cym. floribundum is also known commonly as the “yellow margin” orchid, “golden leaf-edge” orchid or “golden-edged” orchid. In Japanese it is known as “Kinryouhen”. The flowers produce a kind of acid which attracts honeybees and so they are useful for beekeepers.
SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 6 January 2018; <roellke-orchideen.de/index.php/en/online-shop/cymbidium/product/view/65/1713> at 7 January 2018; <wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbidium_floribundum> at 7 January 2018.
June – Novice Winner
Oncidium Midnight Miracles Owner: A&K Lyle
This hybrid does not appear on the RHS International Orchid Register, however, the grex name Midnight is popular for Oncidium with the following grexes having been registered: Midnight, Midnight Moon, Midnight Rhine Stone, Volcano Midnight. The genus Oncidiu, commonly known as the “Dancing Lady” orchid, is from tropical America and consists of over 650 species, generally with a yellow or brown hue to the flowers, which bloom once from the pseduobulb. SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids(2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 234.

July – Open Winner

Vandachostylis Alice's Anie Owner: P&J D'Olier
The Royal Horticultral Society's International Orchid Register records that this hybrid was registered in 2004 by Alice's Orchids from a cross between Vanda Apinantat and Rhynchostylis coelestis (see also the April 2017 Open Winner above). In turn, Vanda Apinantat is the progeny of V. Nok and V. Meda Arnold and was registered by Mrs K Vajrabhaya of T Orchids in 1990. 
SOURCE: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018
July – Novice Winner

Cymbidium Unknown Owner: S Harris
If a hybrid is “Unknown” this means that it is not recorded on the RHS International Orchid Register. In hisGrowning Orchids: The Hybrid Story, J. N Rentoul describes how the Cymbidium hybrids have grown from a group of species of Indo-Asian origin, particularly from Northern India to Thailand, including the following species which were used to create some of the earliest Cymbidium hybrid standards: Cym. eburneumerythrostylumgiganteum,grandiflorum (synonym hooerianum), insigne, i'ansoniilowianumparishiischroderi and tracyanum. Given the current popularity of Cymbidiums in Australia, it is interesting to read that Rentoul considers that “the hybrids of this genus have a shorter history than many other genera, the slow development stemming perhaps from lack of appreciation of their potential”.
SOURCE: J.N. Rentoul, Growing Orchids: The Hybrid Story (1991, Lothian, Port Melbourne) 31-32.

August – Open Winner

Dendrobium speciosum 'Daylight Moon' Owner: N&K Koutsoukis
Dendrobium speciosum is a famous Southeastern Australian species and is well-known to members of local societies. Its common names include the “King Orchid” and the “Rock Lily”. It thrives in frost-free environments and flowers from late winter into spring. In their detailed study of Dendrobiums, Margaret and Charles Baker made the following observations about Den. speciosum: “The habitat extends from just south of Genoa in Victoria (37.7° S) northward to Bulahdelah in central New South Wales (32.4° S). Plants are found from near the coars to about 240 km inland in the Mudgee area. They usually grow on rocks in open forest and at the base of cliffs, but north of Nowra in the Cambewarra Range, they are found high on rainforest trees in a very moist area with strong air movement. Some of the largest-flowered forms grow in leaf mould on rocks in the foothills of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.”
SOURCES: ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 148; Margaret L. Baker and Charles O. Baker, Orchid Species Culture: Dendrobium (1996, Timber Press, Oregon) 661-663.
August – Novice
Cymbidium Persuasive Touch 'Dark Eyes' Owner: B Skinner
Cym. Persuasive Touch displays dark-coloured flowers and was registered by Geyserland in 1986 from a cross ofCym. Touchstone and Cym. Carikhyber.
SOURCE: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018

September – Open Winner

Cattleya intermedia f. orlata 'Crown Fox' Owner: D&P Booth
For a description of C. intermedia, see the January Novice Winner entry above.
J. N. Rentoul made the following observations about this species: “It might well be mistaken for C. loddigesii when not in flower, the leaves of both being more or less ovoid or lance shaped. Most of the bifoliate cattleyas, South American as well as Central American, are morphologically similar. C. intermedia flowers in the spring from sheaths which may have been made months before, and it may put on two growths in the year if an early summer start is made with the first. It is one of the easiest cattleyas to grow in the warmer climate group”.
SOURCE: J.N. Rentoul, Growing Orchids: Book Two (1982, Lothian, Port Melbourne) 63.
September – Novice Winner
Dendrobium Yukidaruma 'King' Owner: K&A Lyle
This hybrid is a cross between Den. Shiranami and Den. Pinocchio and was registered in 1973 by Jiro Yamamoto, both parents having been registered from earlier crosses by him in 1972 and 1973. He began research in 1952 on sterilised culture research and commenced hybridising in 1957. He received two awards at an RHS exhibition in 1969 and an award from the Japanese Emperor in 1974. Over 4000 Dendrobiums have been registered to date under the name “Yamamoto”.
SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018; <yamamotodendrobiums.com/html/About%20Us.html> at 7 January 2018

October – Open Winner

Dendrobium secundum Owner: P&J D'Olier
Densecundum is widespread throughout tropical Asia. This species flowers towards the top of its bare canes, in clusters of up to dozens of flowers, which tend to be pink, orange or yellow or, very rarely, white. The term “secund” means “on one side” and its flowering habit is interesting because the flowers tend to grow on the same side of the inflorescence and all face in the same direction.
SOURCES: Botanica's Pocket Orchids (2002, Random House Australia, Sydney) 213; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 148.
October – Novice Winner
Phaius Lady Ramona Harris 'Looking @ You' Owner: L Harris
This hybrid would appear to be included the registration on the RHS's International Orchid Register of GastrophaiusLady Ramona Harris, a cross registered in 1998 by B Southwood, between the parents, Phaius Gravesiae and Gastrophaius pulchra var. perrieriGastrophaius is itself a cross between Gastrorchis and Phaius, the former consisting of seven or eight species originating mainly from Madagascar.
SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018; <orchids.wikia.com/wiki/Gastrophaius> at 7 January 2018; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 186.

November – Open Winner
Aerangis Elro Owner: P Yeung & J Keenan
Aerangis is a genus originating from Madagascar and tropical parts of Africa. It boasts some 60 or so miniature-growing epiphytes and lithophytes, can be grown on fern tree or cork slabs and can be propagated from cuttings. This hybrid was registered by HQ Orchids in 2009 from Aergs. ellisii and Aergs. modesta, the first known for its raceme up to 40 cm long with white and sometime salmon-tinged flowers.
SOURCES: <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018; ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids(2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 60.
November – Novice Winner
Miltoniopsis Breathless 'Brilliant' Owner: S Le As we noted above, Miltoniopsis are also known as the “pansy orchids”. The genus consists of six species, mainly from Colombia and Ecuador. Mps. Breathless was registered on the RHS's International Orchid Register in 2005 by Okika from a cross between the parents, Mps. Pink Lady and Mps. Pearl Ono.
SOURCES: ABC Gardening Australia Flora's Orchids (2005, ABC Books, Sydney) 220; <rhs.org.uk/horticultualdatabase/orchidregister> at 7 January 2018.

All photographs of the orchids were taken at Five Dock
RSL Orchid Society meetings by Jane D'Olier

DISCLAIMER: This document provides descriptions of a general nature and is not intended to provide advice on how to grow your own orchids. You should always obtain advice from an orchid expert on the best way to grow your orchids.
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