Photography credit: Andy Easton

Hybridizing Notes: Rhync. bictoniense v. sulfureum & some Rhync. rossii

Oncidium Alliance

by Andy Easton

Originally published in The International Odontoglossum Alliance Journal , Supplement Spring 2020 in 2020

Posted by Sys Admin over 2 years ago.

This article references Rst. bictoniense, Rst. rossii.
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I'm just going to call this Odm. bictoniense for now as Rhyncostele sounds way too like an uncomfortable disease plus it makes fertile hybrids with many members of the Odontoglossum Alliance. However, it is a very strange plant to use in hybridizing and the results can be frustrating. The seemingly alba form is known as Odm. bictoniense 'Sulphureum'. There are two other common forms of the species, the type, with brown segments and a purplish lip plus Odm. bictoniense 'Album' which the English named for its stark white lip coupled with normal brown petals and sepals. Unfortunately, all three forms of the species hybridize differently and can give lots of surprises. Let's start with the type, its most illustrious and awarded offspring was Odcdm. Bittersweet (Odcdm. Crowborough × Odm. bictoniense) hybridized by the amazing Martin Orenstein. Martin was a very smart medical doctor who neglected his own health and died way too young. We registered the cross at his request when we bloomed the first seedling, it really was special and actually inspired McLellans to make Colmanara Wildcat! The other key Odm. bictoniense type hybrid is Odm. Bic-ross which in its 4n version, Odm. Bic-ross 'John' 4n, is proving to be a most significant parent with a future that is scarcely tapped. It will have enough significant hybrids in the near future to write a whole newsletter about them!

Odm. bictoniense ‘Album’ was used by Geyserland Orchids to make a hybrid with Onc. Illustre. The hybrid registered by Mukoyama as Odcdm. Biscuit, proved to be a real eye-opener. It was seen by few but this form of Odm. bictoniense bred very differently to the type species. The lip, which was expected to develop coloring, stayed a stark white and with the dark segments, it was a very showy plant. But the spikes got very tall and that ruled the cross out of any commercial value. I’ve left the best (or worst) for last, Odm. bictoniense ‘Sulphureum’. A number of hybridizers have used this beautiful orchid in hybridizing, crossing it with alba Odonts of multiple genera and as far as I know, not one alba progeny has resulted in all those attempts. Instead of all the orchid scientists wasting time with taxonomic studies, it would be way more useful for just one determined type to try and elucidate what happens in the various ‘Sulphureum’ combinations. Still we keep trying and some day all will surely be revealed

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