Great Discussion! I agree with most of you. i share the idea of a true philippinense var. phillippinense having shorter petals, with less twists, held at a wider stance, also the plants are usually much bigger. philippinense var. roebelenii typically with longer, more cork screwed petals and a much smaller leafspan, petals are not really held at an angle at all, moreso just straight pendent also blooming on more compact plants.
In terms of the hybrid swarm and whats a philipinense and whats not it all depends on what kind of taxonomic views you have. some people say ahh they are all just phili's and its a variable widespread species, some will call them good species! many will just be happy to have them held at varietal status. but if a different variety, not a diff. species, is blooming close enough to the other variety and they cross polinate and the progeny that appear in the hybrid swarm populations show phenotypic characteristics intermediate of the two varieties, but still very similar to both, THEY ARE ALL THE SAME THING. it is just evolution. were just catching this glimpse of time, if all those jungles still exist in 250 more years, we would see that many of these species will have evolved so much that they may become unrecognizable.
imagine if the thai forests and jungles that have all the brachypetalums were untouched for another 250 years, the continued hybridizing between concolor and bellatulum, and the whole niveum/ang-thong/godefroyae/leaucochilum complex would be insane.
i think the brazilians have an interesting view on this kind of stuff with way they look at Laelia purpurata. here in the states we are so obsessed with which form it is or isnt, (i.e. anelata, carnea, shusteriana, werkhauseri...)and keeping it that form.. and down there they know what forms they are but they cross them all together and dont thing twice about it. ive seen roxio-violetas and flammeas crossed together that would look like a hybrid here in the states...
We have to remember, context is everything. :evil: If you are speaking as a taxonomist, there is only one name that counts, Paph philippinense. If a taxonomist uses any other name they are likely to be considered less than competent by other taxonomists. Most of us are not taxonomists, and are not using these names as correctly, we are horticulturalists. For us these differences matter. I want one with the long dangly petals, and I want one with the wide, outstretched mostly flat petals. Our mistake is forgetting that our motive is mainly horticultural. We all need to keep in mind what context we are applying the terms. Let's use the horticultural terms, we can refer to varieties, forms, races or bloodlines and not bog the discussion down with taxonomic language that has very precice meanings and can not go beyond step one if both parties don't agree on the taxonomic first step.
Taxonomically, I think the philippinense issue is a dead issue. There is one name. Just as in dogs, there is one name, Canis lupus familiaris, that is it. Yet we all are very concerned, before we bring one into the house to live with us, just what breed it is. Rottweilers vs Pekinese, greyhound vs pug, it really matters when choosing our companions, but a taxonomist has just the single name, and that is it. So I think we should brush up on the correct hort terms to use and try to stop bending the taxonomic terms into inappropriate non-taxonomic usages. This thought is partly out of the discussion around the "exul" I posted a photo of earlier. Still don't know quite how to treat that one.
Some good points Leo. It is interesting that while orchid growers continue to debate the taxonomy of phillipinense there has been universal agreement amongst the current taxonomists (Braems, Cribb, Koopowitz etc) for a long time. In order to make informed decisions on taxonomy you need to see plant specimens right across the species range. Koopowitz states that while phillipinense is highly variable, "plants form a continuum making it difficult to separate the forms in a convincing manner". Us growers tend to see forms at the extreme ends of the continuum which look so different that we believe they should be separate species.
You are right though Leo. It is important for us growers to distinguish between the different forms/types so we know what we are buying. But this is a horticultural distinction not a taxonomic one.