Cattleya Bob Betts ‘white lightening’

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Nov 28, 2009
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Cambridge, UK
Just to show that all is not doom and gloom with rot issues. Here is a success story. This arrived with me only about a year ago from Orchids Limited via Germany. There were transport issues and the consignment probably spent about a month in transit. One of the growths still had viable flowers although they were small. None of the roots survived so over the course of the past year this plant has been treated with much TLC.
It is growing in Orchiata in a 6 inch pot and was watered very carefully to begin with.
It probably helps that this was a big mature plant to begin with, with three leads and several big bulbs, so had plenty of resources to fall back on after losing the roots.
It also helps that my culture is probably improving.
Anyway, apart from the four new bulbs being smaller than they could be, the plant is now in excellent health and has six flowers with three more to come.
Its the first time I’ve flowered one of these big whites and I am surprised and the size of the blooms, The biggest are 6.5 to 7 inches across and the scent so pretty strong.
I have heard of the famous C. Bob Betts grex ...... really great to see flowers of one of the cultivars here in this thread! Fantastic flowers seen here. Very nice!
It would be good to know whether ’white lightening’ is a plant from the original cross of Bob Betts. By the sound of Chadwick’s piece, it may well be as subsequent attempts to remake the cross were not successful in producing top quality flowers. If so then this plant is a good 50 years old and still super vigorous!
see the link in the next post. A great read!

Thanks David! That is a great article! I recently saw one of those AOS webinars (the archived ones), with Jean Allen-Ikeson talking about white catts. I quite enjoyed that webinar. And the Bow Bells was definitely mentioned! I was even looking for C. Bob Betts over here. Haven't found one yet!!!!!!
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Cattleya Bob Betts (1950) was Bow Bells crossed back to mossiae, so it is 69% mossiae, 19% gaskelliana, and 12% trianae. There are 73 AOS awards for Bob Betts with the most recent one for flower quality in 1974. I think this is the most awarded white Cattleya. 'White Lightening' seems to be the dominant cultivar available in recent years (and what I have), but it is not awarded and I don't think we know where/when it originated. It must have been mericloned to be so available. My fantasy is that there are amazing other cultivars of Bob Betts sequestered in private collections, almost like works of art. Chadwick's do have 'Tacoma' AM/AOS available for $75 so I suspect this might have come from a mericloned line, but maybe not. I would like to know about other cultivars of Bow Bells or Bob Betts that our little group of forum members who love Cattleyas might have or have seen. My Bow Bells is 'July', which was not awarded. I know a non-awarded plant can be great, but some of the pictures I have seen of old awarded Bow Bells and Bob Betts look better than anything I have been able to get in about 4 blooming of each of my plants.
Just a really minor tiny insignificant note ------ the name is C. Bob Betts ‘White Lightning
MM's flowers are awesome. Got to try find one if there happen to be any over here - under the radar! :D
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