Cattleya Frans Hais (Horace 'Maxima' AM/AOS x trianae 'Winter Giant')

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Nov 29, 2008
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Bloomington, MN

Frans Hais was registered with RHS in 1951 by G. Barendsen. It has no AOS awards and no identifiable named cultivars. Both parents of this Orchids Limited remake are considered tetraploid. Deb (Southernbelle) created an excellent chain in July 2020 about her plant from this cross.‘maxima’-am-aos-4n-x-trianae-‘winter-giant’-4n.49804/

My currently blooming plant has two flowering growths, one with three and one with two blooms. I think my flowers are a little smaller and a little blotchier in color than Deb’s, but the shape and substance are strong. Deb’s and my flowers are not as large as Horace ‘Maxima and I have wondered why Frans Hais was even created.

Cattleya Horace is important for breeding with 344 registered progenies. It was registered with RHS in 1938 by Flandria Orchids in Belgium, two years before the Nazi invasion of that country. Horace is (trianae x Woltersiana), a mix of 6 species [50% trianae, 12.5% mendelii, 12.5% mossiae, 12.5% warneri, 6.25% dowiana, and 6.25% warscewiczii].

World War II severely damaged orchid growing in Europe. There were few shows or awards during the 1939-1946 period. It was difficult just to keep plants alive and some prized orchids were moved to the USA. I don’t know when Horace reached the US, but the first AOS award was an AM to the cultivar ‘Maxima’ in 1949, with the awardee listed as “unknown” by OrchidPro. ‘Maxima’ received a repeat AM in 2008 with a slightly higher point score when shown by Ron Midgett of New Earth Orchids in Santa Fe. I don’t know if this plant was a verified division from the original plant or a mericlone. The awarded flower had a horizontal NS of 19.1 cm. OrchidPro does not list the dimensions of the original ‘Maxima’ bloom.

Here is a link to a brief description by Ron Midgett of the benefits of using Horace ‘Maxima’ as a parent.

Frans Hais was created before Horace ‘Maxima’ could be mericloned. I can imagine the owner of Horace ‘Maxima’ during WWII wanting to preserve its special genes. Making a cross to trianae was perhaps a readily available and safe way to do this. I doubt that the goal was making a better plant or flower than Horace ‘Maxima’. As Horace ‘Maxima’ became more available through mericloning, Frans Hais was never used for breeding and disappeared.

I think Deb and my Frans Hais flowers are nice round, lavender flowers with heavy substance but last year I found a mericlone of Horace ‘Maxima’ and bought it. If push comes to shove in my limited size plant room, Horace will stay, and Frans may have to leave.
Beautiful, I quite like the color, and I think the form is fantastic - love those overlapping petals. I would be interested to see if the ploidy affects the longevity of the flowers, please keep us updated! Trianaei already lasts a long time, but longer lasting flowers are always better!
I suppose the cross was made to produce more similar looking flowers for cut flower production and 'cement' the flowering time.
Its a darn good flower for a hybrid 70 years old!
So easy to forget the massive Cattleya cut flower rage of 1930-1960 or so. A huge number of Cattleyas were needed that bloomed at the right times and would last (so good substance). This might have fit that bill.