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What is so good about being round

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myxodex

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Hi all,
I'm just curious as to why complex hybrids have to be round to be considered
"good" ? Just who decided this? One of the first features that attracted me to paphs was that they weren't round ... but rather that they had this mysterious elegance that comes largely from their unique architecture. So then why spend so much time and effort to breed it away? To me the most appealing complex hybrids are those that depart from round.
Cheers,
Tim
 

littlefrog

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That is just how the standards were applied historically, and how we judge today. It is completely artificial. Personally I find a round complex flower more appealing, but wouldn't want it in most species paphs or in most other lines of paph breeding.

But, if you like non-round paphs, then by all means don't let judges tell you what to do. Buy what you like!
 

slippertalker

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Roundness was an early goal of hybridizers in the early 1900's. Most of these "complex" hybrids are about 1/2 insigne, 1/4 spiceranum and the rest a mix of villosum, boxalii, fairreanum, bellatulum, etc. Through selective breeding and some accidental aneuploidy (extra chromosome) , the flowers became larger with fuller segments and a round or oval shape.

The judges that set up the scoring system in the AOS were basically invited to be judges, and they were the apex of orchid growers in the 1930's. These people owned the large greenhouses and they were large scale hybridizers, kind of like the Terry Roots of their time. They established the scale for all of the various genera at the same time, and the scale for many genera is based on roundness and full segments. A similar emphasis on roundness is in odontoglossums, cymbidiums and paphs.
 
L

Ludisia

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myxodex said:
One of the first features that attracted me to paphs was that they weren't round ... but rather that they had this mysterious elegance that comes largely from their unique architecture. So then why spend so much time and effort to breed it away?
Tim
This is just what I'm thinking. I don't like complex (or monster) paphs very much. I bought one, but first I looked very long time its flower. Is it pretty enough?:evil:

Well, I bought it anyway, because of interesting form of hole plant - big flower and small growth.

 

Jason Fischer

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I believe that when you look at and AOS judge a complex paph, you are judging the traditional goals set by breeder’s way back; which is a flat, round and symmetrical flower. Only a select few get awarded because it is not easy to attain this goal. Most of them come out un-proportional, or with curved petals etc. This is the norm, so to me it makes sense to award what is hard to produce.

This is, of course, not done with Polyanthas or Cochlopetalums as it is not in the nature of the flower to be round. Plus, as a breeder, I can tell you that you will get very bored of seeing common results over and over, and when you finally see something that stands out from the rest it is quite impressive.

Judging and roundness has nothing to do with personal preference, but is simply a continued tradition of examining a flower for specific criteria, and gives breeders new goals to be competitive with (which is very fun) :).
 

myxodex

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Ok, so I was being a little provocative ... but I still think that flat and round is a bit boring ... I do understand the symmetrical bit. Surely there are/were more interesting goals to be aimed for ... say some of the large complex paphs with good substance had been derived with the aim of improving and extending the architectural forms found in P. fairrieanum or the P. bullenianum species group ... to produce larger more striking flowers but with attention to a good 3D symmetrical architecture. Sometimes it's the negative spaces that make the form interesting. Check out this primary hybrid : dayanum X markianum (tigrinum ?) at http://www.orchids-klinge.com/index.asp ... for my preference this is far more exciting than any obese flat complex!
Cheers,
Tim
P.S ...i'm not that serious ... there are some complex hybrids that I do like !!!
 

Jason Fischer

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Paph. Irish Moss (Jolly Green Gem x fairrieanum) is a great example of a cross that has been awarded (2 or 3 times I believe) because it looks like a huge fairrieanum! Very attractive :)...



What do you think?
 

myxodex

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Yes, I like it. I also like the Paph Jewel Song posted by Dee in the Paphiopedilum section ... nice rich colours. I would not, however want the Jewel Song posted to be more round than it is, as to me it's still got some form that adds to it's appeal together with the vibrant colours and glossy texture. For example the wavy upper edge of the petals adds something interesting to me .. but is probably bad in the judges eyes?

I've also noticed that some breeders are crossing complex hybrids back to species and getting some interesting results (although less ideally round than the complex parent). I guess fashion does change and while the challenge of getting an ideal flat-round is a challenge for the breeder (and challenges can be addictive just like orchids) ... hobbyists like me are more likely to buy a "novelty" hybrid, a primary hybrid or a species.

I've only been keeping orchids for just over three years now and my tastes have broadened considerably in that time. Who knows I might get a complex one day !!!?
Cheers,
Tim
 

slippertalker

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Even though the standard for judging paphs is the traditional round, full, flat flower, the parentage will always be taken into consideration for awards. The multifloral paphs obviously don't fit into this criterion and are scored on a general scale rather than the paphiopedilum scale to account for their increase in flower count. Obviously a judge would view a Paph Xanthophyllum differently than Paph Valerie Tonkin.....
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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Hmmm....that fairreanum cross shows some of the difficulties of crossing the round form with the open form.....that enormous synsepal just doesn't match the rest of the flower. On a big round complex, it would look great...but the delicate downswept narrow petal's of fairreanum call out for a large dorsal, small synsepal. ( But I also have to add that I am not a fan of fairreanum hybrids...it dominates too much...just like sukhakulii, I think fairreanum is best as a species, or crossed with a brachy...otherwise, its so dominant that the hybrid is just a watered down version of what was already great to begin with...) Take care, Eric
 

Rick

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Another component of the flat and round concept is the geometric economy of maximizing the two dimensional viewing experience.

Basically its the best way to get the most viewing coverage for the $.
 

Roy

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I agree with Jason, whether you look at 100 Standard white Phalys, 100 green Maudiaes etc they all look the same. BUT, complex Paphs show you the extremes, the down right ugly to the classic champion AND they are all different. Even 100 green complex Paphs look different ie size, shape, roundness ( filled in ). Novelty hybrid Paphs can have the same values as the complex in looking different in every plant but it is very difficult to tell if its good or bad, personal choice then comes in. Depending on whether you exhibit your orchids or not is where you need to decide what you grow. I must admit we all grow plants that wouldn't win a prize even if was the only one there, because we like them.
Roy.
 

myxodex

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Thanks for all the interesting responses. I suppose that if I kept and flowered a complex I might become more interested in them ... but I've not yet felt inspired about having a plant judged ... I'm too busy still learning how to keep plants healthy. A vigorous new growth gives me almost as much pleasure as the flowers. Personal taste is more important to me than some external standard ... and to me something that most species have and many novelty hybrids retain ... some sort of sculptural elegance ... has been effectively eliminated in most of the complex hybrids that I've seen. On the otherhand some of the complex types do have a glossy texture and striking colours that are not found in other hybrids or species.

The other thing is that I've not actually come across many complex types for sale here in Europe ... I suspect that the fashion here is more for species and novelty hybrids?
Cheers,
Tim
 

Roy

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Tim, I think you will find in the not too distant future, the complex making a big return. The Japanese and Taiwanese are swinging back to them in a big way. I think you will find that the realization setting in that the complex Paph doesn't require the same amount of heating to grow well and that allows a lot more people to grow them. Many of the plants available both here, in Europe, the USA are heat requiring. This limits many people. If your into it, the more heating you use, you increase the green house gases. Plus the added costs.
I have people growing complex Paphs in the bathroom, kitchens, sunrooms etc without added heating and they're flowering well.
Choice or preference, yep, its up to the grower.
Roy
 

Gilda

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Roy,
I find what you say is sooo true...mine complex x's may not be winners but I find the subtle differences in the blooms hard to decide which ones to keep. The white halo on one, spots on another , nice big flat dorsal even if they are in the same color family I find myself holding on to all of them !! Just ask my hubby !! Glad to know complexes are making a come back....I have quite a few, and find they are not difficult to bloom at all.
PS they love semi hydro !
 

Roy

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Complex don't have to round to be appealing is correct. The big, filled in, round ones are generally for the dedicated exhibitor wanting the illusive Champion Ribbon, but are nice for the collection also. The one major thing I find with the complex is that the flower lasts for such a long time against many other Paphs. I can get 3 months out of a complex and maybe a 1 month out of the rest. Multi florals will hang on a fair while also. I have some complex Paphs that as a single bloom are average but they make multi growths and form a specimen quickly for which they are superb. The good ones rarely do.
Roy.
 
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