- Nov 29, 2008
- Reaction score
- Bloomington, MN
The only remarkable thing about this first-bloom flower is that it bloomed and is blooming earlier in the year than I thought it should. Ever since I read Chadwicks’ quote about warscewiczii, “Most hobbyists in the United States do not grow or flower Cattleya warscewiczii well”, I have been pessimistic about blooming this species.
‘Firmin Lambeau’ FCC/RHS (1912) is said to be the first natural true alba Cattleya warscewiczii. I don’t have any information on the size of ‘Firmin Lambeau’ but online pictures are found demonstrating its “large size and good shape” as Chadwicks put it. ‘Kathleen’ was awarded an AM/AOS in 2008 with 5 flowers with a horizontal NS of 19.4 cm and a vertical NS of 21 cm.
This cross of ‘Firmin Lambeau’ x ‘Kathleen’ was made by a private grower from whom Jerry Fischer of Orchids Limited acquired seedlings a number of years ago. I don’t know if each parent was known to come through an unbroken line of divisions or whether some mericloning seeped in.
I anxiously bought a seedling 6 years ago as I learned that my LED lighting should be satisfactory for high light orchids. The plant grew steadily and was divided to become two multi-growth plants, but I never had a sheath or bloom.
Last August, the front lead of each plant developed two new growths. They grew slowly through winter in my plant room, but in January as I increased the day length and temperature the growths accelerated and became thicker and taller than any previous ones. While I was pleased, I didn’t expect blooming this year.
When the first new leaf on each plant parted enough to peer inside, I could see sheaths. Soon after, the sheaths began to swell, and buds quickly emerged on both plants before the leaves were fully grown. I think the time from when I first saw a bud near the top of the sheath to when the flower opened is faster than about any other unifoliate Cattleya I have bloomed. Only the first growth on each plant is blooming, each with two flowers.
I think the flower coloration and shape are good, but the horizontal natural width is only about 13.0 cm and the height is 15.0 cm. Maybe future blooms will get larger, but the plants are in the largest pots I want to accommodate in my plant room and are multigrowth, so I don’t think I can make the plants much bigger.
The impressive round, full blooms of the complex white hybrids Bow Bells, Bob Betts, and Jose Marti I have are great, but I am learning to appreciate the alba forms of various species like warscewiczii.