Dear Brazilian orchid breeders!!!

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John Boy

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Dear Brazilian orchid breeders!!!


I have been wanting to raise an issue with you, that’s been hovering around my mind for a while now. My intention is to raise your awareness of how orchid collectors around the world see, and judge what you do.
As a serious collector of Cattleyas and Laelia species I’ve been around the orchid-world for around about 25 years. Times are changing, and having some sort of a marketing, as well as sales history, I have a feeling that you (Breeders in Brazil as a Total) have completely lost touch, as well as all sense of realty as to what your peers or customers really want/need/ require, and ultimately would spend their money on.
For many years you have been producing seedling, seed propagated things as well as line-bred Taxa, of plants within your collections. I have to say it, since it’s only fair to point out the things you’re not doing, as we’d need them done as customers.

For one: I have been collecting selected cultivars of Laelia purpurata and Cattleya walkeriana ever since I’ve started. Selected cultivars back in the day were highly sought after plants, which were available, mostly affordable, and mericloned.
These days however you’ve stopped making mericlones alltogether, reasoning with the rest of the world, that a mericlone automatically becomes worthless. Would it surprise you, that this point of view is originating in Japan, and that by adhearing to it as a producer of plants, you’re loosing the rest of the entire worlds business over Japans requirement to stop mericloneing plants? If you want, I could name about 50 Equilab propagated Taxa throughout all Cattleyas, as well as Laelia, that people would buy for good money. Unfortunately they have gone out of production and are mostly unavailable. In a nutshell: The best plants available shouldn’t be the plants you just use for seed-propagation. You might have numbers or even cultivar names for these plants and think they should be a million dollars each. Well, as most of us have never heard of your cultivars, as long as you don’t have international awards to go with these plants: How on earth are we supposed to know what you’re talking about when you offer a Cattleya walkeriana ‘Donde el Gusto’ X walkeriana ‘More Crap’? Since your names don’t mean anything to me, and since most of the time you don’t even provide any photographic backup… You’ll simply not sell anything!!!! As long as you will continue not supplying what I, and other serious collectors demand, you will very simply not regain my custom, nor will you get any of my money, which would be available for spending on orchids. I’ll just take this money else-where, like Borneo or Thailand, and spend it on Paphiopedilums. I will go on focussing on trying to find old AND AWARDED merliclone plants, that I know have the qualities I want.

Second:
What happened to your pricing structures??? Reading your listings quite frequently, wondering how you manage to sell any plants at all…. I have to ask you:
How do you justify asking anything from 40-70$ for un-bloomed seedlings that will take about 3-5 years (sold as 2,5” plants) to reach flowering size, once they have reached Europe or the U.S.? It’s quite simply beyond me grasping, how you invent these prices. You don’t provide what we’d require, and the plant you’re willing to offer arrive with us rootless, tiny, un-flowered and have a substantial chance of dying during the first few weeks after they’ve left you facility. Besides: you don’t have to have heated glass houses, you have all the heat and light for free one could ever want, and all you really need to provide is water, fertiliser and a shad-cloth.

Reading you listings I mostly feel that you must believe that every one of your customers is a millionaire. I have news for you: People in Europe or the U.S. mostly work hard to make ends meet, and have to watch very carefully how much money they can spend on their hobbies like orchids. You on the other side have placed mark-ups on your seedlings over the last 10-15 years, which are so unbelievably ridiculous, that I’m having trouble finding words for it…

Just as a very random example:

Z 1176 C. amethystoglossa 'Lorena' C. amethystoglossa 'Jubarte'
2 1/2" Both plants have superior quality flowers. Similar to Z-1174.
28,00
Be honest! Who are Lorena & Jubarte? What does Z-1174 look like?
All This is bullshit!, it’s 28$ for god knows what, and it makes no sense to anyone!!!

Next:
Z 1165 C. eldorado magenta orlata pincelada 'Tapajó SELF
Excellent flower shape, big flowers with dark purple petals and sepals (also splashed) and very dark
magenta lip.
2 1/2" $45,00

Okay, I’ll do you a deal:
Take a decent picture of that flower, make it a mericlone, and if I like the picture I’ll give you 45$ for a 2 1/2" plant. Infact: I’d take 3 plants!
Not for a X self of a name, that doesn’t mean anything to me though….

Sorry guys, but you’re living as well as providing services besides the real world. I’ll not support you for as long as it takes you to produce and offer what I want, for money that does make sense not just for you….


Regards,
Martin
 

Roth

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The divisions of selected cattleya sells for 5000-20000USD in Japan, why you would like anyone to make mericlones, release 100 plants painfully at even 50 USD??? All the Equilab and other famous cultivars are available, in Brazil or Japan, but for some thousands USD... and one would be crazy to make mericlone, destroy their value, and make a dime after a few years compared to the sale of a single division...

As for Japan, the Japanese market for good quality orchids is about 2 or 3 times bigger than the rest of the world in the total cash spent. Selling to Japan is more than enough, and easy if you have high quality things. There is no discussion too, or 'too expensive'. In Europe, a plant over 25-30 euros a seedling, you can sell maybe 10, 20 a year, never ever more. In the USA I would think it is very similar.

There has been some nurseries that bought all those expensive cattleya from Brazil ( MSB I think in Germany?), and made mericlones. It has been a HUGE failure, because the price the hobbyists are ready to pay for mericlones could never ever help to recover the initial investment in the division. I know as a fact that fair priced cattleya seedlings or mericlones, you can sell only 10-50 in Europe, then deal done. I suspect in the USA it is not really better.. maybe 100 for the fantastic plants, but I do not even think so.

It is best to grow the plant, divide it every 2-3 years, sell the division to Japan, and make some seed capsules like the list you post to make some pocket money with the USA and Europe, eventually. In fact they sell some seedlings here and there, but the main purpose why they do those crosses is to bloom them, select them, sell the best ones to Japan for some thousands or dozen of thousands of USD.

Which means too that I would never ever buy such seedlings, same for some paphs. You can know the flower quality by the plant shape definitely, and the seedlings they sell for 45USD are usually the runts that have no potential. The good ones form the cross are grown to blooming size and sold when they know the flower quality.

The prices for seedlings are high, because there are not many hobbyists interested worldwide, even if they were damn cheap. Let's say for one cross, the breeder can hope to sell worldwide 10-30 plants, maybe 50.

That's the issue. The other one, cattleya are not exactly so easy to tissue culture. Cattleya maxima alba Koeningin Sylvia is one example, all the mericlones are muted like hell. There are only a few labs that can do perfect tissue culture of those plants, but the time involved and skills are not worth to make only a few dozen plants, ultimately to loose money...

A last note too, the Brazilian, except Equilab that was REALLY a fantastic nursery with high quality plant ( but the owner was so wealthy he did not need to sell any plant after all, it was his hobby...), tend to sell hybrids or tampered plants as species or rare varieties/selected plants. They put as well a lot of crazy name, that have no other meaning than to increase the price of the plants, like those magenta orlata pincelada fuckada ... especially for seedlings. Those description apply to one individual plant, but by doing seed propagation, there is a wide range of things blooming, most of them being not magenta orlata pincelada fuckada but more colonoscopia sodomia rectumia...

Most labs too refuse to make small mericlone quantities, you have to order 200 big minimum from a pop and mom operation, and from a serious lab, 500-2000/ each variety. They do not get money whether it is rare or common, and they better do pot plant hybrid, they charge the same... 500 plants is enough to cover the market worldwide for the next 10 years, if not 20 years... if no one makes tissue culture out of the tissue culture no one wants to do so.

The harrisoniana Streeter's Choice FCC ( whether it is a real species or an hybrid, but anyway...), H&R made 200 plants, they still had 30 three years ago, that they sold to Taiwan, who made thousands of them... and could not sell them at 40US a flask, they sold 7 such flasks in Europe... They had to sell those to Hawaii at 16USD a flask, to be able to sell 30 flasks more...
 

Shiva

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Always interesting to see how things come around. When I joined my orchid society in the late seventies, one of the selling points to new members was that the collection of orchids was no more the domain of the rich, that you could enjoy orchids for competitive costs compared to other plants. Now I'm learning that the Japanese are willing to pay thousands of dollars for the highest quality orchids and that the rest of us must settle for the ''runts'' of the crops. If this continues, will I be forced one day to quit collecting orchids and do something else?
 

NYEric

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If you want the highest quality plants you will have to spend the money, trade for them, find nursery going out of business, or make midnight raids! :ninja:
 
K

Kavanaru

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not trying to defend the Brazilians or anybody else, but I also think there is a lot of rubbish in your e-mail! Yes, I assume you are reading a PDF catalogue from AWZ Orchdis (at least those are the codes you are posting!) and yes, there is no pictures theres.. if you got to their website, you can find many pictures of many of the clones you have mentioned! Accepted, not of all of them and maybe those names say nothing to you, the same as many names of Plants in Germany say absolutely nothing to southamericans or even to other European countries!
I can speak for Venezuela, where you can find C.mossiae and lueddemaniana clones with names that say nothing to you, and which would make envious many of the awarded C. mossiae and C. lueddemaniana you can find in USA or Europe... Those names are very well known in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and to those people who go and see these plants! They are not readily available in USA or Europe? as already mentioned above, there are not that many people interested in Cattleyas or willing to pay the real price of those plants... I'll give you an example, there is nursery in Germany that used to have business with Venezuela... The owner wanted to buy a division of one of the best C. mossiae a friend of mine has, but was not willing to pay more than 10$ for the division, "because 10$ is already a lot of money in Venezuela!" Result, the nursery in Venezuela stopped business with him and sent to buy his cheap mericlones and low quality C. mossiaes... I know pf at least two other nurseries in Germany trying to re-start business with them, but without any success! so, far these high quality Cattleyas will stay there...
On top of that, if you write to these nurseries in Brazil and ask them for information, you receive feedback and very often also with the corresponding pictures. Keep in mind as well they are not interested in selling 1 plant to you a single person in Germany, they are more interested in selling large amounts of plants to a nursery... I know that at least one of the two major seller from AWZ orchids plants in Germany, go on a regular basis to Brazil to see the plants themselves and know what they are ordering!
 
K

Kavanaru

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furthermore, you mention that the brazilian plants arrive as rootless seedling to Germany... hhhmm... if you refer to AWZ, from which you show the catalogue codes here, I must admit I am very surprised. I have ordered many plants from them, and I have always received exactly what they have offered: seedling, 1YeartoBloom, NBS, BS, whatever, and always with fantastic roots and very good quality plants! I have never had any complains with them!
As for other Brazilian, Southamerican, Asian and USAmerican nurseries... yes, I admit I have received a lot of crap from them as well!

and regarding the brazilian specialty of naming and renaming and overnaming plants... well.. I agree, a lot of rubbish there as well, but that seem the way it work for them, and is not only for the international market... admitedly, it makes no sense to me to have 10 different varieties described, which refers to the same semialba plant, based only whether the bit of color is placed on the tip, the middle, the base of the lip or one edge the petal.. Brazilians seems to love those level of detail on the description of their plants, but there is as well a lot of people in USA and Europe willing to pay for them, and therefore supporting that crazy behavior!
 

bullsie

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I too entered the orchid relm when quality plants were affordable. But I will say also, that I would pay more for a nice plant. Since venturing away from hybrids and mericlones into species these last few years, esp Cattleya, I have found it difficult to get quality plants that are not hybrids with a species name tacked on. And I'd pay more if I knew I wasn't getting a hybrid with a species name tacked on. I can also understand the reasoning behind the '#1' x '#2' seedlings being questionable - who is #1 and #2?

And it is true, most of us cannot compete with Japan now. And I can understand the reasoning behind growers wanting top dollar. As the old saying goes, "six of one and half dozen the other". I don't know if there is a winning situation here. Am enjoying the discussion. Lots to think about.
 
K

Kavanaru

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Furthermore, on regard to your "demand" that they should have cheap plants because they do not have heated glasshouses.... That only hows you have no idea... First heating is not the only cost, and some have costs you don't have in Germany... Second, Brazil is not only half naked women with feathers dancing Samba along Copacabana with toucans and macaws flying around... Recently a german friend (owner of a german orchids nursery) went to visit one of this nurseries and was shocked when she arrived with flip-flops and shorts to find rain and temps near 0C.. some nurseries have more than a shadehouse and any need to heat them as well!
 

Rick

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Yes free market capitalism is not only about competition amongst the producers trying to sell a product, but consumers competing to buy the products. And all in the name of maximizing $$.

Everyone wants to be a winner and no one wants to be a looser, but the system is inherently set up to make both.

As they say, money talks BS walks.

On an interesting side, I don't know if the Brazilians themselves are as enamored as the Japanese for micro detailed labeling or just found a way to market effectively to that culture.

You see massive competitions and mega $ for things like Koi, Neo's, and "real" sushi, with lavish incredible appreciation, detail, and devotion to what appear to be very simple and common things. I rarely see that for a culture as a whole outside of Japan.

But I have seen that in several South/Central American countries that you can have whole clubs and competitions dedicated to a single species of orchid. So maybe that's where the natural fit came in for the Brazilians to market to a culture that has a similar dedication to those fine details.

And then I was just thinking of Poozcard down in Malaysia where he was showing us all those pictures of Paph exul grown for myriad form and color.
 

Shiva

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Furthermore, on regard to your "demand" that they should have cheap plants because they do not have heated glasshouses.... That only hows you have no idea... First heating is not the only cost, and some have costs you don't have in Germany... Second, Brazil is not only half naked women with feathers dancing Samba along Copacabana with toucans and macaws flying around... Recently a german friend (owner of a german orchids nursery) went to visit one of this nurseries and was shocked when she arrived with flip-flops and shorts to find rain and temps near 0C.. some nurseries have more than a shadehouse and any need to heat them as well!

Damn! You just killed my fantasy about sexy brazilian women dancing the samba in tiny pieces of clothing and headgears with lots of colorful feathers. On the other hand, I would greet with shorts and a T-shirt winter temps near 0°C, at least some of the time. :)
 

eggshells

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Damn! You just killed my fantasy about sexy brazilian women dancing the samba in tiny pieces of clothing and headgears with lots of colorful feathers. On the other hand, I would greet with shorts and a T-shirt winter temps near 0°C, at least some of the time. :)

I just chuckled a bit because its true. Very early in the spring where temps hover just around 0. You will see lots of people especially girls already wearing short shorts and flip flops.

On topic. Does the Japanese treat their orchids like their bonsai? If that's the case. Maybe that is one of the reasons why they pay so much because they know that the plant will stay in their family for generations to come.
 
D

Dido

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If meet this week some nice brazilian womens in turkkey, the dont need to ware this closes they look in normal on great as well
( I miss the icons......... think on the devil here.....)
 

Shiva

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If meet this week some nice brazilian womens in turkkey, the dont need to ware this closes they look in normal on great as well
( I miss the icons......... think on the devil here.....)

Turkey is a muslim country. They are very open as it goes compare to others, but still... And you barely see any women in the streets, mostly men very well dressed by the way. At least that's what I saw when I went there in 75.
 
D

Dido

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Oh man you dont have been there for long time.

You feel like you have been somewhere else, turkey is very tolerant to that.

The strong ones are not very much, they moved outside of the country.

So it looks sometimes like you been in Italy or in greece.

by the way this was real brasilian ladys who was with me. I was on a business trip with peopel from all over the world.
Only no US lady she had to stay at home, but some great mans from US.

And for sure some german lady and some spanish ones....
 

Shiva

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I just chuckled a bit because its true. Very early in the spring where temps hover just around 0. You will see lots of people especially girls already wearing short shorts and flip flops.

On topic. Does the Japanese treat their orchids like their bonsai? If that's the case. Maybe that is one of the reasons why they pay so much because they know that the plant will stay in their family for generations to come.

The Japanese are perfectionnists. They have a long tradition of gardens and gardening. And they are a very patient and dedicated people. Your comparison with bonsai makes sense. Out here, in early spring, if it's sunny enough in the day, people flock to the café-terasse in Montréal and men drag the girls in their convertible, even when near 0°C.. :)
 

Stone

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The Japanese are in a league of their own when it comes to collecting. Many many years ago when I was into music, I learned the Japanese guitar collectors went to the States to buy any or all L series pre 1960's Fender Stratocasters at... ANY!!!!.... price not so they could take them home and play them, but so they could make glossy albums and show thier friends.
You can't compete with lotsa money and total obsession.
 

tenman

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AMEN, John Boy! I have been having this argument with them myself. It leterally seems like they are trying to breed out the exotic, beautiful, distinct color forms and homogenize the species til they're all the same. I pay craploads of money for seedlings that are supposed to be 'concolor', 'alba', 'semi-alba', 'coerulea' or what have you, baby them for years, and then they bloom out the type form and not that good at that, either, and are worth just about nothing (and I have no room for culls so they have to go), and then, there I am again, out the cash, five years down the road, and STILL don't have the plant I wanted and thought I paid for. Time after time...it's getting old, but there doesn't really seem any way around it, unless you are rich enough to drop thousands on a division of questionable health and just TRUST someone you don't know - in another country where you can't even see them or reach them - that it's properly labeled. And even if you are willing to do it, those divisions are usually not even available. Never on the listings. Years between shots at it.

It's BULL! Then you hear the original plant died. Great! Now that beautiful unique plant is gone. GREAT JOB, breeders!!

Mericlone the damn plants and preserve them!!!!
 
J

John Boy

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Yes, and it's precisely why I’m on a conquest with them.

The only thing we can do, to make them understand, and see reason is to boycott them for as long as it will take for them to understand who their customers are, and what they want and require. I’ve simply stopped forking the money out for stuff, which they impose onto the market. I’m the customer, I tell them what I want, if these people are unwilling to cater to our needs they can get stuffed. Let them provide for the Japanese market until the end of all things. If that’s what they want to do, so be it. I’ll find other projects to invest into.

@Ramón: Sorry if I offended you with my concern, I hope you’ll forgive me in time. I basically wanted to raise an issue that I regard as important. I’m not just buying Brazilian Seedling, I want the producers to understand why I’m boycotting their work.

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K

Kavanaru

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Just to clarify, you did not offende me at all, but I still think that a lot of what you said is bulls... For not really understanding what is behind that all and with arguments which are so ridiculous as saying that becaus you think they do not heat their plants should be cheap! And still do nt see the difference with German or USAmerican vendors where yo pay a lot and yo get crap!

Back to the comment regarding Japanese love for detail and therefore adding millions of names to the same plant only based on minimal differences, this is also the case in Brazil where you find collections of ONLY one species.. Nothing to be surprised, as this is also an influence of japanese on the brazil in orchids.... In theory, the largest (I am not whether this is 100% true, but is what they claim) Japanese colony outside Japan is in brazil and many Brazilian orchids collector were influenced by them... So, maybe the love for detail separating 100 form of semialba with 100 different names might be part of that...
 
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