Phrag. warscewiczianum

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'Fu Manchu' x self

Correctly described or not, it has been known as warscewiczianum for 150 years and will always be warscewiczianum to me. "Proper" is not tantamount to "right" in my book.




Hailing from Guatemala and named in 1852 in honor of the plant collector Josef Warscewicz, Phrag. warscewiczianum is one of the most spectacular members of the genus, and indeed the stature of its blossoms are second to none in the orchid world. The blooms are similar to those of the closely-related Phrag. caudatum, but tend to be darker overall with more prominent overtones of mahogany. The petals of course comprise the most singular feature of these flowers, and Phrag. warscewiczianum does not disappoint in this regard. Certain cultivars of this regal species may unfurl dark mahogany petals up to 36" in length, every bit the rival of its Asian counterpart Paph. sanderianum.

Phrag. warscewiczianum is by far the most compact-growing of the long-petalled phrag species. Plants may begin blooming with 8-10" leafspans, and mature growths will rarely exceed 15-16" in leafspan. In situ, Phrag. warscewiczianum grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte, but always has its roots embedded in moisture-retaining mosses. In cultivation it appreciates strong filtered light, intermediate temperatures, and an evenly-moist potting mix (it does not however appreciate the "wet" conditions that terrestrial phrags enjoy). Like its relatives, Phrag. warscewiczianum is prone to a devastating basal rot during the hot summer months, and keys to preventing damage are extra vigilance, excellent air movement, and maintaining even moisture. The petals on this blooming ultimately reached 23.5 inches in length.

Recently this species was re-described as "Phrag. popowii". Apparently the original type specimen used to describe Phrag. warscewiczianum was in actuality Phrag. wallisii and, under this new naming convention, the phrag currently known as wallisii would now be re-named Phrag. warscewiczianum, and the old warscewiczianum would be named popowii. It remains unclear at this time whether or not these new epithets will be applied to hybrid registration; even if they are the "proper" names, their substitution for two accepted century-old designations would obviously throw a great deal of confusion around the existing grexes and nomenclature.
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Docs, NY, Pretty Orchids.... ok, so what gives? Am I in the wrong industry or City?


Jun 9, 2006
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Michigan, USA
I like the new nomenclature for the long-petalled Phrags. The names/descriptions make sense to me. But whatever you want to call it, your plant is beautiful, Jason.


lienluu said:
How long were the petals on yours Jason? I love this species!

petals were just under 2 feet...this is my first longpetalled phrag not named wallisii (every caudatum I bought in the past turned out either Grande or wallisii). not the darkest clone but still rich in color. now if basal rot will just stay away...

nice one, Heather!
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