alba surprise...

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Mrs. Paph

As you can see from this pic, I have a Paph. Bindi, which is Muriel Constance by niveum, that has sprouted a growth w/o any purple pigment on it. (compare to old growths and 2 other new starts, bit of a difference!) Has anyone else seen this before, and if so did it continue to develop w/o pigment and bloom alba too?

PS: This is the only paph I have in S/H, which it seems to like whereas others haven't, but I don't think that would do this to it, though it was switched over in April about a month before these growths emerged, so perhaps)

~Miss Paph
A new growth starts out as a bud on the rhizome, when that bud is just beginning to form, there is a point at which it really is made up of just a few cells, possibly even just a single cell. If at this phase of development, there is a genetic mistake, a corruption of the DNA coding for pigment, it is possible to get a new growth that is albino. Now it is a LOW PROBABILITY event. But it happens. Alternately, at the same phase of development, if there is a mistake in transfering plasmids, chloroplasts, and other extra-nuclear cellular components, you can get a new growth that is variegated, or even a chimera. Spontaneous variegates happen more often than albinos do, but still this is a low probability event also. I've only had it happen in my collection once in 35 years of growing orchids. Resist the temptation to do something with this new growth. Let it mature and eventualy bloom. When it blooms you will be able to make a solid guess as to what is really happening here. What ever is happening, time will tell, but it sure is interesting.
Great insight. Thanks Leo. Would you be able to tell us more about that one incident. What kind of orchid was it? How was the growth different? Where you able to bloom the growth and if so was there any difference in the flower?

Thanks :)
I had a similar thing happen with a Dactylorhiza...typically it would be dark green with heavy spotting. One growth emerged light green with very pale and quite scattered spotting. I was quite excited at the time. The growth ended up going all wonky and deformed until I finally removed it. Not saying that will happen with your paph but just in case it does go belly up, you would know it wasn't anything you did.
That is very exciting! Yes let us know what the flower will look like (if it blooms).

It has hapened to one of our plants as well. The strange thing is that this plant will form new growths that will be half with and half without red pigments (known as a chimera), resulting in flowers that will also be half with and half without pigments, or it will have shoots that totally lack the red pigments.

The plant was a Paph. Blacklight (a charlesworthii/Maudiae cross).

Here is a normal flower:


Here is a chimera flower:


The backside:


a normal flower and a chimera flower:


The whole plant (with both a normal flower, and a "mutant" flower):


A chimera leaf (note a normal leaf on the left, and a "mutant" growth without red pigment on the right):


Doc - thats pretty say that the chimera growth shoots out more new growths...will the new growths be chimera as well?
O.K. now that is just freaky! Reminds me of that Star Trek episode with the character that was half black and half white..
Doc - thats pretty say that the chimera growth shoots out more new growths...will the new growths be chimera as well?

Yes there is a good chance that it will, but not necessarily (depending on where the meristem is). If it is a total green shoot (without red pigements) it can only make a new green shoot.

And the "mutant" flower was a flower that lacked all red pigments (it was not a chimera); it was also deformed (but I don't think this had anything to do with the lack of red pigments)
The name of Paph Bindi

By the way Paph. Bindi is one of my "babies" that I hybridized. If you are wondering where the name comes from; I named it after my niece, who's nick name is Bindi (short for Belinda). Also Bindi stands for the little red dot that is a forehead decoration for people (I think mainly women) from India. As this was a white Paph with small red dots I thought the name was appropriate.

That would make it all that more amusing if that growth continues and blooms w/o the purple pigments! I was wondering if the pretty little dots were connected to the name.
Very interesting pictures of that other cross too! Looks like someone was painting it and stopped halfway through.
I've gotta say, Doc, those are some of the coolest orchid photos that I've seen in a long time :) I've never seen anything quite like that! Very cool indeed.

- Matt
Rats, a new leaf is out on that growth now, complete w/ pretty purple speckles! Would have been interesting, but oh well. I'm just glad the plant is doing better again. Not long after that pic was taken it had a bit of a delayed reaction to heat stress while moving (hot car, hot vaccant apartment :( ) and some of the new and old growths got burned on the tips. The browning stopped and new leaves, and Another new growth have appeared though, so it seems the crisis is over!

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