Cattleya Betty Ford - mericlone variation

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Cattleya Betty Ford (registered 1982) has sentimental family value for me, and I bought my first ‘York’ cultivar from Orchids Limited in 2008 for my father-in-law’s funeral. Wanting insurance against my beginner Cattleya skills, I bought a second plant of ‘York’ from them a year later. I have bloomed each plant multiple times over the years and the leaves and flowers of the two plants have always been different. Here is the flower of the first plant, currently open about 1 week:
IMG_2073.jpeg

Here is the flower from the second plant under identical photo conditions, after it had been open a week about a month ago.
IMG_1982.jpeg

The first Betty Ford has lighter colored sepals, petals, and labellum. There is more prominent yellow in the hypochile of the first plant. The first plant flower also has modestly stronger substance and is rounder and more closed, but it is a little smaller than the second flower.

Everything I know about Cattleya Betty Ford comes from Chapman’s nice history that you can find in the next link:

First Ladies and their Cattleyas: Betty Ford

Hausermanns cloned the two best varieties of the cross for public sale. The one shown to Mrs. Ford was ‘Winter Delight’, “a medium lavender with a two-tone yellow/purple throat”. The second plant was ‘York’, “a dark purple with an even darker throat”.

‘Winter Delight’ was heavily promoted for a few years, but eventually ‘York’ became the dominant cultivar for purchase. I have never found an online picture of ‘Winter Delight’ and it was never awarded. Pictures of ‘York’ are plentiful online and it was awarded an AM in 2009.

I think my first plant leans in the direction of ‘Winter Delight’, while the second matches the description and award photo for ‘York’. This difference could have occurred even with two progenies of the same mericloning process, during which subtle shuffling and inactivation/activation of some genes can occur. It is also possible that my two plants came from separate mericlonings of two different Betty Ford ‘York’ plants that themselves were mericlones. Nothing requires mericlones to only be made from divisions of the original plant.

Occasionally the difference between a mericlone and the “parent” is strong enough to permit/compel a new cultivar name. For example, Cattleya percivaliana ‘Mendenhall-Summit’ arose from a mericloning of ‘Summit’. Although I could legitimately continue to label both of my plants ‘York’, I have decided it would be more accurate to give a new cultivar name to the first plant, calling it ‘Chuck’, after my father-in-law who first got me started on the orchid trail.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Interesting how the mericlone (genetic) shift created these variations. And yes, if the flower traits are dissimilar to the original, you can rename the cultivar (officially).
 
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Cattleya Betty Ford (registered 1982) has sentimental family value for me, and I bought my first ‘York’ cultivar from Orchids Limited in 2008 for my father-in-law’s funeral. Wanting insurance against my beginner Cattleya skills, I bought a second plant of ‘York’ from them a year later. I have bloomed each plant multiple times over the years and the leaves and flowers of the two plants have always been different. Here is the flower of the first plant, currently open about 1 week:
View attachment 32290

Here is the flower from the second plant under identical photo conditions, after it had been open a week about a month ago.
View attachment 32291

The first Betty Ford has lighter colored sepals, petals, and labellum. There is more prominent yellow in the hypochile of the first plant. The first plant flower also has modestly stronger substance and is rounder and more closed, but it is a little smaller than the second flower.

Everything I know about Cattleya Betty Ford comes from Chapman’s nice history that you can find in the next link:

First Ladies and their Cattleyas: Betty Ford

Hausermanns cloned the two best varieties of the cross for public sale. The one shown to Mrs. Ford was ‘Winter Delight’, “a medium lavender with a two-tone yellow/purple throat”. The second plant was ‘York’, “a dark purple with an even darker throat”.

‘Winter Delight’ was heavily promoted for a few years, but eventually ‘York’ became the dominant cultivar for purchase. I have never found an online picture of ‘Winter Delight’ and it was never awarded. Pictures of ‘York’ are plentiful online and it was awarded an AM in 2009.

I think my first plant leans in the direction of ‘Winter Delight’, while the second matches the description and award photo for ‘York’. This difference could have occurred even with two progenies of the same mericloning process, during which subtle shuffling and inactivation/activation of some genes can occur. It is also possible that my two plants came from separate mericlonings of two different Betty Ford ‘York’ plants that themselves were mericlones. Nothing requires mericlones to only be made from divisions of the original plant.

Occasionally the difference between a mericlone and the “parent” is strong enough to permit/compel a new cultivar name. For example, Cattleya percivaliana ‘Mendenhall-Summit’ arose from a mericloning of ‘Summit’. Although I could legitimately continue to label both of my plants ‘York’, I have decided it would be more accurate to give a new cultivar name to the first plant, calling it ‘Chuck’, after my father-in-law who first got me started on the orchid trail.
Mine is in sheath, but not bursting with buds yet. Interesting as I think it's from your same plant.
 
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Deb, your plant is from the second Betty Ford I acquired, so the darker and larger flower and the larger leafed plant. It is fairly robust for me so that I know have two multigrowth plants of it in large pots. I will not let myself go to 3 so a next division will see a plant go back to Orchids Limited.
 
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No, it was a labeled Betty Ford ‘York’ plant and I think almost all the Betty Fords in existence came from mericloning done by Hausermann’s. Maybe someone else has mericloned a division as well, but I don’t think any selfings or crossings of two ‘Yorks’ have been available. I think the issue is simply that in any batch of mericloned plants, there can be some variation from the original source plant.
 

Cearbhael

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Well, can’t see pictures due to Egyptian Ad dominating the page! I love Bast and all cats BUT!!!!
 
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