Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit' and 'Alberts' - you can get an inferior mericlone

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Nov 29, 2008
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Bloomington, MN
I have two percivaliana, the first from an Orchids Limited cross of (‘Summit’ FCC/AOS x self). I have bloomed this plant three times and it has a nice full configuration, with a little darker coloration than some ‘Summit’ photos with a distinct venosa pattern. I don’t think it is award quality, but it is attractive, and the plant is compact and a good grower so I can try for a larger, multi-spike plant. Here is a flower from several months ago.


I also have a percivaliana that is a mericlone of ‘Alberts’, which received an AOS CCM in 2006 for a 17-inflorescence plant. In the same year it also received the Jesup Botanical Trophy and the Miyamoto Cattleya Alliance Award for the most outstanding member of the Cattleya alliance. Good enough for me! The award photo isn’t great, but it shows a full flower with a reasonably wide lip.

The award description of ‘Alberts’ flower was:

sepals and petals pink; lip pink, throat magenta and golden orange turning velvet red to bright magenta; substance firm; texture crystalline

Well, not with my plant, which is currently flowering for the sixth time and is here shown indoors under 4,000K light with no camera or photo adjustments.


The sepal and petal coloration are similar to ‘Alberts’, but the lip has always been narrow and closed. The petals reflex strongly forward and are a little narrow so the flower has an overall open appearance. The substance is light, particularly on the margins of the petals, and the texture is certainly not crystalline.

It would be fun to discover a mericlone that turns out to be even better than the parent plant. With percivaliana that happened when ‘Mendenhall-Summit’ was found in a mericloning of ‘Summit’. But, for every one of these there will be a worse-than-the-parent-plant and I think I got that with my ‘Alberts’ mericlone.

Space is tight for me, and I have given this plant enough attempts to improve and it just can’t get over the bar. It will have to go.
Mericlones do not always come out exactly the same although most should come out that way. So there’s that.
Original divisions are the surest way.
It's always nice when you get a tetraploid clone that's better Than the parent plant.
Bin it!
Near specimen size being 8" pots?
'Alberts' was in a 12 inch pot. The more recent CCE for percivaliana listed the plant size as about the same as 'Alberts' but didn't give the pot size, but I have to think it was at least 12 inches and maybe 13. You can get a very nice display in an 8 inch pot, but it probably wouldn't qualify as a "specimen"!
The summit selfing is beautiful, agree the 'Alberts' could be re-homed. I guess for every George King 'Southern Cross' there's going to be a fair number of genetic anomalies in the other direction....
The summit selfing is beautiful, agree the 'Alberts' could be re-homed. I guess for every George King 'Southern Cross' there's going to be a fair number of genetic anomalies in the other direction....
My reason for this post was that many know that getting a plant from a cross of two different parents is a throw of the genetic dice with a roughly random chance of getting something better than, equal to, or worse than either parent. However, I sense that many believe that getting a mericlone eliminates the genetic dice and gets you a plant equal to the parent. We even get to keep using the cultivar name with the mericlone!

We need to keep emphasizing that there is still some genetic variability with mericloning, but it isn't as wide as when the plant is crossed to itself.

When a great heirloom plant is virus infected, if it is self-crossed the progeny are almost certainly infected. However, if the mericlone process is done carefully in a particular way, there is a good chance of ending up with a plant that is virus free. That would be worth paying for.

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