Rlc. Marcella Koss 'Pink Marvel'

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(Catt Bob Betts x Rlc Languedoc) Registered by Hausermann in 1970

This is one of my modest sized group of older complex Cattleya hybrids, representing the medium pink part of the color spectrum. The horizontal natural width of the largest flower of the three-flower inflorescence is 17.5 cm:

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Rlc Marcella Koss is one of about 250 AOS registered hybrids with Bob Betts as a parent. Many of these hybrids were made in the 1960s and 70s when the best cultivars of Bob Betts were still available. Marcella Koss contains 9 species in its background, so it occurred as the march to multi-complex Cattleyas was accelerating. The three most dominant species in Marcella Koss are mossiae, gaskelliana, and trianae.

The interesting thing is that after its registration in 1970 there was no AOS award activity until suddenly on October 5, 2002 when Helmut Meng was granted a CCM and AM in Cincinatti for the cultivar ‘Pink Marvel’. However, there had been breeding activity with Marcella Koss during those decades, some of it by Hausermann’s.

Where was ‘Pink Marvel’ for 32 years? Had it been great and just not brought to judging? Was it the result of a Marcella Koss selfing or sib cross or did it come from a mericloning of a good plant and one cultivar turned out better than the parent?

There has been no award activity with Marcella Koss since 2002 but ‘Pink Marvel’ has periodically been available for purchase, although maybe only through Hausermann. I purchased my plant from Hausermann’s some years ago. I am sure that I have a mericlone and not a division of the original.
 
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Love it. Interesting history. You do see these gaps in the time between awards in many grexes. Lots of things have to come together to get a plant awarded, plant maturity, quality, timing of flowering, time to drive to award centre, the right judges etc etc.
 
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Since your NS and the NS of the awarded one are the same, don’t underestimate its potential. Awarded petal Width was 7.5. Your petals look wider in photo. Of course the impression of a plant with 22 flowers on 6 inflorescences is going to be awesome but the CCM reflects that.
 
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Since your NS and the NS of the awarded one are the same, don’t underestimate its potential. Awarded petal Width was 7.5. Your petals look wider in photo. Of course the impression of a plant with 22 flowers on 6 inflorescences is going to be awesome but the CCM reflects that.
Deb, you have a point. If my plant is a mericlone, there is always a small chance for a plant that is even better than the original. My flower is clearly little different in shape or coloration than the awarded cultivar, so it could never get its own cultivar name. However, if it were a little larger or slightly better shaped, you could show it as ‘Pink Marvel’ and it could get more points than the original. I like the challenge of growing plants to peak form to see what you get.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Deb, you have a point. If my plant is a mericlone, there is always a small chance for a plant that is even better than the original. My flower is clearly little different in shape or coloration than the awarded cultivar, so it could never get its own cultivar name. However, if it were a little larger or slightly better shaped, you could show it as ‘Pink Marvel’ and it could get more points than the original. I like the challenge of growing plants to peak form to see what you get.
It is rare that a mericlone can be renamed unless it is significantly different. Like a different color and additional markings. Or rounder (fuller and overlapping) and increased substance.

It is possible to rescore if slightly better shaped and larger size.
 
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Leslie, I think I first became aware of this with the ‘Mendenhall Summit’ story, a plant coming out of a mericloning of ‘Summit’ but I am sure it has happened periodically since mericloning was begun. I would think that a mericloning would result in a distribution of plants that doesn’t have to be Normal (Gaussian) but could be skewed toward better or worse plants, but a plant that was enough different and better is probably 5% or less of the plants in the cloning.
 

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Leslie, I think I first became aware of this with the ‘Mendenhall Summit’ story, a plant coming out of a mericloning of ‘Summit’ but I am sure it has happened periodically since mericloning was begun. I would think that a mericloning would result in a distribution of plants that doesn’t have to be Normal (Gaussian) but could be skewed toward better or worse plants, but a plant that was enough different and better is probably 5% or less of the plants in the cloning.
Yes there were several upgraded mericlones in history like Mendehall Summit and the Phalaenopsis Golden Peoker (that created the harlequin types that could produce ‘black’ Phals). They are rare and far between.
 

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Beautiful, and I bet it smells wonderful as well! I’m curious about your comment that the best Bob Betts were available in the 60s and 70s. Are there particular clones you know of that have been “lost”? I’ve actually been surprised how many great ones are still floating around (‘Lines’ AM/AOS, ‘Tacoma’ AM/AOS, ‘Sestina’ FCC/AOS, ‘The Virgin’ FCC/AOS, ‘White Wings’ FCC/RHS, ‘York’ AM/AOS, ‘Liberty Hill’ AM/AOS, and ‘Wilbur Davis’ HCC/AOS) to name a few I’ve seen for sale in the past year or two.
 
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I am not a Bob Betts expert, but from some talks that I have watched, a number of incredible cultivars of many of our most famous and important hybrids from the early days of hybridizing are only found in a limited number of select private collections. These are like collectable art. They aren't used for hybridizing, they aren't cloned, and divisions are shared only with other select expert growers. Some of the cultivars that you listed were in the early wave of AOS awards for Bob Betts and 'York' received the most recent AOS award with a CCE in 2012. I just don't see these cultivars for sale very often from our remaining commercial vendors. 'White Lightening' (not awarded) is the cultivar that seems to be most available so it must have been mericloned. I don't know if that is true of other cultivars that you named. We lost a huge number of incredible Cattleya species as the cut flower boom of the 1940s and 50s went bust and growers just through species away. We lost tremendous breeding stock. Many great hybrids proved difficult to remake. Many of the original cultivars became virus infected. Having a true, non-virused division from an original FCC cultivar of Bob Betts or Bow Bells would be a treasure.
 
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Leslie, I think I first became aware of this with the ‘Mendenhall Summit’ story, a plant coming out of a mericloning of ‘Summit’ but I am sure it has happened periodically since mericloning was begun. I would think that a mericloning would result in a distribution of plants that doesn’t have to be Normal (Gaussian) but could be skewed toward better or worse plants, but a plant that was enough different and better is probably 5% or less of the plants in the cloning.
Terry, in this.regard, I bought Blc. Pamela Hetherington ‘Coronation’ FCC/AOS from Waldor. Dave off says it’s his favorite cattleya! I wanted a division of his original, but it was not avail. He told me the mericlone was as good or better than the original so I got it. A while later he offered a division of his original and when I talked to him again and explained I had gotten the mericlone before and was tempted by his original division. He said it was up to me, but in his opinion I would be wasting my money as the mericlone is every bit as good and he’s seen it bloom even better. So, I stuck with what I have. Not one that will get a higher award (since it’s already an FCC) I suspect, but an example of what you said.
 

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