Phrag Yoko W. Fischer (Peruflora's Cirila Alca x besseae)

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Nov 29, 2008
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Bloomington, MN
This cross was made in 2010 by Orchids Limited. I was fortunate to be the first to report its blooming and asked Jerry Fischer if we could please name it after his wife, Yoko W. Fischer, who is such an important part of Orchids Limited. Yoko kindly agreed to my request and the RHS accepted the registration yesterday.

We believe the Peruflora's Cirila Alca (PCA) parent (kovachii x dalessandroi) is a diploid, while the besseae 'Rob's Choice' parent is a known tetraploid, so this plant should be a triploid (3N).

The flower is a beautiful coral/orange color which uniformly sparkles in the light. The NS width is 12 cm and the petal width is 3.75 cm. There is very pleasing waviness to the petals without reflexing. Here is the flower.

The plant is compact with a nice darker green color to the leaves. Here is the whole plant.

If you care nothing about breeding and the naming of Phrag hybrids, you should stop right now! The rest of this post is driven by the issue of how separate dalessandroi is from besseae, which I find interesting.

Phrag besseae was officially described in 1981. In 1985, Dennis D'Alessandro described a new population of plants that many considered a new species that was named Phrag dalessandroi. This new species was described as different from besseae: "Instead of having bright, dark red flowers with the petals acute and held stiffly outward, plants of the Zamora population have more yellow in the flowers, and the petals are obtuse at the apex and hang downward a bit. The inflorescences are shorter and more compact and the plants are much easier to cultivate than those of the other populations."

However, the controversy about dalessandroi being a separate species continued from 1985 until about 1997 when several groups decided that it should be named besseae var. dalessandroi. But this decision did not penetrate well because the RHS did not change the hybrids that had been made with dalessandroi up until 1997 to synonyms of the same crosses that had been made with besseae.

In addition, Fritz Schomburg (FS) (kovachii x besseae) out of Piping Rock was accepted by the RHS on March 7, 2007 and then PCA (kovachii x dalessandroi) out of Peruflora was accepted on June 11, 2007. If RHS considered dalessandroi to be a var. of besseae, they wouldn't have accepted the PCA registration. The PCA parent used in this Yoko W. Fischer cross was shown in a Slippertalk post in 2010 by Robert-Jan Quene of Orchids Limited in which he showed the differences between PCA and FS.

Several recent new hybrids show the continued stance by RHS. Piping Rock registered the back-cross of PCA to dalessandroi as Ekolu in 2011 and they registered the cross Peruflora's Spirit x dalessandroi as Ekolu Quintal in 2014. Robert-Jan Quene registered (FS x besseae) as Phrag Robert-Jan Quene (RJQ) on November 6, 2013. This acceptance of Phrag Yoko W. Fischer (YWF) indicates that the RHS still considers dalessandroi to be separate from besseae for hybridization purposes. FS and PCA will remain separate, and so will Phrag RJQ, Ekolu, and YWF.

In the end, I am just happy that we could name this very pretty flower after Yoko.
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Very nice!

I find it odd also with what the RHS has been doing with the besseae vs dalessandroi hybrids. I personal do not agree with dalessandroi being a variety of besseae.
I know that this Yoko W. Fischer looks fairly different from Phrag Robert-Jan Quene and both of them have the same besseae 'Rob's Choice' as a parent. The YWF is definitely larger than the RJQs that were bloomed. Thus, the differences have to be attributed to either the dalessandroi or to the kovachii in the other parent. Who knows.

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It is all very interesting. I just hope the separation of species continues, otherwise these two Phrags will join the naming mess in the Cattleya and Oncidinae groups.

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