Cattleya trianae and the term Sangre de Toro

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Nov 29, 2008
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Bloomington, MN
I periodically see images or text about Cattleya trianae Sangre de Toro (or trianae var. sangre de toro). These are referring to dark reddish-lavender or fuschia colored trianae. I have also seen trianae with cultivar names of ‘Sangre de Toro Dark Lip’ and I have a cross with trianae Sangre de Toro ‘Hernando Garcia’ as a parent on the label.

When I look at trianae awards, I find that Cattleya trianae ‘Sangretoro Oscarina’ was awarded a JC in 1987, apparently for “flowers very dark magenta”, a more “fimbriated lip”, and a “lip color … very pleasing dark magenta”. The flower was not large. I see no other AOS trianae awards for a color form or cultivar remotely resembling the term sangretoro.

I suspect that the ‘Sangretoro’ part of the awarded cultivar name might have evolved into a generic trianae color type, which then transitioned to a var. for some, and then finally new cultivar names were even added to this color form (‘Hernando Garcia’). I think this would be like Cattleya trianae ‘Mooreana’ (AM/AOS in 1987) evolving into trianae var. mooreana as a descriptor of other trianae with flamea coloration.

If I am correct, there are many different Cattleya trianae cultivars in circulation carrying the Sangre de Toro (or sangre de toro) color descriptors, while trianae ‘Sangre de Toro Dark Lip’ and Sangre de Toro ‘Hernando Garcia’ should be specific cultivars. I suppose someone could name a plant trianae ‘Sangre de Toro’ but I think that would create unacceptable confusion and I would be very suspicious of an error in the labeling of such a plant.
Sangre de Toro (blood of bull) is a term given to dark colored rubra type of trianae, for which the common type is tipo (typical) light lavender pink.

It is not a valid formal variety (not described officially by taxonomists in published journals) term but rather a horticultural (a color variant for hobbyist/commercial purposes) variety term.

The original plant that was discovered was named Sangre de Toro as both a type as well as the cultivar name. Soon after a few more were discovered in the jungles and were called sangre toro-type in reference to the similarity of that first plant. Since then many cultivars integrated the name into their cultivar names, whether jungle plants or selfings/sibs (progeny of sangre toro lines).

In my opinion, the sangre toro types not only have different floral shape than regular trianae (such as smaller tepals and a narrower dark red lip with little yellow eyes in throat), the plant has also much smaller narrow leaves with thin pseudobulbs (up to half the size of the large tip varieties). It is my experience that they are an ecological sub-species of their own and should be judged within their own category (that is sangre toro types judged with other sangre toro types). Just like how a coerulea of one species should be judged against the coeruleas of that same species.

In terms of naming these types, they can integrate the 'Sangre de Toro XXXX' into their cultivar name. Only the original discovered plant can have the single 'Sangre de Toro' designation. In awards, these types (horticultural color varieties) can be put into parenthesis (Sangre Toro) just like for (Semi Alba) etc.

Hope this makes sense lol.
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Leslie, the awarded ‘Sangretoro Oscarina’ is an example of this combination? For communication purposes you would say Cattleya trianae Sangre de Toro and not use var.? I am remembering a push began decades ago to get rid of using var. to describe color forms. I am thinking it would be correct to list Cattleya trianae Sangre de Toro ‘Hernando Garcia’ as a specific cultivar? If it were awarded, I think AOS would currently have it entered as just Cattleya trianae ‘Hernando Garcia’ with no notation about the Sangre de Toro?
The term variety (var.) is only used for valid published sub-species (that occurs from wild populations and not from selfings or line breeding) that is accepted by Kew. For example, Paphiopedilum villosum var. laichuanum is published and accepted as a variety by laichaunum (because they form their own colonies in the wild).

The term forma (f.) is officially described in literature but not accepted by Kew as a separate sub-population of that species. Usually used to separate due to a different color form. For example, Paphiopedilum charlesworthii f. sandowiae (album) was described by Braeme and accepted by Kew only as a synonym of Paph. charlesworthii.

A color variety or horticularally significant color forms that are not officially described/published, nor are accepted by Kew as a variety can be denoted in AOS awards in parenthesis such as (Semialba) or (Rubra). In the case of this sangre de toro color form, it is considered a dark red form or rubra and can be put in parenthesis as (Rubra) or (Sangre de Toro type). Just looking through the trianae awards in AOS, you can see many flowers that fit into the Sangre de Toro types but were not indicated (such as 'November Charm' HCC/AOS (2016) and 'Andrea' AM/AOS and 'Henry' HCC/AOS (both 2010)). This is a case where putting these parentheses can help the judges compare similar types together because the shapes of Sangre de Toros (Rubras) will never approach the full circle shape or the large size of the tipo regular lavender forms (such as 'Cashen's).

These 3 ways are the main ways the AOS separate these terms.
According to Orchid Wiz, C. trianae 'Sangretoro Oscarina' was awarded a JC/AOS to Oscar Becerra in 1987 and C trianae h.f. rubra 'Sangre de Toro' received a 1ST/CAOB in 2017. No other cultivar epithets relating to "blood of the bull" are listed.
I think it looks safest and clearest to put coloration descriptors inside parentheses after the species name and not try and make them look official with var. or f. I guess capitalizing them is OK, but I think that makes them look too official. You would have Cattleya trianae (alba, rubra, coerulea, semi-alba, flamea, pincelada, sangre de toro, etc., etc) followed by a cultivar name inside ‘ ‘. The parent of one of my crosses would be Cattleya trianae (sangre de toro) ‘Hernando Garcia’.
Ok so I just have to weigh in here as I have been growing Sangre de Toro for at least 7/8 years along with at least 8/10 other trianae divisions. My plant was hand delivered as a division by Fred Clarke here in Toronto as his trianae var. sangre de toro 'Hernando Garcia'. Original tag below. The plant growth habit and flower form are quite unique from other trianae. The stature of the plant is that of a compact type cattleya, and the leaf on a new pseudobulb opens very glossy and dark. The plant is vigorous and has a readily branching rhizome. The lip and lateral sepals seem to want to separate from the rest of the flower. It usually has one flower rarely two, but for me for the first time it is presently opening with 2 on 1 infl.. Will post on opening. It also seems like clockwork to be the first trianae to open heralding in the new season. This is an interesting discussion as others have found this type to be divergent enough to welcome the sangre de toro designation. BTW Fred is still listing this for $125 while most others seem to now be in the $250 range.


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Thanks for the information and very nice pictures. I don't think you are conflicting with above information except for my reading that orchid taxonomists are more recently moving away from useing var. for color forms and either using fma. or just noting the color form in parenthesis (the way AOS awards appear). I know it is hard to capture the color of these darker lavender flowers accurately and the lighting conditions matter, but your cultivar looks about as dark as the classic (and controversial) C. mossiae 'Willowbrook'.

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